Friday, January 6, 2012

Writers Must Learn About Publishers

I appreciate the insights that industry folk like Susan Hawk ( share with writers. (See Trends in the Market – What Matters?) It’s helpful to us authors who toil on our word processors out in the hinterland. We typically write stories that taste and smell of our part of the world, that have people who talk like the people we know, and that deal with the concerns, horrors, and comedy within the lives of people we see. Yes, we also blend our local flavor with scenes we imagine from worlds we’ve never seen, but somehow we retain a smidgen of our local voice no matter how high we reach. That’s okay, I think. Where we have to watch ourselves is as Susan mentioned—we must strive to write stories with the kind of spice, conflict, and mystery that keeps our readers begging for more. If there were a formula for that, everyone would follow it. No, I think, and hope that the successful writer should not try to write only toward the current market trends. Instead, our stories must be enticing enough to grab an audience no matter what the topic. They must be a good, sound, engaging story—a story that would be appealing no matter if Vampires or Angels are the current “in thing” and whether they are about the macabre or the divine. In a recent course I took with Donald Maass, he emphasized how we should look at each scene and ask ourselves, “What if the opposite happened?” What if he shot and missed instead of shooting the intruder through the heart. What it she said no to the proposal instead of yes? This is the type of element, when used with skill, that gives the reader a surprise, the story more texture, and the author more options. Thanks again Susan for your insight – I hope to see more in the future–and to my fellow writers—latch onto the tweets and blogs of those people inside the business. Learn what makes publishing tick, and you and your writing will benefit.

For information on my latest story please go to This short story, Takeover: A Writer’s Nightmare, is a romp through the messed-up brain of a creative writer that takes you on a bumpy joy ride with a twisted ending.