Sep 25, 2012

The Novel You Want To Write vs. The Novel You Should Write

The other day I came across a blog post called Write A Beak-In Novel. You guys should definitely check it out if you haven't read it already. It left me stroking my chin. We've all heard before that we should write the novel that's in our hearts and never succumb to trends. My question: With publishers and agents scrambling to find the next major hit do we writers who listen to our hearts rather than our heads even stand a chance? 

I've been thinking about this a lot, especially now that I'm ready to work on something new. There are two novels I've already started and could be working on at the moment. The problem is, my head says one thing and my heart says another. I'm aware, just by reading the synopses, that one of these novels is a lot more break-in than the other. 

As a writer, would you put aside the novel that's in your heart for a novel that would give you the better chance of being published?

10 comments:

  1. Good question, Tracey. Hmmm, heart or head? Well, I'll say if you follow your head and land an agent and get published, then you're stuck with having to continue producing that type of book for a while. But, if you follow your heart and wait patiently for the right agent/editor to come along, then you'll be able to go into the indudstry writing what you love. Just my opinion.

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    1. I love you opinion, Linda. I definitely agree with you.

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  2. I think there's a big difference between choosing the more marketable of two concepts you feel passionate about versus writing a novel you don't care about just because you think it will sell.

    If you've (generic you) got two ideas and one is say, YA dystopian that is SO HARD to sell right now, and the other is a quirky, offbeat contemporary that is exactly what people are jumping on? Yeah, why not work on the latter and save the other? But if all you're passionate about is the dystopian, then I say run with it and don't worry about the market at this stage.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Jessica. I do think that writing a novel you don't care about just because you think it will sell is a bad idea.

      As for choosing the more marketable of two projects you're passionate about, I'd agree to go with what would give you the best shot.

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  3. Hmm, hadn't read this post, but I think she makes a good point. if your goal is to get published, part of the consideration while you're writing has to be in the marketability of your story. If the market is small, publishers are going to be unwilling to take a chance on the book. For unknown authors, that means no deal. I don't think it's necessarily selling out -- I think it's just one more thing to consider when picking a story idea.

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    1. Hello, Nickie. You definitely make a good point as well. After all, publishing is a business.

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  4. I have to agree with Nickie. I'm all for writing the novel of my heart, but after writing several manuscripts, I'm starting to value the ability of a hook to get you those requests (even at the query level) that will advance you to your goal (and up your confidence). If your goal is to get published, then I would try to find a balance between writing something you love and something that will be attractive to agents/editors. Hopefully you can find both!

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  5. This is hard. Although, I always think it's hard to pick when you have more than one idea in your head. It's such a long process, I wish I could just do them all NOW! :)
    I do agree with Jessica, though. And I don't think that if you get an agent with one book that you're stuck writing that kind of book, necessarily. Once you have an agent that loves your voice, I would think they'd try to help you sell any well written book. (But of course, I have no idea really, since I don't have an agent.) ;)
    Good luck making your decision!

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  6. I don't know. My first novel wasn't really "commercial" at all and I had no luck getting an agent. This time I set out to deliberately write a book that would have commercial appeal. I picked a concept I thought would sell.I'm not having anymore luck with it than I had with the first book. So, who knows what's in or out? It's all SO crazy subjective. What one person loves another hates. I say go with your heart and write the best book you can, the one that speaks to you the loudest. Good luck!

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  7. I tried writing for the market once... didn't go so well. :)

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