Close writerly type friends know I’ve very much struggled through the years to figure out what it is I should be writing–fantasy? Meh. Romance…well, I’ve kinda said what I want to say there. Just finished my first male/male romance. Shrug. It’s still romance. My reviews are mixed, but always have one thing in common (the good and bad ones). The all call me “different.” Sometimes “quirky.” Something happened recently that made it clear that I have just grazed the edges of that quirkiness.
I’ve been doing a little editing, and I had the incredible fortune to get to work on a young adult book (my favorite genre to edit) by someone called Rusty Fisher. The books is Ushers, Inc., and Decadent Publishing will bring it out in a few months. On the one hand, it’s been fun just to read something absolutely hysterical. It’s not going to bring about world peace or win a Pulitzer. But it is freaking funny. But wait, there’s more!
As I read this book, it struck me that this author, whether he does so consciously or naturally (my guess is the latter)…just…goes for it. As if someone said to a child: Today you get to do anything. You don’t have to color inside the lines. You can eat cake all day. You can jump on the furniture. We can stay at the zoo until it closes. This book, to me, is like the adult version of someone being given permission to just do…whatever. To write BIG. To have characters who are ridiculous, hysterically funny, outrageously impulsive. Hell, it’s in first person present tense. Do you know how HARD that is to get right? Not hard if you’re Rusty Fisher and don’t second guess yourself, I guess…I think.
So my challenge now it to give myself permission to be myself. The tragedy for so many of us (and yes, not an original thought, I get that) is that we live our lives without spending even a single day jumping on the furniture, staying at the zoo until it closes, eating nothing but cake all day. And for sure, that will embue your fiction. So if you want to submit to a place that wants the exact same book they’ve been publishing for the last 10 years or so, that’s all good. But if you don’t like those lines, I hope you’ll start coloring outside them. And then come back and tell me how you did it.