Monday, June 25, 2007

The story behind Pam on Rye

A few weeks back I started writing a story I'd had an idea for months ago. It jumped into my head almost full blown. I couldn't wait to start it. But after three chapters, I laid it aside. I'm not prone to doing that with writing projects, preferring to gut it out through the hard parts and finish what I start for fear of never getting back to it if I quit on it.

Here's a brief blurb about Pam on Rye:

Pam is a card-carrying member of the Sandwich Generation, caught between her elderly parents and her teenage children. When her mother has a stroke, Pam moves her family into her parents' Bed and Breakfast to help care for her mother and run the family business. All her life, she's longed for her mother's approval, but mama is a hard woman to please. And while running the B&B and caring for an elderly parent take up so much of her time, her own husband and daughters clamor for her attention as well. And what of Pam's own desires? Can she juggle everything thrown at her, and not leave her faith as the 'pickle on the side?'

I love the story, think it would be hilarious, and would read it if I picked it up in the bookstore. It has a sassy, poke a little fun at the elder generation while doing the same to the angst of teen girls flavor. So why did I quit on it?

My first reason, the one I told myself, was that I really love historicals, and a 'lit' book would be hard to write.

The second reason was because of Randy Ingermanson's lessons on branding. What was my brand? Did I want to have a shotgun approach and write anything under the sun, or did I want to stick with my favorite, the one I'm most passionate about, and sharpen up my brand to make myself more marketable?

The third reason was because of some market buzz I'd heard that 'lit' books were going out of style and getting one picked up would be difficult for a new author.

But after some reflection, I realized the truth. Sometimes life imitates art, and sometimes art imitates life. A few weeks ago, my dearly loved MIL , who lives four miles from me, was diagnosed with a recurrance of her cancer, this time in her spine. I've been stopping in at her house to help her do the housework and to visit. She's in quite a bit of pain. She's being so brave about it, but if you think to pray for her, please do. She does not know the Lord as her Savior.

All that to say, sometimes you can have a great idea, and it can be the wrong time to write it. I don't know if I will ever write Pam on Rye. I hope so, someday, but if I don't, that will be okay too. Right now, I have the honor of caring for my MIL, and I'm working on an historical that I feel God gave me to take the place of Pam on Rye. I'm being totally relaxed about it, writing completely Seat-of-the-pants, and having a blast.

Many thanks to CJ for letting me use the picture in today's blog. You can read all about CJ's own adventures with her parents and children at Whine and Cheese and see her amazing artwork at CJ's Electronic Portfolio where "If you can think it, she can ink it." She's a talented writer and terrific artist. Oh, and a great friend too.


  1. To everything there is a season.

  2. You'll probably get back to it someday.

    This is the third time today I've run across the expression of "branding" as a writer. Frankly, I think the whole idea is a lot of the hmmmmm word. I write what I please, whether it's fiction, non-fiction and hopefully soon I'll finish that grown up mystery or historical. I think this is a lot like actors and being "branded" as a certain character. Look how hard Leonard Nimoy had to work to overcome the role of "Spock."

    I'd rather be known as someone versatile enough to "do it all" than someone who only had one type of story to write. And having read a lot of things you've written--I think you are capable of doing it all too. Don't limit yourself to one genre.

    My opinion right or wrong. :)

  3. I'm sorry to hear about your MIL--definitely praying.

    POR sounds SOOOO cute! I do hope you pick it up again someday. Then there's that whole branding thing. I'm totally breaking the rules there! But that's OK for now--I'm writing what I feel led to write. UGH, I know what you mean, though.