Delirium: "Um. What's the name of the word for things not being the same always. You know. I'm sure there is one, isn't there?"
Delirium: "Oh. I was afraid of that."
--'The Sandman', issue #43, written by Neil Gaiman
This is not the journal entry I planned to write last week. That seems to happen a lot in this blog.
I spent from last Wednesday to last Saturday in the kind of deep mental funk that we writers get into (I'm sure I can't be the only one) when a project isn't going well. When my writing isn't going well, nothing in my life is going well, so the comedown from DragonCon was worse than the usual post-convention mental hangover. And it stemmed from the kind of doubt that, were it mold, would devour an entire city block.
It started when one of the mentors for Pitch Wars said THE ACCIDENTAL WARLOCK didn't read like YA. And I started wondering if I really want to write YA.
It's kind of strange thing - I'm not even sure why I made TAW a YA novel. It just seemed to fit. The teenage years are a time of discovery, so why not make those years even more interesting by having Shiloh discover she wields a forbidden magic? But that one comment got to me in a way none of the other critique I've received for this book did. It got me thinking, y'know, I can do a lot more if the main characters don't have to be teenagers.
Then, like dominoes falling, the thoughts kept coming. I don't want Abraxas to always be a YA-only world. Working with Shiloh and Alexi in their early twenties could be fascinating. I'll relate much better to older characters, and thus be able to write them better. I'd like to be able to have these characters age as the series goes on, since Shiloh's at the upper limit for YA and Alexi's actually a few years older. And all this was going on in my head while I was trying to write the sequel to TAW.
As I'm sure you can imagine, that didn't go so well.
For the record, I haven't settled on anything yet. But after a lot of thought, I'm putting TAW on hold, and won't be doing further querying or contests for now. I'm also not writing the sequel for now. I don't know what's going to happen with it. I might do a rewrite to fix a lot of issues I've realized about the story. I might write yet another story for Shiloh and Alexi. And by 'might', I mean "My Muse was hard at work yesterday, and now I have a basic plot summary, half a page worth of details and ideas, a title, and a frickin' pitch line for a brand new Shiloh & Alexi adventure". Not actually complaining, just mildly bewildered.
But in order to truly figure out what I want to do, I need to work on some other stuff for now. I have been, and that's going well so far. Here's hoping it continues to go well once I actually start writing it.
I want to thank everyone who's read TAW, and everyone who's helped me with advice and encouragement along the way. I well and truly appreciate it, and I hope y'all will be willing to put up with further badgering about reading when I have Something Completely Different sometime down the road. Eh heh heh....
Next entry: on engaging characters.