The Truth Of The Matter

For the past month or so, I’ve been redirected (read: urged)  towards something new in my writing.  As I’ve worked on books in the past,  an idea will come to mind on what story I want to write next, and without much of a break, I’ve plunged right in and started on it.  I was approximately ten thousand words into my latest work set in the Mississippi Delta when I received some advice from my editor and agent.

Here’s the problem; it appears the market is saturated with the kind of stories I like to read and write.   Always set in the south, they include what seem to be the standby issues like poverty, abuse, and racism.  These things I’ve seen since I can remember, the back country roads where the farm land has dried up and scarcely a stalk of corn will grow.  The ramshackle, run down houses set amongst the tall oaks, with barefooted children hanging out on the porch waiting on a breeze to stir up since they don’t have air conditioning.   The blank staring eyes of a small girl, whose wrists aren’t much bigger than her fingers, cowering in fear as her uncle walks up to her.  The old black man with a special nickname, representative of two generations removed from slavery.

The truth of the matter is this; there are only “x” number of editors who may have authors writing about the same kind of stuff.  It only makes it harder for someone like me, to catch a break.   So.  I’m going to write something different.  I had an idea for a fourth book, just a vague idea, mind you, and the past month has been spent trying to decide,  at an extraordinarily high level (like the fifty thousand foot view), of what this story could be about.   After two feeble attempts – because this truly is totally out of my genre – I’ve shared the latest nosebleed view of my new book idea with my agent, and the third time was a charm.   Approved to proceed.

Now, as a friend put it, “you only have to write it.”   Which will result in this:  for the next several months, as I plunder my way into this new territory.  I’m excited, and at the same time nervous.   This, for me, is like being used to running, and now someone says, hey, no running for a while, you have to mountain climb.  And… I don’t do heights very well.

When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?

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