Thursday, February 3, 2011

After A Long Delay...

Who Do You Write For?

The better to write for yourself and have no public than to write for the public and have no self.                     ...Cyril Connolly

OK, I watch way too much television. I admit it. This quote opened an episode of Criminal Minds, a rather violent series following FBI profilers. I vowed not to watch it when it premiered due to the graphic violence the opening episode showed toward women. I have since caught it on reruns and, sigh, am a bit hooked. I still think it is wa-a-a-a-ay too violence oriented. But I like the characters.

Characters are my weak points. I’ll watch a bad series because I like a side character. But…back to the quote.

It really caught my attention, so I looked it up. Found it had sparked a lot of thoughtful essay and even a book or two.

I have to admit that I tend to write for myself. I tell myself stories and want to hear how they end, so I write. I started that way, in back in 2003, and I’m still doing it. But I suffered a crisis of faith late in ’06. I found myself looking at the hours of writing and wondering… “Why was I doing this?”

You have to keep in mind, I was then of the mind that I COULD NOT HANDLE REJECTION. Ever. As I racked up millions of words the doubt began to creep in. I was wasting my time. I was wasting my life.

I stopped writing regularly. Writing for myself just wasn’t enough to justify the hours I spent at that table in Starbucks. My house was neglected, my yard a disaster… How could I justify the hours I spent not taking care of all of that?

Then, well…I almost died. We all know that story. And months later…I got my mojo back. But it was slow. And the fear of rejection was defeated, but I still thought about who I wrote for. And I came back to it. In the end, I still write for myself.

It’s the only way I stay true to the energy and commitment I began with. I might tinker with a few elements here and there, taking into consideration what others would like to see, but in the end…

I write for me.

When one writes for the public? Well, I think we all know authors who write for the public. And there are writers who balance the two, which may be the secret to fiduciary success. I’m not sure.

Anyone else given any thought to who you write for? And what it means to write for the public but sacrifice the self? (The place I believe I hovered at the crux of when I nearly died. But that could be just me! It does sound wonderfully melodramatic, don’t it?)


Quantum said...

Chance, I'm glad that you write for yourself!

It seems to me that this allows removal of constraints associated with personal baggage (eg fear of rejection, fear of criticism etc) and gives full rein to your talent.

The book will consequently be the best that you can achieve and so benefits the reader as well.

I'm also fascinated by near death experience, not in a morbid way, but as a link to understanding the nature of mind and soul.

Out of body experiences come into the same category.

You should write down your memories of what you felt and experienced .... for the benefit of science. *smile*

I write stories for my own amusement, and to entertain my grand.

Writing a novel is a major commitment of time and energy ..... I tried and fell by the wayside.

If I ever find the time .... perhaps.

But short stories, expressing a single idea, are relaxing to write and thats what I need. Writing for me. :D

Marnee said...

Boy, I was long-winded this morning....

Marnee said...

I don't know if things are this clear cut for me.

At one of my NJ RWA Conferences, Eloisa James gave a wonderful keynote about what inspired her writing. She says she started writing for money. Or so she told herself. Because writing anything but "serious" literature was taboo in her mind, she qualified her need to write romance as a means to make money.

She admitted that it was an excuse, but it was her necessary excuse to keep going. It gave her the ability to write when other more censuring aspects of her brain would have stopped her. It gave her freedom .

I suppose the question then is what Connolly means by "public." By public, does that mean money or audience?

For example, writing for money versus not writing for money? I mean, if anyone wants to see their book in print, we have the ability to self-publish. Anyone can do it. But if the goal is to make money at it, then we need to try to get our words out there in a different way. I suspect that every author who publishes anything or hopes to publish anything (self or otherwise) dreams of making money at it.

The audience question is an interesting one too. Because within that question is the what inspires your writing question. Do you write about Middle Ages Ipod designers--Scottish tree bark from Timbuktu for a touch screen--readership be damned, determined to listen to what's in your brain no matter what sort of stuff comes out? Do you pick up your favorite book and map it out, determined to find a formula within so you can plug in your own "characters" and Frankenstein yourself the next bestseller?

I'd imagine it's somewhere in the middle for most of us. A combo of what's in our hearts/brains and using the conventions out there. Sort of a nature and nurture thing.

Bosun said...

But there's a lot of wisdom in your wind. I'm going to have to think about this. And get some coffee before answering.

Bosun said...

Okay, I'm pretty sure I write for me. I've met a couple authors who were writing stories they didn't really want to write simply because they were the ones that sell and they wanted the money. I get the practicality of doing a job you might not like in order to survive, so I don't knock them for it. But I don't think I could do it.

Then again, I have a good day job, so you never know.

I guess that means I have the luxury of writing for myself first. The books I write are the books I'd like to read. I will never throw in shifters or space travel or time travel. Well, I'd consider the time travel, that might be fun. But for the most part, I couldn't write what I don't enjoy reading.

Now, I do want to be published and I do want to make money from my efforts. Much like Eloisa, my goal if I ever get a nice sized advance is to pay off my student loans. So I see it more as I'd like the writing to enhance my quality of life. For both myself and my daughter. Money is at the root of that, but the freedom and security the would come with the money is more important to me.

Donna said...

Great topic! I don't know that I've got anything to add--everyone said what I'm thinking. LOL

Actually, Marn, it cracks me up that we were both at that same NJRWA conference. Only I didn't *know* you then, so don't be mad that I didn't say hi. LOL

I don't have a specific audience in mind--I hope there are others who like the same things that I do--but since I don't know that for sure, I guess I write what I want, with me being the audience.

However, I think it's more than just "what I want". It's also "what I can write". I enjoy other styles of books, and I could probably emulate them if it were absolutely necessary to keep the world from exploding or something. LOL

But when I sit down to write a story, it's going to have certain aspects that I find entertaining or amusing. I think it has to, or we wouldn't be able to finish a book or get through the edits/revisions.

LOL -- looks like I had something to add after all.

Marnee said...

Money is at the root of that, but the freedom and security the would come with the money is more important to me.

I think I feel like this too. I'm not writing because I *need* the money. We can pay our bills, etc. But as you say, a little money from writing would definitely enhance our quality of life.

I also agree that I don't write just what I think will sell. I've dabbled in a few genres because that's where the stories that inspired me took me. But if I said I completely ignored market stuff, I'd be lying.

Marnee said...

Donna - that's funny. I won't be upset you didn't say hi if you aren't upset I didn't say hi either. :) LOL!!

I agree about there being certain styles that fit my voice better too. And there are some authors who write styles I wish I could write but that just don't fit me.

Bosun said...

I do think of the audience as well, not just me. I mean, I'm not going to kill the pet or anything. I know readers in general freak or are turned off by certain things.

But if you're a reader, then you are your audience. And what writer isn't also a reader? I read Romance novels for nearly 25 years before I sat down to write one. Me = reader.

I can't write to market now. Would love to sit down and write a great YA novel that caught fire, turned into a series, and became the next big (or little) screen hit. But I don't want to and I doubt I could no matter how hard I try.

Besides, by the time I got the dang thing done, it's likely the tide would have shifted and the masses would be onto something else. LOL!

2nd Chance said...

Writing for the grands is about writing for yourself, as you are writing stuff that you want to pass down and enteretain!

I think the book is best for being written for me, but I might be prejudiced.

Q - I remember nada. Went to sleep, woke up three days later in the hospital. No white light, no gathering of loved ones music... Not saying it wasn't there, but I guess I didn't get close enough to exerience any of it.

2nd Chance said...

Marn - I think an argument can be made that writing for the money is, at the heart of it, writing for yourself. Since you need the money. But I could be fudging the entire concept! ;-)

Eloisa may have used those words as a way to set herself free from the academy sort of writing, but anyone who reads her stuff can sense a connection to her conscripts and can tell it's more than the money.

Perhaps there is a balance between the two. Hate to be one of those zealots who say money don't matter. Hell, yes, it matters!

But I do tend to believe money will come to those who hold true to themselves, because the reader will sense the sincerity. (I'm channeling Linus...)

2nd Chance said...

Exactly, Bo'sun! Money is something that is important and to poo-poo the idea of needing to eat, pay the rent, pay the bills as unworthy...I'm not about that at all!

I hope the people I'm looking at you said. The writers who scurry from one trend to another, who write to formula, who jump on every badnwagon...and never really complete anything, or if they has a sporadic success, but lacks... sincerity! (Where's my blanket and pumpkin patch!?)

2nd Chance said...

Money is good. Money keeps the heat on. Money keeps ink in the inkwells. Money is the point at some point, but to really convince others what you write is worth their shelling money out for? You got to believe in you voice as unique enough to draw the audience.

2nd Chance said...

Donna - I think making yourself smile is part of the magic that will make your MS sell! It's the energy that becomes part of that magic. The key to writing for yourself.

I'd like to think that even if one were stuck in an office, writing manuels, one could imbibe that with your voice and style.

But that could be reaching.

2nd Chance said...

Donna, Yeah, I was in San Francisco...Terrio was in San Franciso. Never met. But I did get a postcard advertising the Revenge in the goodie room! And the rest is ... history!

2nd Chance said...

Marn - I think there are voices we admire and understand and appreciate because...we can tell they are sincere! I think the audience has a sense of when they are being pandered to and when they are being asked to come along on the author's ride. And being pandered to might entertain for the short term, but the long term committment comes from following the author.

2nd Chance said...

Yeah, Bo'sun...I think writing to the trends is like chasing the tides as a little kid. It's never gonna make you a surfer.

Bosun said...

I have to agree that you can read Eloisa's love and enjoyment of the process in her books. She puts her heart into those characters and if it were only about the money, she could have quit long ago.

Then again, writing is in her blood. :)

In Crusie's latest blog, she mentions that 20 books is a good career and maybe she can quit now. This was stress related and she's not really quitting (THANK GOODNESS!), but it does make you wonder, when do you quit if you're a writer?

I know I wish LaVyrle Spencer have never turned in her quill. Her books are perfection and she's one of the few authors who could write in any time period, keep the same voice, and yet all the books were unique and simply gorgeous to read.

But oh I wish she'd kept going.

Hellion said...

My story lines are so unmarketable, I'm 100% sure I write for myself. I do have a "conventional" story that did well in contests, but I couldn't finish because it bored me so much. Which is dumb reason not to finish a book because they all get boring at some time or another.

And yes, chasing trends is futile. Now MAKING THE TREND--that's the goal.

2nd Chance said...

Hellion - Your story lines are marketable! Pish! Posh! If I can sell a matchmaking albino kraken, pirates with ipods and senior sex... Of course your book is marketable. I've told people about Lucy's story and their eyes lit up!

2nd Chance said...

Ya do wonder if there is a limit...

Janga said...

If I were writing solely for myself, I'd be writing in a diary or a journal. Romance is commercial fiction. When I choose to write romance, by defintion, I'm writing with the hope of making money. I think there's a difference in writing for the market and ignoring the market. I don't see myself as a suffering artist being true to my vision whether anyone else appreciates it or not.

OTOH, I'm no masochist. If I didn't find joy in what I'm writing, if I weren't engaged with my characters, if I didn't imagine readers like me and my friends reading what I'm writing and inhabiting my fictional space for a few hours, I'd quit writing. Whether the last will happen or not, I can't know. But I do write with that expectation.

2nd Chance said...

Janga - I agree. But to be a successful dancer you have to listen to the music, and follow the instructor...but you have to enjoy it, you have to add your flare to catch attention.

I would never say that writing for the money is a problem. I think the problem is when that is the only focus,

The last few weeks we debated the whole issue several times. When the doubt creeps in about what am I doing this for? And the issue of...if I'm just doing to for the money and the money isn't going to happen...why write? I went through that a lot.

Writing is a lonely process and when doubt intrudes, you have to be writing for yourself or you'll find too many excuses to stop. Money can always be made by flipping burgers at McDonalds if the only focus is money. Lots of ways to make money.

I think one needs a big enough ego that expectation of making money is always in the mind, but not the only drive. Or the way you decide if you are successful or not.

I'm not one who says money doesn't matter, not at all!

But you have to have balance.

Donna said...

Ack. I'm forced to go to the mall today. *whimpers* Hope the body count isn't too high when I'm done. LOL

2nd Chance said...

You packing an ice pick? Well, considering your weather, I can see that might be needed to chip through the ice at the doors...

Julie said...

Anyone else given any thought to who you write for?


2nd Chance said...

How succint of you, Jules!

Julie said...

You want all of it, Chance?

Julie said...

I don't write for myself. I write for "The Public". Usually the Public of One ... IE I write something for one person but I place the piece in a place accessible to the general public.
Because I don't write fiction.
And because... Well it goes back to one of the worst arguments my sister & I ever had ...

2nd Chance said...

Only what you are comfortable with, Jules!

I do get that the audience of one is a legit audience, btw. And often, the larger audience does benefit, because despite how most of us feel on off days...nothing is totally unique. We all deal with the same things.

2nd Chance said...

Either way...I'm off on a Mum errand, be back later!

Julie said...

Only what you are comfortable with, Jules!

*Wicked laughter*
OhMyyyyOhMyWhy couldn't my sisters be more like you? What you are comfortable with? What I am uncomfortable is ... well ... Here yah go, Chanceeeroo...

The following is a message I sent to a fellow blogger. Two years ago. Sigh. I believe it is an example of a private correspondence that has a ‘public message’:

To write or not to write … to share that story or not … that is the question here…
What are the rules? How do you know what’s Right? What’s Ethical?
All I have to write about is Me. Which means that I am really writing about Me and The People in My Life. I would have to say , that in my opinion, few people have exposed their private lives as much as I have. Have I crossed the line in my meandering posts? Perhaps.
I have One Rule really that I use to guide me through the rights & wrongs of writing a story based on real events. Only one. It is Why am I writing this? Ask yourself that my friends. Be honest. Many years ago one of my sisters told me quote “You have a responsibility to talk about your life”. I told her “that My f***ing Life was Nobody’s business….” That was back in 1991. What changed my mind? Honestly I still feel that my life & the people that are in is nobody’s business. But I’ve come to realize ( with a bit of prodding from a few of my fellow bloggers) that a person’s experiences should be shared if they “show” others something positive…
Like why you should have faith.
Or hope in a hopeless situation.
Or how a bad situation can be resolved.
Why ‘losing” everything can be the best thing that ever happened to you.
Using reality , Imo, is really the only way to get people to truly Believe that good can come from bad. Or in the very least that a ‘bad situation” can be survived.
So you have an idea for a story? Ask yourself One question before you write it.
Ask yourself “Why am I writing this?’
If your honest answer is It will:
make for a sensational story
get me published
get me noticed
get revenge on those losers
or anything else that is self serving then I ouldl say “Writing that is Unethical”.
If however
your answer is “I want to give people something positive from the Wisdom that I’ve learned from this negative event” … then I’d say … Write the Story. Much as it pains me to admit that my sister was right “You have a responsibility …”

Julie said...

An example of "I write something for one person but I place the piece in a place accessible to the general public."

Chance, I know that you are familiar with this example. For those of you who are not , and are curious, check out my note "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye." on my FB page. I wrote the note for my daughter. But I placed it on a public page so that others could read it. Why? Because ...
Death affects everyone's life. And often times when tragedy strikes … The mind doesn’t know what to say. But the heart does.

Julie said...

Talk about long winded. I should have stopped at yes!

Di R said...

Wow! A very thought provoking post.

I think if I can't entertain myself with my writing, I can't expect to entertain anyone else.


2nd Chance said...

Di R - Yes. All in all, that is the total point.

Jules - I don't totally agree that self-service is always a measure to use. Self-service is important. As the Bard said,

"This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."

You must be true to your self and sometimes that requires acknowleding the need of self-service, or you empty the cup from which others drink. (Fill the well! Be true to yourself!"

Quantum said...

Janga: If I were writing solely for myself, I’d be writing in a diary or a journal. Romance is commercial fiction. When I choose to write romance, by defintion, I’m writing with the hope of making money. I think there’s a difference in writing for the market and ignoring the market. I don’t see myself as a suffering artist being true to my vision whether anyone else appreciates it or not.

Janga, I know that academics don't eat of gold plates, but isn't that a trifle cynical?

By writing for oneself I mean primarily for oneself. One can simply enjoy writing creatively as a hobby, without being a 'suffering artist'!

If the result is worthy of publication and makes money, then so much the better, but that does not have to be the prime driver.

I know several people in my neighborhood who write short novels for enjoyment. They are story tellers and love their friends to read their work.

Occasionally they self publish and the books are sold in local shops. The money is pea nuts but I think that they get a certain pride from seeing their work on display, and even more when someone buys it.

To set out deliberately to compete with Nora Roberts and rake in big money, enough to justify all of the time and effort involved, seems likely to end in tears.

I don't often disagree with pirates but in this case I'm gonna defend my hobby! 8)

Julie: I write something for one person but I place the piece in a place accessible to the general public.”

Same here when I think its worth a public airing *grin*

Bosun said...

I agree with Q. (He said it all so well, doesn't seem like I need to add anything more.)

Julie said...

Jules – I don’t totally agree that self-service is always a measure to use. Maybe only in my case chance ...

“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
And therefore I cannot be false to who I am?
I was raised to ser-eeerrrr lets us say Chance that in my case serving is being true to myself & it pleases me. So why not please myself? And do as I please? Which is to do what is my Nature.

2nd Chance said...

Yup, Q... I think, in the end, if you write for yourself, the integrity will make it marketable and attractive. It's like the laws of magnetism (probably spelling that wrong) ... You have to believe in what you write first and like it, amuse yourself. I think that is my real point.

Jules, it that works for you, then it works for you! The trick is to not be of so much service to others that you empty your well, letting others drink first and deep constantly. Sometimes you have to step forward and say, let me drink first. Like when one flies and they say adjust the O2 on your own mask before helping others. You are no good to anyone if you pass out trying to help others first!

Julie said...

"Like when one flies and they say adjust the O2 on your own mask before helping others. You are no good to anyone if you pass out trying to help others first!"

I totally agree, Chance. Purhaps what I should have said is i have a very Persuasive Personality. I try to keep that in mind when I am writing , speaking, whatever … Because its toooo easy for me to persuade others to see things my way. Therefore. I have learned to ask myself is this ethical? Or are you manipulating someone?
Why should I give a shit? Because … I am not always right. Bottom line? At the end of the day I want a clear conscience. I’m selfish like that! LOL

2nd Chance said...

Jules, you aren't evil enough! LOL!

Janga said...

Q, I'm quite willing to concede that you may view writing as a hobby and pursue it only for the pleasure it brings you and whatever audience you share it with. Please note that in my comment I used only first person singular pronouns. I spoke only for myself. I don't think I'm cynical at all.

I'm a writer, and I will always be a writer, regardless of publication or monetary compensation. But the writing that consumes most of my time and energy now is commercial fiction, and I do write it with hopes of making money. I write in a genre I love to read, and I chose a subgenre that seemed the best fit for my voice and values.

I'm not a fool. I have no expectations of rivaling Nora Roberts or Debbie Macomber, but my goal is to produce fiction that someone will pay to publish. I do see publication, advances, and royalties as a validation I desire. I can buy bread, but I like jam with my bread. I refuse to be dishonest and say I write only for the joy of writing. I don't think wanting this reward means I'm cynical or shallow or lacking in integrity. But again, I am not generalizing, only expressing what is true for me. I acknowledge that the rest of you may have different truths.

2nd Chance said...

Janga, I don't think Q was meaning that. I know when I wrote this blog I was thinking about the sense of loss...when you feel like you're writing in a vaccume and how do you get your feet back on the path of writing. Who do you write for? If your only aim is to be published, it can be very disheartening...I see way too many writers chasing genres and forgetting to enjoy the actual act of creation.

If you write for money, that is a perfectly legit goal that can keep one from getting lost.

My word, money is energy as much as anything else. And we all need energy.

Bosun said...

I guess I took this as more related to what I write. I write for me because WHAT I write is for me. It's not for anyone else. I'm not writing anything that isn't a book I'd pick up off the shelf. I think that's where I sided with Q.

Didn't mean to make that feel like an attack, Janga. Sorry about that. But my guess is the stories you write are for you first, then for others, then for publication. Which you might have really said and I'm just not seeing it clearly. The point is, it has to be the combination for me. If any of those reasons are missing, especially the writing for me part, then I can't see this being worth the effort, even with a big pay day.

Julie said...

Jules, you aren’t evil enough!

Ooooh Chance, I <3 you!
*wicked Wicked laugh*

Donna said...

I want to make money from my writing. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that. To me it's the same as selling any other skill I have (managing people, typing fast, etc.)

However, I will only be able to make money by writing the books I like, as well as the kinds of books that I can write.

I can't write like other folks, even though it might be more profitable if I could. I can't write YA, for example, because I don't "get" it. I don't have the insights or the voice for it. There are certain genres I could probably figure out how to do it, but it doesn't interest me.

I respect whatever anyone does with their writing, whether it's to let off steam or express their experiences or to pay their bills. We all have different paths to follow, and I'm glad there are multiple ways to do that. :) There's plenty of room for everything and everybody.

Janga said...

Perhaps I'm overly sensitive on the issue because of the disdain that many academics feel for popular fiction. But the point I was trying to make is that I don't see myself as writing only for myself. I write what I like, but I also write with the idea that my text will become public and that I will be compensated in various ways. That's true even with blog posts.

2nd Chance said...

Yeah, its like what Donna said. Money is good. I love money. I want to make money with my writing. But I won't throw myself on a genre that I can't really write just because I want to make money or I want to be published. I think that is the road to going nuts. And I see so many beginners try it.

I think the key is knowing who you write for and why you write it. I think we all start by wanting to write what we don't see on the shelves, hence, we write for ourselves...first. But not only.

Just as writing in pursuit of money only or fame can lead to being or feeling lost.

Donna said...

Okay, let's start Happy Hour. Chance, pour us a round of something strong!

2nd Chance said...

Everything I pour is strong! I just saw a recipe for a new kraken rum... Let me go fetch it!

The "Moveable Beast"
1 part Kraken Rum
2 parts champagne
juice of one lime
6 muddled mint leaves
2 tsp light brown sugar

(I love Kraken Rum's FB page!)

Donna said...

Wow. Either we oughta brew some coffee, or get the hammocks ready for when people pass out.

Let me go do a little more revising before I sample that libation. :)

Bosun said...

I'm feeling tipsy just reading that.

In other words, Janga, we all said the same thing. LOL! And I hate that you have to feel so defensive because of the disdain around the academic halls. I can see where having to defend your choices all the time could make you a quick draw in a discussion of this nature.

2nd Chance said...

Ah! Revise under the influence!

2nd Chance said...

I'm gonna be hitting the road for home soon. Been at me Mum's.

Quantum said...

Janga, I'm sorry if I misunderstood your post.

Your statement 'Romance is commercial fiction' particularly raised my hackles.

If that's your personal view reflecting personal interests then its OK of course.
I disagree though and claim it doesn't have to be.

Janga, never in a million years would I intentionally suggest that your views are foolish.
I have gained enormously from reading your posts and blog and have enormous respect for your views on literary matters.

I used Nora Roberts as an exaggeration, only to emphasize a point, not to suggest that you are trying to compete at that level, though for all I know you could.

I merely question the proposition that, writing romance novels is a good commercial business if monetary gain is your main motivation.

I suspect that a time and motion study of all the work that goes into writing a novel and the expected rewards, might indicate that it is unlikely to yield a fair monetary return, except for the 'stars' in the field.

I haven't been fortunate enough to read your work in detail so obviously can't offer any opinion on star status. Though it wouldn't surprise me at all if you end up among the romance stars.

Lets just agree to differ.
Scientific debates often end that way so why not a pirate debate! *smile*

Julie said...

Wow! now that's a drink, chance!
Poor Janga ... want me to write something Suitably Subtle?

Yes I'm Subtle, SIN. As Suitably Subtle as ... well not-quite-yellow paint.

Janga said...

Dear Q, one of the drawbacks of electronic discussions is that we lack the ability to interrupt for points of clarification. I didn't mean "commercial fiction" in any pejorative way. I am accustomed to seeing the term used to distinguish between popular fiction and literary fiction as in this article that is filled with the implicit prejudices against "commercial fiction":

Hellion said...

So what we're saying--and what is true for pretty much all things in life--nothing is black and white. Most things in life are BOTH. We're writing for ourselves first, but we're also writing with an audience in mind (and with an audience in mind, that implies PUBLIC).

However, as much as we may write for ourselves AND the public, we don't necessarily let the public dictate how the story will go if that is not the story you have. (If so, I would have made Lisa Kleypas pair Daisy with Cam, no matter how awful they would have been with each other. And I believe other romance writers have encountered the problem where readers are BEGGING for this story or that, but that is not the story that needs to be written next or perhaps even ever.)


Hellion said...

My idealistic William Wallace self agrees with Q; however, Janga's posts make me think of the wise words of Christina Dodd, who when she is asked if she's ever written the book of her heart, she says, "They're all the book of my heart." LaDodd is not going to lie and say the money's not nice and not one of her goals in writing.

I think for one's writing sanity, writing for money should be the second reason you write; and the first reason should be: you can't help it. If there were no such things as novels, you'd still probably be scribbling things or telling stories anyway--it's just something you do. It's part of who you are. It's the talent aspect.

But Julia Quinn will tell you that talent only gets you so far. You need luck and you need perseverance (you know that blind optimism if you hang in long enough and keep working on your craft, you'll succeed and be famous! We all secretly have that because we all want to be read at the very least.)

So for your idealistic self--the one you have to protect at all costs--I think you need to be like Q, that we'd write even if we never made a dime. But our practical self should also listen to Janga--if we want more than our families to read our efforts, we should probably try to write something with more commercial appeal. And honestly it's not that hard to write something with commercial appeal--you've seen some of the crap they've published over the years. I know we've all read something and gone, "WHAT THE HELL?" and known we can do better.

But that's another blog, I'm sure.

Hellion said...

Janga, that article depresses me. *LOL* Though I rather knew that Austen didn't get popular really until much later. But I was always taught that Shakespeare's stuff was more...for the masses. It's not something to read though; it's a play, to be seen--so the jokes and stuff were supposed to appeal to the people at the time, to the masses. (Though I am having that flashback of Shakespeare in Love where Marlow is the popular playwright and Shakespeare sorta sucks. *LOL*)

I know commercial fiction is criticized as being horribly formulaic--and it is, technically. It does have a happy ending. It just makes me think literary fiction is formulaic in reverse: it can never have a happy ending. *LOL* (But I'm thinking of Austen and Gaskell as more commercial.)

Julie said...

Yes! You should be Like Quantum & Janga …which would make you Jantums … Quangas … Oh! Qunangaroos!

Julie said...

Make that

Julie said...

Chance isn't around to throw me overboard.
So ...
"Start writing, you Quangaroos! That's right. Hop to it!"

2nd Chance said...

You summed up well, Hellion. (Ignoring Julie for the moment...)

I totally get the rub about commercial fiction and find it a bit crooked-smile-inspiring. It always seems like commercial fiction is called that by the academy...and it's commercial because it's making money, while the academic writing generally isn't.

So! They think they insult us but in fact, we sorta smile behind our back and look all bemused that they see it as something to crack wise about.

I certainly didn't start this blog meaning to make it seem like a choice between money and integrity... More a matter of how writers that only write to sell. ONLY are obvious. The ones that suddenly write what is hot. It's like watching television jumping on the one successful quirky show and suddenly there are fifty copy-cats out there. Some good, some bad.

And you never hear the copy-catters say they did it for art. No, they did it for money! Why not?

I'm really tired and I doubt I made any sense with that last bit.

Janga, I hope you know this was never about the idea that writing for a living was less than anything else.

Have a Movable Beast. As soon as I'm in my own house, in about an hour, I'm gonna get drunk. I earned it!