Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stuck In The Middle With You

I haven't really talked about my writing in a while, but there's a reason for that. And a good one, too.

I'm stuck.

Ever since I finished TANGO, I've been trying to come up with another project to work on. I've started at least five, but none of them have really panned out. THE AGE THAT WAS (the sequel to TANGO) wasn't going anywhere, SCARRED petered out pretty quickly, and DON'T MAKE A SCENE is still, essentially, a cliche high school novel. OBSESSION has potential, but I'm suffering some writer's block and am not sure how to fill in the middle section of the story. And then I wrote the first chapter of SILENCE, outlined the entire thing, then abandoned it.

All of this back-and-forth business was driving me nuts, so I just stopped writing. I decided I needed a plan. A real one, not a 'maybe if this works out, I'll go with it' kind of plan. Easier said than done, sure, but it was better than waisting my time writing something that was going nowhere.

While I've been not writing, I came to an important realization. It all goes back to something Naomi said to me over the summer. Basically, it boiled down to the fact that I should be querying the book I want to see on shelves. Sometimes it's difficult to keep that in mind because part of me just really wants an agent.  I want to join my friends who've got agents, who are on subs, or have book deals. But the logical side of me knows that I need to have a new project to query. TANGO got bites, but it always seemed to boil down to the fact that it would be a hard sell. I had a few agents ask to see my next project, which is why I've been trying to write it.

Which is really what led me to the following realization: I write dystopian. It's just the way I am. I live for all that post-apocolyptic, futuristic sci-fi stuff. I wrote TANGO for a reason. I read dystopian for a reason. There's a reason SILENCE wouldn't leave me alone. I outlined it months ago, and every time I open gdocs, it glares at me, waiting for me to go back to it. I considered rewriting TANGO for the YA market, but after countless hours of trying to figure out how to change the story, I couldn't do it. TANGO was meant to be an adult book, so if I have to shelve it for a while, I will.

In the meantime, I'm going to consult with a friend of mine and see what she says, since she works in the business. Hopefully I'll have some idea of what I'm doing soon. Having writing ADD sucks sometimes.


  1. Huh, I never knew you could comment on here as an LJ user or I would have before. (Oh the things one learns with accidental clicking...)

    Your problem sounds a lot like mine. I'm the most indecisive person I know, and I can't pick a project to focus on. These wheels of writing are not turning and it sucks.

    Cheers to well-oiled, not-so-difficult writing machines?

  2. I feel you, girl. It's like I've got all these ideas, but no idea which one would be best to focus on. I mean, I read submissions for my agency, I keep an eye on the market, so I've got some idea of what's selling an what isn't, but what's selling now isn't necessarily going to be selling 2 years from now. And while I'm definitely not a trend chaser, I still want to be marketable, since that's been the problem with TANGO.

    Basically, I'm just running in circles with my head cut off right now. Which is probably how you're feeling, too. So I'm wishing us both luck!

  3. Honestly, it really surprises me that they think TANGO would be hard to sell. Based on what you posted of it on LJ, I probably would have preordered that, rather than waiting a year for paperback. What do you suppose they're looking for instead?

    I don't really follow trends at all, since I live under a rock, so I'm hoping that doesn't turn into a massive problem for me. It makes me wonder, though, for those people who are able to write a perfectly nice submission in a month or so, can they jump straight into a trend of upcoming (rather than currently on shelves)?

    That's a pretty apt description, actually. Although, I can't claim to be headless, since this definitely gives me headaches. I need my outlet back.

    Good luck to you!

  4. I think adult sci-fi/dystopian is a harder sell than the same thing in YA. Based on the submissions I read for work, I'd say this is pretty accurate.

    And don't worry about not following trends; I don't think it's all that important. You need to write what you feel is right, and if it's good, someone will want to buy it.

  5. I guess most of it might be. I have to say, though, that I would love to read some books written in an almost YA fashion but with adult characters. I'm not sixteen anymore, but that doesn't mean things have to get boring.

    Probably a good point. Maybe someday I'll get it through my head that I'm allowed to just write, instead of worrying about how to sell what I'm writing or the audience I'm pitching to or what my family/friends will think(because that's probably the best way to never write anything).