Friday, February 6, 2009

Taking A Stroll Around The Writer's Block


I worried this would happen. I was on such a roll with my novel, and then I stopped when this job came along because I obviously had to spend all my spare time writing the "test" cover blurbs. (Which ended up being very real cover blurbs, not test ones at all.) Now that I've got the job and a schedule and can spread out the writing, things have calmed down a bit and I can have a little bit of down time to write my book. But, after not touching it for two weeks, my suspicions that I would go back to it and hate it were confirmed. It is so beyond frustrating I can't even tell you.

Bill said, "No. I don't care if you hate it. You are going to keep writing it. You will never finish a book if you keep doing this, and you've done it a million times. You were too excited about this one to give it up." This is one of the few things I do that Bill is passionate about, so I know I have to do what he says. And he's right. I was way too excited about this one to give it up. But I still think it's going to be hard to get back the love for it that I once had.

Bill also keeps telling me, "This is your first book." Meaning, it doesn't have to be a masterpiece, in fact, no matter how hard you try, it won't be. And, although I know he's absolutely right, everything in me says differently. I think it does have to be a masterpiece, or at least a huge success, and these are my arguments to back this up:

1. J.K. Rowling. First time she ever picked up a pen and started writing, the world was gifted with the phenomenon that is Harry Potter.

2. Stephenie Meyer. No explanation needed.

3. I truly believe a person's first published work will make them or break them. If my first book is crap, or even mediocre, who would publish me again? Who would buy another book that I wrote again? No one.

4. If I'm going to spend a year or more of my life writing a book, it will be my masterpiece. It will be a part of me, my own creation, my baby. It has to be amazing. I don't do mediocre. That defeats the whole purpose of doing this. I write to feel. And I don't feel mediocre. I feel amazing, or heartbreaking, or powerful.

So you see, it does have to be a masterpiece (sorry honey, you're wrong.) Bill says I'm putting too much pressure on myself and therefore I am self-destructing before I've even started. About this, he is absolutely right. I've done this my whole life. But I don't know how to fix this. Even the great Stephenie advises new writers to write as if no one will ever read it. I can't do that, because if I thought no one would ever read it, I wouldn't write it. I write every word with the reader in mind, because that's how I judge whether or not what I'm writing is readable.

By the length of this post, you can see I have no problems writing. I can write and write and write till the cows come home. But what I don't have is a story to tell. So I'm asking you, O Faithful Readers of mine, to help me out. Give me some ideas. What do you think I should write about? You can be serious, be funny, give me a one word answer (excluding the word "vampires"), or give me a full-on plot. Then I will pick my favorite and write the book and make millions. Just kidding. But I might pick my favorite, just for fun.

So...what should I write my book about?

14 comments:

PRP said...

Werewolves?

Sorry, I had to...

Kate said...

Haha Karen!
Philipa Gregory the author of The other boleyn girl (she is my favorite) writes all her books on real people in history but just fills in all the blanks that no one knows. I say find a love story or drama from a long long time ago and let that be your starting point, and just fill in the blanks?
Good luck, I am so excited for you!
**also, my dad has been writing a book for 40 years now...it is still his goal to publish it and I know he will! dont give up!**

Shayla said...

Awesome, Karen! I love that idea. :-) The number one reason I don't ever finish anything I sit down and start writing, excluding blogs and emails...too much pressure to be perfect. I do it to myself every time. I read a couple of awesome writing books that really helped me fill a notebook or two with writing. One of them was called "The Artists Way" by Julia Cameron. Not that you were looking for a book to read. Anyway, I'm all about writing from experience. Take something you KNOW something about and then run with it. Not much help, huh? Sorry. :-)

andrea said...

I was going to say almost exactly what Shayla said- have you thought about taking experiences from your own life? Heck, write about a girl who meets her soul mate online! I definitely think the love story would be the perfect genre for you. Just make it steamy! :-)

JenFielding said...

I try to think of great plots everyday while I'm stuck reading retarded ones. It's got to have the unlikely romance, like Superman and Lois, Edward and Bella. The unlikely character (make it the guy this time though :)) and the relationship you want to happen but know it shouldn't. There has to be either one major conflict or a few lesser conflicts that keep you turning the pages waiting to find out what happens next. A lot of times that can come from a unique setting, like a small town with old fashioned rules or a major event in the character's life like a recent death, move, or other lifestyle change. This is all really broad but maybe it will get the juices flowing. All I know is that I can't wait to read it, and I'm not willing to wait 40 years, not even 4 years...

Heather said...

No ideas, good luck.

Just write and it will all work out. There will always be someone who doesn't like your work, so as long as you love it don't worry about the rest.

AOlson said...

I like to read books that are almost real. Does that make sense? Like Harry Potter(My absolute favorite) and Twilight. I like when the author creates these "worlds" that a mother/wife can escape to that is obviosuly fiction, but just real enough to make you think it really could be real.

Don't know if that was helpful. Good luck:)

Noelle said...

you talk about stephenie and jk rowling and they have the same thing in common - an obsession with A character. both of them knew this character and built the story around them.
you have watched so many movies, how about writing a screen play? it's smaller, more consise and you can write your perfect movie. :)
i am amazed that you are even taking it on. writing a novel is such a huge undertaking i am so impressed that you keep trying. find someone you love, write their story and hopefully you'll love it too.

Rachael said...

So, I can't come up with any ideas at the moment, big surprise from the girl who can't even come up with a name for her unborn child, right? But I think you should just continue with what you started. Just keep going and going. That is what first drafts are for. Just finish a story and then go back and change, rearrange, what ever you have to do to make it wonderful. You have alot of people backing you up, so come Alicia, man up and get going!! We can't wait to read your masterpiece!

Amy said...

I want you to finish the one you already have! I've been curious about it and I want to read it! And who would buy another one of your books? I would!
p.s. I think something about soap poisoning would be fantastic. I've always been interesting in that topic.

hatch said...

You write and I will read it.


Sorry I have no ideas for you. I know what ever you come up with it will be good.

K.Hatch said...

You have a gift.....finish what you have! i can't wait!

Vanessa said...

Um, I just wanted to say that you are awesome and that I think you will come up with something great:)

Tara Cobia said...

alicia,
So I have to tell you that although it must somewhere say that I have a blog. Don't you worry about not being invited. My friend helped me create it and only David and I are viewers of it, not to mention that it has only one post from the first day that reads, "So we finally took the plunge". that's it. Nothing more. If I ever turn into a blogger, don't you worry, you will definately be on the invite list! :)