NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments! and often have guest bloggers.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!


Julie Moffet . Clare London . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A. Miller . Marcelle Dube . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson

Friday, February 20, 2015

Finding Your Bliss

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you
where there were only walls.” ~ Joseph Campbell



I’ve been trying to finish a light amateur sleuth mystery (yay! Finally a series to write!) but another story keeps nagging at me. It’s one I’ve picked up and put down about a dozen times; changed the focus; the motivation; everything except the central characters and the theme.

I’m not sure why that book keeps pulling me back. Maybe it comes from the idea that each one of us has something special to contribute—maybe work we feel compelled to do. By doing it, we feel fulfilled and enrich the world. Joseph Campbell talks about finding your own path (“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path.”). How do you find that path? Some refer to it as following your bliss. Others say, find your heart’s passion.

But is that passion the broader goal or a kernel that embodies it?

For many of us on this blog, our passion is writing. Taking intuitions, snippets, dreams and moments of pure fantasy imagination. Adding overheard conversations, glimpses of a vignette as we pass by. Grabbing that nebulous possibility, and shaping and turning into a polished story.

Is writing the passion we want to share with the world? Or is it a particular theme or story that we feel we have to tell to reach that bliss?

I really have no idea, so I keep putting one foot in front of the other and step by step find my path.

Right now, that path is strolling along with a snarky divorcee who's temporarily living on a tree farm... You might hear a bit more about her later.

But as much fun as the amateur sleuth is to write, that other story is still there, a siren song.

Even if we take the steps to become an author, maybe we chose a certain path because we fear the stories we want to write won’t sell. We love chic lit or romantic mysteries or literary stories where the characters rule and the words flow to a different rhythm, but we read online, hear from editors, agents, creative writing texts that D, all the above are passé. We’re tempted to follow trends rather than listen to the story inside us. I think most of us have cleared that hurdle, but the doubt is always there--should I have chosen a different path?

Overall, I'm happy with my path to "here." Sure, there have been highs and lows, joys and regrets. I'm happy our paths crossed, here on the blog, at Carina, conferences or any of the other places we've connected. I hope my passion for writing lives on and that I can share my joy and make a small corner of the worlds a better place.

And in the meanwhile, I think my other story is still growing—or growing up—quietly evolving in my subconscious. I have many books still to write.

But I suspect “that story” will one day be the one I have to tell.

What about you?

“As you go the way of life,

You will see a great chasm. Jump.

It is not as wide as you think.”

Joseph Campbell

12 comments:

Anne Marie Becker said...

I'm working on one of those "won't leave me alone" stories right now. Like yours, it has morphed over the years, so it's been an interesting challenge! One foot in front of the other... ;)

Cathy Perkins said...

I'm so glad you're tackling yours, Anne Marie!

Toni Anderson said...

Those stories tickle your brain, Cathy. I wonder if you are growing as a writer and learning the skills you need to write that particular story. When you finally have all the skills/or pieces you can finally write the story? Nice post :)

Rita said...

“But is that passion the broader goal or a kernel that embodies it?”
Yes, this is the question.
I have 3 stand alones bugging me and a 4 or 5 book a series/saga. I’ve written more than 350,000 words on them. Sometimes my different book characters get into fights over what I should do.
And I very much agree with what Toni said about learning and better understanding our craft. The series has very strong bones and now I can edit and fill in the blanks.

Cathy Perkins said...

You may be right Toni - the opening got too much attention and I froze.
Need time, perspective and a lot of craft to pull it off. :)

Cathy Perkins said...

I agree Rita - sometimes we have to grow into our stories as we develop the skills to fulfill the promise of the "kernel"
I have to ask. are the 350k words different versions as your characters duke it out, or finished stories you aren't ready to share with the rest of us?

Rita said...

Cathy, none are finished. The series is 220,000 of rough draft for 4-5 books. The others are a varied amount of words. One is the ‘next’ story with 2 heroines. And I got “Forget it. You can't have two heroines.” from the industry professional. The next is a WWII thriller with German U-boats and spies. Then a female police office leaves her job after she is shot. She rescues the K9 that saved her life and also was shot. Then the series that begins in 1958 when a couple first meets to the present with four adult sons. Strong love story. Military, CIA, historical characters and events. Again I get the this will not sell.
Yes I am a mess. I actually have two more that if I don't think about them too much the characters don't bother me.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Good post, Cathy. I think Toni's right and you'll write the story when you're ready. No point in pushing.

Rita, I think you should just write the stories that are in you to write and to hell with what the "industry" says. Publish them yourself and I'll bet you'll find your audience.

Rita said...

Thanks Marcelle.

Elise Warner said...

Loved the post, Cathy. Some ideas and characters poke around and then one day we know we're there and put everything else aside. (Unless, of course, we have a contract for another story.)

Cathy Perkins said...

What Marcelle said, Rita!

That's the beauty of indie-pubbing. If "they" say it won't sell, but it's a book you care about, go ahead and put it out there. You never know what might happen. :)

Cathy Perkins said...

I had to laugh Elise. My agent pokes me and says, is it finished yet? (the amateur sleuth)
I don't know how my friends write 4 or 5 books a year... Ah the joy of being under contract.
But I wrote a scene yesterday for "that book" (shh, instead of finishing the one I'm 'supposed' to be writing) and I really really like the scene.

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