So as the intro says, I have very little news but perhaps some advice. I’m not quite sure that I’m qualified to give advice, but we’ll just give it a shot and see how it goes.
News first. Well, not much has progressed in Opus. I’m at 35 pages now and just crossed over the threshold of chapter 4. And of course, my deadline is ticking steadily closer.
5 months and 18 days. * bites nails nervously *
I seriously feel like I wasted a month doing absolutely nothing Opus-wise.
Yeah, last time I was like, “I have 6 months and 16 days till my deadline.” * gives a half-hearted, wheezy laugh * Where did that time go?
Okay, to be fair, I have done some subtext deconstructing. So I’ve actually, like, taken the subtext I am going to write and carefully plotted it out like a real plot. I’m excited. That was like, the highlight of my month.
I can’t elaborate further. I want this subtext to creep in on little cat feet straight into my beta-readers’ thoughts. Some of them will get it. Some of them won’t. For those that don’t get it immediately: I hope you start asking the right questions.
I promised you advice? Indeed, I did.
Advice. There are days when I just look at the young adult shelves and all I see is formulaic young adult stories (it frightens me slightly that apparently “young adult” has become a genre and not a readership…?).
I am not a fan of formulaic fiction. Whether that’s adult fiction or science fiction or young adult anything. To me, and you may totally disagree, formulaic is just what’s selling. I think that one writes formulaically for one of two reasons:
a). That’s all they’ve read, so they’ve grown to like it. Also, they see bucket-loads of it on shelves and so they think that’s what and how they should be writing.
b). It’ll make them mad cash. (Cause, apparently like sex, formulaic fiction sells).
“But, Ally!” you say pleadingly, “The Hunger Games–“
I disagree with your premise. The Hunger Games was not formulaic. All the dystopia that came after it was formulaic. People/publishers saw what sold and so they sought it out. Same thing with The Fault in Our Stars. Same thing with, bear with me here, Twilight.
So what is my actual advice here?
Don’t write what you know. Write what you can write. Take all those esoteric, quirky aspects of yourself and your interests and put them into your book. Not literally, but let them have a hand in crafting your novel or characters or prose. That will create a unique backbone for your style.
Are you a superhero lover? Do you devour obscure Native American myths like candy? Do you have an odd sense of humor? A love for music and lyricism? Anything that makes you you should have a hand in your book. So, writing what you know is not necessarily the term for this advice.
How about, write what influences you. Right?
It really comes down to who you’re writing for. Are you writing for yourself and your readers or are you writing just to get published as an end goal?
If you’d rather your book be The Hunger Games or The Fault in Our Stars or The Raven Boys or Blackbirds than simply one of twenty other dystopias or urban fantasy love-triangle stories up on the shelf, then write what you and only you can write.
Oh, here’s a good one. It actually accompanies a new scene in Opus Draft 2.
Nothing Left to Say/Rocks by Imagine Dragons: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6zqH6qKaTU
Oh man, I love that song so much. Note to my main character: I’m sorry you have to be so utterly emotionally destroyed in that scene. ….I do these things because I love you 😀