Character flaws drive most of my fiction writing. In reality, they set me back two days for every day’s gain. Invariably, I reach a breaking point, where having published or scrapped or shelved what I’ve written, the floodgates of thought are breached again with a whole slew of new scenarios, characters, schemes. And what is left but for me to begin again – sewing fragments of memories and ideas together to form a rag-doll of story line. Some say insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome. Perhaps. I look at a new work as a chance to improve, as the birth of a potential black swan, no matter how narrow the chances of it ever living well enough to take flight.
Again I find myself at this crossroad. One body of fiction finished … and stalemated, as it were, between giving up and going on. Continue to seek the representation of an agent? Solicit the attention of smaller publishing houses directly? Self-publish? Shelve it? The characters are all but dead to me. They no longer play about in my head every waking hour, and there is much to be said for that relief. Yet a new generation of characters has spawned in the recesses of my consciousness. These characters press themselves to the surface with increasing frequency, playing out new stories, new schemes … to the point that it becomes necessary to pen them into a notebook or encode them as ones and zeroes in a machine.
With summer beckoning, the time is now upon me to begin again with new enthusiasm the play of comedy and tragedy with the characters and their flaws; to paint them into the corners I see them in and let them struggle to find a way out. No longer adrift in a sea of futility, I have come to realize that I must sail this and every other ship hereafter alone; beyond the doldrums toward whatever end the voyage takes. I’ll send you a postcard.