A to Z Challenge: You

A sad update on Damyanti’s mother-in-law. After being bitten by a venomous snake a couple of days ago, she has passed away. Please pray for Damyanti and her family as they go through yet another difficult time. 

I want to point out something supposedly obvious today. Unfortunately, it’s something that gets missed a lot by novel writers.

Writing is about you.

You write the book you want to read.

You write the characters in your head. The way you want them to be. Unless they decided to disabuse you of any notion of control and ran away with your story ages ago. It happens. Trust me.

Writing for the market is stupid. Repeat after me. Writing for the market is stupid.

Don’t believe me?

Okay… sure. I hope you enjoy writing stories that you don’t care for because the one you love above all isn’t in the market. And let me just mention that the Reichenbach falls happened to Sherlock Holmes because his author grew to hate him. Why? Because no one wanted him to write anything else. Agatha Christie apparently killed off Poirot for the same reason.

And imagine you do succeed (by some miracle) at writing a novel that you hate, but it makes money. And no one ever ever wants to read something else by you again.

It’d be like being trapped in the seventh circle of hell. Just remember the waterfall has been done.

Now you get what I’m saying? Feeling a little nauseous at the thought of a writing career based on something you hate?

Good. Repeat after me. Writing for the market is stupid.

I’ll draft only for myself. What I love.

And then edit in line with market expectations.

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27 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge: You

  1. I'm headed to his blog to send condolences Misha. I always find it odd that Doyle tried to kill off Holmes, but it's probably like when a band gets sick of playing their most popular song over and over again.

  2. I think that, for once, I was a bit ahead of the curve on why I was writing. I wanted to write a story that I'd want to read. I still write for myself, mainly, and plan to keep it that way.

    A shame about Damyanti's mother-in-law 😦

  3. My prayers go out to Damyanti and her poor family.

    And your post subject is one of the reasons I self publish. No one can tell me it's not quite a good fit for that genre, that it is unmarketable at this length, that it should jump through more hoops and climb impossible mountains. It is how I want it and the review suggest that has been appreciated.

    Great reminder for us all Misha. X

    shahwharton.com

  4. Tried to comment at her blog, but it's members only sign-in for comments on Damyanti's blog. It's sad to lose family members, especially when it's sudden like this.

    As for the writing, I write what I want to read, like a few others said. I've heard 'but this is. . .hard to sell' from publishers, but for now, I'm sticking with it.

  5. Great advice!

    I got an email from Damyanti this morning about her mom. I've been praying since I heard about the snake bite.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

    Hope you're feeling better.

  6. I couldn't agree more. It's like an artist that sings a song that they don't particularly like, but they're going to have to sing that song over and over again if it's successful. And a writer will have to read their book over and over again. It sticks with you for a while, so it should definitely be something you like.

  7. So saddened by yet another tragedy in their lives.
    As for writing for others or myself – really good perspective on that. It would get tiresome to have to write all the same stuff all the time. The Nancy Drew books were written by a few writers. If you don't mind not getting credit for your work, that would be the thing for series writers to do. The Hardy Boys writer, Leslie McFarlane (Franklin W. Dixon), hated writing that series and later others took over the writing.
    Interesting thought and dilemma – quantity vs quality sometimes.

  8. Very sorry to hear about Damyanti's mother-in-law.

    I agree about writing for yourself, not the market. Somehow I really doubt that everyone writing in a genre that's suddenly hot are really motivated by an intrinsic, long-time love. As a name nerd, it reminds me a bit of people who insist they always loved names that only appeared, exploded, or experienced a resurgence 5-10 years ago. For everyone who truly loved Vampyres or a name like Aidan or Isabella 20 years ago, I think it's safe to say the vast majority of people only got interested after the trend started.

  9. I write the stories in my head. OK, pretty much all genres are more popular than mine which sometimes has me poking my nose at others. But I couldn't stand it. It's just not me. I have to be me.

  10. I actually did read a book the other day that was 100% forced. Seriously, that was torture, but I had to see what happened at the end. And no, I won't be reading anything else by that author. Definitely a dangerous venture. 😉

  11. My prayers are with Damyanti's family. What a sad tragedy!

    Thanks for this post. You're so right! Write what you want to write, not what the market deems “saleable”. As you said, you may sell something for the market, then you're trapped. Do you really want to spend the rest of your writing career creating work you hate while desperate to change your work to fit your heart?

    Makes more sense to start off with what you love 🙂

    Cheers!
    Jen

  12. I just tried to post on Damanti's blog too. Not sure why it's as it is but I'm so sorry to hear about her mother-in-law. The family have had a terrible month,

    As for writing markets, sometimes you have to write for the market and it's not fun but it's work and you need the money. If you don't then certainly write from your heart.

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