1. Spellings of fictional ice cream shops. Do I want to be sassy, witty, or just plain GLIB?
(Diana: Do I dare to eat a peach? -T.S. Eliot)
2. Copyright infringement of choice song lyrics used in your novel. (Diana: What’s so wrong with wanting your characters to sing Journey, man? It’ll be in the movie soundtrack fo’ sho.)
3. Novel length – choosing the happy medium between The Old Man and the Sea and Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. Infinite Jest need not apply.
4. First person present? Third person past? Omniscient second person God-like narration? (Flo: That voice in your head that’s eerily like the tiny Jesus.)
5. “Exotic” first names of main characters. Yihru means goddess of the changing winds. (No, it doesn’t.)
6. The requisite passages of description that feel, well, requisite. “And so the wind wafted on the late fall air as Yihru, cheeks flushed, hurried into the ice cream shop.”
(Flo: Yihru has rosacea. Diana: Will it keep her from the boy she loves? Flo: *dies*)
7. Accidental influences from well-known books. (Flo: So like, this kid has a scar right? And he’s parentless. But then there’s a unicorn that tells him that he has to fight to the death for food. Diana: Midway through, he and the unicorn learn that they’re a special race of humanoid-unicorn: one that’s destined to change the course of history. Flo: One horn to save them all.)
8. Characters fumbling in the dark. What would my mother do if she read this?
(Flo: My mom might not speak to me after she reads my novel. But that would require her to read my novel.)
9. Hasty Wikipedia research so that you’re justified in referencing something obscure. Like that character who’s a fabled biathlete and a secret expert on Heraclitus. Yeah, that’s a real name.
(Diana: Yihru had always admired him from afar, but was too afraid to meet his eyes lest her rosy cheeks give her away. Flo: Not to mention her Illuminati ceremonial robes. Her freemason robes were at the dry cleaners. Diana: She spilled ice cream on them.)
10. Procrastination with social media.
(Flo: *crickets* Diana: Sorry, I was in the middle of posting on your wall.)
*Check out their joint blogsite: http://thisaintyourlavaliere.tumblr.com/