Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sucking it up

As the ball in New York began its decent this past New Year's Eve, I took a reflective glance at my goals for 2009 in between quick slurps of my dad’s chocolate martinis. Damn, you just haven’t lived until you’ve sucked down one of those puppies. I managed four until I tripped over my own feet and spit out carpet fibers. My doting husband, Mom and Dad are quite forgiving of this unrepentant drunk, considering I only pull that trick once a year.

I’m not one for resolutions because they seem to be setups for failure. Rather, I look for themes. Last year’s was Survival. Since I’m still breathing, I must have pulled that off with relative success. This year, I decided would be devoted to Passion. If I’m gonna do something, do it with passion.

So far it’s been easy. I’m nearing the end of writing The Writer’s Essential Tackle Box which is like having a personal interview with twenty-five publishing industry professionals, and me. Besides writing, I love the publishing business. Talk about passion in spades. And I get to pour all of my loves, hates, dislikes, wishes, and recommendations into this book that’s designed to give authors the most unique insight to the industry they’ll ever get. Since I’m so passionate about helping authors, this is a no-brainer.

I discovered that writing nonfiction is different from fiction. Fiction requires me to create a made-up world with unreal characters who slog their way through a riveting plot, all while being plausible and compelling. Donovan’s Paradigm sucked me dry because the characters are so deep and complicated. I felt as though I had lived with my siblings for a solid month without a potty break. Truly a horrific thought. But I loved that book, and it seems many of my readers did as well since I’ve been hounded about when the next one is coming out.

And that’s the problem. I think I lack the passion for Kim and Erik right now, which really sucks because I adore them both. But their lives and complications about their medical future and commitment to each other require my complete concentration, and I don’t have that kind of time anymore. Which really sucks.

Some hats are easy to put on, yanno? I can go from being an editor to a mom with no problem. I can go from winning literary awards to getting critiqued to within an inch of my life without batting an eye. But stopping and starting the intensity of Kim and Erik requires a hard hat, and I left mine in my other purse.

I’m ready for something light and airy. Breezy. Dare I say it…women’s fiction? A romantic comedy? This is new territory for me, yet I find myself creating the plot, characters, timeline, and chapters in my mind as easily as burning dinner – something I do with alarming frequency. I feel such passion for this goofy story, which is shaping up to be something of a Bridgett Jones’ Diary variety, that I actually feel guilty for loving it so much. Like I’m being disloyal to Kim and Erik.

It worries me because Kim and Erik are a series of five books. The longer I take to crank them out, the harder it is to promote them. But maybe I should get this silly story out of my system and see where it takes me. I already know it’s achingly marketable, and I have the perfect set of agents in which to query. Maybe after I’ve taken this wherever it’s meant to go, I can get back to Kim and Erik with more clarity.

And maybe, just maybe, the passion that’s fueling this crazy story will portend something pretty cool. After all, I’m a follow-your-heart kinda gal…

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