Wishy-Washy?

I wonder how many other writers go through this?

I’ve written two books and both are so completely different, it’s like they came from two different people.  If I had a publisher, the marketing person would likely send me hate emails, or at the very least, I’d hear her/him scream as they rip up their blurbs about what kind of writer I am, or portend to be.   (this sounds rather dreamy actually, wouldn’t I love to have a marketing person?  Frustrated over my many talents?  Swoon.)

I couldn’t help how this happened though, really.  There I was.  Writing and re-writing the first book.  Then, I’d have a thought, or idea, so persistent (for months) I’d have to jot it down.  When it came time to write another book, what was I supposed to do?  Decide what I’d been thinking about practically non-stop wasn’t worth the effort because it wasn’t LIKE what I wrote before? Uh, no.

Matter of fact, my train of thought for the first book was interrupted by the characters for the second book so many times, it could be what took me so long to finish the darn thing.  I’d start thinking about what kind of people they were going to be, what they would look like and what situations they would find themselves in.  It was downright distracting.

So, how different are these books?  Well…, the first one, which was originally categorized as lit fiction, is now under submission as a Young Adult.  It tells a story from the perspective of an eleven year old girl, raised in the rural south.  She is dealing with all sorts of adult problems and issues while yearning for a closer relationship with her mother.

The second book is historical fiction about a young couple living a hardscrabble life in the early 1900’s in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and how they try to come to terms with their marriage after the death of their young son.

Apples and oranges, black and white, yin and yang,  and all those other polar opposites come to mind.  But the most important question is, does having written two books in two different genres matter as far as a publisher goes? 

From what I’ve been told, no.

For example, it’s possible that if the first book sells as a Y/A, then the publishing house might pick up the second book under another division of their company.  As my agent said, this would be to keep me “in the family.”  I like the sound of that, keep me “in the family…”

At any rate, as I work on my third book, I’m sort of smiling because it’s back to writing from the perspective of a “young adult.”  I won’t know if it’s classified as that or lit fiction until I’m done with it, but I don’t worry too much about genre.  I just try to write the sort of stories I’d like to read.

The idea I have for the fourth book…, well, guess.  It’s not the Y/A genre, it’s back to historical fiction…!  I worried early on this would seem like wishy-washy writing, but I’m not sure now that it really matters.  Look at J.K. Rowling.  She’s left (temporarily?) Y/A writing with her recent launch of “A Casual Vacancy.”   Maybe publishers don’t care all that much about pigeon holing their authors into a certain genre, maybe that’s a thing of the past.

What it ought to boil down to is this; if the story is good, who cares what category it’s in?


COMMENTS

  • J.D.

    October 3, 2012

    Reply

    What is it they say about variety? I haven’t read Rowling’s new effort, but from the take of others, it seems now that she has made her fortune, she chooses to lower her guard, slip the blouse off her shoulder. Is that what it takes for us to loosenn up– wealth. Is it better to be like you, take it as it comes?

  • donnaeve

    October 3, 2012

    Reply

    … “the spice of life.”

    I haven’t read Rowling’s book either. I know it’s got sex, cussing and a lot of other adult situations in it. Still, she’s got to think, “hey, I earned this…” after her stint w/Potter. (I never read those books but my daughter did… and my mother too)

    Maybe her radical shift is really all about the confidence that comes with so many loving your past work. You figure, hey, I’m J.K. Rowling, they’ll love anything I write… but then the reviews that have come out – some are brutal. I do like being able to write what I want… my obscurity certainly takes the pressure off.

  • Averil Dean

    October 3, 2012

    Reply

    I think you’re right to follow your passions–and your agent’s advice. If she’s okay with your choices and feels she can sell your work, why not explore some different genres and see what comes of it? Lots of writers do that and it works out just fine.

    • Averil Dean

      October 3, 2012

      Reply

      (Sorry. Just realized your agent is not a she!)

      • donnaeve

        October 4, 2012

        Reply

        Thank you Averil – on two fronts – one, for your comments and two, for following! I fear you will find my writing boring. I am in awe of yours…one thing I haven’t done on my blog is to dip into personal stuff – well, except for what happened w/my “girls.” I love that you do that on yours…I have been focusing mainly on writing tidbits – but I feel I’m not qualified in the least to even do that most days. :>)

      • Averil Dean

        October 4, 2012

        Reply

        Your writing isn’t boring at all! I’ll be honest and tell you that I write about personal stuff because I am absolutely unqualified to write about anything else. What I know about writing could sustain me for about two paragraphs, after which I’d be back to whinging and carrying on.

        • donnaeve

          October 4, 2012

          Reply

          You make me laugh! Love that word, whinging…

  • Hope

    October 4, 2012

    Reply

    You’re downright Dickensian in your approach. He, too, burst with ideas and worked on more than one book simultaneously.

    • donnaeve

      October 4, 2012

      Reply

      Hi Hope – If only those ideas come together in the way his did, maybe I’ll see some success down the road. (Btw – your last sentence in your blog “I thought, Ohhhh, Somebody is me. I’m the one who has to do it. So I went to the grocery store.” Have mercy, but that made me LOL)


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