Sunday, November 17, 2013

To Be or Not to Write-That is the Question

This post's title is a parody of Shakespeare's famous "To be or not to be" line. What brought it to mind was a question on whether one should write what they feel or write what sells.  My answer is below.

I'm not sure of the answer. If you write what's close to your heart and the stories you really want to write, you better have a way to reach like-minded readers. If you're a literary kind of writer or poet, you should hang out in those circles online. Otherwise your book will sink like a lead balloon. Whatever you write, have a nice cover. But even then I don't know. This medium doesn't support great writing that might be kind of quirky and off the beaten path. If it's free, you'll get one-star reviews generally along the lines of "huh?"
A few weeks ago I was looking at all of the hundreds of reviews averaging 4.5 of a certain genre. I got angry and decided to do a parody story. Turns out it's so much like the genre in question, I decided to do a few more during  NANOWRIMO. I'll publish them under a pen name of course.
In a way, writing is kind of like acting on paper. It's true, that you have some actors who will only do classical works of Shakespeare. While others can take on any type of Broadway and off-Broadway role. So for writing, it all depends on the voices in your head. If you do step out of your normal box, use a pen name if your story is of a different gender or ethnic group than your own. What do you think?

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