Well, June was supposed to be the month I got my novel all polished up and ready for agent queries. Instead, I discovered a fatal flaw that I didn't know how to fix, set that book aside, started a new one... and then came down with a sore throat and fever and just wanted to sleep all the time. Which is to say that I haven't written this week. I'm feeling better now, and I'm going to try to remedy that tonight.
Maybe. The thing is, I'm feeling less certain about this romance plot than when I started. This is partly because the plot revolves around the male protagonist having committed a felony. It's a victimless crime, and he had good reasons, but still: felony. And I'm trying to see how this could realistically have a happy ending that doesn't involve him serving prison time. I think I need a lawyer to help me craft the ending, and that might involve more work than I have the energy for. See, this is why I've always veered toward fantasy: I'm too lazy to do research. It's much easier, and more fun, to make everything up.
The other reason is that I've been thinking a lot lately about stories to be mined from my own life. I'm not talking about memoirs -- chill out there, family -- but semi-autobiographical fiction that draws from my experiences and the things I've learned from them. It's actually been on my mind off and on for a couple of years now, and more often lately, since reading Going In Circles, and last night Matt and I had a discussion in which he encouraged me in that direction, because he also thinks I could have a sort of untapped ministry there. The things holding me back are, I don't know where to start, where to hone in to get the story, which experiences are genuinely interesting to people who aren't me.
Earlier tonight I took part in a live chat with GIC author Pamela Ribon -- you can watch the instant replay at Tomato Nation -- in which I tried to ask some advice about this. My question was poorly phrased and didn't get used, but thankfully someone else asked something similar, and Pamie pointed out that it takes a certain amount of fearlessness to write effective semi-autobiographical fiction, because it can be like pulling scabs off of old wounds. And I don't know if I possess that kind of fearlessness. It's much safer to write about faeries and vampires and monsters-as-metaphor for the difficult parts of life, isn't it? And much more fun to write about people falling in love and happy endings. There's a reason I've always been into escapist fiction. I don't know if I'm ready to get real just yet.
At any rate, what was to be my 30 days of novel editing comes to a close without a lot to show for it other than uncertainty. I think for the next several days I'm going to work on not overthinking things too much, maybe do some free writing or practice some short form writing, and see what comes to me. And also figure out if my Romance Guy has to go to prison if I write his story. Here's hoping Cynthia, Sean and Kim did a better job of hitting their goals than I did.