Switching Gears? Too Obscure?

I got sidelined by some bad health the last few weeks. Nothing major–just some stomach flu and similar issues hitting me and mine. So, haven’t been working on the sequel.

I’m almost 200 pages in. For a 300 page book, that’s pretty much into the home stretch. But now my steam’s gone, and I’m having trouble finding motivation again. Any suggestions?

Also struggling because I have another idea kicking around in my head that I like better than the Catharsis series. Catharsis is fun, but I wrote it with no intention of publishing it. Really! It was just fun for me. Because of that, I think that it doesn’t play to a lot of people’s interests. Sure, there’s a nude nubile female or two, gun fights and sword fights and all kinds of fights, sex, intrigue, danger, scandal, etc. But the book requires a Masters in 19th-21st century Western Occultism and a strong working knowledge of 20th century sci-fi to really make sense to a reader. While the 2nd requirement isn’t all that rare–plenty of people know Lovecraft, Asimov, Anthony, and the other sci-fi writers referenced–the first requirement is pretty obscure. If O.T.O. or A.M.O.R.C. are just random acronyms to you, if Blavatsky and MacGregor Mathers are just random names, if Hivim and Ascended Masters don’t really describe anything you’ve heard of even after you look up what they mean, then you probably don’t get 54% of what I was doing in the book. And I don’t blame you. My experience is that Western Mysticism is about as good a subject to throw into a random conversation as model railroad building. There’s an off chance you’ll find someone interested at the table with you, but more likely than not everyone will find you a total bore! Does that happen with Catharsis? I’m betting so. I’m also betting that quite a few readers don’t even know what they’re missing or how hard I worked to get it in there. That’s artistically frustrating. But maybe I should soldier on. For some people, obscure references work wonders. Look at Madelaine L’Engle.

The other idea that I have for a book would be much more commercially viable and require much less in the way of obscure knowledge on the part of the reader. Might not be enough to turn me into Stephen King, but it could entertain a lot more people, which is a big part of the goal here.

What do you think? Keep writing on the sequel because I’m more than halfway through the first draft or switch to the new idea that I like better at the moment and think the audience might like better, too?

How do you make the call with your own writings?

One thought on “Switching Gears? Too Obscure?

  1. in writing, everything you do is either for you, or for others. you need both (at least i do). 90% of what i write is (no pun intended) cathartic. if you’ve hit a wall with the sequel, explore the other idea. sometimes the best thing you can do for a piece of work is let it sit and simmer for a bit.

    i admit i didn’t get ‘get’ a lot of what was in the book, but i saw a lot to like in there.

    i think your challenge is finding an impartial editor (if you don’t already have one). you obviously have the technical chops, but you’re so close to the source material, the narrative may suffer. i hate having other people read my stuff from an editorial standpoint, but i discover a lot more when i do.

    of course, that’s probably why i haven’t written anything substantial in years. 🙂

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