Sunday, October 25, 2009

What You Are

I've finally got back to writing new chapters on my novel, Dreamwielder. I had a decent writing weekend and am over the 30,000 word mark (total, not for the weekend), which by my estimation is about half way there. I like where things are going with the book and think I'm still on pace to finish my first draft by the new year, but I'm admittedly too optimistic for my own good. Be that as it may, my only major issue right now is a few of my character names. I've workshopped early chapters of the novel with The Inklings II and they had problems with two names in particular: 1) Thedric Fearaghast, which is too on the nose for my main bad guy, and 2) Daeira, which is a cool name, but sounds too close to diarrhea. If you have any suggestions, feel free to make them here or join in on the discussion board at my Facebook page:

That's about the only thing new on the writing front, but one thing that's been my mind on a lot is the issue of finding a marketing niche as a writer. Corey Beason, a fellow writer and member of The Inklings II, forwared on the link to this article about how science fiction is so often marginalized: It specifically discusses how writers like Margaret Atwood purposely shun the tag of being a SF writer because they want to be considered “real” writers with literary merit.

I certainly don't like being marginalized as a writer, but on the other hand, many genre writers do quite well because they have a built-in audience base. The whole thing has got me thinking about whether I'm going about this writing business in the correct manner. Fantasy, horror, and SF are certainly the mainstays of my writing portfolio, but I like branching out to write other things as well. The most recent short story I wrote is nothing if not literary. Much of the flash fiction I write is literary. I've written erotica. Children's stories. Screenplays. Music reviews. Nonfiction feature articles. In fact, the next book I'm contemplating writing is a nonfiction travel writing book.

I really feel that writing in different styles and genres keeps me motivated and helps me improve as writer. Furthermore, I'm very much of the mind that I shouldn't put all my eggs in one basket. Diversify, diversify, diversify, is how the saying goes, right? Am I off base here with my strategy? As a writer, can I only hope to succeed commercially if I carve out a brand for myself in one specific genre? Are readers really so fickle that they won't read anything from you if you write in different genres? Are there any writers out there who have successfully crossed over and written in multiple genres (without using pseudonyms)?

I certainly don't know, but I'm of the mind to keep writing what I want. Ultimately, I can't worry about things like getting published and finding commercial success if I don't first write something that's good, and my only hope of doing that is writing something I'm excited and passionate about.


  1. As I was reading the second half of this post, my mind was already drawing up a response to the issue about where you fit in as a writer. Then I got to the last paragraph and thought, yeah, that's exactly what I was going to say.

    I think if you're in this to make a lot of money and approaching it like a business... then yes, maybe you should focus on cornering some type of market. I'm sure you could take notes from a certain "inspiration" speaker as to how to set up a proper business model for your writing.

    But I think being a "real" writer means writing what you're passionate about, writing because you have something to say, and treating the craft as an art and not a business venture.

    In other words... keep going both ways.

  2. I'm always game for going both ways... wait, what?