Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sometimes others say it best

The wonderful Joan Reeves gave me permssion to repost this article. Thank you, Joan!

I hear a lot of writers bemoan the pop culture of today's world. They denigrate the music, novels, art, etc. and can't seem to find much of worth in any form of entertainment--and books are entertainment. I think they completely miss the boat. Why? Because they live today, not in the retro 1950's or the counter-culture 1960's or the greed 1980's or the recent millennial decade, but today.

If you live in today's world, which you do unless you have a time machine stashed in the garage, then you must write for the time in which you live. It doesn't matter if your writing is as exquisite as Bronte or Austen or Dickens or Michener or any of the past brilliant writers if the times in which you live don't support writing of that style or voice.

If you want to be a professional writer, write for your peers. That doesn't mean to dumb it down, but it does mean to not be intellectually snobbish and disdain the common reader. Most of those we revere today as renowned authors were considered genre authors in their day.

I have few favorites among today's so-called literary authors because most of them couldn't plot their way out of a room with 4 unlocked doors. They're all flash and no substance when it comes to creating prose - sparkling sentences that have no relation to the forward motion a novel should possess.

If you're not selling the way you want to be selling, don't disdain the books that do sell. Don't dismiss them out of hand. Instead, read the best-selling books in your genre. See what it is about those books that make readers eager to grab them. Compare your books--plot, premise, characters, execution--and see what the other authors bring to the table that you don't.

Your Writing Identity

1. Make sure your skills are up to par.

You must possess the narrative skills that enable you to craft a well written piece of fiction. Today, fiction of every genre is vibrant and exciting, with excellent characterization. Most of today's best writers work in genre or commercial fiction.

2. Find your identity as a writer.

You do this by discovering the stories that you want to tell. That's usually the same kind of story you like to read so finding your story identity should be easy.

3. Find the niche that allows you to tell your kind of story.

Do some research on the kind of stories you like to read. How are they categorized? In what genre or sub-genre do you find yourself shopping most frequently? That's probably the niche in which you want to position your books. The broader the niche; the harder it is to make an impact. The tinier the niche (and it still must be a niche that attracts many readers); the easier it is to get noticed.

4. Write a lot.

One way to discover your writing identity is to simply write. One of my favorite literary authors Larry Brown and bestseller thriller author Dean Koontz both said virtually the same thing: "You must write X number of words before you'll ever write anything worth publishing."

I believe that. There is a related truth to that theory. No one knows what X is because it's different for every writer so get started on your X number of words today.

Joan Reeves--Check out her blog:

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If anyone is wondering how much my writing has changed over the years, I have examples for you! I just repubbed a couple of my very first novels and you can find them here: $1.99

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