Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Slap a Label on Me, God, or Speak in Not Such a Still Small Voice

I've never liked labels. As long back as I can remember I haven't liked them. Maybe it was being part of a family with more than one kid. There was always labels tossed about by others: the smart one, the funny one, the cute one, the musical one, the social one.

And I never like the high school trend of boxing people into nice, neat categories. The jock, the band geek, the brain, the prep.

It all feels so limiting - too confining. As if, if you are one, you can't be another.

I think that's why I've shied away from trying to define myself as a writer. It's one thing to use labels like YA or adult - I guess because they seem very general, and because I know neatly which of those I fit into. But within that, I've kept myself vague.

It's easy to say I don't do fantasy; I don't do science fiction or thriller, and I'm not intending on trying my hand at mystery, although that was my first real try at writing many years ago.

But deciding whether to label myself as commercial or literary - or Christian - feels constraining. In truth, it's not that I don't want to be any of those - it's that just because the last book I wrote might fit neatly into one category, I'm afraid to say all of my writing will fit into that, especially since I don't have an agent or a publisher nudging me to continue in that vein.

It's amazing how critical this feels right now. I am standing at a crossroads and need to decide, because this last book has underscored how important it is to draw the line and land on one side or another. The agents that liked my writing and want to see something else from me want something different than what I wrote before: something distinctly non-Christian, or fully Christian. To please one set of agents is to cross the other off my list. There is no straddling the divide. I have to decide. I have to slap a label on me and go with it.

As a person whose faith has always been very strong, but deeply personal, it feels like a betrayal to make a decision to keep faith out of my writing, or to keep it at a very surface level, and yet I feel very inadequate to write Christian fiction. I wonder: do I pray enough? Do I read the Bible enough? Am I involved in church enough? Am I the kind of Christian that writes books that are inspiring and motivating to other? Am I ready to be so public with it?

Before a person is really, truly serious about writing for publication, one can write anything. You can sit down with a computer and a head full of ideas and just write. But when you look at it as a business as much as a passion, there are other things that come into play... defining yourself is one of them.

And just by thinking that way, I wonder if that doesn't mean I'm not called to be an author of Christian fiction. As much as I can't imagine faith not being an integral part of my stories, I'm not seeing a burning bush pointing me that way for sure, either. And shouldn't there be a burning bush?

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Science of Creative Writing

While my two daughters are madly trying to follow in my footsteps and writing their own books like crazy (my oldest on the computer, about 17 pages in, and my youngest on folded pieces of paper she staples in the middle and draws pictures to go with... about one book a day), my son has showed very little interest in creative writing. I figured that was okay, seeing as how I'm not sure I'd wish the passion to write on anyone I hope will grow up and support himself one day.

But this weekend, I realized how similar the two of us are.

This weekend was the regional science fair. The one my son grew 40 plants for and force-fed them detergent water and then took over 1600 measurements to determine if environmentally friendly laundry soap was, in fact, environmentally friendly. We woke a little before seven am on Saturday (aaargh!) and set out for the middle school he was competing in, to sit there for five hours for competition.

If you've never been to a science fair, it works like this. The kids go into the cafeteria - without parents - to sit at their project for five hours while a few judges come around and ask questions. Parents have to sit in the gym for five hours, waiting for the kids to be done. It's possible at any moment you child will be released, so you can't just go and come back later. You must wait. In a gym.

So the lessons I learned?

1. Never bring a book you've not been able to finish because it just wasn't compelling enough to keep you up at night. That makes for the longest wait ever!!

2. Don't assume there won't be outlets to plug in your laptop and so leave it at home. Did you know middle schools have outlets every five feet? Seriously. I was almost in tears.

3. Bring food. And drink. And make sure your kid takes it with him into the judging. He was supposed to be out by 11:00 but had to stay until 1:00. It's a long time from the 7 am donut to 1 pm.

4. Maybe I should think about getting my son a cell phone. I've never seen so many ten and eleven year olds with cell phones in my life. And I had to loan out mine a few times to the poor, under appreciated children (like my son) who didn't have one, and couldn't find their parents.

5. Science and creative writing are not that different.

Nearly every project there started exactly the same way my stories begin. Some kid looked at something and said "Why?" and "What would happen if..."

Just like me!!

My son? He won first place.

Me? Well, I'm still working on it. And I think it's good he sees that sometimes, it takes a lot of work to get what you want.

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's Friday; It's a Good Thing: Attitudes

This week was my son's big fifth grade field trip - one he's been looking forward to for three years. His school does this every year. The kids , in a sort of last bonding experience of their elementary school years, pack into a sweaty, smelly bus and are shipped down the road to Hemlock, a team building park in the woods complete with hiking, zip-lines, rappelling, and a variety of very odd team building centers like the spider web, the peanut butter pit, and the log pull.

Unfortunately, I also committed to going with the boy. And the week before, the weather predictions began. Rain. Rain. Thunderstorms. Possible Hail. Blustery winds. And rain.

I am not a fan of rain. Especially not being out in the rain. I don't do being wet very well. Not that I'm the wicked witch or anything (with that melting problem), but I've spent my years in the rain. Been there, done that.

For days and days I dreaded going out in this stuff. I prayed the line of storms would suddenly vanish, or move off north of us. I wondered if I could use my youngest's recent illness as an excuse to stay home. I dreaded going. I lost sleep over it. I did not want to go!

But when the morning dawned and it became clear that the blustery rain would be a constant presence and I was going to be out in it, I realized I had a choice. I could be miserable and hate it, or I could go with the same attitude my son had: excitement over the possibilities.

I chose to make a quick stop on the way and pick up a rain poncho and dive right in with a smile. Okay, I got a double coffee as well. I'm pretty sure that helped.

Here are some of our wet highlights.

Cold? Yes! Rainy? Yes!! Fun and memorable? Absolutely.

And how does this relate to writing? It's been so easy to get down lately. Some days are good. Some days aren't. I still have several fulls out with no word yet, and a stack of rejections. The book I'm writing now is slow and hard. Really hard some days. And it's easy to let depression have its way.

But really, what's the difference between the good days and the bad?


And a really great writing group that specializes in attitude adjustments. :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Scenes from All We Are

Cliff Diving at Maui 2
Originally uploaded by DrSilver
There will be cliff diving. How cool is that??

I'm sure it will end up being a metaphor for Amery and Riley - not necessarily together but for each individually. There is a certain amount of leaping each is going to be required to do.

This is where I wish I could actually go out and do live research. Sadly, not too much cliff diving around Virginia.

This book is making me very nostalgic for CA!

I wrote a critique partner last night that I had another breakthrough. It feels like every few days there's another breakthrough, and I think it's because this time around, I have only the faintest outline of the book, and the details - sometimes big ones - come to me as I write.

It's a good lesson for me. MOCKINGBIRD came fully developed before I put a word on paper. The characters grew and deepened, for sure, but mostly, I knew the book before I wrote it.

I was waiting around for that to happen this time as well, but it didn't. And finally I said, I can either wait around, or just write and see what happens. What happens may be crap and I may end up throwing it out, but at least I'm writing, and developing my skills. Turns out, something may come of it after all.

It's like standing at the top of that cliff and deciding, What the heck. I think I'll jump.

It may not be the smartest thing, but at least it's an adventure!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Going BIG

I'm having trouble lately focusing on what I want to write on the blog, and thus, end up writing nothing. I think it's a sign the book is going well, too, that I'd rather work on that than be on here. I hope you can bear with my randomness, in topic and posting!

Last night I took my son to his future middle school. I'm still trying to get over the idea that in a few months I will have a child in middle school, but that aside, I have to say the open house was exciting. Everything is BIG. The gym is BIG. The science labs are BIG. The halls are BIG. The classrooms feel all grown up.

And the library... Wow! Maybe not bigger, but more mature, for sure. Gorgeous. The kind of place I'd love to sneak off to and spend my entire day.

I poked around the shelves and was surprised to see that Clive Cussler and Mary Higgins Clark were propped up beside more traditional middle school fare, and that raised my traditional conservative eyebrows a bit. Not that there's anything wrong with those books, but in middle school? Are kids growing up that fast these days? Aren't there enough awesome MG and YA books to fill that room without adding adult books as well?

I'm not going to be protesting or anything, I'm just saying...

I found the place on the shelves where Jen and Kerri, my MG/YA critique group partners will be someday - hopefully soon. It's a nice location. They'd be proud. :)

It made me remember why I'd wanted to write YA when I started writing. There is an energy about it that isn't there in adult lit. Especially watching the rising sixth graders all excited about the library, wandering around, pulling out books, pointing and giggling and giving each other high fives and looking all wide-eyed at this new world they get to be a part of so soon.

There's an energy about that age - a positivity - a hope that you can still change the world any way you want to. You can make a difference. You can be anything you want. The world is wide open, and it's yours to grab. And there is still so much new to see, so much that is fascinating and crazy and weird and amazing. It reminds me why I loved teaching that age.

I won't be going back to try my hand at writing for YA again. I don't think that's my gift. But I want to capture that energy and motivation and excitement and bottle it up for days that are hard. I want to think bigger when I write. Maybe that's my struggle. My books are too small. Not in size, but in concept. I need bigger character (well, maybe not bigger than Babs...). I need bigger plots. I need a bigger imagination.

Maybe I'll just try hanging out with my son a bit more. He's got a big enough one for both of us!

For now, I'm going to try to work harder at the planning part of writing - the imagining part. I'm going to take each idea and see if it can be ratcheted up more. Can I make the stakes higher? Can I make the characters bigger? Can I make the conflict harsher? Can I make the story move faster?

I'm a plodder, I admit. And I'm reading a book now that is plodding, and it's driving me crazy. I keep thinking, "Where is this going? Isn't anything happening here? Am I missing something?" And I'm reading less and less each night, going to sleep earlier and earlier. And I don't want that to be my book. I want to be the one someone can't put down, even if it's two in the morning and they know they have to get up early.

So it's time to focus more, and let my imagination out of it's tiny cage. It time to GO BIG!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Doctors, Firemen and Critics, Oh My!

What a crazy last few days. Life is rarely predictable or ordinary in our house!

Thursday and Friday I spent the majority of the days in and out of the pediatrician's office, the school and the pharmacy trying to convince the doctor that my youngest daughter had an infection. Not even with all the research in my last book do I pretend to have a medical degree, but there are a few things that are easy to diagnose, and I don't care what a test says, I know my daughter is sick.

I think it was one of the few times I've really had to fight for one of my kids to get what they needed, but I did it, and finally I found the doctor who would believe me, and thankfully today, after 36 hours of medicines, she is feeling much better.

Then Saturday my husband and I spent the day cutting down a tree that had fallen over our driveway and hauling the pieces to the fire pit. In the evening, we celebrated the success with roasting hot dogs over the fire. And then the neighbors called the fire department and reported we had set a fire in the woods, and we got to entertain the firemen for a while as well.

The best part about that was that they admired our fire pit and told us we had a great fire going. The neighbors felt sheepish. Maybe next time we should invite them over for s'mores.

Then everyone disappeared into the house and I got to sit outside, in the 70 degree weather, feet propped up on the fire pit, and blissfully finish my book. Officially, the Time Traveler's Wife is finished. And wow. I wasn't disappointed.

So many times I get to the end of a book and it is such a letdown, but I loved this book. I loved the intricacy of it, and the depth of the characters (although there were a few things they did that didn't seem to fit them). I loved the end - if this could have been a real story, it would have been a real ending. And I wasn't sure if I thought it was triumphant or incredibly sad that once Henry is gone, he still can come back. Can anyone really go on with their life that way? But then, if that is the love of your life, isn't it amazing you still get to see him, even if not all the time?

That's a talking point, for sure.

What I did realize out of this though is that you have to have a really tough skin as an author. Not just finding-an-agent-tough. But really, really thick skin. Because as I went to mark it on GoodReads as having read the book (instead of currently reading), there were a lot of comments from people about what they thought. And there were some seriously harsh critiques.

For everyone who liked something about the book there were fifteen who hated the book with such passion it oozed out of the computer screen. Scathing words are said about the authors use of language, how long or short the sentences are, the copy-cat-likeness of this to Slaughterhouse Five, the stupidity of the characters, the author's inability (or courage) to just call this science fiction, the dullness and slowness of it, the idiocy of Oprah and the minions who buy books she recommends. By the time I finished reading about ten of these, I felt bad for liking the book at all. Was I that bad a judge of a book??

It put into perspective all the writers who complain about bad agents who don't send personalized rejection. Seriously, if you can't hack not getting a response from an agent on a query, could you survive publication?

I'm not thrilled with going through the query process, but I realize (with some amount of blind hope) that I won't be on this side that long. Someday I'll be making my way through another obstacle: subbing to publishers. Then another obstacle. And then another. All with the hopes of throwing my book out there for people to... what? Bash. Trash. Criticize. Loathe.

It's a cruel world out there.

I just want to be a part of it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

What I'm Doing Instead of Writing

I've been floating around some author websites lately for something new. There's a part of me that wants to move past the agent blogs I've been stuck in. Just because I'm stuck on the agenting thing doesn't mean my computer needs to be!

So I've been wandering about looking at where I hope to be someday: out there, with a biography and a books tab and a contact page. I'm interested in what those websites look like because I don't want to be a total boob when I set my own up. I mean, I can be all scrapbooky and flighty here on the blog, but I want my someday website to be sleek and minimalist, with clean lines and great photography.

It's been really fun to see how so many of the websites reflect the author's personalities. Take Audrey Niffenegger's website. It hardly needs to load to recognize that she's equal parts writer and artist. It's as unique and creative as her book is.

Some authors' sites are created more about them than by them, an impersonal place to find out who they are and what they've written. But more often than not, they are like letters from the author to the reader. They are the kind of websites that, when you have finished perusing, you feel like you know the author. They are a friend. A kindred spirit. A mentor.

So today, I am leaving you with the encouraging words of Jodi Picoult. While I have a tidy pile of rejections slip, a few manuscripts still out with agents, and the beginnings of several new books I am doubting, I needed to hear this. Even if I've heard it all before.

Keep sending out your work and don't get discouraged when it comes back from an agent - just send it out to a different one. Attend signings/lectures by authors, and in your free time, read read read. All of this will make you a better writer. And – here’s a critical part – when you finally start to write something, do not let yourself stop…even when you are convinced it’s the worst garbage ever. This is the biggest caveat for beginning writers. Instead, force yourself to finish what you began, and THEN go back and edit it. If you keep scrapping your beginnings, however, you’ll never know if you can reach an end.

Have a great Friday all, and a good weekend!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Problem With Making Edible Art...

is that eventually someone is going to want to eat it.

You'd think after ten years of dying Easter eggs, this family would get that. And yet every time I go to the fridge to get an egg to eat, there are three little voices calling out: Don't get one of mine!

And when I point out that this is a statistical impossibility (after all, it wasn't like I was sitting around making pretty food... I was too busy trying to keep all that paint off the clothes, the counter, the floors, etc), they then all yell, "At least don't eat my special one!"


When I was a kid I got the bright idea of hollowing them out so you could keep them. I'd stick a pin in one end and create a small hole, then do the same with the other, and blow. And blow and blow until that fat, thick yellow yolk finally came blasting through. I remember my cheeks burning, my lips numb, and my head screaming with raging migraines.

My kids aren't quite old enough to do that themselves, and well - I'm just not that loving and nurturing I guess. And I like hard boiled eggs. It's about the only time of year we have them in the house.

Only a few more days, I tell them, picking off the ugly ones first. As of Saturday, even the best ones are going to have to go.

And the next art? It's going to be the kind we can hang on the refrigerator instead of having to keep it in it!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Is It Too Early To Say This Is the Best Book I've Read This Year?

Well, I made it through the day. I managed to put three miles of treadmill under my feet - although not without some serious breathing and heart palpitations. Man, I used to be able to stop exercising for months and just pick up where I left off. What's with that, anyway? Anyway, I ran. I did my Tracy Anderson and discovered I could still touch my toes and do plies without great pain and injury. And I wrote. Not a ton, but enough.

Maybe I needed the break as much as my kids. It was the most productive day I've had in a while (laundry and cooking and party planning excluded).

So last night when I crawled in bed, my husband asked, "Are you reading long tonight?" I don't know why he asks this every night, because I always miscalculate how long I'm going to read. I mean, occasionally I'm nearing the last 100 pages and I know I won't be able to put it down and I say that, but usually, I don't intend on reading long. It just happens.

But last night I was starting a new book - The Time Traveler's Wife - and it almost always takes a night or two of reading a new book to get the the obsessively-I-can't-turn-out-the-light phase. And this wasn't one of my YA or thriller books. It's literary fiction. So I said probably only 20 minutes. Unless I don't like it and fall asleep in the first few pages.

Don't get me wrong. I love literary fiction. It's just not the kind of thing that keeps me up nights. And this one - well it was put on a list of 100 books you have to read before you die - right along with Shakespeare and Moby Dick and the Bible. I figured it was blown a little out of proportion, considering it was published in 2003.

But I was wrong. Well, I haven't finished it yet, so I can't speak to the total package, but Wow! I spent a lot more time than 20 minutes. I read until I could barely keep my eyes open, thinking, I have to get up tomorrow. Spring break is over! And the other part of my brain said, Just one more section!

What I find fascinating is how unique a story it is - not just the plot but the entire way it's written. And I wonder if the author was thinking the entire time: This goes against everything written about how a book should be written. I am going to be shot down all over the place. . Or was she thinking, "This is brilliant! It's completely unlike anything out there! It's going to be a bestseller!" I'm hoping it was a bit of both. Does an author really know what rules it's okay to break, and if they are doing it well enough for no one to care? I'd like to think I'm not the only one. Not that my writing is like this or anything.

And what I'd do to see that query letter! You think you are having a hard time getting your characters and plot summed up in a paragraph? This book blows my mind. I have no idea how you can get the amazing complicated plot and the depth of characters across in a query.

But then, maybe she just sent the first chapter with the query. Yup. That would do it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Getting Back to the Grind

Tomorrow the kids head back to school, and for once, I'm sort of scared. See, for the last two weeks, my top priority has been mommyhood. Well, no one actually calls me mommy anymore. They're too old for that. It's sad really, the passing of the mommy into just mom, or occasionally Hey You! Fewer hugs, fewer kisses. More eye-rolling and sighs.

But I digress.

The writing thing, and the exercise thing, have been put on the back burner for the last two weeks. Okay, who am I kidding? They were shoved way back in the dark recesses of some storage closet. With all the parties and company there hasn't been a back burner to spare. Sometimes I have fought to keep my sacred writing time. I prop them up with the remote control and clamp headphones over my ears and disappear into my laptop. I kick the kids off the Wii to substitute the gym with a DVD to sweat to. I get it done somehow.

But I realized this spring break - and the week before - that if I wanted to be sane, and retain a portion of my hair, I would set it all aside. So I have cooked, and cleaned, and shopped, and made cakes, and cleaned, and cooked, and assembled goody bags and easter baskets and painted a beautiful watercolor pin the cottontail on the bunny and cleaned and cooked some more, and read to my kids and helped them complete their insane Spring Break homework (there should be a Law against that!! Isn't there a reason the word break is in the name??), and traveled a bit and ridden a few fabulous roller coasters (hey, it can't be all cooking and cleaning!), and then did a marathon day of laundry today.

And tomorrow I send them all off, and I head back to the gym unsure if I can even haul my bum across the parking lot let alone put a few miles on the treadmill. And I will sit to write a book that was going great when I left it and is now a far thought from my mind. I had to actually stop and think - "What were those characters names again??"

I really want it to be a great day. I am hoping it will be a great day. I am fearing it will hurt a bit.

But I am not intending on doing any cleaning. And maybe I'll just reheat some leftovers. That doesn't count as cooking, does it?

On another note:

So Jen said yesterday she wants to see more positivity. Honestly, can you get more positive than me? Hey - I even named my blog HOPE. Okay, maybe I implied that it's a crazy, wild, unbelievable and outlandish HOPE, but still. Anywhoo - so here is my positive thought for the day:

I may not have an agent yet, but I've had lots of agents tell me I am a talented writer. And when I feel like giving up, I remember that. And I remember that they could have not replied at all, or replied with a form rejection. And they didn't. They took time to actually write a personal note - sometimes several of them, and once a phone call. And I may write that over and over in that blog just to remind myself, but that's grounds for HOPE. And not so mad a one either.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It's Some Mad Hope

Spring must be in full swing. Cherry blossoms are swirling like snow through the air, blanketing the ground in a constantly moving, changing lace of pink and white. The trees that were puffs of cottony blooms are now bare. Trees that were bare are showing the faintest haze of fragile green.

The daffodils and crocuses and hyacinths are dying, the lilies are on the rise.

The days are unpredictable. We dress in layers and shed them as the hours pass, then put them back on as the sun sets.

Change is in the air.

I get twitchy this time of year. I clean. I move furniture. I redesign the blog.


There are times I fight change tooth and nail. I hang on to things longer than I should. But change is good. It's what Easter is all about. It's what God is all about. It's what life is about.

There are people who believe in God, but believe he created this world and then sat back to watch it do it's own thing. I'm not one of those. I believe God is in the business of changing - of changing lives. Of changing my life. Little by little.

Ocean Deep was the name of the first novel I wrote. For two years it was all consuming. It was what I wanted in my identity. So when I named a blog, that was it.

But I have moved on. My life is no longer about that book. Or about my last book. Or about a new book. It's so much more than that. It's about this mad hope I have that life will continue to change, and bring good things. It's about writing and faith and family. It's a hope that God will do something great in me through those things. It's that hope that I will be a better person tomorrow than I am today.

I believe writing is what I'm supposed to do, so I keep doing it. It may not be logical, or practical, or realistic, but for now, I keep at it, because it's what I believe God wants me to do. I don't know what the end result will be, but I keep at it, because it's about more than just seeing my name in print.

But still I'm reaching for the stars - for the impossible dream.

It's a crazy, wild, impossible, mad hope.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Under Construction

Blog name has changed from Ocean Deep to Some Mad Hope. Explanations to follow.

Template subject to change. I'm trying them out to find out what looks good. Except I have kids on spring break. So I'll be trying them out sporadically.

I'll try to settle on something new and permanent soon.

Thanks for your patience!

Back to the Issue of Bravery

"You cannot be wise and brave at the same time." from the book Masterpiece by Elise Broach

My son told me this this morning. It's from a book he's just finished and he was musing about the truth of the statement.

It made me think of the last post I wrote about bravery, and about something I am considering doing to push forward - past the conventional process of querying - in an effort to get published. It's a wild idea - a hugely brave idea. But maybe not wise. Unless it works out. And then it would be awesome.

It's a true statement, I think. In the comment section on the other post we discussed the idea that it's bravery if it works out... it's stupidity if it doesn't.

What do you think? Can you be wise and brave at the same time? Or is bravery the absence of wisdom? (in a good way)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Literary or Commercial Fiction?

Last week I stumbled on a blog post about a creative writing seminar near my home that made me sit up and take notice because it addresses a question I've wrestled with quite a bit lately.

What is the difference between literary and commercial fiction?

I'm starting to think there are as many answers to this as there are people questioning it. I used to think it was the difference between good writing and entertaining writing. Sad, I know. But to me, literary writing was the kind of book you read for the beauty of the language. Someone who reads always on the run, cares more about adventure or mystery or plot or action and doesn't really care about how the words on the page sound, wouldn't necessarily like literary. And a reader who truly loves the way the words are put together - the artistry, the sound, the lyricism - would find much commercial fiction grating and unbearable in it's clumsiness.

When I queried, I labeled my writing as commercial for two reasons: One, I wasn't presumptuous enough to say my writing was beautiful, especially since my book was a bit sparsely written and fast moving. I don't think I have too many of those lines where a reader would stop and reread it just to take in the structure and lyricism of the words, or absorb some great truth or think, as I often do in reading, Man, I wish I had written that! It's brilliant! Two, I hoped by labeling it as commercial I was implying it was more widely readable and thus sellable.

Oh how wrong I was!

When I started getting feedback from agents they have said, without exception, that my book is literary fiction. Which boggled my mind. And made me start looking at what makes writing one or the other.

This post, highlighting the points of writer Jack Deaver, gave me the best definition to clarify this. This is what it said:

He stressed that there was a valid and important distinction between the two, not in style or subject or length but rather in terms of the author’s purpose; literary fiction, he explains, seeks to rearrange perceptions, challenge and question intellectually, and helps readers to flesh out their world views, while commercial fiction seeks to entertain, amuse, thrill, or distract. (He did clarify that the two goals are not mutually exclusive, of course.)

Oi! A lightbulb moment!!

And in the best possible way, because when I write, it is always with the hope that as a writers (or actually in whatever I do) I can make a difference in the world in some way - to challenge readers, make them think and question what is important and what they believe. I want to write that kind of book that makes friends email friends and say, "You have to read this book so we can talk about it!"

(I just got an email yesterday from a friend that said exactly that, and I was so excited to have someone to talk about the book with, since I recently finished it as well. I think the best part of the book is talking about what it means after reading!)

The interesting part is that, in all my research, I have never before come across this kind of distinction. So what about you? What do you think of as the difference between literary and commercial? And which one do you lean towards in reading by your own definition?