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pcarney
May 26th, 2003, 03:25 PM
This thread is spurred on by a couple of comments in the "Going Nowhere" thread.

Who do you write for? Yourself? That would seem to be the most obvious audience, however, most people on this board would like to be published (or continue to be published!). So while you write, doesn't it make sense to tailor the story according to what is being sold on the market? Or is this :eek: selling out! :eek:

Frankly, I can see valid points in either direction. What do ya'll think?

OgreWolf
May 26th, 2003, 04:23 PM
I only write for myself. Of course I would like it if other people enjoyed what I was writing, but I would never write solely to sell books. Of course i would like to be published: firstly, it would be a major boost my selfesteem. And, it would be heaven to actually be able to live on what I would earn from my writing.
So, yes, I write for myself, and i do not write to please people or the possibility(?) of ever earning anything on it. And as I said, it would, of course, be great if people actually liked what I wrote.

mistri
May 26th, 2003, 04:28 PM
I would never write something I didn't want to write, but unless it was a story I felt simply had to be told, even if it was never read (and yes, there's been one of them already) I wouldn't spend a lot of time on something I felt would never sell/be read. But I also believe that *most* stuff is saleable if it's good enough.

I'm not a career person, but I have to work to live. I'd rather live with money earnt via writing, than through a career I have no love for. And so I would like to sell most of what I work on - because I can't afford to spend time writing stuff that will not lead towards me living my dream - writing for a living. This does not make me a sell-out - I'm still writing what I want to write.

Bear
May 26th, 2003, 04:32 PM
It depends on the piece. I write non-fiction for myself, both as an excercise and an outlet. But when I write fiction, I write it with the intention that it will be read. Maybe not by the world, probably only by people I know, but written to be read nonetheless.

OgreWolf
May 26th, 2003, 04:34 PM
Of course, the way I feel about this might change if i ever got published. I think this changes the first time you are published, at least to some extent. Your next work will probably be published too, and so you might stop to think what people like to read.

Pluvious
May 26th, 2003, 04:44 PM
Originally posted by mistri
I would never write something I didn't want to write, but unless it was a story I felt simply had to be told, even if it was never read (and yes, there's been one of them already) I wouldn't spend a lot of time on something I felt would never sell/be read. But I also believe that *most* stuff is saleable if it's good enough.

I'm not a career person, but I have to work to live. I'd rather live with money earnt via writing, than through a career I have no love for. And so I would like to sell most of what I work on - because I can't afford to spend time writing stuff that will not lead towards me living my dream - writing for a living. This does not make me a sell-out - I'm still writing what I want to write.

Oh No! Mistri, are you propigating your sell-out ways again? j/k :)

I, Brian
May 26th, 2003, 05:46 PM
My point was that publisher demands can be quite different from the reader demands. For a start, there's the issue of keeping a good tight POV, and also ensuring that your novel doesn;t over-run (everything I read says aim for 100k word count, with lee-way for fantasy).

I can never advise people write souless junk in case it sells better - what I'm talking about is the way a story is shaped or framed. If I were writing for myself I'd end up breaking POV "rules" and the like. The publishing business appears far more demanding than I. That's why I bear their concerns in mind - usually technical ones.

I just wnt to publish a darn good story filled with original ideas. The publishers seem to insist that I at least frame it in a certain way.

***
At the end of the day, I know a rushed agent will rush through my first sentences intending to rush on to the next manuscript. My job is to to work the expression fo teh story so that the agent and editor will not be able to put it down - I've gone for good strong pacing from the start, and yet still manage to ride a series of climaxes towards a grand conclusion.
***

So my answer is the agent. I want their attention. I demand it. I try and achieve that through the story structure.

mistri
May 26th, 2003, 07:26 PM
Originally posted by I, Brian
My point was that publisher demands can be quite different from the reader demands. For a start, there's the issue of keeping a good tight POV, and also ensuring that your novel doesn;t over-run (everything I read says aim for 100k word count, with lee-way for fantasy).

I can never advise people write souless junk in case it sells better - what I'm talking about is the way a story is shaped or framed. If I were writing for myself I'd end up breaking POV "rules" and the like. The publishing business appears far more demanding than I. That's why I bear their concerns in mind - usually technical ones.

I just wnt to publish a darn good story filled with original ideas. The publishers seem to insist that I at least frame it in a certain way.

***



I think that publishers want things framed in a certain way - because in most cases that is what is best for the book. Of course there will always be exceptions - you may want to write a 200,000 word novel with lots of POV and it could be great, but I think a lot of stories could benefit from a good tight POV and ensuring the novel doesn't overrun. I've read a lot of good looong fantasies but also just as many where I felt they should have been cut for the sake of pace and the story. I've read books where different POVs have introduced me to a wealth of fascinating characters, and books where the use of different POVs has pulled me out of the story.

I think that once you're an established writer, it's easier to break the rules that the publisher 'thinks' are for the best - and an outstanding writer will always be able to break rules, hopefully whether established or not. The question is, as most of us are still trying to get published - do we constrain ourselves and think we're more likely to get published, or write the book in any damn way we like regardless of the effect that might have on our success? Luckily, I *think* my story ideas, and the way in which they're framed, won't ruffle any publishing feathers anyway - but I don't know what I would do if they were in danger of doing so.

I don't think publishers are trying to be anything bad with their 'rules' etc - they are just generalisers. They see what is successful and want to apply that to everything. In many cases, what they want to apply will work for a lot of books - but they do often forget to step outside their own boundaries and see that good things can exist there. But they're not bad.

Cephus
May 26th, 2003, 08:40 PM
I write strictly for myself. So long as I enjoy what I'm doing, I'm happy, even if no one else ever reads it or it never gets published.

KatG
May 26th, 2003, 11:28 PM
Originally posted by pcarney
This thread is spurred on by a couple of comments in the "Going Nowhere" thread.

Who do you write for? Yourself? That would seem to be the most obvious audience, however, most people on this board would like to be published (or continue to be published!). So while you write, doesn't it make sense to tailor the story according to what is being sold on the market? Or is this :eek: selling out! :eek:

Frankly, I can see valid points in either direction. What do ya'll think?
Well, the problems with the "write for the market" approach are several. First off, there's the question of whether you can successfully execute something similar to what you see out there. Successfully in this sense first meaning whether you feel you've done it effectively and secondly, whether it's well-received on the market, at least by a few folk. It's all very well to say, I'm going to write like so and so, but your brain may not be willing to cooperate. Meanwhile, your own style and sense of story may be just perfect for what you want to do, so why chuck it out for a form that doesn't fit?

More importantly, what you see on the shelves was written and sold anywhere from nine months to two, three years ago. You may see what looks like a trend and write to that, only to find that the trend, such as it was, is long gone. Publishers often have inventory glut in the genre, and if they've already got a number of stories under contract that they have to publish over the next year or so, they are likely to be less interested in your exact same sort of story because they don't have a spare slot for it. Publishers themselves aren't fond of trends because they're unreliable, and reading hundreds of ms., if it's fresh to them and they think it is well done, that often has more appeal than an apparent clone. Occasionally, an editor or agent will be looking for something specific, but most of them will advise you not to write to trends.

Third, the people who are getting the most attention in the genre tend to be the writers who stand out in the crowd and who are doing something slightly different. You can't say that of every bestseller, of course, but if you try to follow someone else's vision, why would anyone want to read yours when they can have the original? So in a real sense, not writing for the market is writing for the market because you build a stronger product to offer.