Blogger: Wendy Lawton
How often do writers encounter a wrinkle of one sort or another and wonder, “So what do I do now?”
When I was writing my very first middle grade book on an obscure figure from history I was shocked to find my character featured in another middle grade book by a well-known children’s writer. I was devastated. I figured my story was already done. My big question was, “So what do I do now?” Happily I stepped back and realized that the story treatment was very different from mine and that my concept offered a series that was a unique presentation. I kept plowing forward and not only finished the book but found a publisher for the series.
We come across many a situation where we ask the question. Let me describe a couple. . .
Wrinkle: Say you are a writer who has been slaving away on a steampunk novel only to read that steampunk is dead in the water.
So what do I do now? Take a deep breath. The article is only one opinion in a world of opinions. Do some research. If you discover, from tapping into many sources, that it’s true– that steampunk (or whatever you’re writing) is dead– change it up. Don’t call it steampunk. You’re now writing historical fiction with a technological edge. Or you take out some of the quirkiness so it fits another popular genre. You remind yourself that regardless of what you call it, a story well-told is always in style.
Wrinkle: You are happily completing your nonfiction book in full before submitting it. It clocks in at about 85,000 words. You’re at a writer’s conference and you hear that publishers only want those big books from known authors since the cost of producing it will be significantly more and the retail price will reflect that. Most publishers would prefer to see a book in the 50,000 – 60,000 word range. Gulp!
So what do I do now? If your book is a heavy theological tome or a reference work, don’t sweat it. The academic market loves big books. If your book is for the people in the pew or the man on the street, start editing it down before submitting it. You’ll find that tightening it up will make a better book.
Okay, now it’s your turn. I’m here today– ready and willing to tackle your real life questions. Use the comment section to describe your particular wrinkle and ask “So what do I do now?” I’ll do my best to suggest some possible solutions.
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Writer: Ever ask yourself, “So what do I do now?” Answers here. Click to Tweet