Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Writing What I Want

Some of the best advice I got from one of my advisors is to write whatever the heck I want. It sounds simple, but when you read as much as I do, and you read about writing as often as I do, it's easy to convince yourself that you should write a certain kind of story. I think this is especially true for writers who hope to be published. As I pursue that dream, I try to keep my finger on the pulse of what is selling, what types of deals are happening for various genres, which books are making it on the big screen, etc. As with anything else, trends emerge. Most recently, in the area of books for children and young adults, it seems that the more action-packed and alternate-worldly the plot, the hotter the book. Those books are being bought, promoted and converted to screenplays at a faster rate than most other genres. When you don't write in that category (or read very much of it), it makes you think that perhaps you're not writing what anyone would want to read.

The stories that most appeal to me are firmly planted in contemporary America. It's what I know, the environment I navigate daily, and full of characters and wonders that excite me. As I've blogged about before, I like to write protagonists of color who kick butt, take names and show kids that no matter where you come from, you can be a hero. I tend to write stories where my protagonist faces unbelievable hardships, yet finds a way to be successful in the end. Like all writers, I struggle to raise the stakes and make the obstacles harsher when I start to love my characters, but in the end my story is stronger for it, as am I as a storyteller. 

But, there are times when I feel like I need to stray from what I love to write if I ever want to see it in print. I have thought about giving my characters a super power, or plucking them into some Zombie-infested scenarios that might be more in line with the stuff on bookstore shelves right now. The problem is, that style of writing doesn't come naturally for me. Can I write it? I'm sure I could. Would I love it? Maybe. But is it the writing of my heart? Probably not. 

Fantastic adventures just aren't where my sincere interests lie. I appreciate that writing and admire those who can take themselves out of this realm and create a whole new one, but I like to stick to the places and spaces that speak to my every day life. It may sound boring, limited, or safe, but there is so much going on in the world that a writer like me can explore, that I don't feel the pull to write beyond the here and now.

Does that mean I will never try it? I doubt it. Maybe one day I will create a character and setting that goes beyond anything I've ever experienced and it will be wonderful, or I will fail miserably, or I will wonder what took me so long. But in the meantime, I am committed to write what feels true to me, to stick to the writing that moves me, no matter what is selling or making it to the Silver Screen.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Contact Me


Email *

Message *