REMINDER! New Mystery Agent contest coming February 1, with special surprises when Operation Awesome hits 300 followers! Now back to the blog:
My friend Tracey had another insightful post the other day, From the Heart or from the Head. As she pondered what book idea to pursue next, she wrote:
I've blogged before that “write what you love” is some of the worst advice given out in publishing. That loving what you write will only get you somewhere if what you love also happens to be popular.I’m grappling with the same issue. The next novel I want to write is a difficult, time-consuming historical that is not inherently commercial. Yes, it’s the kind of book I want to immerse myself in as a reader and writer, but it’s not necessarily one that will sell in this very challenging market. And for me, that matters almost as much as writing a story with personal and literary integrity.
So I suggest that instead of writing what you love, you have to love what you write.
Our books are like babies in many ways, but if you’re trying to write to get published, writers have no room for unconditional love. We should try to use our love to make our books good and publishable, not just cling to our words and ideas because they are ours. Loving what you write is hard work, and there are strings attached to this kind of love.
So I pulled out my indispensable copy of Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, and I think I found a way to make my beloved historical better – a little bigger, a little higher concept – before I start it. It may not be the next Hunger Games, but I’m hoping that I can execute it well, and if I do, that it will interest readers besides me, and hopefully earn a contract.
And you know what? I already love it.