Reading books allows you to live life through another’s eyes. So does writing books. As a result I’ll never write a story about social injustice, or hopelessness. It would make me too depressed. There are plenty of things in this world that inspire outrage, or anger, or pity, or disgust. If you read a book that centers on any of those themes, you’ll be done with it in a few hours, perhaps unsatisfied, but relatively unscathed. If you write that same book you’ll have to live with those characters and situations for months or years, and that can be very unsettling. My novel With Artistic License is a story about Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. In it the main character is going through a divorce. To write fictional characters you have to put yourself in their place and see the world through their eyes. By the time I’d finished writing the novel I felt like I’d gone through a divorce myself, though I’ve been happily married for 40 years. The characters in my current work-in-progress have their problems, but no one’s situation is hopeless, and there are amusing moments, which keeps this writer happy.
I was hoping to finish by the end of the year, which now seems doubtful, but at least I’ll be spending that time with characters whose company I genuinely enjoy, whose problems are nothing too dire. As usual, I’m covering new ground. To be very successful as a writer (defined by the number of readers one has) it helps to stick to one genre. That way you can build a base of supporters. So far I haven’t covered the same ground twice. With Artistic License is a literary novel leaning toward dark romantic comedy. Time Management, a novel, is part fantasy, part historical adventure. Evelyn Marsh is a novel of psychological suspense. The one thing that ties them together is a wry sense of humor and uplifting endings.
Speaking of Evelyn Marsh, an audible edition will be coming out very soon. More on that in the next post.