Maureen here, on the first day of winter.
It’s hard to believe 2015 is coming to an end. I still can’t get used to years that begin with 20.
Where’s my jet pack? Why aren’t we all living in condos on the moon? Why are we still comfortable with the same old stereotypes and predictable stories? Whoops. Sorry. I know that’s not nearly as fun as all that space-age stuff.
Seriously, though. I’ve read two books recently — nothing writing by our Maine Crime Writers of course! — that were written in the past couple of years that were very popular but I found stale and predictable. I can feel my frustration rise as I know exactly what this character is going to say. Or what the entire page of dialogue is going to be. Can predict with certainty what the “twist” is. Know without a doubt what arc that relationship is going to take.
Life is short and we’re all busy, and I found myself resenting those books for swallowing up my time.
Sure, they were popular and readers liked them. But you know what? Readers also like books that aren’t stale and predictable. They just need to be given them.
Are you writing in 2016? Here’s your challenge — find something to say and say it in a new way.
I’m not going to say fly your jet pack to your condo on the moon, because those are my 1970s notion of what the way-off-in-the-future year 2016 would be like. No, instead, find a way to portray that unique, fascinating world you have in your head and populate it with real people who don’t conform to expected stereotypes.
Really, why write otherwise? Just to say what everyone else is saying? You don’t want to do that.
If you’re struggling to have your manuscript looked at, ask yourself if you’re really digging down deep and finding a true voice to write with.
Writing in 2016? Don’t assume you’ve found your voice. Make sure you’ve found it. Once it’s found, it will be heard.
My vow for 2016 is to not waste another minute reading books that feel familiar — in a bad way.
And my second vow is to make sure I’m writing the kind of book I want to read.
Want to join me?