Saturday, July 9, 2011

Write What's In Your Head

The topic of today’s blog post is in response to a tweet from one of my twitter pals, Joani Plenty, who, by the way, if you’re not following her you should be because she’s awesome.  Anyway, as I was saying, Joani mentioned that she already had a plot and an ending and that she loved the story, but…the story was a mystery which was out of her genre.

What to do? What to do?

I tweeted her back of course, but could merely reply with what would fit in the 140 characters that Twitter allows, so here you get the long version.
My response to her was to write it anyway then perhaps have it under a Pen Name.  I know normally agents and publishers don’t suggest this until you’re a well established author, but I still think the story should be written.  The reason for this is I think you should write what’s in your head; whether it’s a line, a page, a chapter or an entire novel, get it down on paper.

The first novel I ever wrote was a coming of age/family drama and the main characters were a twenty-something man and a seventy-something woman.  I wrote it as a sort of grieving process at the time, but when the story first came to me it was all I could think about and dream about.  It was on my mind almost every waking moment.  Then, as I started to write it down, it began to occupy less of my thoughts and gave my brain and body a chance to rest.
I finished the novel in about a year.  When I typed the last words the story was completely out of my head and I could move on to the next project…which happened to be a young adult fantasy that only took me sixty days to write.

I did pitch this novel to a few agents, but it was mostly just to get the experience and I never really expected it to go anywhere.  But I feel like if I hadn’t written that first novel down it would still be in my head and there wouldn’t have been room for the second story which I am pitching and have had several agents ask to read.  There also wouldn’t have been room for all the other ideas I’ve had since completing my second novel.
The other reason you want to write it down is because you may have a line or scene in mind for a story that isn’t fully developed in your head, but that line or scene can eventually turn into a fantastic novel, even if it’s ‘outside’ your genre.  You would also be kicking yourself later when and actual story line comes along and you can’t remember that line or scene that was so great in the first place (trust me I’ve done this several times).

So if you’re worried about staying in your genre, I’d say to just write what’s in your head and in your heart because it will make room for all the other great ideas that come along…and they will come, just keep writing!

1 comment:

  1. That is great advice! I often have story ideas outside my genre. Of course I am not published so its not really "my genre". Anyway, I start writing them but have trouble finishing them :)