Monday, May 18, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different

Quote of the Day:
If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong.
~Charles Kettering

Current Local Weather:
Sunny. Too Hot Already. Dammit. Sarcasm
Punctuating Thoughts with Bursts of Productivity.

Currently on my iPod:
"Everything I Love"

Tom Harrell

Dear Friends, Family and Family of Friends,

Well. Nothing's really different here save the weather. I'm hot. No, not in looks, as in my neck is sweating and a distinct odor is emitting itself from...anyway, we've had unseasonably hot weather here in Colorado but I'm not going to complain any further. If you remember, just a few weeks ago we had a blizzard that almost killed me. So upwards and onwards. I'll listen to Bon Iver and hopefully get a nice chill up my spine to cool me off for a while.

For today's lesson, kids, let's talk craft. Something different for a while. Writing. Actual writing. Since the acquisition of my agent, then my editor at the big house in the publishing sky, lots of peeps have asked my "professional" opinion on writing. LOL. I still laugh, as that doesn't seem right. But here it goes.

First question they ask is about their work: Do you think this idea is going to sell. Uh? I'm not an agent. I'm not a publisher/editor/coveter of dreams...


I do know the single most valuable piece of advice I was given in this industry and it worked for me!

Write what you know.

If you are writing this:

A teenage girl, nerdy, rejected by her peers, falls in love with the hottest dude in school only to find out that he's a vampire and sure enough! He's in love with her...they run off together to have escapades one could only dream of...uh, think again. But you say, CICILY! Mine's different. MY BOOK IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE:

A) The Vampire's only suck grape juice, it's the true G rated version, will appeal to the mass market.

B) These Vampires are really joking. It's all a lie in the end.

C) It's really a story about the evolution of time and the meaning behind the creation of man and how teenagers are spawns of life and how if they suck the life out of eachother we'll all die of swine flu and there's no way any of us are going to survive this and I don't know how I'll ever manage my finances in this economy I must write a bestseller now.

IF ANY OF YOUR but..wait, no mine is really different excuses are like this, then, you've got an issue. You've got issues in the first place if your premise is anything like the example anyway so who are you kidding. Put yourself in check.

Ask yourself these questions:

* Is your premise original?

*If your premise is not original, then is it a great and original recasting of an oldie but goodie? Think of Shakespeare tales...

* Is your story appealing to it's target audience? i.e. Can you tell a story about love and lust, more importantly sell a story like that as a children's picture book? I don't think so...

*What is your overall message here and WHY ARE YOU the best person to tell this story? What is your platform?

If you're just a damn good storyteller then that's fine and dandy. But in today's market you have to be more. WAY MORE. Selling fiction is damn near impossible otherwise. So, here's the deal. What else do you know? Are you a rocket-scientest? Are you? Come on, admit it! Why don't you tell the story of rocket science! Are you the assistant to the first lady of the president of the world's largest block of cheese in Switzerland? What a cool job! Man, what have you seen on a day to day basis? Do you have a unique way of telling that story? Can you tell it through the view point of the individual holes of cheese you count every day? There's got to be a better way.

Think outside the box. This is how you come up with what's called, HIGH-CONCEPT ideas. Something that is rarely duplicated or replicated. Try to think about what you can offer the world that's unique. Think of how many people are trying to copy TWILIGHT!!! Argh. Be original, for it's the one thing we all have in common.

Good luck, now get those frickin pens rolling!

Yours in penning, pining, and ponying up to the task at hand,



Travis Erwin said...

And this is why my next novel is about the chupacabra ... the vampire of the animal kingdom.

Travis Erwin said...

Did I mention he's gonna catch shit on fire?