Sunday, April 20, 2008

The block

A couple of days after I completed the second draft (still not the final draft) of my novel, I decided I was going to get right back at it, start another project. I feel better, more at ease when I have something going. I do not like downtime.

I had one idea and one semi-completed work. It all seemed like short work. I had this great idea that I could have two novels ready to send out by the end of 2008.

Only, it wasn't working... It's been maddeningly hard.

The first potential project was the very grim and probably not marketable piece. It was dark, unfunny, but had some meaning to it. It dealt with similar themes to the other book, just did it in a different way.

I stalled out. I know what I want, but getting into the meat of it isn't really happening.

The second project was genre fiction, about an undertaker who comes back from the dead to wreak havoc on a little town. It seemed commercially viable and I actually wrote the thing from start to finish about 8 or 9 years ago.

I find that I don't much care about it.

I think, for good or ill, I found my voice. I wrote with that voice and these other stories don't fit with that. It's a perplexing problem. In order to write either of them, I'd almost have to get in character and I'd need a lot of time to get through.

It's been sort of a slap your forehead kind of realization. It sort of explains why Joyce Carole Oates doesn't write a bunch of Science Fiction and why Stephen King doesn't do Military Thrillers. Maybe, they can't. It's not who they are.

And evidently, the living dead and dark, existential books with unhappy beginnings, middles and ends aren't what I can do at the moment. At some point, evidently they were, but not right now. I would not say this is because I'm in a particularly happy place.

So, while I'm waiting to get started on the next draft of the other book, I'm either going to have to come up with a story that fits me or find a way to fit back into one of those other boxes.

It's the weirdest thing...

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