Thursday, November 02, 2006

Writing Dilemma 101

The lesson for today: Read other writer's blogs!

I'd like to dedicate this lesson to the successful thriller writer, Mark Terry, ( for inspiring me to jump in and join the whole writers-writing-blogs party. His post on Nov. 1st "What's your Franchise?" made me a true believer in both serendipity and the goodness of blogging. Here's why:

I had just emailed my agent a long sort of "help, I'm having an identity crisis and I'm not sure if I should be writing what I'm writing" type of letter. You see, what I'm currently writing is Science Thrillers. I'm about 100 pages into a medical/science thriller titled THE MOTHERCODE. It's going good. I did over a year of research before I started writing to make sure I got the science right. I'm happy with it so far's the problem: I'm feeling a bit like I'm writing with chains on, trying to fit the novel into a box. It's making for slow writing.

My first book, THE NEURAL NET, (the one that got me the agent) is more of a science based literary suspense. Try to figure out where that would fit on the bookshelf! So, I decided to take a more commercial thriller approach with THE MOTHERCODE. Beefing up the action/danger and curbing my group-therapy-worthy-addiction to description (though I still get into the main character's thoughts and feelings, I'm not giving that up).

So, anyway, one day instead of working on this novel in progress, I ended up writing a short story called "Demon In a Bell Jar". Yes, my agent would like me to get some publishing credits with short stories, but if I am to be honest, I wrote it because I had to. It's a science based literary short story...go figure. It was like a crack addict going for the pipe, I swear! I was all smiles that day and not because it was all that good, but because I got to write what I loved.

The dilemma: Write what I love? Or write what's marketable? Is a happy medium possible?

That's where Mark's post comes in. He reiterates the point that whatever you get published first is basically what you will be writing in the future. Which only makes sense because that's what your readers come to expect from you. Sure, he says, some writers ignore this novel-in-a-genre-box-reality, but they do it with risk because the publishing professionals need to know how to sell you. (period)

So, thanks, Mark...for the words of wisdom and the comfort that I'm not just being neurotic. This is something I do need to figure out!

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