Thursday, April 17, 2008

Be True

By Rebecca Talley

Part of writing means studying the market and trying to understand it. We sometimes hear that this kind of book or that kind won't sell and we shouldn't waste time working on something that won't have a market. Writers try to guess what the next trend will be. Who knew that Harry Potter would have such an impact, especially after it was rejected so many times?

While we can study the market, analyze sales trends, and even consult a crystal ball, in the end, we must write the story that's inside of us. Whether it's a picture book, an essay, or a novel, we must be true to ourselves in what we write. It is that truth that reaches people because readers can spot insincere writing. We do ourselves a disservice when we try to write something that isn't in our heart.

We should continue to study and hone our craft so that our stories can be the best they can be, but we should never try to make them something they aren't. We must be true to that story within our heart, the story that only we can tell.


Kammi Rencher said...

Amen to that! As an acquisitions editor, I see far too many "copycat" books. Every time a bestseller hits the market, I get at least a few similar books--and I readily admit I groan every time I hear: "This will be the next Harry Potter!" I can tell you that I have yet to see one copycat book that is well-written. The moral of all this is: write what YOU want to write, not what the market wants authors to write. Was fantasy the rage before Harry Potter? Were vampire love sagas hot sellers before Twilight? These authors started the trends--that's what you can do if you are true to yourself in your writing, rather than trying to force yourself into writing a bestseller.

Terri Ferran said...

I agree. When you write from your heart, from the story that is within you, it makes a huge difference. Having said that, you do have to be prepared if your story isn't marketable; because sometimes that happens. We have to stay true to our writing AND develop thick skins!

Josi said...

Sincerety and passion can't be compromised or the story won't feel whole to the reader. Great point, Rebecca.

Shirley Bahlmann said...

Rebecca. this is a great reminder, and one I really needed right now. Thanks for posting it.

Lyman Rose said...

Excellent point! It is also important to not try to step to far from your normal language. Sometimes authors stretch their vocabulary beyond their ability and it hurts to read it. When you write from the heart you tend to use the language that touches your heart and will touch the heart of the reader. Great reminder. Thanks,