Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Follow that Dream. . .by Linda Kozar

When asked how to get to Neverland, Peter Pan answered, "Second Star to the right, and straight on till morning."

Peter Pan decided he preferred being a boy to being a man. He refused to grow up or grow old. But the rest of us haven't much choice in the matter.

Authors especially.

As an author, I hope and pray things never change, that I never run out of steam or the dream, and that a story will forever stir in my head as I stand at the stove stirring a pot of sauce or soup. But if change is inevitable, let it be in a positive direction.

At the moment, I'm sitting in my favorite chair multi-tasking some writing projects, hoping I don't cross-contaminate characters or plots, and praying I choose the right assortment of words to adequately describe what I see in my mind.

And I do see some incredible things in there:)

In my mind's eye, I see settings in exquisite detail. I know what each character looks like and what each would say or do. I translate these descriptions to my laptop as fast as I can because there are voices and songs and the fragrance of certain flowers to attend to as well. Sometimes I can't get them all down fast enough. My fingers don't type as fast as the neurons fire.

Well, not always. Some days, I can't seem to write a single sentence. Which brings me to a question. . .

Do authors ever get tired of writing?

I'm guessing some do, especially if they're writing something they aren't passionate about. I always ask fellow authors what they would secretly like to write and I'm often surprised by the answer. A romance author wants to write speculative fiction. A mystery writer wants to write nonfiction. A children's author want's to write romantic suspense. But do they? Will they?

Branding isn't a bad thing for authors--it's a strategy for achieving goals . If you write in a certain genre with any element of success, you will probably continue to get more contracts based on that track record. But an author who wants to leapfrog to a different place on the bookshelf, will have some hoops to jump through first. The desire to change, to write something in a different genre might be met with opposition--probably from an agent or editor or both and likely from readers who are always looking for your latest greatest next book in the genre they love and follow. The fear with a loyal reader following is, if you leave them they might leave you.

Which is a risk an author must be willing to take.

But why would an author want to take a risk like that?

Back to passion. If you are passionate about what you write, it seeps into the writing. In fact, such writing is infused with the author's emotion and intent. There's a lot of love in that kind of book. And a book like that is a pleasure to read.

If you want to break out of your little gilded cage, you're going to have to do it and do it well. You're going to have to turn in a stellar work in the rogue genre you chose--a work that will win over your regular readers and inspire new ones.

Given the choice, I urge you to decide early on what kind of writer you want to be and follow that dream. Not someone else's dream. Your dream.

Find your own Never Never Land. I know just how to get there.

"Second star to the right, and straight on till morning."

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