When I wrote First, I Love You, I didn’t have an audience in mind – didn’t even think I’d show it to anyone outside of my family and close friends. It was a liberating experience. A cathartic experience. I had a story in my soul and I told it, with no expectation or desire to please anyone but myself.
I’m finding I like writing best when I am in that zone. The minute I fall into that trap of wondering if my readers are happy enough, or trying to guess what the market “wants”, it feels like an obligation, flirting at the edges of obsession. Fellow writers will know what I mean – endlessly checking stats at Amazon, unable to read a book without examining its prose in comparison to your own, trying to correlate royalties to promotional activities, feeling pressured to join organizations… And then one day it stops being fun.
What’s helped me get back to that “writing for fun” zone is writing about Isabel (from The Good Life). I don’t know if this will amount to a story; but I like writing her. There’s something endearing about her struggle to fit in after living a clandestine life for so many years.
Here’s a bit from what I’m working on (in case you are curious):
“You don’t want to see him?” Isabel wondered.
Again, Tommy communicated with only a nonchalant shrug. The only sign of emotion on his features was a slight darkening of his eyes from a vibrant green to a more mossy hue, but otherwise his face remained impassive.
“Basically,” Kyle continued, “you keep an eye on her because she’ll expect Tommy, or me, to do it and won’t suspect you.”
Demi and Isabel exchanged a quick glance and simultaneous snorts.
“This is your plan? Surely you have something a little more sophisticated than that?” Isabel voiced the question she knew Demi wouldn’t want to risk offending Kyle by asking.
“Noooo,” Kevin Anderson drawled.
Did everything out of his mouth have to sound bored and derisive?
“Our plan,” he continued, “is a bit more complicated and it’s on a need to know basis.”
“And what possible need would an Air Force IT monkey have to know, Master Sergeant Anderson?
His smile conveyed a ‘fuck you’. “More than a paper pusher at HHS would.”
She raised her eyebrows in an answering ‘fuck you right back’. “Indeed.”
Isabel liked to think she and Kevin had reached solid frenemies status. Batman vs Superman. Without the superpowers. Having reached a tentative détente from their many throw-downs, she would throat punch anyone who tried to hurt him, but on the other hand, she didn’t want to spend much time around him or she’d be the one throat punching him. She was pretty sure he felt the same about her.
Kyle cleared his throat. “Soooo…” he rocked back on his heels and wiggled his brows at Demi. “You good with that?”
“Sure! Sounds fun,” Demi chirped.
This time everyone shared a look. Demetria never chirped. Ever. She breathed everything in a mysterious, ethereal, and throaty way like a grown up Luna Lovegood on a sex line.
This situation was clearly more dire than she had been letting on.
“Let’s back up a moment…” Isabel held up a finger, ignoring Kevin’s overly dramatic drawn-out sigh. “Is there an actual federal or local surveillance case open on the fugitive Downey, or is this amateur sleuth hour? If it’s the latter, I don’t want Demi involved. In fact, either way I don’t want Demi involved.”
“Uhh,” Demetria started to protest, umbrage clear in every portion of her body.
“Not your call to make,” Kyle bristled.
“Demi has other things she should focus on right now,” Isabel countered with a meaningful look at her friend. Demetria had the presence of mind to blush and shoot a guilty look at Kyle.