Molly posed a great question at the beginning of the week. What kind of a writer do we want to be?
Timely, as this was one of the subjects of a recent bout of drunk writer talk. Knowing what kind of a writer we want to be, doesn’t mean we have to tie ourselves down to a particular genre, but I think it might really help identify our strengths and find stories that play to those strengths.
Although we probably already do that already, without even thinking about it.
I want to write fast paced, tense, plot heavy books. I already try to do that, but recently I realized that more than anything I want to take my reader on a journey where I manage to surprise them more than once, reverse their expectations, and make them not want to put the book down.
I don’t think I’m ever going to be the kind of writer who brings a tear to a reader’s eye, and I’m OK with that. (The seven step program is working)
The TV equivalent of the books I want to write -well 24 and Battlestar come immediately to mind, mostly for their amazing plotting and their ability to constantly leave me guessing about what is happening. I aspire to that level of excellence, minus the gadgets.
It took me a while to figure all this out. I think I can say the same thing for Molly and Maureen. It took figuring out my voice and writing a few books, before I knew for sure what I was trying to do.
What does it mean going forward? I know the kind of books I want to write, and I think they play to my strengths as a writer, the stuff that comes easily. Well, along with that I have to acknowledge my weaknesses and continue to work on them.
I hate the small scenes, the emotional scenes, the scenes that add that wonderful relevance and sense of emotional connection that if done well, elevate a suspense novel to a really good suspense novel. They are hell for me to write. The scenes both Molly and Maureen seem to write effortlessly are the ones I struggle over.
The really great writers combine everything. Characters we can relate to, amazing plotting and those scenes that make you sigh and bring a tear to your eye.
So what kind of a writer do I want to be?
I want to be a constant work in progress. I want to know that while I do some things really well, that I’m getting better at the other things.
But I’m pretty sure I’m not along in wanting to be a better writer.