It’s Not What You Write About   7 comments

I’m pretty sure most of us have heard that old saw, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Well with that in mind, because it is true more often than not, let’s apply that to writing. It’s not what you write about, it’s how you write it.

Let’s face it. Ebook publishing, and POD publishing, has made it easy to get a story out there to the public. For serious writers who sweat and toil over their craft, trying to turn out the best product they can, this is damn good news. The downside, (There always seems to be a downside.), is that same ease has opened up a flood gate of pure garbage from the get-rich-quick writing-is-easy crowd. Anyone who thinks that has never tried to seriously write a grocery list, much less a novel.

The result is; there are a lot of Tara Gilesbies putting out feature length versions of My Immortal, or pretty close to it, every day. If you don’t know what, or who, I’m referring to here count yourself lucky. If you happen to Google My Immortal or Tara, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

My good friend, and fellow writer, Darke Conteur, assures me that eventually these characters will fade from the scene. I hope she is right, but I don’t think she’s considered the fresh crop of Taras popping up daily. (BTW, Darke has two ebooks published, and I can 100% guarantee you that both are well worth reading. Darke is very serious about her craft and how well her stories come out. Darke writes some damn good Paranormal Fantasy and you can check her work out here at At $.99, and $1.99 neither novel will break the bank, and you’ll more than get your money’s worth.)

Our mission as serious writers/storytellers is to make certain we put out the best we can do. The truth is this has little to do with genre, or idea, but it has everything to do with how you tell your story.

To illustrate my point, what would you think if I told you I had an idea about a full length novel involving rabbits. I would even give them their own pseudo language, and there wouldn’t be a human being in the whole story. Sounds like a silly idea for a novel, or a children’s book doesn’t it? But that is exactly the idea Richard Adams had when he wrote the best selling classic, Watership Down. And it certainly isn’t a children’s book, it’s classified as a heroic fantasy.

Now, on it’s own, most agents, publishing houses, and editors would dissmiss such a concept for a novel out of hand. Naturally that didn’t happen, and the reason was because Mr. Adams knows how to write a story. It wasn’t what he wrote about that made Watership Down a international best seller for thirty years, it was how he wrote it. There in lies the rub.

All too many future authors spend too much time trying to pin down the next trend in writing, or follow the current trend all too closely. Instead they should be working on how to tell a good story. How to write fiction that sells.

True it is scarier to do so, your taking a risk. But, no more so than the risk we take by just being another faceless member of the follow-the-popular-trend crowd. Even then, if we work hard on how to tell a good story, it is possible to upset the current King/Queen of the hill, and take their spot for ourselves. Actually that last part is even harder than striking out on your own literary path. The odds of being dismissed as a “copycat writer” are better than the ones you’ll face in blazing your own trail.

So, how do you learn to write a novel that sells?

There are plenty of “how to” books out there that can tell you just that. All you have to do is be willing to listen, and apply what they have to teach. Writer’s Digest has a slew of them, and it’s worth the small expense to pick out one, or two, and learn the craft. Even the poorest of us can put a buck, or two aside a week. Maybe even hint at a birthday, or Christmas present. And there is always the library.

Either way, it’s a small investment that will pay you big dividends later on. It may also save you from becoming the Tara Gilesbie of the E-publishing world. Well maybe not that bad, but would you even want to be considered a close second in that contest? 😉

Later, Gang;


7 responses to “It’s Not What You Write About

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  1. This post is very thoughtful and inspiring. I’m working on my first novel and I’m determined to make it a book worth reading. I definitely don’t want to rush it and have it become just another poorly executed, self-published e-book. Thank you for an encouraging post!

    • Thank you, for commenting, Aly.

      You definitely have the writer’s malady. A serious commitment to the craft. I believe by that alone, you will do just fine.

      Best wishes, Bona Fortuna, and best of luck. (OK, so I said that last one in Italian first. Double the luck, double the chances. 😉 )

  2. Okay, I looked her up. You were right. There’s five minutes I’ll never get back.

    It isn’t just that we authors have to write a good story, we are readers have to demand them. I work on the premise that there are two parts to writing a book–the mechanical and the storytelling. The mechanical is things such as grammar, spelling, etc, while storytelling deals with the essence of the plot, character development, conflict, and others. Each are different and must be learned. You can’t skimp on one without the other suffering.

    Thank you for the mention. Much appreciated. 😀

    • Your quite welcome, Darke… and I did warn you about googleing that particular example. It took me several gallons of mind bleach to get that crap out of my head.

      And thank you for the re-blog.

      Your also dead on about what it takes to be a writer, no skimping on the craft. both parts are hard and will require lots of work. But, I have to admit that I love it, so it always feels funny when I refer to writing as work… editing, and revising usually reminds me that it is work, though. 😉

      (See, folks? I told ya she was serious about the craft. Now pick up one of her novels so I can say I told ya she was good, too.) ;P

  3. Reblogged this on Darke Conteur.

    • **Doin’ the Happy Dance**

      “Uncle Larry’s hooked on ice again.
      He seems to be stuck in the 80’s.
      He wears his Members Only jacket,
      ‘Cause he thinks it turns on all the ladies.

      And all the white folks shake their asses,
      Looking for the two and four.
      I’ll have mine in martini glasses,
      Cause I can’t take it anymore.”

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