“What’s the point of writing a book if it’s just going to sit in your desk drawer?” Mary Sue Seymour asked us several times during the Susquehanna Valley Writer’s Workshop. I didn’t volunteer an answer at the time because it’s a complicated issue with arguments for both sides.
For instance, Dean Koontz writes in On Popular Fiction that a professional writer writes for the market. There was a point in his career when the ‘SciFi’ market took a down turn. Although Koontz “simply did not like Gothic novels” he wrote one successfully. His point was that a professional writer writes what sells. It’s a valid point; however, I personally think that ‘Gothic’ is not too far from the style of Koontz’s regular work, and therefore, I’m not completely convinced that a good writer can or should write in any genre.
First of all, I believe a good book is written with passion and if the writer is not passionate about her work, the book is going to reflect it. I also believe that the market is constantly in flux. Trying to write for the market is like a dog chasing its tail. If I research today what publishers are desperately seeking and set out to write that book, by the time it’s finished, there’s a good chance the publishers have changed their minds.
Die-hard fans of mysteries and thrillers aren’t going to suddenly stop reading them. Like I said in my post last week, love of mystery and suspense is deep in my bones. I’ve not been swayed by the current popularity of the fantasy genre and I have to believe there are other suspense lovers like me out there who crave edge-of-your-seat thrills and mysteries.
I’m not saying I’ll never write a Christian Romance. Actually, during a run last week I was hit with a promising premise for an Amish Romance and I may see where it takes me, but only after I finish the book of my heart - a supernatural suspense.
What side of the fence are you on? Do you write what sells or do you write what you love?