Thursday, May 29, 2014

Say Something

Since finishing my last novel, I'll admit it. I've been floundering to figure out what project I want to turn my attention to next. Perhaps, there are some writers out there who plow steadily along, never stopping to wonder WHAT NEXT? I am not one of those writers and I can be hard on myself for it. Sometimes I can be downright mean to myself about my lack of productivity. I mean, we've all seen the "cute" little signs floating around Facebook that say, "I should be writing!" Not so cute, if you're already giving yourself a not so healthy dose of self flagellation.

But today I started writing something new, that isn't really new at all, but a story I've been thinking about for close to 20 years, probably longer than that because it takes place in Brooklyn, in 1976, the setting of my own childhood. So why is it time to write this story now? Because I'm ready to say something.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say." I think I've known the what of my story for a long time. I know where it starts, what happens in the middle and how it turns out in the end. But I think I've finally figured out what the heart of my story is and what I want to say about the character, the world I'm creating, and, as a result, this world I'm living in now.

Not sure what I mean or what F. Scott meant? Well, remember back to the day in high school when your English teacher asked you to identify the theme of the story? That's what I'm talking about here. I don't think writers should get preachy or push their politics onto readers, especially young readers. But life does teach us things about hope, love, sharing, community and it's great when we can share those bigger lessons.

As for me, it's taken me time to understand what it is I want to say. I've been circling around this story, but finally, I think I have it and it feels good. How about you? Are you ready to say something?

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