Seanan on Publishing!

Tell us what you thought about the November issue.

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Post November 19, 2009, 08:43:31 PM

Seanan on Publishing!

Or, following bliss.

Green Room Fun!

On the topic of turning bitter, Sharyn McCrumb did a nice take on this with Bimbos of the Death Star.

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Post November 25, 2009, 07:39:23 PM

When I first read this one I thought I disagreed with parts of it, but upon reflection, I can't remember where I found fault. Perhaps I was thinking a writer, especially a wannabe -- which is most of the folks reading this post -- would do well to keep a weather eye on the market and try to fit it as close as possible.

But why? Sure, the new top selling novel flying off the shelves right now may be a good indicator as to what's hot, but it only indicates what's hot in the book store this instant. This novel the wannabe author is planning as the first step in a bid to conquer the world will not hit those shelves for quite a while (many months at best, years at worst). What's hot by then? Who knows?

What of burned out topics, characters, and situations? Simple. There's no such thing. No matter what you think of Stephenie Myer's vampire novels, you must admit that she has struck a chord with her audience, and she did it using vampires and werewolves for Pete's sake. What about Harry Potter? Most of the ideas in the Potter novels are pastiche of other stories (ask Jane Yolen!), yet they turned a generation of kids into readers.

Write what you love. Write it like it's the best thing ever put on paper (or a computer disk), and don't look up. Yes. That's the ticket.

You're right, Seanan.

Liked Rosemary and Rue, btw.

-- david j.
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Post November 29, 2009, 02:00:15 PM

dissension in the ranks

Write what you love or become angry and bitter. Someday you might make it big and then someone will want all the crap you've written but couldn't sell.

I don't buy that. I've written what I thought the market wanted and I've written stories I've loved. No one wanted either, and both made me bitter. Obviously, I could just be a lousy writer, but I think it's safe to say I don't suck. I may not be good, but I'm sure I'm not terrible.

I think a better strategy is to write when you have a story inside you that needs to be read, which is not the same thing, technically. The last challenge example I wrote was about a man who beat his son to death. I didn't love that story, but I felt it needed to be read by its target audience, i.e. mostly the other challenge authors. Most people don't try to make emotional connections (or revulsion) in their stories, and they should, in my opinion.

Furthermore, our audience needs entertaining, be it through humor, adventure, shock, or romance. It's our job to move them, to engross them, to compel them to forget about life's troubles, to make them skip tv, movies, books, and the rest of the internet's offerings and instead read your story. In that way, you do have to write for your market a little. You have to monitor your own writing to expect how your audience will react, and make sure they will have some measure of satisfaction or experience by the end.

Writing what you love is a good way to become a starving artist. My way you may still starve, but at least you're pretty sure you've entertained the reader at the other end.

You've reached somebody.

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