It's that time of year again. The time when I settle down all my writing energies and focus on churning out another book. I've done it five times before and have been fairly satisfied with my results. This year, however, I'm approaching it with the most trepidation I've felt yet. There are many reasons for my hesitation and angst.
To begin with, I have no idea what to focus on this time around. Since I'm struggling with finding an interested market for my Christian young adult fiction, I believe I should shift my focus to something else. Women's fiction is probably the best bet for a wider market, in terms of finding an agent and getting the manuscript read. But, I haven't come up with an idea for a story or a character to launch a story. Nata. Zilch. Nothing! Even though I've been in that position before, late in October, on the verge of the writing month, it is still an unsettling place to be.
Then there's another option. I have been toying with working on a memoir. The only problem with this is that the memoir, while primarily about me and the struggles I have faced in a particular area of life, necessarily involves other people. By nature of being on the periphery of my life, they fall into the story and I'm not sure how to handle that. No doubt they would like their lives to remain private, even if I am willing to bare my soul about an important, complex life issue. Plus, while it would be great writing practice, part of me thinks that such an endeavor would end up merely being a therapeutic venture with little prospect of future publication.
I actually started another young adult novel outside of the Nanowrimo month, but I don't think I have enough skill to pull off the story. It is a thriller based on a contemporary what-if question. Even if I think it holds merit and would not necessarily end up being in the narrow "Christian" market, it feels too difficult to pull off. I don't think I have what it takes to make the story well-rounded and consistently gripping.
In searching for an agent to pitch, I have come across loads of specific information about what agents are eager to see. None of what I write tends to appeal to those dramatic interests. I don't write paranormal. I don't write dystopian. My books seem too lame for the present market. Aren't there young adults out there looking for morally wholesome literature with a good story line and interesting characters? Apparently not. Apparently, they all want some new futuristic, gimmicky plot-line. Thus, I'm feeling down about my writing and that is never a good state to be in before launching into writing another book.
Moreover, I'm feeling the added external pressure of my husband's desire for me to abandon this dream. He doesn't word it like that, of course. But, he has said that "if this next book doesn't find an interested reader, perhaps it is time to look for a job and help out financially." Obviously, I'm aware that my writing hasn't panned out to a single cent of remuneration. I'm not really interested in the financial aspect. But, with his desire for me to give up, it makes it harder for my own sentiments to remain steadfast.
Finally, we're throwing another wrench into the mix because we've decided (me grudgingly) to go ahead and get the boys another dog (this time much smaller than our last dog). I don't know how much this will factor into the equation. Will my attention be diverted? Will I have to be responsible for the lion's share of training and acclimating our new pet? Who knows? It is something I definitely don't feel equipped for and something I certainly don't relish experiencing. Maybe I should write a novel about a woman who dreads getting a dog but desperately believes that every boy should experience the benefit of growing up with a dog. Ha!
What sort of book are you interested in finding or reading? Do you have any bones you could throw me to trigger an idea for a story? Do you have any advice for a new, reluctant pet owner? Any and all feedback would be appreciated.