Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Playing to my strengths

If you read my blog, you know that the writing is coming slooooowwwly. I am just not happy with anything I have written--and I have written tons since Summers at Blue Lake. It is frustrating to work so hard with so little results. Like dieting without getting skinny--what's the point? The more I tried, the worse it got, and I began to panic. I feared (and still do to a small extent) that I will never again write anything that merits publication. Today, I got an email from a woman in CT who just finished my book. I have received a bit of fan mail since my book came out. Mostly from folks I know. I love all my nice mail, but I am positively giddy when I get notes from people I don't know.

I got this email today. Thanks, Julie, for that lift! As I read Julie's note about why she enjoyed my book, I realized that the aspects that she liked were missing in my latest manuscript (the one I am trying to revise--or rewrite as the revisions are more like Extreme Home Makeovers than Trading Spaces). I guess I was trying to write a serious book where my character evolve and have breakthroughs. A meaningful book with doses of hard reality. But what is missing from this book is the element of fun and frivolity. I was able to do both (fun and seriousness) with the last novel because I could go back and forth in time between two different stories. The story that took place in 1983 was more light-hearted, and it broke up the sobriety of the year 2000 story.

I then started to think about the other letters I received and the book clubs I attended. I remembered the comments about what people liked about the book. They told me of passages that made them laugh. They said they enjoyed certain characters--the grandmothers, in particular. Readers like the seemingly real reminiscences and details. They are anxious to read another book, and I need to deliver it. I can do this. I am now going back through my second book, and I am going to try a new tone. I think that even I will enjoy working with playfulness. Sometimes I can get caught up in my own seriousness. My authorness. I am not sure what will come out of it, but I need to trust this process which is scary in a leap-without-a-publishing-contract kind of way. That's all for now. I'm off to play.

No comments: