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Inspired by market or your own inspirations? (1 Viewer)

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voltigeur

WF Veterans
A few nights ago I attended what was for me a new writing group. One of the people there was one of those that is an expert on everything and always butting in. It was mentioned to me that she was a great editor but at the base of all her advice was solely, “You have to do this because the market wants it.”

This brought to mind the first advice I was ever given, “Write what you know.” This means understand the technical aspect of what you write. For example if you write crime fiction you need to research criminals, police procedure, and at least know the basics of criminal law and how the courts put the criminal away.

It also means knowing what story inside you that needs to come out. Being true to yourself, your passions and inspirations.

So how do you approach your writing? Are you trying to catch the next “big thing?” Or do you know what burns inside and write that regardless?
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
The idea of writing "what the market wants" takes all the fun out of writing for me. I'm a new writer and I'm not likely to get published anyway. Why not write what burns in the back of my head? Write what I'm passionate about not what people like atm. The mentality of "write what the market wants." makes it sound like you'd be writing to please people. obviously, we want people to like what we write but we need to be the ones to like it first.
my 2 cents ...
 

JBF

Staff member
Board Moderator
Now and again a product blows up in popularity. That this kind of thing is seldom a derivative of an extant product is a stake to the heart of 'writing for the market'.

I'm not looking to sell you a better toaster. There are plenty of companies out there building kitchen appliances, most of them near-identical and comparably priced. So far as I'm concerned, the trick to getting a following isn't upselling something that people already have - it's to show them something don't have and didn't know they needed.

Do it well, be original enough, and the market will adjust to you.
 
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vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
Then again, I've always thought if so many people are chasing the same market, the competition there has to be fierce. ;-)

No, I've never had any expectation of being a Name Author (although if my sequel does get greenlit that could happen). I get ideas for stories that interest me, and that's what I write. I like to have a twist that makes it, if not unique, at least unusual or a surprise. I've done Swords and Sorcery, and Sci Fi, and a Fairy Tale, and an Urban Fantasy, and I'm plotting an Agatha Christie style murder mystery with a metaphysical twist. I'd like to write a Ghost Story I have notes for, and who knows, I may even write a Romance one day. LOL Maybe one of these days I might, by coincidence, write something that chases the market. :)
 

Cephus

Senior Member
I know what the market wants and I write what I want to write. The two mostly coincide. You need to know what your genre expects and be able to produce it if you want to be successful. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself along the way.
 

Tiamat

Patron
Personally, I think there's value in being aware of what's trending in your preferred genre--particularly if your goal is to go the traditional route in terms of publishing. If you write YA, you should know what books are doing well in that market, for instance. You should also know what books aren't doing so well in that market. That's not to say that you can't write whatever the hell you want, but in the world of traditional publishing, you'll have the best chance at success if you're aware of the marketing side of the business. And I don't just mean J.K. Rowling levels of success either. I mean success as in your publisher is willing to publish another of your books.
 

Cephus

Senior Member
Personally, I think there's value in being aware of what's trending in your preferred genre--particularly if your goal is to go the traditional route in terms of publishing. If you write YA, you should know what books are doing well in that market, for instance. You should also know what books aren't doing so well in that market. That's not to say that you can't write whatever the hell you want, but in the world of traditional publishing, you'll have the best chance at success if you're aware of the marketing side of the business. And I don't just mean J.K. Rowling levels of success either. I mean success as in your publisher is willing to publish another of your books.

It doesn't matter if you're talking traditional or self-publishing, any active author ought to know the top ten books in their genre. Once a year, I go through and buy the top ten, assuming I haven't already read a specific book, which often, I have. That's not to say I'm going to copy that but at least I understand what it is and by reading books that are demonstrably successful, at least I can keep an eye on the trends. Plus, you get to read some good books which is always a bonus.
 

MelinaTheWriter

Senior Member
Personally, I think as soon as marketing is involved in the creative process it is not pure art. I never take trends into consideration when it comes to my inspiration, what I write and how I write it because as soon as I do that I have traded a bit of my own creative authority in exchange for more sales. If that is what you want to do then that is valid but I don't think it is comparable a text that is the result of to the unfiltered process of inspiration.
Trends change like weather and I never think it advisable to live your life (or art) by them. If you want to create a timeless novel that has longterm value, you should go by whatever you feel to write about and trust that initial inspiration - it will be the rawest, closest to the source you can get.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I'll go a bit further and suggest that we should write what we would like to read.

After retiring from Silicon Valley I bounced around wondering what I should do. My retirement came at age 51, so I had some good years left and wondered what to do with them. I tried wood carving in the winter and riding my motorcycle all over the place in the summer. While I did this I read; it was nice to return to pleasure reading after enduring so many computer science books. I quickly found that many plots were just formulas the writer followed to earn a buck - they were pretty much all the same story, and I became bored and unsatisfied with them.
That, and the fact that the garage is darned cold during Colorado winters and my wife wouldn't let me carve in the house, is what drove me to write. As I mentioned elsewhere, I wrote several books in the 1980's and even landed an agent, but nothing came of it, these days though self-publishing is possible, and that's what opened the door to writing novels.
So I write what I want to read. Am I getting rich on it? No, but I enjoy the process and that people read my stories is very satisfying.
 

MelinaTheWriter

Senior Member
I'll go a bit further and suggest that we should write what we would like to read.

After retiring from Silicon Valley I bounced around wondering what I should do. My retirement came at age 51, so I had some good years left and wondered what to do with them. I tried wood carving in the winter and riding my motorcycle all over the place in the summer. While I did this I read; it was nice to return to pleasure reading after enduring so many computer science books. I quickly found that many plots were just formulas the writer followed to earn a buck - they were pretty much all the same story, and I became bored and unsatisfied with them.
That, and the fact that the garage is darned cold during Colorado winters and my wife wouldn't let me carve in the house, is what drove me to write. As I mentioned elsewhere, I wrote several books in the 1980's and even landed an agent, but nothing came of it, these days though self-publishing is possible, and that's what opened the door to writing novels.
So I write what I want to read. Am I getting rich on it? No, but I enjoy the process and that people read my stories is very satisfying.
I totally agree with that. I write stories that excite me and that I would like to read but can't find anywhere. I can create a character setting and aesthetic that please me and I'm looking forward to write. The result will inevitably be very authentic and more interesting than any trend-manufactured story could be.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I totally agree with that. I write stories that excite me and that I would like to read but can't find anywhere. I can create a character setting and aesthetic that please me and I'm looking forward to write. The result will inevitably be very authentic and more interesting than any trend-manufactured story could be.
YES. What we love doing we get better at.
 
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