Writing a book – a successful book, in terms of it being read and liked by people who aren’t the author, the author’s family or friends or manicurist – is a balancing act.
A story needs to strike a balance between a) what the writer wants to write and b) what you, the reader, want to read.
A Writer’s Love – And Hate – For A Story
For a writer to stick with a story for long enough to make an entire, publishable novel out of it, we have to love it. Love it. Heart and soul, mind and body.
Our entire being, inside and out, must cherish the premise, the characters, the plot.
We must adore it. Worship it. Revere it. Or else it will never come to fruition.
Don’t get me wrong. There are absolutely times when we hate this story we’re pouring our heart and soul and mind and body into. And I mean hate it.
There’s a part to writing that readers of a finished story never see: writing a book can be frustrating. Lonely. Time-consuming. It can seem pointless and very often thankless.
It consumes our free time, it keeps us away from friends and family, and it puts us through the emotional wringer. By our own choice, of course, but still. To finish a book, a writer must make a few sacrifices and persevere, and sometimes that makes us despise it. Loathe it. Detest it. Abhor it.
Raising Those Book-Babies
Actually, I’m told it’s a lot like raising kids – and it’s true: the books I’ve written, the ones I’ve finished, are my babies. My book-babies, which “grew up good” and that I’m super-duper proud of, also because there were times when it was hell on Earth to raise them to adulthood.
Except, “raising” a book-baby happens a bit in reverse.
In this case, it’s the writer doing the crying, the tantrum-throwing, the giggling, the first-steps-taking and the pants-pooping.
If the writer manages to stick through all that and keep at it, the book just ends up… growing. And, eventually, growing up.
But only if it is loved by the writer. A story that is unloved by its writer will never even make it through the first draft. It’s that little sperm tadpole that made it to the ovum and then didn’t have enough juice in the wiggly bit to drive home the head bit that contains all the virile idea-DNA.
So that’s one side of the balance: the writer’s love for the story.
That’s what it takes to make that book-baby – to make it exist. To raise it into something strong and original enough to go out into this cruel world and make its own way in it.
A world in which it is loved or at least appreciated, by people besides its writer – more specifically, the readers.
The Readers’ Love – Or Hate – For The Story
That’s the other side of the balance: the reader’s love for the story. Hopefully, the readers’ love, as in readers plural. Without it, no matter how much the writer-parent loves it, no book will be successful.
And don’t we parents always want our babies to be successful?
So, putting our book-babies in readers’ hands is exhilarating and at the same time terrifying. Because you, dear reader, have the right to love it – but, equally, to hate it.
To criticize it. Review it. Forget it. Talk about it. Share it.
In fact, without any of that, the story dies a silent death.
But You’ll Never Know If You Don’t Try
So here’s me trying:
I just hit the “Publish”-button for Once Upon A Nightmare, the FREE prequel novella to my Nightmare City series.
Here’s what it’s about:
Last night, Elysia Rey was a dream. Today she’s alive, flung into a world where phones are smart and magic is called electricity.
A world in which her kind has no right to live and is hunted by monsters and humans alike.
But Elysia Rey wasn’t created to roll up and die. She has one purpose: protect her dreamer.
No bulletproof chimera or vengeful shade hunter will keep her from fulfilling that purpose.
I’d love if you love it.
I’d accept if you hate, criticize and forget it.
I’d appreciate if you review it. Talk about it. Share it.
I hope you do any or all of those things because it means my book-baby is alive.
In the end, what I really hope for, is that you enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it.