Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I write books I'd like to read

I wonder how many authors are really writing for an audience of one?

Probably more than admit it publicly.

Sure, like everyone else who writes, I'd like to sell 10 gazillion copies and never again have to listen to Rita the Rule Nazi harp on about how my code does not fit with the Microsoft style guide. I'd spend my days hiking and my evenings writing.

So, why don't I spend more of my time on market research and marketing for my books? Why don't I add more para-normal , dark fantasy, horror, romance and a couple of vampires?

Why don't I treat my writing like a job?

Because I already have a job. They have to pay me or I wouldn't show up. If my writing turned into a job where I had to go to meetings, write about things I'm not really interested in and do a bunch of things that bored me, I'm not sure how that would be an improvement.

Here is what I don't write and why:
Romance - I've just never really got into it. If Heather's bosoms heaved as she fell into the strong arms of Dr. Jake, well, I'm happy for them, I guess. Frankly, call me shallow, but I've never had an interest in anyone's sex life other than my own. Whether Heather felt her pulse rise as they kissed or they did the nasty on top of Farmer John's backhoe, I really don't care.

Horror - I've had some tough times in my life and have some close friends who have had way tougher ones. Horror comes just a little too close to reality for me sometimes. You don't even know.

Dark fantasy - I don't even know why anyone reads those books. I don't want to be depressed. I want to be happy. Why would I pay $6.99 to read about terrible things happening to people? I can watch the news for free.

Serious fiction - I confess, I hated English class from high school all of the way through college. I liked some of the books but not all of them. What I really hated was when we were supposed to read books like Faulkner or Joyce that really made no sense and then read them again trying to find the deeper meaning. To this day, I've tried reading some of the books on the New York Times bestseller lists and they all seemed to be writing about people as a metaphor rather than actual human beings.

Here is what I do write:

Stories.  I fly a lot from Point A to Point B and I like something to make the time pass by pleasantly after the flight attendant tells me to turn off my laptop. I really like stories that are so engaging, I forget about my laptop and working because I am engrossed in the story.

Happy endings, or, at least, not sad ones
None of my books end with the hero or heroine trapped in a dungeon while worms gnaw at his empty eye-sockets because the evil wizard's demon has sucked out his eyeballs, with the sentence "Read the rest of the Nasty Wizard Eats Eyeballs series and find out what happens." While my books may not all end with everything tied up in a neat little package, they also don't end with the bad guy snacking on anyone's entrails, either.

Romance or eroticism
There is some love interest in my books - they are, after all, people, or occasionally, gnomes, centaurs or giants, with a pegasus or two - but I like to keep my private life private and I assume my characters do, too.

All of the characters in my books (even the centaurs) are based on combinations of real people I have met. I know a lot of interesting people, so, I hope, the characters are pretty interesting. I try to get to know them because I think that makes a book interesting. Sometimes, I will rewrite a chapter because I think, "Lucia wouldn't really feel that way in that situation." I think one reason people keep turning pages in a book is that they want to find out what happened to the characters.

I knew I was on to something with my books when a relative I let read one of the early drafts came over to my house with a list of "demands". I still have it. Among other things, she said,

You CAN'T let Lucia marry Neven. He's all wrong for her! Neven should be killed off around the third book and she should marry Guillane or at least hook up with him. She should at least give him a chance!

I still haven't decided if I'm going to follow her advice, but she was quite passionate about it.

Another, younger relative wanted to know why Denae didn't get to be a wizard, that was just unfair.

I had to point out to her that Denae didn't actually exist. I'm not sure she believes me.

You can buy the first book in the Wizard and Spy series : The ex-apprentices on Amazon

or on Smashwords

1 comment:

  1. I was directed to your blog today from your tweet, GroupJulia, how my previous blog inspired this one. Well I am glad to have read it. I believe we want to write what others will enjoy but be passionate about ourselves, otherwise as you rightly state it would feel too much like the day job and become boring. Loved your post! Pleased to meet you (so to speak)
    Lesley :-)