I’m in a quandary over what to do next. In the past six years I have taken two online writing classes through a major university, attended three big writing conferences, finished and submitted various articles and short stories with a variety of success, and finished three novels that have all been rejected in some form or fashion.

Now what?

Time to move on to the next project. But the decision is daunting. The quality of my writing has risen over the past six years. Now it’s a matter of story—and timing. I have several ideas in my head, but which is the right one? I continue to pray about it, but have no clear direction. Do I work on the Young Adult novel that spins in my head occasionally? What about the historicals? I have two or three ideas there. Contemporary? A strong romance element? Suspense? Mystery? Women’s fiction? Literary fiction?

See what I mean? Do I just pick one—eeny, meeny, miney, moe—and jump in, or should I be more intentional?

I read an interview with Ted Dekker. He also wrote three novels that didn’t sell. The fourth one did, but he wrote it more intentionally for the market. Is that what I need to do now? I know publication is not necessarily the be-all and end-all, but it sure seems like the Lord has moved me closer to that in the past few years. So do I ignore all that, or do I take it into consideration as I ponder the next book?

I’ll strategize with my market-savvy critique group, Life Sentence, on Wednesday, but I’d love to hear some other general responses, too. What do you like to read? What do you see a need for in fiction—besides something well-written? (Okay, so I’ll rant more on that later.) If you know me at all, is there a certain genre you can picture me writing and promoting?

Meanwhile, I’ll grind out some more newspaper articles for our school. But I’d rather be writing fiction . . .

4 comments on “Directionless

  1. I know, I’m pretty pitiful asking other people what I should write. Who would have thought that two GOOD rejections would make a person so indecisive? put so much pressure on the next project?

    *sigh* Thanks for the book recommendation, L.L.

  2. Betsy Lerner says that asking what one should write is like asking how to get dressed… I don’t think she means to be unfriendly in saying this, just that, as a successful, experienced editor, she thinks a writer should do what most moves him/her and forget about what “suits” someone else.

    For more on her theories, you can pick up The Forest for the Trees. I did find it enlightening.

    Best wishes as you try to decide!

  3. D’Ann,
    I recognize your dilemma, and I think you’re being wise to move on to novel #4. I know some writers who keep writing and rewriting the same novel, over and over. As I’ve heard editors say before, “Maybe there’s a reason it isn’t being accepted. Work on something else.”
    From my own personal experience, every new novel seems better than the preceding one–because “practice makes perfect.” In my opinion (worth exactly what you paid for it), write the story to which you feel closest, then throw it out there widely and see if God has a plan for it.
    Keep on writing. I’ll keep on praying for you.

  4. I happen to be a romantic myself, but there are so many romances out there…. Still, to have one more romance from a Christian perspective, not necessarily with Christian elements, is always good.

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