Saturday, August 17, 2013
What's In It For You?
Writers frequently talk about why they write and the answer is usually the same. We can't NOT write. Sort of like we can't NOT breathe. For some that means years of querying manuscripts that may never sit on a bookshelf. For others it may mean breaking the top 100 best blogs on the internet. And for many more it may mean your kid getting an A on every book report you secretly write for him. If you're a writer, you must write.
I'm currently deep in the throes of Query Hell. Or not, depending on what your view of hell is. If it's anything close to the idea of you waiting in a line that extends into infinity just to get near the end and realize your line is only the one to get a ticket to stand in the even longer line next to you...then yeah. You get me.
One of the agents I queried mentioned something on her website (or in an interview. Of course now I can't find it!) that I've thought about all week. She said one of the first questions she asks a potential client is 'What do you hope to achieve from your writing?'
Do you want money? It would be nice. What about fame? Not so much but I wouldn't turn down an interview with Oprah. Do you want the satisfaction of seeing your book in a B&N so you can grab as many customers as possible to scream at them to buy your awesome debut novel that will change their lives forever before security hauls you out? Ok, that's pretty close.
The best answer is another question. You know that feeling you get when you finish the last page of a book that's made you laugh hysterically, love intensely, and then cry as if your heart is breaking? The ones with characters that would have been your best friends if they were real, and feel like family even though they aren't? Those books that take you away and return you just a little different than what you were before?
That's what it's about for me. That's what I hope to achieve. And it doesn't have to happen to millions of readers. I'd settle for just a few. Or even one.
And in the spirit inspired by those books I'd like to say thanks.
Thank you, Andrew Smith. For Jack and Conner, Ryan Dean, and Joey, Troy and Tom, and all the rest.
Thank you, Stephen King. For Roland, Jake, Eddie, and Susannah. For every anti-hero who came through in the end.
Thank you, J.K. Rowling. For Harry, Ron, and Hermione. And even for Cedric Diggory who always looked like Edward in my head before the fangs and sparkles.
Thank you, Stephanie Meyer. Yes, even you. For Bella. Because even if she needed serious relationship counseling, she showed us that persistence pays off in the end.
This list could get pretty big, and this post is already wayyy to long, so I'll stop there. But it might be a good idea to take a minute and ask yourselves...what's in it for you?
Posted by Marsha Sigman at 3:50 PM