Wednesday, September 21, 2011
My Fiction Day - Limbo Land
When I was waiting to hear from potential agents, or potential publishers, when I queried a dozen times every two weeks, I made myself keep writing. As a result, by the time I landed an agent, I had two books. By the time I landed a publishing contract, I had half of a third. Today, that third book sits 75% done, yet it sits waiting.
Some items changed in book one from the time it went from me to the agent to the editor. Scenes changed. Some violence was altered. A love scene aborted. A death reconstructed. You know...lots of stuff. The story is the same, but steps deviated a bit. But the change was enough to shift events in Book Two, and maybe Book Three.
I've always been a nonfiction writer. Nonfiction helped me acquire promotions and carried me into FundsforWriters and an award-winning website. It pours out of me like sweat on an August day picking tomatoes. It just happens without much thought. But here I sit, struggling with a first-draft of a nonfiction FundsforWriters book, knowing this ought to be like breathing for me. Yet, I can't get fiction scenes out of my head.
There's even a fourth book. I've researched it. The info collects dust, stacked and waiting. I'm hungry for my fiction. My characters are in a coma.
Waiting . . . I've never been too fond of that task. I can do it, as long as I can assign a project to my mind and turn it loose. Then I can wait for hours as I solve problems or spin ideas. But the projects I have at present are held up in publishing congestion, so to speak. Or is it more a mental traffic jam?
Heck, I even have to go to my critique group tonight, probably empty-handed, and listen to all the other new fiction being presented. I'm aging here, when I could be writing stories of Carolina Slade.
But I do what I have to do. I'm a writer. It's what I've signed up to be. So that means writing what I don't feel like writing, not taking time off. As my own boss, I'll kick my butt to return to the draft . . . the nonfiction draft. The one with a superb message that deserves a voice. It's been in my head for several years. The topic is a favorite at conferences, and I'd be remiss not to reduce it to print form, so folk who can't visit conferences can access that same information and advice. Now's the best time to tackle that very valid, worthwhile goal.
It's what sits on my plate now, and I shall embrace it. This feels like once upon a time when one child behaved at a family function and the other showed his behind to the point of major embarrassment. I preferred spending time rewarding the good baby instead of dealing with the aggravation of the other. I loved them both, and I needed, continue to need, both in my life, but at that moment, one just commanded my attention more.
Tick, tick, tick. Yes, it's hard to wait, but it's part of the deal. Writing can't be all about designing the pretty stories. Sometimes, it's about earning a living. And we are derelect if we don't count our blessings that we are able to do both.