Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Where does your writing come from?

There is so much talk lately about staying true to your voice, as well as the opposite talk of writing for the market.  
Vampires are done to death, automatic rejection from an agent.  Werewolves are everywhere, don’t want to see anything hairy.  Fantasy is out, unless it’s new, but not new to you, new to me…
How do you write what an agent, and ultimately a publisher wants to see and yet write what you love at the same time?

Well, here’s how I write – for the market, for me, for my reader…  It’s one in the same.
I have a writing voice.  I have a writing style.  I have characters and settings and plotlines that flow from that place in me which I can’t begin to understand or explain.  I’m a writer.  But I don’t have a PhD in writing.  I write because that’s how I best express myself.  I write because there are worlds that I imagine, people and places that spring forth in my visions, and I fall in love with them.  Will you fall in love with them?  I hope that if I explain them well, if I draw them with my words in all the beautiful colors and emotions that I see them in, then you will.  Not everyone will.  That’s ok.  But maybe if you think like me, maybe if the same things excite you and make your heart race, then you will fall in love with my worlds.
I’m fond of vampires.  I’ve become increasingly fond of wolves and the occasional sprite.  I’m branching out in my writing.  But I’m still writing in a genre that is saturated with a few big-name characters that have turned agents and publishers off to a degree.
My Vampires are different.  My wolves aren’t ordinary.  And my Sprites are downright human, only with a few abilities I don’t have.  I think my characters stand uniquely amidst the sea of their kind.  But can I get an agent to look at my query and not say, ‘Oh another vampire/wolf/sprite…’?  Can I get them to request my MS, then meet my characters and see the uniqueness of their voices, of my voice?  That’s the challenge to me.
I have decided to write from my heart.  From that place in my mind where all of my experiences gather, all my dreams mingle and all my passions intertwine.  I try to write the best way I can, showing my worlds in vivid color and touch and taste and smell.  I describe my worlds to the best of my ability.  If I write well enough, the things of my heart, then when you read them you will see them through my eyes and fall in love with them too.
I do read as well.  In reading I’m influenced by the new worlds that others create and my own creative experiences expand.  In that way, the market does come in and influence my writing.  But I don’t try to predict what that particular agent will want to see, or this other one…  How could I do that and do any justice to my writing and my worlds themselves?
I’m sure there are more formulaic writers out there.  Ones who are educated in the writing process and the marketing world.  I’m sure that their methods could be drastically different from mine, and who knows, maybe more ‘successful’ as well.
I’ve chosen to write in the way that I love to write.  I’ve chosen to write out of a passion for the worlds that exist in me.  I long to share those worlds with anyone who wishes to glimpse them.
Because of that decision, however, finding an agent who can lead me on to my publishing dreams might be a bit more difficult.  But I believe in my writing.  I believe that the right agent will take a chance on me and request one of my MS’s.  And when they do, I think they’ll see my unique worlds and unique voice for what they are. 
I write the best query I can, about the books I love.  Maybe the subject matter will get me rejected more often than not.  But to the agents out there who are holding onto my MS’s in their ‘to read’ piles, I hope you connect to the worlds in my books.  I hope that the descriptions can paint a picture that somewhat matches the beautiful movie that plays in my mind.  Because if you see those worlds as I do, then I know you’ll fall in love.  If you fall in love, then maybe you’ll take a chance on me.
In the meantime, I move on to the next world that is being formed in my imagination.  Because there’s always another story to share, another picture to paint in bold and colorful words.  That’s what I must do.
I’m a painter, and my medium is words.
Thank you to all who have taken the time to read those words and view the pictures that I have made for you and for me.
I am, a writer.


Julie Geistfeld said...

Please take a look at Rachelle Gardner's post about this subject over at her blog.

inspired my post!

Jennifer Hillier said...

You most definitely are a writer. :)

I understand what you mean. I don't write about vampires, but I write about serial killers... as if THAT hasn't been done to death by people far smarter and more capable than me! I stressed about it until I realized I wasn't helping myself, and I focused on writing down what it was I wanted to say. Because as writers, that's all we can do.

As always, great post.

Julie Geistfeld said...

Hey, just read a great post by Nathan Bransford on this same topic. Visit his blog to read more...

alexia said...

Hi! I'm a new follower. I absolutely agree about writing what you like and are passionate about. Since the whole publishing process takes so long, it's hard to hit a trend in time anyways. I think if your characters are different, and your plot is different, and you express this clearly in your query, you'll get nibbles. Everything's been done - it's the fresh take on the old that becomes popular.

Julie Geistfeld said...

Thanks Jennifer and Alexia for the comments!

With a fresh take and patience perhaps it just really does come down to finding that right match for your writing style.

Jen Daiker said...

I'm a writer and I can tell you're a writer!

I look forward to following you and your journey!