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Last week I got to talking to my sister about any number of things, which came around to the real problem: figuring out what I want to write next. Because I figure, rightly or wrongly, that I need to have a firmer idea of the book that's in my heart trying to get out before I start on a new book.

And I said that the book that I really want to write is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. This is roughly true, though it's a book I haven't read in half a dozen years; there's something about the intersection of a realistic sensibility and a genre sensibility, and the sweep of history combined with personal heartbreak, and also the way that it takes pop culture seriously...

So I started musing out loud on sending it in to my publisher and hoping they didn't recognize it, or just writing erotic fanfiction with the names changed...

"50 Shades of Clay!", quoth my sister.

The point is that what I am trying to do is to make a fearless inventory of myself, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually. I am not willing to walk around waiting for an idea to hit me over the head, but neither am I willing to take up some idea that seems workable but not especially inspiring, just to have something to work on -- not right now. (Sometimes you take the idea that seems workable but not especially inspiring, and you work it over and work it over until you fall in love -- I'm prepared to do that, too, but not with the idea that I have to take whatever meager little idea I can find and turn it into a book.)

It's interesting, because the book that you have to write is different from the causes you believe in and the things that interest you in the world, though those can play into it. (I heard it long ago and I still agree -- I'm much more interested in writing about the questions that I don't know the answers to, than the questions I do know the answers to.) It's finding the places where the split loyalties and impossible choices just make your heart hurt, and the places where no good answer exists.

People will tell you that you have to write even when you're not inspired, and that's true. But I think writing a book is kind of like getting married. You're not going to be passionately in love all the time, but it probably helps if you were passionately in love once, so you can still remember what's excellent even when the going gets rough.

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owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
owlectomy

August 2017

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