An Epiphany

05 Jun

We’re either trying to catch up with the last big trend in writing, or trying to decide what the next craze will be. The problem is no one really knows. Who knew a girl with a dragon tattoo would be big, or a bunch of kids involved in hunger games would become so big? Nope, the next big craze is out there dancing just out of our reach, taunting readers to discover it. Short a crystal ball, we’re at the mercy of editors who are trying to figure out the same thing we’re trying to figure out. What’s the next hot topic?

The things we hear. “Write the book of your heart,” “Take a new slant on the current trend.” Super.

I’d say, so write the book of your heart, but be wary. Some editors may love it, but if they don’t, know it isn’t personal. That isn’t going to be easy because you’ve poured your heart and soul into a manuscript. And to think its only address may be the bottom shelf on your bookcase isn’t an easy one. I’m not saying don’t write it. Just don’t put all your eggs in that vessel.

Now for the thing you may not have heard. Write the book you want to read. I know, you’re thinking of the book of your heart. Don’t. It may be the story you want or even need to write, but is it a book you’d pick up and buy? Think about it. Is it? Instead, think of the last book you paid for. What was the theme? The setting? The characters? It was a book you wanted to read badly enough that you laid out your hard-earned cash for it. That’s what you want others to do for your book. So take a look at your reading list and think about what you want to read then write that book. Chances are if you want to read it, so will others.

What do you want to read?


14 responses to “An Epiphany

  1. Clarissa Southwick

    June 5, 2012 at 4:02 AM

    Great advice, Peggy. It makes sense to think long and hard before launching into a project that may take up a year of your life. Good post!

    • Peggy Staggs

      June 5, 2012 at 3:24 PM

      Sometimes we just begin writing without a plan. A plan is always better.

  2. ramblingsfromtheleft

    June 5, 2012 at 5:06 AM

    Peggy, I agree completely. If I look back at all the years and the thousands of books, there has always been one type that keeps drawing me back … mystery. Mysteries with dozens of “bents” … from the detective to the medical thriller to the breath taking suspense. I am also in love with language and cadence, the sweet tones and the deep notes of style. In fact, I have been writing in double “major” the stories that reflect my fascination with the sounds, moods and changing tempo of the music and the movies I always enjoyed … to that end … I have found myself writing WF with “elements” and mysteries with an under tone 🙂

    • Peggy Staggs

      June 5, 2012 at 3:32 PM

      I’m right there with you. I love the puzzle and really love it when the author fools me.

  3. Liz Fredericks

    June 5, 2012 at 5:22 AM

    I like to read nearly anything in fiction with a single caveat ~ happy endings. I can’t stomach anything but cuz real heartache is all too easy to find. Or things where kids are helpless and hurt without a BIG payback on the villain. I won’t read the hunger games, could barely sit through the movie, and probably would have left if I’d been alone. I do, however, adore Nora Roberts/JD Robb ~ she always delivers happy to me. As far as what to write . . . I’m with you and Florence – mystery, mystery, mystery. I don’t know whether anything beyond ‘me writing’ will happen with my stuff, but it’s has improved since the first moment I offered it up for my chapter critique service. It was soundly, but appropriately, trounced. I think improvement is the best epiphany.

    • Peggy Staggs

      June 5, 2012 at 3:41 PM

      I think that’s why I like mystery the bad guy gets what they deserve and all is right in the universe.

  4. Janis McCurry

    June 5, 2012 at 7:08 AM

    Delivering stories you’d want to read is a good tip. At least you’ll enjoy the journey.

    • Peggy Staggs

      June 5, 2012 at 3:47 PM

      The journey is the thing. If it’s no fun it isn’t worth taking. And the journey is all some of us (read me) will get. Andd I’m okay with that…sort of.

  5. Meredith Allen Conner

    June 5, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    Excellent advice Peggy. We always hear “write the story of your heart”, but I like yours much better. Write the story you want to read is fabulous!

    • Peggy Staggs

      June 5, 2012 at 3:51 PM

      I know! When I heard that I went. OF COURSE! So much easier than trying to figure out what several million people want to pay to read.

  6. maryvine

    June 5, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    I like Sandra Brown and Susan Elizabeth Phillips the best. I like the comic and heros of Phillips and the suspense from Brown, but I end up with a milder form of comedy and suspense. Maybe I should step it up-as you say it would be more fun writing what we like to read. I like this line of thinking.Thanks, Peggy.

    • Peggy Staggs

      June 5, 2012 at 3:53 PM

      I know you might just as well have fun writing the book because it’s going to take you a while. Unless you’re Nora.

  7. Lynn Mapp

    June 6, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    Peggy, you are right. It’s so simple. I’m laughing. Write the book you want to read.

  8. Peggy Staggs

    June 8, 2012 at 7:47 AM

    Sometimes it’s so simple we can’t see it.


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