Monday, May 6, 2013
HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL IN TWELVE STEPS: What to Write (#TWO)
HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL IN TWELVE STEPS (#TWO)
STEP TWO: WHAT TO WRITE
· This is a tricky one.
· Some people like genre fiction: romance, action, dystopian, YA, sagas, adventure etc. Some people like to read literary work that defies genre.
· There are new genres being created. Go to the store, go to the library and most importantly find out what you like to read. When you consider what 'genre' to write, do you choose one or does it choose you?
· THE ANSWER: WRITE WHAT YOU ENJOY. WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW.
· The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is an example of YA dystopian fiction that has never been ‘bigger’ but if you ask publishers they might tell you a new genre fad is on its way…
· I’d be wary of following fads. Maybe not so wary of creating one!
· Remember, by the time you start writing a specific genre, publishers are preparing to reveal a new ‘fad’. That said, I don’t think dystopian YA is a fad, I think it’s here to stay (just like reality TV…) although I’m not comparing the two… but when reality TV started to get popular, people said it would never last…
· The answer to the question of what you should write is:
· Most writers start off as readers. Readers know what they like to read and when they read, they have a sense of what they want to write. So should you.
· A NOTE ON FIRST NOVELS:
· Some of my favourite novels are first novels (The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, for example & Harry Potter). Where would we be without the circus of dreams or Harry and his friends? I am very glad those authors didn’t shelve those novels indefinitely or give up in their quest to get published (assuming their publishing processes weren’t ‘easy’. JK Rowling’s was tough – her agent famously had to submit her novel to many publishers before it found a home.) Neither she, nor her agent, gave up. We are glad they didn’t!
· Then again, they weren’t teenagers when they started and the writers I’ve just mentioned weren’t inexperienced, clearly, even though they’d reportedly never been published before. Both the writers I just mentioned had a good decade or more of learning and adulthood behind them.
· That said some remarkable first novelists are teenagers. SE Hinton wrote The Outsiders in high school. The Outsiders is one of my favourite teen novels of all time.
· So, there are no rules about when to start or what to write about and no one person ever knows everything.
· You should be the judge of what you’d like to write about, in the beginning, at least. After you meet people in publishing, perhaps they might suggest something to write about in advance. They may even pay you! (Where are those people?). Just remember, once your work is out there, everyone else will be reading & maybe judging it… So, make sure you’ve chosen a genre you enjoy and given your manuscript time to marinate before others read it and offer ‘advice’.