I see a philosophy throughout many comment posts on blogs: I write from my heart and not to the market. I'm concerned this suggests there is no artistic integrity writing to a market's needs.
My process in writing is to look at genres and markets and decide which I'd like to write - then I write it. Of course I have to have an interest in the topic (as fashionable as they are, I can't write about teenage vampires in love). When I decided to write a kid's mystery novel, I studied kid's mystery novels came up with a plot and wrote to an outline.
I like my plots and themes, but... I'd be willing to change 90% of my manuscript if a publisher/agent/more-experienced-writer convinced me it would improve the story and allow it to fit within a genre/market. Before you gasp in horror at my ease in selling-out, here's where I'm coming from:
- I've a limited amount of experience with writing novels and assume almost everyone within the industry has a better idea of what my book needs than I do.
- I want tweens and teens to enjoy reading my fiction, I don't want to them to have to endure it.
- In the critiques I've had so far, some input has been a possible alternative (not really better or worse), so, I've gone with my gut, but most has been on keen observations and improved my manuscript.
My opinion is that you can write for a market and write from your heart - you don't have to choose one over the other. Even if you are given strict guidelines to adhere to, each writer's style will be different. Journalists do not choose inspiration randomly, either they are appointed an assignment, or they write to current and relevant issues. Yet, each journalist has their own flair.
You would think there wasn't much room for personalising your work in copywriting, but check out how this clever advertising guru markets the infamous Three Wolf Moon t-shirt:
1,647 people to date have added their own amazing testimonials to the 'awesomeness' of this shirt - you can see them on the Amazon site.
Maybe if I wore a Three Wolf Moon shirt I'd be able to write a piece of literary genius from the heart that has no need to fit into any genre or market. Hmm, maybe that was Kafka's secret.
My inspiration for writing this post has come from:
Writing in the Wilderness
A Million Blogging Monkeys