The big question looming in my mind

My deadline for completing the first draft of a novel is December 30 of this year. However, I can’t seem to get started because I can’t come up with a “what if” that stirs my imagination.

Genre choice is important when it comes to writing. The experts tell you that the genre you read the most is probably what you should be writing.

Thus, this is why I began an alternate history. I read a lot of it, especially anything written by the master, Harry Turtledove.

I began a novel earlier in the year based on the history of Virginia.  It is set in Jamestown around the time of settlement. And yes, it is an alternate history.

But I haven’t kept up with the writing of this book. I can’t seem to get my mind around it. I’ve written a page or two of the introduction.

So the big question looming in my mind these days is “what should I write about”. I need a story that I grabs me and that  I will stick with.

I once met Frank Peretti at a boostore. He was there to “sign” one of his books, except he had broken his hand and couldn’t sign anything. Therefore, the bookstore management arranged a picture of each customer with Frank.

I stood next to him for my photo op and thought,”This is my big chance. I have this well-known author next to me and I can ask him about writing.” So I asked Frank,”What’s the best advice you can give me about writing?”.

Peretti is a small man from Colorado, with a western twang. He struck me almost as a throwback to the mountain men glamorized by the cinema and by TV.

He looked at me with almost a glare and said,”Write what ya know. Ya gotta write what ya know.”

This was sage advice. I have read it elsewhere, also.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the adventures of an underpaid English as a second language teacher would sell.  Nor would that of a failed Christian (or perhaps it would!).

I guess that’s the answer to my looming question: write what I know. Now all I have to do is figure out exactly what it is I “do” know.

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