Are you telling the story you want to tell?

If you are telling the story you want to tell, congratulations. You must feel fulfilled as a writer.

As I was compiling my most recent story, I got to the point where I realized I had told everything about this story I had wanted to tell. I would be proud to put my name at the top of it, and whether people like it or not, it is the story I wanted to tell. Period.

This is an incredibly freeing position for a writer to find himself.

I remember some of the reviews of my first novel where some readers felt short-changed because I didn’t elaborate at the end about certain aspects of the story. They said it felt rushed and that all the loose ends weren’t neatly tied. I understood their criticism and thought it through quite a bit until I realized that I had told the story I wanted to tell. I didn’t want to tie certain loose ends because I was intent on keeping the focus on a certain part of the story, which I deemed its backbone. I guess you can say I’m a backbone writer. I don’t deviate off my chosen path. I keep things concise and straight forward with my writing eyes on the end result that I want. It’s great when it coincides with a reader’s expectations, and often it does. But not always.

But that’s okay. If you tell the story you intend to tell, then be happy and move on.

There are many market forces in the book world which could easily pull a writer away from his or her chosen path. And certainly there’s no harm to mix things up and try a new genre or explore an unusual story line one would normally not choose, but I would contend that if you are doing it only for the market, then it won’t be worth it. If you are doing it to grow as a writer or to explore a new interest, by all means go for it. But remember to tell the story you want to tell.

When a writer does this, the passion, heart, and correct level of emotion is much more likely to pop from the story.

So that is why I will never write stories about vampires or werewolves. Or erotica. Or science fiction. Or fantasy or … a myriad of other genres. They simply don’t get me excited. This is also why it’s highly unlikely for a literary agent to knock on my door. My writing wouldn’t be easily mold-able into what is currently popular. To me a good story is just a good story and readers simply want good stories written by writers who follow their hearts, regardless of how maudlin that sounds.

I firmly believe that it is writers unleashed to write their story which will produce the type of end product that everyone, writer and reader, will enjoy.

One last point I want to make is that this doesn’t mean that a writer doesn’t need outside input. Of course, it’s crucial. I have a group of readers who help shape my early manuscripts, and I am always grateful for their candor. But, ultimately, I have to choose that which is best, in my opinion, for my story. That way I can accept all the blame. (and on those rare occasions, laud.)

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