About six months ago (I refuse to think it was longer), I kept trying – and failing – to get into my manuscript DECEIVED.
It’s a serial-killer-escapes-prison thing, with a hot romance erupting alongside the hunt for this Very Bad Man. I love serial killer stuff – always have. My personal reference library is filled with strange and wonderful texts on the mind of serial killers, the FBI, true case books and anything forensic-related.
But it seemed, perhaps, that I was tired of the genre. I’d been reading it for years, but the last few years I’d added a plethora of crime dramas to my evening musings. Law and Order, Criminal Minds, CSI: Las Vegas topped the list of must-watches each week.
As I watched, the storylines became even more predictable than before. I had the killer down pat within the first five minutes, and spent the other 40 (ax commercials) watching how the writers finally built up to the whodunit.
I found the same trends in the novels as well. No idea is original, but it felt like today’s authors were mimicking old stock instead of finding creative twists to make stories their own.
When I tried to get into DECEIVED – about a third written – I just could not do it. The characters felt stale, the plot contrived and it just seemed like too much work to start over on something I’d worked on off and on for a year.
Of course, I immediately pulled out the whip and castigated myself for not finished the MS, and for lacking the creative courage to strip it bare and start over – or to have the gumption to even try. I felt like such a failure. I questioned by ability to write fiction. I wondered if I truly, truly wanted this dream I’d had since I was a child, writing fairytales with weirdly dark beings.
One day, I decided to sit down and find my muse again.
I thought about people with child-like innocence. I decided to figure out what inspired me as a child so much so that I would sit for hours, drawing pictures and making up stories to go along with them.
The answers were immediate and startling:
Dragons, warlocks, unicorns, magic, good witch, bad witch, strange lands, shifting shadows, bad things hiding in my closet, creatures not of this world.
Everything and anything to do with fantasy – and mystery – but not necessary mystery grounded in stark reality.
It was a serious wake up call for me as an author. I had added a few paranormal twists to my stories – like psychics – but nothing with serious world building.
This made me realize that I needed a change of genre – even just for a bit. I won’t ever be rid of mystery or romance in my stories, but maybe I can add a dash of magic to make my writing world that much more fun and delectable.
Over the next few weeks, I plan to pull out DECEIVED and see what I can salvage, but my main focus for writing will be on an urban fantasy. Ironically, it isn’t the one I thought of a few months ago, but a new one that seems to “work.” The idea is much more original than the one I had before and it is screaming louder than the other idea.
If I want to get rid of the voices in my head, I’ll need to hurry up and write it.0