I've avoided writing the blog because writing in general is not going well these days. I find myself going in circles, trying to figure out where my heart is calling me to write, and what I might actually be able to publish, and wondering if it's possible to find a place in between.
I started a story a few weeks ago. I outlined the characters and the plot, put work into it to make it a decent story. But my heart wasn't in it. I wrote, and it fell flat. I loved the characters, but the story itself bored me.
The months of querying and agent replies have started take their toll. The fact is, I have had a fantastic run. Some amazing replies to queries that resulted in tons of referrals and personal responses, glowing reviews like, "You have a tremendous talent," and "You have that Spark." I've had phone calls and full requests. But ultimately, I still have no agent.
I am, by nature, a problem solver. And so I look at the past months and think, if so many agents say I am talented, and can write, and have a great idea, why is it I'm not getting the offers?
I don't know what the answer is. But while the query front is dying down and the writing front is frustrating, my mind is spinning, trying to figure out how I get from where I am to where I want to be.
Numbers are fairly clear. The adult fiction market is slowing drastically. The kids' market is fairly strong. When I started writing, my initial idea was to write books like my kids are reading.
It didn't work that way. It turned out I didn't gravitate towards kids' fiction. I am an adult fiction writer. But when things get tough, I keep going back to it: to my list of ideas for middle grade books that have been piling up for years. If it sells more easily, why not revisit the idea?
So this week I did. One that's been bubbling for a while, and I started to get excited about it. Put away the adult book I couldn't get excited about and take up a new one.
And then a friend emailed with a recommendation for a definitely adult book... with an idea that immediately I dismissed as something entirely out of my realm. But it has hung around and grown on me. The more I dismiss it, the greater it screams in my head. And the bonus? It fits perfectly with the themes in Some Kind Of Normal. It would cement a branding and side-step that terrible genre-hopping.
But I'm not ready for it. It's a hard book. And I'm tired of jumping around and not committing (or committing for a week or two) to an idea. I don't like the waffling.
And, in short, it really comes down to the fact that I'm not ready to shelve Some Kind of Normal. Ocean Deep I put away and never looked back. But not SKoN. I love that book. I think it's good. I think it's important. I know I should look at all of these rejections as a sign to move on, but I can't let go.
To go the middle grade route would be to put away Some Kind of Normal for good. To go forward with the new idea is to put myself in a place I'm completely not comfortable, and to risk continuing to try to break into a genre that has no place for me.
I am stuck in the middle.