Writer, Dreamer, Brown-Eyed Girl

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Author Series: The Road to Publication Part 2

I promised to continue this post series for the sake of any aspiring writers out there who would like an insider's advice.  I hope this is helpful to you.
Today, I'm going to talk about the second half of my previous post about developing an awesome book idea that you'd like to see published: Writing for You.
When I talk about writing for you, I am referring to the blessed opposite of the strategy to pen a novel for the sake of either pure fame or cold hard cash.  Or because you're afraid of your own imagination. Check out part 1 of this series for why selling out could be both a clever strategy and still the worst career move possible.
Writing for you, however, means exactly that.  Think of it as a large chunk of chocolate onyour dinner plate, and you don't have to worry about sharing.
Yeah, now we're talking.
Anyway, writing for you is a delicious strategy for many reasons.  Most of those reasons are frankly based on moral integrity.  But the tops is this:

YOU WILL BE USING YOUR IMAGINATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You will also have a lot of fun doing so.
For instance, let's say you want to write a novel about time-traveling griffins from the planet Saturn.  It's what you crave to write, it's what you love.  The characters live, walk, and breathe within your mind.  You can actually feel the story moving within you, and when you sit down to write the excitement is so great you could type and type for hours without a break.
However, you're afraid.
No one is buying novels about griffins from the planet Saturn, someone tells you.  Good luck with all that.  Best to write a book you already know and then just change the title and the names of the main characters.  Easy money, kiddo.
Well, here's the argument.  How do you think Harry Potter, Twilight, and the Hunger Games (and I go back to these because they are so widely read and known) got to where they are?  It's because they either a.) did something radically different and unique, or b.) took a basic plot and still uniqued the heck out of it.  One could argue that there are no "new" plots, only derivatives thereof.  But in essence, those authors didn't give a darn about the market when they wrote those books.  They simply wrote them because the characters and the world wouldn't let them sleep if they didn't obey.
Besides, who's to say that a novel about time-traveling griffins from the planet Saturn won't revolutionize the sci-fi world?  When it comes down to it, all stories are preposterous--until they are written well.
Here is my moment then to invite someone to actually take on my challenge and write a short story about time-traveling griffins from Saturn.  Go ahead, I'd love to see your take on it. ;-)
Oh, but we also aren't done here.  There are cons to writing for yourself . . . for your own personal bliss . . .

Yes, it's a sad but true fact.
Number One Con: you don't get published. Yet.
Number Two Con: you get published and people look at your book askew, like it's wearing a pig suit.

There is also number three, which is inbetween: you are an amazing artist, and your subject-matter is timely yet unique (a werewolf thriller for example), but:


Which usually amounts to the wrong people reading it in the first place.  Do people who expect soft-porn romance in The Lord of the Rings novels really deserve to rate it low?  Really?

So, in a nutshell, this is how you develop awesome book ideas.  Either you sell out or stand out.
Neither choice is guaranteed or safe, and so I say with a grin and a sincere prayer for the best:

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