I'm noticing a much longer lag between the time I give a copy of Embers of Humanity to a reader for commentary and the time I get it back. The Cracked Bell came back more quickly. I hope this is a good sign.
Meanwhile, strange scenes and phrases have been drifting into my mind for the current effort, A Game of Christmas. I find myself wanting to open it up, really create an exciting vision of peace... well, you see my problem. A novel calls for a problem for the protagonist to grapple with. Peace is a resolution, not a problem. Hence, no novel. But here I still am, feeling like there's some story just out of reach....
I suffer occasional losses of faith in fiction. Endings -- a piece of fiction has to end, and life does not come in neat delineated packages. Not even birth and death are final bounds, if the community is your focus. And problems -- I manage my own life to avoid drama. To the greatest degree possible, I plan ahead and gather resources and skills, and associate with the kind of people, that will help my life run smoothly, productively, pleasantly -- anything but dramatically. So I have no patience for characters who create problems for themselves. And no will to pile problem upon problem upon my characters, just to make things more dramatic.
So maybe I'm not cut out to write fiction.
But then I have these ideas...
Well, my faith will probably return. When the weather cools, and I feel more energetic, when next I read a stunningly good novel, and see that with all the form's contradictions, there is still beautiful and true work to be done in it, or when my own words start to come easily, and I feel that they are good -- then I'll be drawn in again.
And why should I expect the good stuff to be easy?