Tag Archives: mystery

Crossroads

After writing and publishing for over 25 years, I am at a crossroads.

Romance or mystery?

Screenplay or graphic novel?

Self-publish or traditionally publish?

Self-produce a movie or sell an option through an agent?

Upon professional advice, I have made some changes:

1. Given up my Facebook Fan page
2. Queried the top 5 publishers on my bucket list
3. Bought Final Draft to write a screenplay and a graphic novel
4. Solicited my favorite movie production company
5. Read the classics I was not assigned in school

I spent the majority of my summer in a rented space rewriting THE DIVORCE PLANNER on spec. For those not in the publishing business, “on spec” means the editor is interested in the concept but not the execution of a story and will not commit to a contract until the story delivers. Now I am waiting to see whether or not my rewrite results in a written contract to publish the story.

After warning my fans that I would be moving to this website for news and updates, I said goodbye to 10 years on Facebook. That doesn’t bode well if I ever want a job in marketing, but it does give me peace of mind after my business consultation.

Why a business consultation? Because writing for publication is a business. It needs to be profitable. The IRS can deem my writing a hobby if I fail to make the numbers that result in a tax bracket that pays them each year. And, after the time I have invested, I owed it to myself to see what I can do to maximize my potential before I decide to pursue other interests.

Right now, I do not want to commit to another writing project. During my morning runs, a story idea is developing. I have written the synopsis down. But I have not opened up a blank page to write the first chapter.

Why?

Because I need this time to breathe and wonder before I plunge back into the writing waters and swim to another shore.

Writing About Life’s Mysteries

As writers we are expected to make sense of the senseless. We have to organize our stories so that the cause and effect is clearly identified although not always initially apparent to the reader. But in real life, mysteries outweigh certainty. Very rarely are there a direct cause and a direct effect. In life, we are left guessing at answers or stumbling around in a fog of confusion in which nothing makes sense.

I’ve been dealing with my daughter’s chronic illness that has been unexplained by Western medicine. For two months, she’s been sick with flu-like symptoms that have evolved into migratory aches and pains and a dire need to sleep 20 hours a day.

The blood and urine panels don’t reveal a definite cause. It could be anything from a virus that has decided its two week notice wasn’t enough to vacate the body to something more dark and insidious that Western medicine has not had the resources to explore.

The infectious disease specialist said the only thing for certain is the symptoms my daughter has are isolated to teenage girls in Sonoma County.

Sonoma County is a curious blend of technology and agriculture that is unique to the United States. It is close enough to the coast yet far enough inland. It encompasses hills, valleys, forests, vineyards, and suburban sprawl.

But why would a particular disease take up residence in one location? And why would it only infect a small population of teenage girls?

There are no answers.

But in fiction, there must be answers.

Things that don’t make sense in the real world must be understandable and believable in the fictional world in order for the reader to suspend disbelief.

But how do you write truthfully about life’s mysteries without losing the reader’s confidence?

You must build in the structure of uncertainty from the first word and continue in that same vein throughout the narrative so that the reader will think, “Of course, that’s possible.”

After all, a writer’s job is to make sense of the senseless, to bring solace to the inconsolable, and to find peace amidst chaos, because humans need to believe there is hope in the face of hopelessness.