More and more these days, I am seeing agents and editors looking for "quirky" or "edgy" or "genre-bending."
I'm afraid they won't find that in my work.
I'm not quirky. I'm not edgy. I don't create fads (like the Jane Austen-related books or teenage vampires in love). I don't blend two worlds - like Jane Austen and zombies. I don't create bizarre scenarios or write with an eccentric slant.
That's not me.
To thine own self be true.
I write about normal people that find themselves in less than ordinary situations. Usually, they must dig deep inside themselves to find the strength and courage to deal with these situations, and in the process, they not only learn and grow, but they become a better person for it. They're simple stories full of heart and soul.
I believe there is room for books such as these. I've read many of them. But in the current publishing climate - i.e. the hard economic times - I don't know that publishers want to take a chance on books like mine. After all, they're not quirky. They're not edgy. They're not experimental. They will not be lauded as "the new trend in publishing" nor will they produce a media frenzy.
And you know what? I am ok with that. I really am. I don't want to change who I am as a writer to fit the market. I know some people do this and I am ok with that, too. That is their choice.
But I can't. I simply can't. Now if I have a story idea that screams "Edgy! Quirky! Experimental! Genre-bending! The new trend!" then I'll write it. But I am not going to go out of my way looking for it. That is the key.
If I am not passionate about my work, if I am not in love with my characters and truly believe in them and their world, then how can I expect anyone else to be? It will show on the page. That cheats me as a writer and it cheats the reader, as well.
I must write what -I- want to write. I can't change that. I've tried. Believe me. The last month or so, I've constantly second-guessed any idea that pops into my head. Is it unique enough? Is it edgy? Is it a breakout idea? Consequently, I've stymied my creative process. Only now have I realized, once again, (I have a very long stubborn streak) that my ideas will be unique because it is my voice that will be telling them.
The publishing world will always be looking for the "new" and the "next best thing." But I will be writing the stories that speak to me and pray that they will also speak to others. I can do no less.
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