Friday, April 14, 2017

The Velvet Curse

I've had a lot of trouble writing this week.

Oh that's such a lie. I only have trouble writing when I'm actually doing it. The truth is that I've stopped about fifty pages into my next book. Not because I'm stymied but because I've sullied up and indulged in one time-wasting activity after another. True I can always find excuses. Allergy season, etcetera, etcetera. But they are fake. Truth is I can write almost anywhere, anytime. I don't have enough sense to be temperamental.

There's a subtle curse hanging over me this time. That of good fortune. My newest book, Fractured Families, has received a series of good reviews. This week I was dumbfounded when one of the largest papers in the San Francisco bay area, the Mercury News, reviewed it. In fact, Fractured was in the lead position.

So it seems like the best time possible to retire, or at least stop the series and write something else. I make no secret of my passion for historical novels. But the truth is I really want to write the new one, Silent Sacrifices. Nevertheless, it involves a lot of new territory from a technical standpoint and I worry that I'm not up the challenge.

One of the ideas I've inserted in my blogs time and again (with the fervor of an evangelist) is that writers have to toss people out of their writing room. Read head. Whether it be a husband, mother, priest, principal, next door neighbors, fellow writers, or literary critics. Whoever is peering over your shoulder standing in judgement of your morals or your abilities. Nattering, chatting among themselves about your ability to plot, characterize, turn a phrase. Raising doubts, jeering.

They must go. They all have a paralytic effect. Like the head of Medusa, they will turn you to stone if you allow them to peek at your manuscript.

One of my favorite images from Kansas's Garden of Eden (the first scene in Fractured Families) is that of Reaching Woman. This week it seems to portray my state of mind. Reaching, reaching, for a half-constructed plot misting away, reaching for wisps of characters and scenes that lack energy.

Monday morning, the end of Lent, I promise to end this self-imposed slumber and throw everyone out of my writing room once again.

1 comment:

Donis Casey said...

Charlotte, I'm in the same state right now. I'm writing writing writing whether I can think of anything to write or not. At least I hope that I can eventually pick some gold thread out of this tangled skien of words. I'm also feeling like I'm reaching the end of my current series, and my mind is constantly going to another series I'd like to do, which will interfere with the WIP if I let it. BTW, congratulations on the good review from the Mercury News. That reviewer is plenty tough!