Monday, May 17, 2010

What's Being Written (and what isn't)

I'm going out on a limb for this particular posting. I don't have mounds of research to back up my suspicions and I'm not looking for a fight, but I have a sneaking suspicion some writers have shelved their uber creative works of potential art instead of marketing them.

Why? That's absurd isn't it?

Here's my idea of what the writing stages are (I'm literally standing on a fragile limb here):

For me, my first stage was proving to myself that I could actually write out a story idea into a book. This stage flew by. I pounded out my first story in six weeks and then spent one week editing myself. Then, I hired an editor to guide me through two drafts in which I increased the book by 9,000 words and learned a lot about myself as a writer. This was a huge investment and totally worth it.

I should have been happy with the completed book. The editor liked it (but I was paying her), my sister loved it (but she's family), my husband really liked it (at least that's what he says) and everyone I know is eager to read it; that meant I had to move on to the second stage.

The second stage is trying to get published. This is entirely possible, and it's an open market so why not? First, I tried to come up with a really good way to turn my book into a short story; this is the query/synopsis stage. Then, I started the literary agent research. Some of the submission guidelines were simple and to the point while others wanted me to go and research books that I could compare my book against. Yikes! I just spent several weeks coming up with a truly unique story. How am I supposed to compare it?

Having to compare my book to other books for similarties and differences and so forth, is where I started thinking about what is and isn't being written.

(Warning! I'm about to get opinionated)

Book in hand, I thought I could storm the castle, but maybe not without proven armor and weaponry. I will try anyway because I've just started my journey; other writer's may not be trying to break in with their uber creative stories anymore or maybe it's just that agents aren't even glancing at them.

Gone might be the days of sitting in a dimly lit closet-like room, pounding out a completely new idea. Today, it seems like writers have to get on the band wagon just to get in the door. I've thought about riding the vampire wagon, but why? To ensure publication? Maybe that's a brilliant idea and I'm too daft to follow the right leaders. (I'm not down on the vampires, I love them. I would love my own personal Edward, but what I read and what I write don't necessarily go hand in hand.)

If I'm right, and writers are just Band Wagon Writing just to please the publisher's and pigeon-hole the readers, then we writers may as well start up the Edward Stratemeyer Syndicate again and start pumping out more Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew stories and hunker down as a band of ghost writers.

I'm all for giving the readers what they want, but to what extent? I want to eat chocolate and potato chips all day long, but I know it's better in moderation. (Lessons I've learned in my life include: anything in excess will kill)

My characters are smart and edgy, they have giant attitudes and strong opinions and the perspective of their lives are no different than the vampire characters except that they don't suck blood. There are days where I haven't heard back about my queries and I wish all my characters sucked blood and in a completely new and exciting way, but they just don't.

Stage three: Calling thyself a writer/author even without publishing because publishing won't make me any more or any less of a writer (publishing is a reward but not the okay for writing). Then it's time to shelve the unique story and write a familiar one with a twist and then start stage two all over again.

I'm not at stage three yet, but it's always there in the back of my head.

This week I will be posting my query. It's about time I mention what I am trying to get out there.

1 comment:

  1. A very interesting perspective, and maybe not all that far off! It seems that everywhere I turn right now I get a new perspective on vampires, how they became, how they survive, and what their extraordinary powers/weaknesses are!