Break One Rule

Coincidental to last week’s post about how your story is in conversation with whatever else is being published, the old question about whether or not you should write for the market or write what you want to write sprung up on a writer’s forum I’m on. Incidentally, the answer to this question is actually ridiculously simple: If writing to the market helps you sell more, then do so; if it does not, then write what you want. If you’re reading extensively in the field, instinctively saying, “Oh, I like what she did, I’m borrowing that,” or “No, no, no, this is how that kind of story should be told,” then you’re doing the sort of market research required to write for the market, whether you’re conscious of it or not. But it’s easy to fall into the trap of “writing for the market” and only producing derivative work that won’t excite an editor. It’s similarly easy to fall into the trap of writing what you want and collecting lots of “This is beautifully done, but not right for us” personal rejection letters. So, it’s fair to ask, how does one deliberately enter this interfictional conversation, write for the market and sell, etc.? Continue reading

Charting the Ending

So. I’m still trying to come up with straightforward ways you can analyze a market to see if it’s right for your story or novel. And one thing I’ve found is that there are a lot of editors who have a very strong preference for certain types of endings.  But “happy” or “sad” aren’t descriptive enough to really make sense of the complexity of possible endings out there. So to that end, I’ve worked up a matrix… Continue reading

My New Market Analysis Hypothesis

Recently, I’ve been trying to think of clear, simple instructions I could give people about how to analyze a market to determine if your story is right for them (or so you can develop one that is). I figured this would make a great series of blog posts, each one dedicated to a different way you can assess what a magazine or publisher likes and how you can use that information to submit appropriately. And I thought I had a brilliant idea. Continue reading