Piecemeal Manifesto: The Introduction
Selling THE WATER TOWER 5 led to a weird sort of crisis of conscience for me. I was excited to get started on the next novel, ready to writing something even better. Because as happy as I am with WT5, I think I can do better. And isn’t that what I should be thinking? That “yeah, I like this, but time to push myself and go even bigger”? But I quickly ran into a problem–I wasn’t sure exactly what book to write. Here’s the thing, all of my favorite YA authors–Andrew Smith, Chris Crutcher, AS King–write books that I don’t write. Yes, we all write YA, but they write what I would call important books–books that are about the important issues teenagers deal with. They write books that can change lives, get people to talk about what we should all talk about, but don’t, and really affect their readers lives. Me, I write fast, fun reads with the sole intent to make the reader laugh. See the difference?
(Note: This isn’t to say the authors mentioned above don’t write books that are funny. I mean Crutcher always makes me laugh, and jesus, have you read Smith’s WINGER yet? It’s hilarious. But it’s also about something bigger, and that’s just not me. I love those books, but I couldn’t write those books. Or at least I don’t write those books.)
So in trying to figure out the next book, and in wanting it to be bigger and better, I was stuck on how to do just that. Because bigger and better to me equals important. And I didn’t know how to bridge that gap. I fought with this for a couple of weeks while deciding on what to write next, and finally came to a solution. The Manifesto portions of this blog will be dedicated to what I’ve come to understand about myself as a writer, lessons I’ve learned, and things I’ve come to believe about reading and writing. It’ll also cover, in the upcoming Entry 1, my solution on how to write my next novel.
(Note 2: This all reads like I’m a little headcase-y, which maybe I am. I tend to overthink things sometimes, no doubt. Still, working through this is definitely going to help my writing. I’m sure of that. And maybe it’ll help someone else out there, too.)