Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Non-Conformist

It’s the eve of meteorological spring. Thank the good Lord for that. I feel positively Russian.

I didn’t write today, reading a few snippets of my book instead. When I wrote it, I didn’t intend for it to be a YA fantasy even though two of the main characters are 15. Upon consulting the ‘industry’ I was told that in order for my book to be YA it had to have this, that and that and in order for it to be considered ‘adult’ it shouldn’t have those or the other thing. The more I learn about markets and publishing the more I see that there’s a pervasive rigidity to the business. Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the signs?

I have more than one story going on that doesn’t fit neatly into the YA category, or any other category, or someone else’s view of how a book ought to be written. The question I have to answer is do I drastically alter what I have written to satisfy the market view? Must we comply? Confirm and conform?

Maybe I should change markets and go for the adults. Everyone else of importance in the book is an adult. But on the other hand everyone else being an adult shouldn’t preclude the book being read by teenagers. That's really a burner for me, the dictum that in order to be a YA book the main character has to be a teenager. Beyond elementary school I don’t recall there being books for my specific age bracket. There were books that had sex in them that we weren’t supposed to read (but did anyway), otherwise everything was fair game. I read Robert Heinlein, who didn’t write for teenagers. I read Stephen King. Mary Stewart. M. K. Wren. Anne McCaffrey. Tolkien might have written The Hobbit for children, but he didn’t write The Lord of the Rings for teens. The characters those authors wrote about were adults, but as a teenager I read them all. I wonder if that isn't as true now as it was then. When did we start categorizing to such a degree anyway?

I’m not exactly a rule-breaker by nature, but I don’t believe in too much conformity either. We, as different, individual people don’t fit into rigid categories. How can we expect our books to do the same?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A day of beginnings

Today I decided to create a new blog about my experiences with writing. I'm at a difficult place in my writing and need to step back. At the same time, I'm not really happy not writing at all - thus the creation of a blog about these difficulties that might help solve some problems and keep the creative juices flowing at the same time. Kill two birds.

Speaking of birds - they are eating a massive quantity of birdseed this winter. Must be because of the massive amount of snow cover that lingers and lingers. Come on Spring. I think the birds would agree.

Today I'm learning how to make a blog. Thank goodness for templates. I've yet to learn how to make a website. I suppose that'll be next on my things to learn how to do list. I made a previous blog about my old house but haven't done a good job keeping up with it. I hope to do better with this one.

Writing is what I know. It's hard to prove you know it unless you're published which is a goal extremely difficult to achieve. Writing is what I want to do and I hear that no matter what I should continue writing. Reach for the dream. Of course I want to be published. I haven't met a writer yet who doesn't. I'd like to be well-read, not necessarily famous, though I'm not going to turn that down if it happens. I'd like to have an income derived from writing. Trying to make a living doing what you love to do is a dream many people strive for. I'd like to believe that hard work alone will make it happen but it's likely going to take so much more than that. Fate? Luck? The right place and the right time?

I'll keep you posted.