I’ve been holding out on you. Sort of.
Before I started writing YA novels I wrote most of a book, a novella at least, of memoir essays about all the horrible jobs I’ve had. Every couple of months I click on my “Other writing” folder and read through them again. Most of them are funny and all still make me laugh. I used to get up to some ridiculous shenanigans in my youth. (Um, like, five years ago.)
There are some reasons why I haven’t published the essays:
1. I didn’t know how to transition from one essay to the next. There is the common narrative thread of “sucky jobs” that runs throughout, but a block of the essays take place in my teens and another block in my mid-twenties. Sometimes I’m in Missouri, sometimes Oregon, sometimes California.
2. Some of the essays are funnier than others. So which is it? Hilarious tales of my misspent youth, or “there are consequences to acting like a total jackass, kids.” The tone is off.
3. The book isn’t long enough. I need to add probably five more essays. Can I even remember five more good stories?
4. Should I put something out that is a completely different genre from what I’ve published already? Will I alienate my current readers and/or gain some new ones? I like reading memoir essays and paranormal YA novels, but how many other people do?
5. I’ve already used my real name for the YA stuff, and a variation of that name for the grown-up paranormal writing. With memoir, I can’t go changing my name for that. It really, really is me.
6. Let’s just say I started out as a Zellie, moved on to be a Claire, and then had a few Flora years. These essays are not something a 14-year-old should be reading.
A few of these reasons have worked themselves out in the last couple of days.
I read A Walk in the Snark by Rachel Thompson. She’s a funny lady and I like her writing style. Her book is also a good example for transitioning between essays (or in her case blog posts) that have a similar narrative thread (relationships) but are about different people and time periods. So, I think I’ve got a handle on that.
As it turns out, I could think of five more stories. In fact, I made a list and I thought of seventeen.
Last night, after I’d finished my Glow writing for the day, I wrote an introduction to the essays and started a new one. I wrote about 2K on the new essay and will most likely finish it today after I finish the Glow chapter I’ve been working on.
I can check writing more essays off the list.
As for tone, I think the transitions will help even that out. Also, I played around with the order of the essays last night and if I don’t read them chronologically, I come off as a more balanced person. 🙂
This leaves the genre question, the “outing my bad reputation” question, and to a lesser extent, the name question. I’d love to hear what you all think about this. Am I wasting my time putting a book together that I shouldn’t publish?