Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Write to Sell or Write for Yourself?

As a writer waiting for her chance to perform at the Big Show, I come across this internal debate when I sit down to write or revise a novel: Do I want to write to sell, meaning follow the loose guidelines of certain publishers, or do I want to write the story of my heart every time and pray that a publisher loves it? How badly do I long to be published?

For example, I have two versions of one of my historical novels. The first version has a decidedly more historical tone throughout—slower paced at times, much more detailed, but still lots of action. The second version has a historical romantic suspense tone—much faster pace, more dialogue, and more action.

Here’s my dilemma: I absolutely loved the first version, but after some feedback and a little guidance I found the second version more exciting. So which one is now the story I really wanted to write? Am I selling out the first version just so I can one day hope the story will be published?

Hmm. I’m beginning to think no. The more I compare the two versions, the more I find the second version is simply a better story; therefore, it is the story I wanted to write in the first place. Does that make sense?

Has this happened to you before? At what point do you think it stops being the story you set out to write?

Do you authors ever feel this way? Or do you always write just for yourself and find sometimes you’re fortunate that what you want and what the publishing house wants are one and the same?

I’d love to read your thoughts on this…

Happy Writing,

Michele Cwiertny