Write What (or who) You Know

I did a few house things over the weekend that made me feel all masculine. I finished sanding down the drywall in the master bedroom and only took a few minor chunks out of the wall. Then I painted over what I sanded and put a first coat of paint on all of the closet doors (and only forgot to paint the inside of one set). After that, we went to Home Depot to pick out carpet. We selected a nice cushy carpet on the beige side for the bedrooms and a nice, tough, animal resistant Berber for the family room. Everything else will be wood floors. Yay for wood. Everything is coming together suspiciously well and we should be able to move in within the next three weeks. That’s perfect timing to cut my commute by ¾ as gas prices rise faster than an overcooked pizza.

I also completed a new short story that I’m very happy with. I wrote one draft and sent it around to a few people and then based on suggestions added a few new scenes and took a final pass then submitted it. Now we wait. And now I’m back to where I was a little while ago, eager to work on a novel, with no idea what to write. I was at Borders Saturday looking to see if the Ed Gorman anthology I’m in has hit the shelves yet (it’s not scheduled to release until May 15 but I’m very impatient) and I was looking at all of the new releases trying to get a feel for where my effort should go. And it hit me: I was writing the kind of book I like to read, but not necessarily the one that only I could write.

Up until now, all of the novels I’ve written have featured PIs or some variation thereof. Not a total surprise considering I love PI novels. But as I look to my short stories, the three PI stories I’ve written are among my weakest. Coincidence? And what was really striking to me in all of my Meta goodness is that none of my books have ever featured a writer as the main character. I LOVE books about writers and writing. I’ve read really weak books and seen horrid movies just because they feature writers. I’ve picked up some literary novels I may have never read otherwise just because they had a writer as a main character. And yet I’ve never written one myself.

So maybe it’s time. I’ve got an idea, based on one of my more popular short stories, and I guess we’ll see what happens with it.