Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The State of Things in My Wacky World

Had a conversation with my literary agent the other day, a good one in fact--but I still feel paralyzed by the need to write. I figure it's a feeling suffered by just about any writer, in any era: knowing that you should be creating, typing, scribbling, but paralyzed by something else--the furniture to be dusted, clothes to be washed, work to be done on your other job (or jobs). At times, I make up any excuse I can find not to write, and that's ridiculous.

My agent has not found a publisher yet who wants UNTO THE HILLS. He's still working hard to find one, and we haven't given up hope. But the historical market is getting tougher, it seems, and readers (the ones who will make big sales) want simplicity: easy plots, beautiful people, one main storyline lacking in "confusing" threads. Traditional historicals--ones that are more epic and literary in scope--are tougher to publish, according to my agent. The book world is a mercurial and heartbreaking place, I've decided.

Anyway, while I'd been planning all along to write Book 2, taking my characters to Europe before bringing them back to the Colonies, where the war was to have begun, my agent suggests that I try "something else." Another historical novel, but one perhaps less epic in scope, set at a later date, involving the intimate struggles and wants to one character--something he says has been a successful mix lately in the publishing these types of books.

I'm finding it a tad rough to give up on my characters from UNTO THE HILLS. I know that I can always write more later, but I've had this story in my head for so long--a vision of where I want it to go and who I want those people to become... even if it is a foggy vision. I know that many writers out there would say "screw the instructions, write what you want," but I'm a bit inclined at this point to trust my venerable agent, and to give my heart to something else, if only for the time being.

I leave for Johnson, Vermont and the Vermont Studio Center in less than two weeks. I need to kick myself into gear before then, to become inspired by either another story or my own.

What do y'all think?


Rachael M. said...

I think that getting into someone else's head for a little while might be interesting and might bring you some relief from your writer's mental block. Because you don't have a traditional writer's block in that nothing is coming to you...you have a hard time going to it. And that sort of speaks to another reason why I think it might be a good idea to play with someone else for awhile.

It wouldn't be selling out; It's broadening your horizons. And definitely go back to the other characters! They just need a little vay-cay :-D

Callie said...

Hmmm. Kate, I think I agree. You have a trusted agent that obviously knows his stuff. I would try out some fun crazy ideas in that huge brain of yours. Maybe it'll be refreshing to take a look at something new. You should write about this beautiful, young, brillant law student in Memphis who has no life. ha ha. Thanks for asking for our help, but I think you and your agent are the professionals- so we all really have no clue except to know that you're a bad-ass writer that can do anything.

Katherine S. Crawford said...

My sister rocks. Can you tell she loves me? :)

Chad said...

Everyone needs a change once in a while. It will be a good break from the norm. Go for it. After y9ou do it, you'll be energized and I bet that writers block will disappear. If you want to write a story about me, I'll be more than willing to let you. I'm sure that will make for a BEST SELLER!!!