Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Torn Between Two Lovers

It would be great if this meant I'm being fought over, but that's not the case, at least not today. The tearing is on the inside, between the practical and the aesthetic, the necessary and the transcendent. For some reason, it seems writing can't be both, isn't allowed to be — it's too hard to market work that doesn't fit neatly into a category, like commercial fiction and literary, suspense and, well, literary. You see the dilemma. So you're probably asking, "Why can't writing be both?" I agree, but as I face rewriting a novel, it somehow seems like this combination is a bridge to nowhere, an outcome that no one will no what to do with, not agents or editors or publishers.

We just had a discussion about something like this in my writers' group. The answer was, in essence, "Don't worry about it. Just write." Of course, they're right in one sense. But with all the planning that goes into a novel, there has to be some direction, some framework that makes sense, is well-written and is — salable? Maybe, but maybe not. I think that last criterion is the clincher, and in wrestling, a clinch hold is used to control the opponent. That may be great in sports, but it cuts off circulation in writing, doesn't let the work breathe or allow the writer to grow.

I'm still not sure exactly how I'll approach this rewrite, but I want to do some exploring before I start, let my imagination run free. We went through a bunch of exercises at a recent writers' workshop that were meant to open the imagination, let it expand. The danger is that when the workshop is over, so is the ability to imagine. So, too, breathing, and we need that to live, don't we?

1 comment:

Nike.Chillemi said...

Hi Adele,

As a Christian romantic suspense writer, I know there are very definite guidelines I have to stay within. I aspire one day to write stright Christian seat of the pants suspense. There are some secular suspense writers I think actually write literature. James Lee Burke is one of them, though of late his writing is too raw for me. Michael Connelly is another. I'm not his Harry Bosch detective series is fine literature, but they sure are more than a mere action thrillers.

BTW...I'm going to list your forum in my forum. If you'd like to visit my forum go to: