It’s really a Monday. I just threw my bagel across my desk. This was not intentional and now I am wiping cream cheese off of my files and papers. Who knew eating could be so hazardous?
I had a different post in mind for today, but based on a recent blog post I read I thought that I would change directions. I recently came across a blog post – Finding Your One Thing, and it got me thinking. How did I figure out what I wanted to write? Apparently there are millions – or hundreds, of writers trying to find their niche. Even an agent I follow had pondered this process a few months back. Here’s my story.
I started to write in Paranormal Romance. I had intended to write YA, but unfortunately that wouldn’t work. Six years ago New Adult would have fit that story. So I guess I was a little of head of my time – but only partially. After realizing the market was flooded with vampires no matter how “new” the story was, I simply realized that I had to change my approach, or at least until I made a name for myself. The issue was that I was so in love with that story and those characters that at first it was hard to put everything down. But I had to.
I had to put that first manuscript aside to learn everything I was doing wrong aside from genre. Don’t write a 300,000 word manuscript. Don’t write something because it is hot for the moment, you are already too late. Don’t expect your first manuscript to be your first publication – although it does happen. Don’t be afraid of change. So I set out on another Paranormal Romance and this one truly was YA and still is an idea that hasn’t been done. The issue again though, was that something was nagging me. The idea that I still wasn’t falling far enough away from the huge influx of paranormal stories. Someday that second manuscript might see the light of day. For now I’ve moved on.
Later that week I cuddled up to a book that wasn’t Paranormal. It was contemporary and the idea struck me that I struggled a lot to find this new book with a balance of humor and realistic women and a story plot that didn’t make me uncomfortable or want to toss the book after chapter five. So it hit me, why couldn’t I take my paranormal stories and make them contemporary? My voice didn’t have to change, my knowledge could be applied anywhere, and I love contemporary Romance just as much. It didn’t hurt that I had just had the cutest story idea ever enter my head either.
I sat down and started to write. After reaching three chapters I took my story to my critique partners. When they all laughed out loud and not in a ‘you’re crazy way’ I knew that I had hit on what felt off about writing before. I wasn’t making people smile and giving them an escape. I may love to read dark or suspenseful, but I would like to be the one making someone smile instead.
Three years later I found a publisher that validated my choice. They liked my style and my voice. Sure I still have things to learn, that is life in general. At least for now I found someone in the industry that saw my potential and solidified my choice to change sub-genres. Will this lead to millions or maybe just an appearance on the New York Times Best Seller list? Who knows. But at least for now I am very comfortable with what I write and things only get better with each new laugh I hear.
I found something that made me feel good and could make me giggle which are two things that matter to me. It was nice hearing that the voices in my head weren’t the only ones, but I would still write it even if I hadn’t had a few good friends at the time.
How about you? Are you still looking or have you found it? There are very few authors that I know who are writing what they started in. Some have gone back, while others just keep moving forward. I thinking reading and seeing what you enjoy should help influence what you think you might love writing.
Write a story for yourself first and then curtail it to your audience in the next draft. Share your story of how you got to where you are today.