So, this blog suffers from a bit of a personality disorder. I don’t know what to use it for: to write about restaurants I’ve been to, issues that interest me, books I’ve read… let’s face it, I’m all over the place. But what it boils down to is that I’m here to write, and my greatest ongoing struggle as a writer is that of the Great Desi-American Novel that I’ve been plugging away at for two years.
Call it “chick lit,” call it “women’s fiction,” either way, the genre brings to mind those breezy covers with some svelte headless girl holding a purse and showing off high heels. Would you believe it’s intimidating as Hell? I’ve been writing fiction since I was very young, but the task of writing a full-length novel that’s publication-ready is daunting. 25,000 words seems to be my brick wall. I constantly hit that place and stumble back, unsure of where to take the characters, wondering if the scenes I’m adding just to up the page count are extraneous.
Not to mention the fact that there IS a cache of fiction about the Indian-American experience emerging… and the idea of having to compete with the Jhumpa Lahiris of the world or trying to be the next Monica Pradhan or Anjali Banerjee…that’s pretty daunting as well. What if it’s already been written before? What if they did it better? What if? What if? What if?
Sure, every author’s experience is different, and that shapes a character’s voice differently. My New York isn’t the upper class, glittering city coveted by Sex and the City fans. It’s more mundane…yet with bits of magic here and there. Thus, the world my characters live in mirrors that. But does anyone want to read about some girl living a relatively normal life? Does anyone want to publish a book where someone falls for a bartender and not Big?
Obsessing about details like that definitely gets in the way of actually writing. I get so caught up in the questions and the doubts that returning to the Word .doc and actually playing out the story becomes the last priority…and that’s a shame, because you kinda need a finished product, otherwise you’re putting the cart before the horse when you ruminate about who’s going to read it.
I’m my own worst enemy that way. I trip myself up. I’m a bigger brick wall than the elusive word count…so how do I scale the barrier?