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Oh well, maybe I do suck

So, as I have explained in previous posts, I started my journey into writing with a dream of being a screenwriter, more specifically, a screenwriter for television. I finally got my feedback from the pilot I submitted to a screenwriting contest last fall. It wasn’t good. What I mean is the feedback was honest and very reasonable, but my submission wasn’t good. Let me clarify that this is the third submission in about ten years that has failed.

Admittedly, I’m feeling pretty sad. That can’t be helped. There’s always a grieving process that takes place when a creative project is rejected. It’s necessary to move on. And honestly, this is a project that needed to fail. This is a dream that needed to die.

How I write has changed because my life has changed. Presently, I am engrossed in the world of a toddler, simpler, more innocent, more socially sensitive. I honestly couldn’t tell you what’s good on television beyond the small 90 minute window I allow myself on Sunday nights to watch Masterpiece on PBS. Sometimes, even that’s a stretch, if it’s a mystery and it’s too violent to have running while my full time job is still awake.

The sharpness of dialogue, the veracity of action and story, the clear conveyance of emotion, these are all elements of good screen writing that are foggy to me at the moment, like they are buried in some murky tide pool that I just don’t have to stones or energy to dig into. That’s a hard reality to accept, but reality it is, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that I am finished as a writer. It just means that I need to continue my journey from where I am in the present moment and not force my perspective into a future that doesn’t exist.

I am happy to be able to continue my journey with Bernice and Evan and Darlene and Cameron and the all their friends, enemies, baggage, foibles, and dilemmas. They still need me.

So, why a pastor? Good question

I cannot thank my local fans enough for all of their praise and inspiration. This title in particular was actually suggested by a pastor during a conversation with none other than my mother (also a big fan and one of my usual beta readers. Apparently, after a certain age, that discretionary “mom” filter falls away, and the woman who is left feels liberated enough to read her daughter’s written sex scenes without getting weirded out. Who knew?)

As it happens, there are a number of clergy folk who read my books. Even those who receive the divine calling need a  break once in a while. I welcome them with everyone else.

Anyhow, as I understand it, my mom was taking fellowship at church and the pastor was at their table, explaining one of his good works. Was it feeding the needy, or mission in a far away land? Nope. His volunteer task of choice was giving rides to arrested individuals who had been released from jail and had no way to get home.

Noble a task as it was, even the pastor had to acknowledge there was a level of danger involved with his good intentions. Someone at the table pointed out the obvious, that an unrepentant soul could overpower him and carjack him, or worse. The pastor looked at my mom and said jokingly (I’m pretty sure this is close to the quote), “If I’m not careful, I’ll end up in one of your daughter’s books. I’d be the Pastor in the Pasture.”

So, thanks for the great title, Pastor, and be careful what you wish for. And for those of you who actually believe I’m going to use that exact plot for this book…Yeah, like you’re going to get off that easily? Dream on.

You got a body, now what?

Book 7 Pastor in the PastorAh yes, the start of a new book. The opportunities to wreak havoc upon my favorite down home characters abound. Of course, there is no secret as to how this book starts. I give it away in the title. I’ve already set up the crime scene in the excerpt at the end of Book 6 (You remember Book 6, right? My long awaited Woman in the Wind that was just released after Christmas?).Now, it’s just a matter of explaining why said clergy person is in said pasture in the middle of January. What a great starting point.

I have lots of ideas. As usual, I want events to unfold in such a way as to lead the reader off in the wrong direction, while slowly revealing the steps that ultimately led to the victim’s undoing. And I want tensions to run a little high, as they often do with a crowded household of adults  trying to run their lives under stressful circumstances. I’m looking forward to introducing new characters, those quirky relatable hometown folks (or maybe not so hometown. It’s hard to say at this point). I enjoy  creating those vignettes that add another dimension and give some heart to the story.

I guess the real question I need to ask myself, and eventually my readers is this: Was the pastor’s demise a personal endeavor, or some  anonymous act carried out in haste?

Well, wouldn’t you like to know?