it's a great life, if you don't weaken (matociquala) wrote,
it's a great life, if you don't weaken

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ten things I have learned from writing popular fiction

  1. Most people do not read. They skim, and make assumptions. This tendency, however, can be manipulated.
  2. It helps if you honestly like to blow stuff up. Or at least write about blowing stuff up.
  3. All books are broken. Some are less broken than others. Some are broken in ways that a particular set of readers do not mind in the least. If you can find out the group of people who do not mind the ways in which your books are broken, you have identified your target audience. Unfortunately, this fact does not excuse you from actually learning to write.
  4. Can't please nobody if you try to please everybody.
  5. In terms of the market, the quality of your voice is often more important than what you have to say, unless what you have to say is really interesting.
  6. What you have to say matters, anyway.
  7. If you make it too accessible, people will assume it's not artistic. If you make it too artistic, people will assume it's not accessible. Go ahead and blow something up if it makes you feel better.
  8. Despite the number of people who will write in to tell you that they never read the sex scenes, sex does, in fact, sell. It does however mean that if you put the major plot revelations in sex scenes, a certain percentage of your audience will not notice them. [8(a).] don't put the crux of the plot in the middle of the homoerotic kissing scene you've been building to for three books: nobody will notice. Even the ones who aren't skimming.
  9. Be honest. Not all readers can tell when you're phoning it in, but a significant fraction can, and they will despise you for it. And while it might in fact make rejection and critical dismissal hurt less when you can tell yourself that it wasn't your best effort, it's still cheating.
  10. There is always somebody better paid, more acclaimed, or whose books will make you turn green with jealousy. It is the nature of the universe. Carry on.


Tags: exposition, industry, ten things, writing craft wank

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