My first serious book? That's what I was intending. But...

What does that even mean?

I know in the past that this was a sure recipe for writer's block. So I was allowing my imagination to go in whatever direction it needed, but to trying to keep it grounded.

The first thought, even without the agent's douchbag request for "100 kickass pages" and "make it Big!" was to write a thriller. This my preferred reading these days, and I have a theory that you should write the same kind of book you like to read.

But once I got into the firefighter culture, I realized that I could write it from street level and have a pretty good book. Maybe try to ground it a little more in reality.

I did get into the head of the terrorists, so that is a step away from "what I know." (Not that I know what goes on with firefighters, but given where I was raised, being a firefighter wouldn't have been an impossibility.)

If I went that direction, I intended to take out the mucky-mucks and the astronaut.

Right away, there were some problems. The plot of the book demanded a sacrifice, and originally it was going to be a mucky-muck. With the mucky-muck gone, it had to be one of the two main characters, which would certainly make it a tragedy, but maybe a little too much so.

Then, I really liked the God's eye view of the astronaut character, a chance to show the whole picture.

Yesterday, I wrote a couple of astronaut chapters, and one of them is my second favorite chapter of the book. It's a bit hokey, in that I go for the drama. But the drama is cool--in a thriller.

Let's face it, I really want to write a thriller, and by doing so, I'm stepping away from the "serious" idea.

Here's what I need to remind myself. I'm always writing the best I can. There is no diminishment in my attempt to write full characters, to make it real. That's what I'm always trying to do.

So that's where I'm going. The only question remaining is do I go the one further step and include the supernatural element of the Jinn. I have a kind of quasi magic realism inclusion of the Jinn, but it could easily be expanded into the real thing.

My guess is that I'll end up doing that--because, to me, it adds a little extra zing to the story.

To satisfy the "serious" readers?  I was probably never going to be able to do that. My readers are always going to need to be people with a serious case of "Disbelief Suspension."