I have a confession to make. I’m one of those frustrating authors who can’t settle to a genre or style (though admittedly, most of my books seem to feature the supernatural in some form or another!).
I’m very fortunate in that my publishers are tolerant of this (I suspect some wouldn’t be) – but it does raise the question; is it a good idea to keep trying new things as an author, or should you stick to the tried-and-tested formula?
The Unpublishable Book
For months now, I’ve had an idea buzzing around my head for a book. At first, I deliberately swatted it away, because I knew it was crazy and would be a nightmare to get it down on paper.
However, like all pesky book ideas, it wouldn’t go away. By June, I was feverishly scribbling out the plot and by July I’d started writing it. I was under no illusions about it. It was a ‘difficult’ book that was already breaking lots of well established rules. No chapter is longer than a page in length. There are several characters, and each one is represented in first person, not third. And it’s slippery as hell. Though there are clues seeded throughout, it’s not obvious what’s going on – which can be frustrating to read.
To Stop, or to Carry On?
As of last week, I’d written 20,000 words. I’ve loved working on it, but I’m well aware that if I sent it to anyone, they’d probably reply with a rejection in under 24 hours. There’s ‘different’, then there’s ‘so wildly different it’s unmarketable’, and I suspect that’s what this one is!
So then, should I stop writing it and consign it to the dusty corners of my hard drive? Or should I plough on regardless?
Well, some of you know me, and you know what I’m like. Of course I wasn’t going to stop writing it – not when it was so engaging to write! It’s been a challenge, but that’s what’s so great about it. I think all writers should push to write that challenging book, regardless of whether it’s marketable or not, because then you know that you’re doing new things, experimenting with new styles. And presumably, that’s one of the better ways to improve your craft?
And Not Forgetting Ribero…
That doesn’t mean that I’m not still working on the Dr Ribero series. How could I not? I miss all the characters when I’m not working on those books; and they’re such a lot of fun to write! In fact, the third in the series (The Case of the Hidden Daemon) is out in October, and the fourth one has just been sent over to Amberjack – here’s to hoping that they like it.
And yes, I’ve gone for the more challenging route with these books too. In fact, at some point (without giving too much away), we might be delving back into the past and uncovering some rather major secrets. Watch this space!
Write What You Love
At the end of the day, you have to write what you enjoy writing. If it becomes a chore, this shows in your work. If you’re writing with excitement and passion, then you can guarantee your readers will pick up on that.
And in my humble opinion, there’s nothing wrong with writing something that no-one else will read. Hey, if you’re loving it and you feel like it’s taking your writing further, then you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.