I’m struggling with what type of book to publish next. My trilogy dabbled in paranormal, filled with themes about holding onto faith, taking chances, listening to your heart, and God’s unfailing love.
One story I dreamed up before landing a contract for my trilogy deals with racial tensions in America. Last summer, I actually sat down to plot it and write the query and synopsis. I didn’t have time to start writing it until a few months ago. Seemed like the perfect time to write such a story given all the stuff going on in our country now, right?
I wanted to show a heartfelt & moving story that demonstrated a person is more important than the color of their skin or any label society gives them & how easily we can be manipulated into joining the politics of polarization, to find ourselves crossing that line in the sand we said we’d never cross to get back at the ‘enemy’ on the other side, pronouncing judgements as if we have all the answers.
And I wanted to show how true love can cut across lines & dispense forgiveness & grace with humility.
But you know what? It’s a hard thing to do. I fear it’ll take me years before I get this story right.
So I started writing something else, and IT’S A PYSCHOLOGICAL THRILLER!
WHAT IS THIS WIZARDRY?!
My friends will tell you that just watching the previews for movies in that genre send me into a full downward spiral! But it’s over-the-top thrills and chills, & while it may not make you think too much, it’ll entertain you.
But when I turn on the news, I feel guilty. Entertaining people serves a necessary function & is a worthy pursuit, but it rarely solves human problems. But over the years, I can think back to many a book I’ve finished & said, “This book has changed me. I’m not the same person I was before reading this story.”
I’m not naïve enough to think I’m some sort of book god & have all the answers but . . .
When you read, do you look for a book that will make you think about the world we live in or escape it?
This has been a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the brainchild of Head Ninja, Alex J. Cavanaugh. Feel free to join us the first Wednesday of every month!
A very thoughtful post, Jamie. A book like the one you want to write will sure be a challenge.
I read for escape, mostly. That or something inspirational, something that tells me things are going to be okay.
I love books that make me think. To Kill Mockingbird is one of my all time favorites, not only because of the content, but because of the characterization. One of my new favorites that makes a person think is Wonder. But then, between “thinkers” I LOVE a good psychological thriller! I can’t wait to find out what you have in store for us!
Look forward to your next book, Jamie. The other story is still inside and will grow and when it’s come to fruition, you will be able to bring it to the page. Have fun with the new project 🙂
That would be a powerful story if you write it.
If you read a book that you enjoyed and it made you feel better, that still changes things, especially if you were having a bad day.
I love a book that allows me to escape the world, but the best ones let me see reality in a different light when I return. And good luck with the thriller, nothing wrong with a bit of fun!
I think you can have both a book that makes you think and a book that allows you to escape – the best books do both! Good luck with the new WIP 🙂
I love both books that make me think and books that entertain me. They can be separate books, as is usually the case, or they can be a blend of the two by talented writers that use high concept and good storytelling.
Right now I’m finishing something that I postponed for years–a heartfelt middle grade–to write paranormal and contemporary months back. I had to get the details and feelings right. I love both thinking books and ones that are a great escape.
I prefer to escape and everything has to have a happy ending. Escaping for me doesn’t mean the book didn’t have some points that relate to real life, but I can’t handle overly serious most days. I think there is always a time and a place for everything. At this point in life, I need escapes – probably because I can’t afford a real one 🙂
I like a book that makes me escape, but then leaves me thinking. CS Lewis has kept me up at night more than once imagining his worlds and ideas.
It really depends upon my mood. Sometimes, I am in the mood for something light and fun; other times, I want to get into the nitty gritty of life and really explore the gamut of human emotion. And as a writer, I usually like to dig into deep themes; but I also have a novel that is very fun and frothy. I turn to that one when I need a break. 🙂
The stuff I write is purely fun without much thinking needed. I would love to write something brilliant or deeply profound, but it’s just not my style 🙂 At least not yet in my life; maybe when I’m older. Recently I read Anansi Boys, by my fave of all, Neil Gaiman (someone who coincidentally writes totally fun things that are ALSO brilliant). In that book he talks about the old gods, including Anansi the spider god, and how Anansi was the story keeper for the world who stole all the stories from Tiger. When Tiger had the stories the world was dark and unpleasant, but Anansi made the stories fun and light, and so the world became fun and light. It reminded me that stories are VERY important to the world, whether light or serious. Your post made me think of that.
I like to read both for thinking about the world we live in and for escape. It depends on where my heads at. I write purely for escape and my novels are meant to entertain people.