I've pretty much been in a funk since April as far as writing goes. As I wrote in this post, the disappointment over my contest results hit me hard. I've been floundering since then, trying to work on the pieces of a fantasy novel that I plan to write for NaNoWriMo this November. but not feeling very enthusiastic about it.
Oh, I like the idea well enough. I think it will be a fun book to write. But I've always considered NaNo novels to be larks, not serious writing. They're total playtime for my muse. She can come up with all kinds of ridiculous ideas and my "me" doesn't get to censor any of them. NaNo novels get to have goddesses and spaceships and paranormal elements that my "me" doesn't like very well. Logic does not get to overrule any of these ideas.
But in my heart I want to be a mystery writer. I like mysteries with an element of romance. The marketing departments at publishing houses have taken to calling these romantic suspense or just plain suspense because those categories sell better, but I still like the term traditional mystery.
I see the murder in a mystery as a crucible in which the characters's beliefs and emotions are tried. This heinous act brings buried issues and secrets to the surface again as the sleuth--and the reader--try to figure out not only whodunnit, but why. Unless a character is a psychopath, most murderers don't kill lightly. There's jealousy, hate, or revenge behind the crime. I like exploring how those emotions came to be.
I've been doing a lot of blog reading this week. I discovered Dean Wesley Smith's blog, and Michael Stackpole, and Kristine Katherine Rusch. I discovered that C.J. Cherryh has decided to self-publish. And Holly Lisle announced that she, too, was abandoning traditional publishing.
Almost all of the writers write about the frustration of traditional publishing, even if they've been successful. Books that could be selling are out of print. Royalties are almost non-existent unless you're one of the top best-selling writers. Revisions are forced on you by those who want you to appeal to a wider market.
I still have doubts about whether self-publishing is viable for new writers. All of the writers I listed above have been published traditionally and have a fan base. It's a lot easier for them to announce they're going to self-publish to that base and sell books.
But then I read this. And this new imprint sounds exactly like the market for my Christian murder mystery. I didn't think there was a chance in hell (ahem) of selling that book.
Last, but certainly not least, I was contacted by two of my classmates doing the How To Think Sideways walkthrough about swapping reads and feedback sheets. I read their posts about who their core readers are and what type of novels they write and found that they are very much like me.
So, once again, I'm motivated to get back to revising my mystery. I believe in the possibility of having it published and read. Friday night I pulled the manuscript off the shelf and made a list of what I have to do before sending it to my classmates. Saturday morning I couldn't sleep. I was excited and eager to get going on that list.
It feels good to be able to write with joy again.