Writers hate decisions; we hate decisions almost as much as we hate marketing. And if we’re inclined toward fiction, we writers usually have our characters make decisions for us. It’s just easier that way. But when we (the writers) are faced with a choice, we often wind up doing what I’ve done over the past 28 days: Nothing.
And it’s grueling. Sometimes you work very hard to achieve nothing.
The reason I have a decision at all is because I have two (count ’em: tee-double-you-oh) ideas for a book. And one needs to be written right now.
But which one?
It’s actually a nice problem to have. One book will be a work of fiction, and will be an absolute blast to write: It’s a coming-of-age story that pays homage to Ray Bradbury and J.D. Salinger, without the pulp of the former or the cynicism of the latter. But in addition to this, I also have an idea for a nonfiction memoir that would just be killer diller, dude.
The dilemma is that novels about average, everyday folk really do not sell. Sure, there are exceptions, but unless you have a “big idea” concept going for you (think The Godfather, The Da Vinci Code, or All the Kings’ Men) odds are against you. There is a certain irony here, since the reading public actually enjoy average everyday characters, but the publishing houses don’t see it that way. (That’s red meat to fiction writers, who’re probably nodding vigorously right now.)
Then there is my idea for a book of creative nonfiction, a memoir to be exact. And the only hangup I have with memoirs is their tendency to be self-indulgent, narcissistic, derivative, self-pitying, angst-ridden biographies that would make Sylvia Plath collapse into a stupor of tears and sobs.
But I would be psyched to write this particular story of my life. It’s really the only thing I ever think about (among other things, anyway). And memoirs do sell.
So, I am deflecting my own indecision to you: My readers.
What would you do? Say you have two ideas, both of which would just be the cat’s meow, the bee’s knees, the icing on the cake, the cherry in the Coke, the slicing of the bread.
What would you do if you were in my shoes?
I wear size 12, so be careful what you say.
As always, Peace, from Keith