Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Different Story, Part 2

First, I want to thank you all for all your encouraging comments on Monday's post. I really was just grappling with the strange feeling of confidence in my work - but you all heard my worry, and sent me support, and I REALLY appreciate that. Really.

Now, for today's post.

A few weeks ago, I told you about coming to peace with my WiP, CHROME, being a different story. It might take longer to write, and be a fundamentally different process. And that has to be okay.

Even though I had already admitted the stark difference of the book to myself, when I hit about 10-15K words on I realized another something that felt quite strange,  a sense of the book itself that has taken me some time to grow into:

No one's screaming for futuristic sci-fi retellings of Bible stories.
So, I have no idea if this concept, or genre, or whatever it is, is marketable at all. 
A funny thing happened when I realized that I can't realistically expect this book to go anywhere.
 (Given that I don't know whether people actually WANT books like this, I mean.)

I didn't stop writing the book.
After all, I don't have an agent to recommend that I write only What's Marketable.
(Though if I were to get The Email, you know, TODAY, I would drop Chrome like a bad habit and work on WHATEVER YOU WANT DREAM AGENT. Do you hear me???)

So, instead of thinking about querying CHROME and getting all hopeful and excited....
I think about querying and shrug my shoulders.

Saying "I don't care" is too...vague of a statement.
I care enough to write it well, to send it to CPs, to revise revise revise and shine and spit-polish.
(That's my plan, anyway - I'm still drafting.)
And I sure as heck am going to write a query that makes it sound as marketable as possible.
In other words - I'm going to try, really, really hard, to get this book to sell.

But if it doesn't? That'll be okay. And it's the first time I could really, truthfully say that about a WiP.

And I think that's because this story is mine. All mine. I want to be proud of it, but....
And if no one else loves it, that won't make me love it any less.
No (or minimal) potential for heartbreak or resentment = NO FEAR.

I wish I could query (and write) all my projects like this - fearlessly. It feels good, somehow.
(But I really, really do want to write something that attracts an agent and, please God, a publisher. Someday. I'm just not expecting this to be the book to do it.)

What about you, sweet readers? Have you ever poured your writer's heart and soul into a piece that you knew, from the outset, you were just writing for yourself? One that might sell, sure, but who really knows? How did it feel?

9 comments:

  1. Even if you are "writing for yourself" and it may never sell, at least you are exercising all of the essential creative muscles and keeping yourself going rather than getting stuck in a slump between potentially profitable projects.

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  2. I think the fact that it's different from what's already out there is what's intriguing about it!

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  3. I think if we start writing with marketing guidelines in mind, we're bound to lose some of what makes our writing creative and special. Sure, we should follow the rules about passive verbs and showing and telling and yada yada, but I think the minute someone tells me "This is what I want you to write" is the minute I won't be able to do it anymore.

    Just be proud of what you've created! I am proud OF you!

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  4. Yay Chrome! You already know that I love the premise :) But honestly, unless it's pitched as a retold Bible story, it might not be seen that way (unless you WANT it to be seen that way, of course). You're building a whole Sci-Fi world in there, and the story is different enough (from what I've seen) that it's really its own story, too. And a lot of stories are based off of Bible stories in some form. Even my current WiP, to a degree.

    I semi feel this way about my WiP, just because I have no idea how to categorize it--it doesn't really fall neatly under any label. It's a story that I love and that is close to me, and I THINK it's really cool and different and marketable...but really, who knows. And I'm writing it anyway, because I love it too much not to :)

    Anyway, Chrome sounds awesome and deserves to be finished and polished and queried. Watch--it ends up being the book you get an agent with, haha.

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  5. Definitely! My first ever YA (a contemporary) was like this. I queried it to get into the habit of sending stuff off, but I kinda knew it wasn't going to sell. I learnt so much from it, though, and will never regret writing it (or the one after, which I didn't even bother to query as I knew it wasn't good enough).

    As for your writing fitting the current market (or not), the genre my writing falls into (dystopian) was nowhere on the radar when I started my book. I just wrote it because that was the story in my head, that I needed to write. It's clear that you love CHROME and you're excited to write it, and THAT is what matters. It sounds awesome! Anyway, who knows, you might end up being the trend-*setter* for futuristic Biblical re-tellings!

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  6. I wrote a couple where I had that feeling-- but I wrote them ABOUT people. Impossible-to-publish / unwilling-to-publish helps you to not get those publishing thoughts. ;) Since then, though, I haven't felt it again. You made me all kinds of wistful for that feeling.

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  7. I've only queried one novel, but thats because my first novel was a challenge to write a novel. I wanted to query it - I even had an agent interested on the full based on the 140 characters of Twitter post I had - but I also knew it had so many problems and so much editing and face-lifting to do that I didn't WANT to fix it. (I'm stubborn like that. Also lazy. I am a Taurus, what can I say?) I ended up trunking that novel, but it was most definitely written for me, and for my freshman year college RA who would stay up with me at night and plot and edited the first novel in two weeks. I ended up giving her the final copy as a thank you for all of her hard work and friendship, two things she didn't have to go out of her way to do as a busy college student/RA to our hall, but she did anyway.

    You have such clear compassion for CHROME, Leigh Ann, that I really hope it goes far. I also think your love for the novel will drive it to the right place, whether it is traditional publishing or self publishing, etc. CHROME also just sounds so b@d@$$ and I am dying to read it. 1. I love it when I can recognize things I know in books (Passover, Exodus, ftw!) and I love science fiction. I really hope you work C for as long it needs to be worked on and I have a feeling it will kick @$$.

    If you would like a pair of fresh eyes (i.e not you, not your CPs), please let me know - I'd be happy to help. :-)

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  8. Be fearless. The book that I wrote that I thought would be "marketable" went no where with my querying. Then the throw away book (that I literally almost threw away) that I thought had no shot at being marketable, looks like it's getting a deal. The only thing you can control is writing the best book you can, and your best shot of that is writing what you're passionate about.

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