Thankfully, I’m home from an unplanned overnight stay at home of the day job, another captive of the brutal ice storm that raged through the middle of the country over the past couple of days. I was also stranded without my laptop, which made things even worse and which also made it impossible to write anything on here for no one to read.
The one upside to the storm, however, was the uncommon display of how nature, like certain women I know, can be beautiful and cruel at the same time. While it kept me from returning home and sleeping in my own bed last night, the storm created a gorgeous glaze over everything that, when the sun came out today, looked like glass covering the trees and fences. It was a glaze the fine people at Krispy Kreme would envy, even as it tore off a substantial branch from a tree overhanging our parking lot at work. I watched it plummet and land in a cloud of powdery snow and was thankful that no cars were passing under at that moment. I’d probably still be doing the paperwork on that one.
Anyway, I’m home and have the next four days off. During those days, I have a serious decision to make, one that will define much of my work for the coming year. I have two ideas in mind for which novel to take on next. One is a historical fiction set in America in the late 19th century. The other is a dark urban fantasy set in the here and now. I see pros and cons for writing both and, by Sunday evening, I want to have started whichever one I choose.
The historical fiction is the clearest in my mind. I have been seeing this story for a long time and I know this one wants to be written more than anything else on my docket. I hear the characters very clearly and know several of the scenes they will have to endure to reach the end of their journey. The main problem, though, is that I’m not sure if I’m good enough yet to tell this tale. I’ve seen a lot of problems with my writing in Gifts of the Hirakee that really make me question whether I have the command of the writing to tell this story they way I want it to be told. I’m not looking to match the great literary figures of our time, of course, but I do want a certain level of refinement that I’ve not had before and I don’t know if I can pull it off without just sounding ridiculous.
The other story, the urban fantasy, is less problematic in that it feels easier. It is less of a departure from what I’ve written before and, therefore, is the more comfortable project. I see this story fairly well, but not as well as the historical and I certainly do not hear the characters here as well as I do in the other. The story seems like it would be marketable, even in this sluggish economy, but the idea behind it isn’t as powerful.
So, the question is this: which story do I write? Do I take a chance on the more challenging work outside my comfort zone and risk writing myself to a dead end? Do I build upon what I know and what I have learned and go with the urban fantasy?
I will gladly listen to any feedback on this topic until my decision is made, so if anyone out there is actually reading this, feel free to comment and help me with this choice.
In other news, my wounded thumb is healing nicely, although it looks like I will have a nice scar across the pad that will make all my old fingerprint files (at least for that thumb) mostly obsolete. This healing could not come at a better time as I now have a full twelve chapters to reread and edit this weekend, although several of those chapters are at the beginning of part two in the book and not very long. The initial comments from my readers are that part two is much stronger than part one, so I’ll also be looking back to determine what I can do to bring part one up to the wonderfully picky standards (see my posts of ‘Sample Editorial Comments’) of my readers.
That’s about it for right now. I’m glad to be home and looking forward to a few days of editing and sleeping, even with a planned road trip to Kentucky with my son thrown in the mix. Maybe I’ll make the five-year old drive so I can keep editing.