Monday, May 2, 2011

Your Eyes. Your Story.

I started a new wip a couple weeks ago and things are finally starting to fall into place.  The outline is still in a constant state of flux- scenes added and deleted, moved around or presented in ways I hadn’t thought about before I arrived at that section but I've definitely found my groove.

Even though the fun has just begun, there are still doubts.  I’ll be writing and then take a step back and think ‘How will other people see this?’.  Because, yes, eventually someone else will probably read my work, especially if (not when) in the end I think it might be worth querying agents with.  (Yes, I think books are worth writing even if they AREN'T meant for querying and there's no market for them.)

When the doubt comes in,  I start second guessing everything- my plot, storyline, voice etc.  ‘Is it too outrageous?’  ‘Should I really use a swear word there?’  ‘Will this story line hold their attention?’

And while it’s a good idea to at least give a little consideration to the future reader and think your story though, as to the rest of it- I say ‘Who cares???!!’

The important things happening with a first draft in my opinion are:

I’m writing!  After each project, there’s a lull after I start querying.  Try as I might, I couldn’t bring myself to write more than a few pages since November.  So being in the midst of another wip feels fantastic!  I’m doing what I love and honing my craft and I plan to adapt all the great things I’ve learned since my last project.

 I like my story, dammit!  One of the biggest reasons I started writing was so that I could live the story and experiences I wanted to.  I have total control of where this is going and what happens and it’s almost as good as reading a book.  At this point in the process, I shouldn’t give a damn what anyone else thinks.  I’m writing for me, for my enjoyment, and my enjoyment only.  If when I finish, I think there could be interest from people in the publishing industry- that’s when I’ll take a deeper look at my work and try and see it through different eyes.  Not before.

I find that worrying about future readers or the marketability of my story only stifles the creativity, so whenever the doubt starts creeping in, I might pause-  But eventually I think ‘who cares?!’ and push through it, taking the story where I want with renewed determination.

What about you?  Do you take a look at marketability and bounce ideas off others before you start a story, afraid to waste time writing something that won't interest?  Or do you barrel full steam ahead because this particular story is speaking to you, even if you're not completely sure you'll try and get it published? 

33 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

I have written a couple of stories that were quieter or ended up being more literary than I intended. But I do give a lot of thought to my ideas at this point and try to make them as marketable as I can while staying true to my heart.

Sarah said...

I do run ideas by my agent nowadays to make sure she's on board with what I want to do. She's very constructive and supportive, but I need her honest opinion about marketability and originality because I want to write something that will sell. I only suggest ideas I'm passionate about, but I want to be practical, too. That being said, I do love starting a new wip! I do agree; it's the best feeling!

Jessica Bell said...

If you like what you're writing, then it's meant to be written regardless of what other people think about it. I REALLY REALLY believe, you need to write for yourself, despite what 'professionals' say. If it has meaning to you, there is going to be someone else out there, for certain, that will be able to relate to it. Write for you fisrt. Seriously. It worked for me.

Shain Brown said...

I write for me and the the enjoyment of the story. I don't worry about all the other things until I'm done with the rough. Once the rough is done I decide how vivid and colorful I want to make it. Sometimes the story even helps me decide what can or shouldn't be removed.

Good luck and have fun with your new project.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've written books before but after a few drafts decided they wouldn't be marketable. One was a sequel to a book I quit querying (because I decided to write YA urban fantasy instead of YA fantasy). It was when I was new to publishing, and wanted to write the series even if it never got published. I loved the story that much. But then I decided I wanted to give being published a shot, so I moved on.

I did try to convert the first book into a YA paranormal. And this is when I learned that panstering isn't for me. It required massive rethinking because everything had to change to modern times. In the end, even though my CP loved the book (no one else got to read it), I decided it wasn't strong enough for the marketplace.

I write what I want to write, but I do, now, think about marketability during the preplanning phrase.

Can't wait to read your new book. Hint hint. :D

Jen Daiker said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who goes through a time where they can't write. I am currently in the stage where I'm getting my mojo back.

I just remind myself that I should write for myself. Later I'll write for others... per the wonderful Stephen King.

M J Francis said...

With short stories I'll definitely take chances, and I don't approach them thinking about selling them (with the odd exception, such as when I'm specifically writing for a competition or, at the moment, a submission to Clarkesworld).

But with novels, because they take so much time and effort, I am taking the approach of writing with readers and markets in mind now. That wasn't so much the case with Requiem. I hoped I'd be able to sell it - I really did - but I wrote it for me, to challenge myself. I actually chose to self-publish after a publisher recently said it was publishable (they loved the writing, the unique story, the style), but they didn't publish it because they didn't like my using so many points of view. That's fair enough, because stories in the genre are usually confined to a limited narratorial perspective. But that's how it needed to be written and I wouldn't change it.

I'm also writing a literary crossover "adventure" novel, which I'm 30000 words into (it could probably be marketed to the YA audience, if an agent suggested going down that route). It's my pet project and I think it will be something I can sell, even though I'm writing dark fantasy/horror stories for the market, because they fascinate me. I need to start work proper on my next horror/supernatural thriller novel, which I am definitely writing with a firm plan to sell to others.

Gina said...

I'm terrified that my novel will never be published simply because my characters are college age, which is too old for YA and, in my opinion, too young for adult. It seems everyone's forgotten there are 4 or 5 more years before you get to the "real" world after high school. But I can't age them down for the sake of being "marketable;" I think the things that happen in my story would just be too unrealistic happening to high school students.

Old Kitty said...

Oh I barrell full steam ahead!! Especially if it;s the first draft!! I love first drafts cos I don't care and I'm loving what I;m writing!! Maybe as I do the nth re-write do I get the doubts, fears and insecurities!! But for the first draft - full steam ahead is my motto!!

GOOD LUCK with your wip!! I say so long as you're totally in love with it, then just go for it!! Yay! take care
x

Anne Gallagher said...

Full steam ahead for me. I don't ever care if agents will like it.

Of course I haven't been writing lately, (personal life is getting in the way severely) but I can't wait to get back to it. Soon, very soon.

Lindsay said...

Full steam ahead for me. I'm a big, selfish 'I want to know what happens' writer during the first draft. LOL. I do talk about my ideas with a couple of my CPs though.

Good luck on the WIP!

Jennifer said...

I have experienced a mix of both...sometimes I write because I feel like if I don't the characters will continue to haunt me and sometimes I write with the thought that it would possibly appeal to the masses.

Colene Murphy said...

Awesome advice! I just enjoy the first draft. I try not to think too hard about anything but writing the story and getting it down as it feels it should flow. Millions of drafts late, it may not look remotely the same in some scenes as I improve them or fix them or whatever, but the first draft is all about my own pleasure and the story. Love to just go with a story in the beginning!

Karen Lange said...

I do discuss some of my ideas with others, one writer friend in particular. She'll tell me straight out what she thinks, and nine times out of ten she's right. Great food for thought. Have a good week! :)

Liz Fichera said...

I never write for a particular market. I think when you try to write something because it's popular, it can (usually) lack heart and voice.

Nice to meet you today, Katie! BTW, your profile description is the funniest that I've read. I almost choked on my coffee from laughing so hard. Love it!!

Cynthia Lee said...

I write because I want to find out what's going to happen in my own story. And I write for pleasure and to entertain myself. I have no doubt in my mind that I will look back on these years in my life with fondness - even if I never get published.

Matthew MacNish said...

I love the idea if writing just for you. There is no better reason to do it.

Stephanie said...

Good luck!!! We wouldn't be creative people if we didn't have tons of self doubt. I'm thinking it will never go away, even if I sell a million books. But I guess that's good, right??? If we thought every word we wrote was fab right from the get go, then we wouldn't strive to make the story better.

LTM said...

ahh... I love that feeling of being deep in a new MS!!! How wonderful~

as for marketability, well, I do think of that when I'm in the planning phase, but then I just go with it once I'm writing and hope for the best~ :o) <3

Catherine Ensley said...

I never give marketability a thought. I write what grips me and won't let me go.

I have an award for you ...

http://wordsworldandwings.blogspot.com/2011/05/blog-awards.html

Great job on the A-Z challenge.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love your second thing: I like my story dammit! I think that is the #1 thing when we're working on a new project. :-)

J. L. Jackson said...

Wow! Just found your blog. Love it! I write what I want to write, not playing to the market. If it is well written, there will always be a market for it.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I'm with you, Katie! It feels good to be back in the throes of a WIP after a lull in writing -- whether or not the story is marketable.

You know I've had some trouble with this one, and I think the only thing that prevented me from giving up is the interaction of the MC with his eccentric and rather unpredictable love interest. I enjoy writing about these two, and maybe I can improve on the plot in later drafts -- or maybe this will be one just for me.

But, hurray, I'm writing!

Nicole L Rivera said...

I'm a barrler. Hey, the more you write the better you get, right? So I say barrel ahead and worry about the workability part in the re-write stage. :)

Christina Lee said...

A little of both--but darn it's a good feeling to be in the thick of it again!!! So I say go with that!

Bossy Betty said...

Just wanted to say thank you for coming by and becoming a follower at my blog! I appreciate it!

(Oh, and yes, I just barrel ahead. Was there ever any doubt?)

Kelly said...

I think it's good to write what moves you and what you want and not what you think what will sell. Also, who knows, it may be marketable one day!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

So exciting to start a new story! One of my favorite things to do. How wonderful that you're loving it. I think you have the best attitude. Good luck with it!

Her highness, Samantha Vérant said...

You have to write what you want to write. I barrel on full steam ahead...WOO!WOO!

Carolyn V said...

Woohoo! Way to go on the writing!

Alison Smith (aka miss ali) said...

i def have the questions run through my head about the outrageousness, believability, swear-word-placement stuff, but while in first draft mode i try to not think of anything but getting the story out. the marketability luckily comes nowhere near it, but of course i wonder what readers will think. good luck with your new venture! x

Jo Schaffer said...

So exciting to have a new WIP!

I love having a writing/critique group-- it really helps the process. (=

Liz Fichera said...

I barrel full-steam and don't think about marketability. It's a blessing and a curse. I think if you write something because it will appeal to someone else (hopefully), the writing will fall flat.

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