When you're trying to break into the publishing world and be a successful author, your novel ideas generally tend to veer toward whether or not it will fit with your platform, if it will be marketable, or if it will become part of your brand. Published authors do this, after all, and usually if they want to write something different, it's after they've been established for awhile and have a solid fan base.
But what about those ideas that creep up on you that do not necessarily follow what you normally write?
That happened to me Saturday. I'd just gotten home from the horse races with my brother (my first time going and it was so much fun) and I'd stopped by Barnes & Noble to grab a few things before coming home. I hit the shower and when I got out, I had a fully-formed novel idea in my head. Lines were jumping out at me and I raced to my computer, got frustrated when the Microsoft Word took forever to load, and then I finally sat down and started typing.
I don't know how long I sat there - it couldn't have been more than 15-20 minutes, but by the time I was done, I had a solid outline, vibrant characters, GMC's, absolutely everything I needed. I couldn't believe it. All those weeks I'd struggled to come up with a story idea and one had dropped into my head with no effort on my part whatsoever.
I toyed with the marketability of the idea, realized it was pretty sound, but then also realized that it is not what I normally write. Since I'm well into the prep phase for my next novel and I'm in the querying stage for another novel, this new novel wouldn't help me build my platform as a debut novelist.
Then I realized that I simply didn't care.
This book will be solely for fun. It requires minimum research and the characters are all right there, so the normal preparations I make before starting a novel really aren't needed. Everything has already been done in that one fifteen-minute brain dump I had the other day.
And if I decide that I want to pursue publication of it someday, well, that's fine by me. But it's not going to be my main focus. Instead, I plan to forget the whole publishing world while I'm writing this story and just focus on my characters and their world.
Which brings up another point. When you move to the stage of your writing where you are actively seeking publication, have an agent, or even a publisher, you necessarily think of platform, brand, marketability, publicity, promotion, etc., for your novel. It has to come into your brain at some point. That is the business side of this crazy roller coaster ride and to brush that aspect of the publishing world aside is a bit dangerous.
Wouldn't it be wonderful, though, if we didn't have to think of that side? If we didn't have to worry about platform and marketing and all the rest of it, but could just write our story? I suppose this is where my old belief of "write the first draft with your heart, the second with your head" comes into being.
Maybe this "fun" novel of mine will find a place on the shelf some day. I'm not discounting the possibility, but neither am I making it a priority. I'm going to write this story blissfully and deliberately unaware of that "other" side to the writing business. It's a freeing mindset, one I'm anxious to explore.
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