Thursday, May 24, 2012

Writing What You Want vs. Writing What You Should


I was out for drinks last night with a friend of mine.  She went through the standard haven’t-seen-you-in-a-while litany of questions – How’s was your vacation? What are your plans for the summer?  Have you read Fifty Shades of Grey?   You know – all the stuff girlfriends talk about. Then she hit me with the big one: “What are you going to write for me next?”  I found myself speechless, staring at her as my mind drew a blank.  She laughed, citing how she found it amusing that had no problem talking about the indecencies of one Christian Grey, but when asked a run-of-the-mill question about writing, I floundered.

Here’s the problem: There is the book I want to write, and then there is the book I should write.

I am not talking trends; I am referring to tone and theme.  My passion is emotionally-driven YA contemporary.  As a well-trusted writing friend of mine once said:  You don’t build relationships.  You take existing, fully-functioning relationships and tear them apart, toss you characters into a pit of despair  just so you can rebuild them.”  In a sense, she is not wrong.  The problem is, there is a narrow niche for that type of book.

Which brings me to the book I probably should write – the lighthearted YA contemporary that is infused with humor and a ton of awkward firsts.  I have thought about it, even have the plot worked out and the character set to roll.  I even went so far as to get the green light form my agent.  I could write it, probably have a decent first draft done by the beginning of July.  Problem is, I’d hate every second of writing it.  Let’s face it, those of who know me and/or writing can say without any reservation that I don’t do peppy or hopeful well;   desperate and despondent is more my style!

Now let me say if first because I know you are all thinking it.  You should write the book you want to write. And I agree, but . . .

24 comments:

  1. write them both :)

    it doesn't have to be one or the other... if you really can't say no to the book you don't want to write ;) write it, it'll be good practice, it'll push you to explore.. and you might be so miserable that you'll give up, OR you might find that you can do it after all, and you'll learn new things about your writerly self. .....

    and then, while that 1st is out being critiqued, write the other one. The one that you want to write. :)

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    1. Cristina-

      In a way you have a point. I could write both at the same time, switching between them as my moods shift. Although, if if I am writing according to my moods, then this week I am writing only horror!

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  2. I can absolutely relate to that as emotionally driven YA is my heart. It does seem easier & more sensible sometimes to write fun, frolicky books full of mishaps & awkward love (which I enjoy reading a lot of the time),but I've found that my characters must have emotional depth and real life problems so, even when I try, I can't write that type of book.

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    1. NiaRaie-

      You know my writing well, and from what I have read of yours, I would venture to say that folicky doesn't fit either of us well :)

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  3. I agree with Cristina above~ and if you start cracking yourself up with YA humor enough, maybe you'll start enjoying the writing. Maybe watch an 80s marathon of John Hughes 80s films for inspiration--16 Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Pretty in Pink, etc. Those are filled with awkward moments and fun humor :)

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Ahh yes, perhaps a good dose of the BREAKFAST CLUB is in order

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  4. I think, you need to write whatever the hell I tell you to. Problem solved. Hehe fine I'll be serious. I get this dilemna, especially because you and I spend hours on the phone complaining about it. Just remember this - anything you write is pretty freaking awesome.

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    1. By response to you, my dear co-author, is the same as it always is. BITE ME. LOL.

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  5. YOU MUST WRITE IT--you can't keep that part of yourself bottled up. nonono! So now I'll have to bug you about it! O.o

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    1. Bug Away! Also, my belated thanks to your amazing insight to LEAVING EDEN. If I can ever repay the favor, let me know!

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  6. I agree with the writing them both idea. Maybe the light-hearted contemporary would surprise you. :) Good luck!

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    1. Luck and lots and lots of caffine...that is what I will need. Thanks!

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  7. Do both. You know you're going to anyway. ;)

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    1. I spit my coffee all over myself when I read this . You are so right!

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  8. I contemplate novel ideas for months and months before I choose. I pick the one that I believe in from every angle - something that fires my passion, that I understand and feel I can do justice to, and that I feel is new and marketable. (Yes, a LOT of ideas get thrown out during consideration because I think they're 'good' but not 'great.')

    Good luck finding the great idea! <3

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Lexa. I too have lots of ideas hidden away that have never come to fruition. Maybe someday I will go back and recycle a few of them.

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    2. Thanks for visiting my new blog. Nope, not many YA Horror writers out there. :( I came to your blog from Becky's. (For someone who's all warm and fuzzy, she appreciates Horror!) I'll be querying my Horror WIP end of June, and my first and only exclusive will go to your agent, who's also my dream agent *wishful sigh* But right now, dang, revisions are kicking my butt...

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  9. I'm with the write both at once camp. That is, if you have to write the other one. I mean, do you? Do you really?

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    1. Now, I don't have to right one or the other per se, but I don't want to spread myself thing either. I think what I will do is right the first three chapters of each and go form there . . . see which one resonates more.

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  10. That is a hard one... I tend to also lean toward those stories I really want to write... and it usually hits me in the middle of another book. I jot it all down, and promise those characters I'll be back for them:)

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  11. Hi Trisha, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
    http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

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  12. Take it from two light-heaerted YA contemporary writers - they're a tough sell, even if you have a passion for them. :(

    And sorry we've been so late to follow you! Jeesh - we'll be around more often now, I swear!
    erica

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