Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Time For...


That's the catch phrase lately and it's very catchy.

I've always been a big fan of change, especially when things aren't working. You'd think that would be a no-brainer, but's not.

So, this blog and my writing are going to be changing focus. I've been struggling for a while with my writing because of the incompatibility of my style (literary) and my themes (science). I've read a few things lately that have cleared up my misconception that literary science fiction would appeal to anyone but me.

First, I've been reading a bunch of the older science fiction short stories from the masters. I love the way they turn your view of reality and the world upside-down, the way they expand your mind and the possibilities of your life. It's what always draws me to science fiction. But, they are definitely all about the story, not about the writing. Don't get me wrong, I love this, I enjoy reading it--I just can't write it.

Then I read: The Career Novelist: A Literary Agent Offers Strategies for Success. (click on the link and you can download it for's seriously a must-read) and I finally got it. Donald Maas says when you try to cross genres, one plus one does not equal two. In my case, I would not gain the audience of those that love literary and those who love science fiction--instead I would have a novel that doesn't entirely satisfy either audience. The most I could hope to gain is the small overlap of people who go to the bookstore and spend time in both the science fiction and literary sections.

When I asked myself how many other people I really think do that, I felt very alone...and heard the proverbial crickets.

People are mostly category loyal. There are exceptions, I know, but if I'm going to be serious about writing as a career, I can't bank on appealing to the exceptions. No agent or publisher is going to take on a writer who appeals to such a small group, especially not in today's market.

My plan right now is to stretch my literary wings. I've been working on some non-science literary short stories and flash fiction and am going to work my tail off trying to build up some publishing credits. I'd like to be able to add science back into the equation at some point in my writing, but until I figure out how it is the literary road I will be walking, stumbling, and running down.

So, that's me. I hope you all are writing and hanging in there!