Asking and Answering the BIG Question

Note: Keep reading. There’s a cute kitten at the end as your reward. Oi, don’t scroll down you cheating little so-and-so! Read, I say, read!!

There is another big question

I thought I’d been asked the one ‘Big Question’ when my husband proposed. It turns out that I was wrong. Whilst that was an easy one to answer (breathe easy hubby) there is another Big Question that is beginning to be asked. I’m not sure that I give the best answer.  Maybe, if like the hubby, you asked the question whilst presenting a ring, I would formulate a more coherent answer.

In deficit of shiny jewellery, I’m never one to shy away from a challenge. So I will give it a go…

The writing question

The Big Question in my life nowadays is along the lines of ‘So what are you writing at the moment?’ You’d think this would be easy to answer considering how immersed I have been in writing this novel for the past three months. But it honestly isn’t.

I find myself either providing little detail and therefore making it sound like one of those overlong (read as ‘classic’) poems you had to study for GCSE. Or I provide too much information and witness people losing the will to live as I recount what my characters had for every meal over the past two years.

Confession time. I can be a teeny bit impatient sometimes. I don’t see it as a flaw as such. It gets things done. Perhaps it can drive people crazy. My husband and best friend can just keep away from the comments section here – I KNOW okay?

When asked The Big Question, I contemplate why  you just won’t trust me that I’m writing a book and I know what I’m doing. Well. sometimes…  The truth is the impatience is always with myself, not you. I know I have ideas brimming over, to the point I now have a notebook by my bed at night. The irony is that many writers cannot adequately describe what they are writing, unless it’s actually being written.

I will try to answer…

I am writing a novel based upon a woman who has experienced depression. Sounds bloody gloomy doesn’t it? Here is where I will enhance the point of my novel – depression is not all darkness. People with depression occasionally smile and laugh. Shocking isn’t it? My main character grins, guffaws, rants, has a few ‘language slips’ and hopefully raises a few chuckles. I like her. I want to be her when I grow up. Without depression though.

She is a woman who unearths her old journals, written in times of depressive episodes. The discovery of the journals is timely because she is starting to slide into depression again. Years later, life is different now (no spoilers given here) but she has so much learn from her past self.

She reads each journal entry, reflects upon it and responds in the present. Nothing is sacred or spared. Well, apart from dodgy sexual practices and words beyond the ‘fruity’ category. My mum may read this one day.

I am writing this novel based upon my own experiences but with a jettison of imagination too. This is not my memoir. The main character and I have shared experiences and some background in common. I needed to relate to her in some ways. But this is not a form of personal therapy. She is not me. She is sometimes more accomplished and astute than me. She is also a right royal pain in the arse sometimes (also unlike me of course). She’s pretty funny too – a smack in the chops for the first person who says that means she’s nothing like me.

This is not one long lesson or lecture in depression. It’s a woman who happens to have it on an off. She, like anyone who has ever been in ‘The Pit’, is not defined by her illness. Do not let the word ‘depression’ put you off reading this novel. Go beyond the stigmas and understand that this woman could be just like you. She blows her stack at things, she gets a little inappropriate, she loves and is loved, and she has an obsession with cheese, chocolate and choons. Okay, that was a lame attempt at finding another ‘ch’ word. That’s tunes as in music, not the elderly’s cough sweet of choice.

What genre?

As for genre? Well, this is where the Big Question becomes more tricky to answer. I described it recently to someone as a more savvy Bridget Jones on Prozac. I’ve since realised that does not do my novel, or Bridget Jones, justice.  I don’t want my girl to be compared to another character; she deserves her place in ‘Book World’ in her own right. You will also never hear a ‘gah’ coming out of her mouth.

I guess my novel is a genre mish mash:

  • Contemporary fiction – by dint of the fact it was not written in ‘the olden days’.
  • Comedy – well the main character, and I, think we’re funny.
  • Real-life issues – having a cheese and chocolate addiction is a serious business you know.
  • Fantasy – I’m trying to work out how to integrate ‘Cheddar World’.
  • Science-Fiction – because her git of a boss might just be a robot for all the empathy he displays.
  • Horror – because nothing is more scary than regularly having to fight ‘Mr. Depression Monster’

So there you have it. Any clearer? As mud, I hear you say, as mud…

Here’s your reward for reading

By way of compensation, here’s that cute kitten meme as promised. If you looked at it before you read this post, may the hidden claws of this seemingly harmless kitten haunt your nightmares.


About Lisa Sell

Lisa Sell is a fiction writer. When she's not wrestling with words she can be found showing the love for chocolate, cheese, coffee, books, the cats, and the husband. Perhaps not in that order.

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