February 11, 2011
The Writing Meltdown Explained
I've always been a big proponent of writing what you love.
When I started drafting my first novel, I didn't worry too much that most editors weren't looking for space operas. I just wrote what I loved---namely, aliens and spaceships and intergalactic battles---and I was fortunate enough to find an agent who loved my book as well.
I used this same mantra to tackle my next project, a YA dystopian. Now, I recognized that this genre was very trendy due to the popularity of The Hunger Games, but I decided to write my novel anyway. Why would I do such a crazy thing? Because I loved the book's premise and because the story itself was bursting to be written.
But a few days ago, I got some sobering news that really shook my confidence in my novel. It ain't easy to sell a YA dystopian these days---I knew that---but I suppose this sentiment didn't really sink into my heart until this past Tuesday afternoon.
So I panicked. And I fretted. Should I scrap the book I loved due to market saturation? I was confused and frustrated and sad. I had poured so much of myself into this book---specifically, my angst about becoming a mother and my issues with my religion---and I was nearly finished with the first draft. The thought of throwing it away made me want to cry.
After a few days of contemplation though, I think I've decided what I need to do. I'm going to finish my book and then assess it. If I feel it can stand out from the crowd, then I'm going to edit the shit out of the book and send it to my agent. But if I feel that it falls flat, then I'm going to shelve the novel for now and work on my new WIP.
Shelving this manuscript will be tough, of course, but I'll do what I have to do. After all, publishing is a business and my books are my products. The last thing I want is a product that won't sell, right?
Does that sound really cynical? Gosh, I hope not. At the end of the day, I consider myself a ridiculously optimistic and hopeful person. And I still believe strongly that you have to write what you love.
But now, I'd add a caveat to that: you gotta write what you love AND you gotta keep trends in mind.
On that happy note, I'm going to have myself a bowl of ice cream!