Nobody asked me why I wanted to write a novel twenty years ago. I was depressed because leaving Chicago to live in Atlanta was more of a shock than I ever imagined.
So why not write a novel?
Now after many years of working with writers I do ask the question, why are you writing a novel? I hear reasons that vary but for the most part it’s not hard to separate writers into two groups: those that write because they believe they have a really good story to tell and those that believe they have a really good story to sell.
Do those groups overlap? Sure. Logically they would have to. The difference between them lies in the way the writers hold their stories; the purpose that drives them.
Think of it as gathering apples. They all end up in a basket, ready to take home and make a fine apple pie.
Some people will be concerned with how good the pie will taste.
Some people are more concerned about how much the pie will be worth.
How did I get these distinct impressions from writers?
Our writer’s group is about discussing each individual’s work and bringing the story through stages of plot and character development with the purpose of completing a first draft.
Meeting after meeting, writers are concerned with how their plots unfold, how their characters interact and if the conflicts resolve with enough tension.
So when a writer comes along and wants to talk about what it takes to get an agent of course we address the topic. It’s something writers should know.
I am happy to tell them the little trick about checking the Acknowledgement page in a novel similar to the one they are writing for an author’s “Thank you” to an agent. It’s always a good starting point for finding similar representation.
When writers want to know about query letters we will give examples of good ones and encourage these writers to bring in their letters.
And oh by the way, a query letter has to be for a manuscript as in a finished novel. Not a few chapters, not a great idea by itself with a pitch that sounds awesome and everybody who hears it says it would sell a million copies.
Note: This refers to fiction. You can sell a non-fiction book with a pitch and a few chapters
Of course writers want to see their work published and shared with a large audience. And once a book is published, the really good story becomes a writer’s resume and whether or not it makes that writer rich is up to hundreds of variables.
The question here is purpose and drive. And whatever writers want at the end of their writing journey they still have to get there and it takes one huge commodity: time.
And time, we know can be costly.
Carl Sandburg had something to say about exactly that:
“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”
So I asked what is the best or the worst reason for writing a novel.
Is it having a really great story to tell or having a really great story to sell?
Christina for PenPaperWrite
The next local Atlanta 60 Scenes Writing Method Workshop is January 20th, 2018.
Find out more or sign up early at www.60scenes.com also you can sign up for news on the NEW SKYPE 60 SCENES WORKSHOP coming in 2018.