On Writing – Dueling Banjos

I’ve been resolute until recently that Unicorns & Satellites would be my next project, but while I’m shopping Five Talents around to agents and publishers, there’s been a morsel of doubt nagging at me.

The issue is that I have conflicting yearns inside regarding the kind of story I want to write. On the one hand, I’ve been focused on the political climate quite a bit, and perhaps a story about “fear” and what’s going on around me might be worthwhile to get onto paper. However, my concern with that is I haven’t quite gotten the perspective yet beyond visceral response to do anything that wouldn’t feel heavy handed and limited.

On the other hand, more personal events have me wondering about heartbreak and despair as a major theme to speak towards in my next book. The issue herein is that it’s not far removed from the intention of Unicorns & Satellites, but it feels enough apart from my original intention of Unicorns that I’m wary to jam that intent into Unicorns now.

My ultimate “moral” in Unicorns is to tell the story of failure at finding love, that love is not a lightning bolt that strikes us, it’s an edifice we build with one another with patience and dedication. One of my protagonists will miss that point and leave the story blaming the world for his shortcoming in this arena. The other will lose faith in it altogether. While despair and heartbreak seem analagous to this, the truth is I need both my characters to feel justified in their worldviews by the end, so it’s not quite meshed in.

As it is, I think I may have the seeds of yet another idea (or two) to follow Unicorns with, but for now I need to put them aside and distinguish those influences bubbling up from affecting Unicorns and moving it away from what it needs to be. I have an idea of what this current project should be in tone and feel, and I need to silence and set the other feelings commanding my attention aside until they’re matured and ready to be opened.

I’ve discussed before the importance of taking time to let your emotions process so that you have perspective on them beyond just the visceral feeling of them in order to write with proper depth and access- this is the case right now with those feelings tugging at me and distracting from the periphery of my current project.

I need to let heartbreak and despair sit and age a bit, and when I’m done with Unicorns, hopefully I’ll have them settled enough to be ready to tackle those in my work as well.

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