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?