Thursday, July 10, 2014

Write What You Love, Reprise

So, I sat down to write my evil blog post and the first thing I did, as always, was to read the last post on Evil Writers. Just to check the pulse of things, so to speak.

And then I realized I was going to have to come clean and follow up what Seleste is talking about with my own little story.

I came into urban fantasy sort of by accident. When I wrote Between I meant it to be what I think of as contemporary fantasy - real world characters who also have fantastical adventures. In all honesty, I hadn't read much urban fantasy at that point and had to give myself a crash course to see what I'd stumbled into. I found a lot of great books that I very much enjoyed.

I also came along at a very bad time. For whatever reason, the urban fantasy and paranormal bubbles have burst, or so our agents and editors are telling us. Sales figures seem to support this. The sad truth of this, for me personally, is that the Books of the Between have done okay, but not as well as the publisher hoped. It's still up in the air whether The Nothing (Book #3 of the Between) will get picked up for contract or not.

As for the book I just turned into my agent, a paranormal mystery called Dead Before Dying, my agent has warned me that it probably won't sell. Not only is it paranormal, which is on the downslide, but the main character is a female of a certain age, also an unpopular choice on my part.

I've loved this book since the idea for it first drifted into my head and I'm in love with it still, so this is a hard truth to hear.

But you know what? I'm glad I wrote it. I would have written it anyway, knowing what I know now. And I love The Nothing and I'm still going to finish it, even if the much hoped for contract never materializes. I have plans for it, in fact. If there's no contract, then it will be time to go Indie. I promised my readers a third book, and I aim to deliver.

Writing completes me. It fills some gaping empty place in my soul. Unfortunately, the things I love are maybe not what most of the world wants to read. And so there we are.

I'm always mystified why people who don't love writing get into a business that is a morass of rejection, heartbreak, ever shifting markets, and damn hard work. Success is an illusion and I have a feeling you never quite get there, even if you do hit the top of the charts. The wheel of fortune is always turning, and what is up will come down.

So you'd damn well better find a happy place somewhere that is independent of agents and editors and markets and reviewers and maybe even readers. I'm still working toward this. There are spells where I want to rail against my fate, to wish I loved different things, or was born at a slightly different time.

And then I remember that there are all sorts of doors open to me now. I've got a lot more books to write. Maybe one of them will put me on the upswing of the wheel of fate. Or not. Maybe I'll accumulate a whole lot of drawer manuscripts that nobody will ever see. Maybe they'll be magically discovered after I die. Or they'll be burned to the ground and nobody will read them.

And maybe none of that matters. As long as I'm alive and have a functional brain and the ability to move my fingers over the keyboard, I'll be writing.

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