If you think this post is going to be one of doom and gloom, it isn’t, it is actually one of celebration – a celebration of writing that is. I write because it is inherent in me. It gives me joy and a sense of order. I am a nobody who cannot catch serial killers and prevent them from doing any more damage – I am too trusting, I would believe what every criminal tells me. I cannot be a politician because far too often, I can see everybody’s point of view. I think you get the picture. The only way I can make a difference, apart from being kind to other people, is if I help or entertain with my writing. The human race fascinates me and I write about them to put things right. Bullies are sorted out and murderers get their comeuppance. I write to get a sense of order and also to entertain my readers.
I read articles about children’s books being written specifically to formula. I hear people saying that they can’t use certain things because they are past trending. I look at the charts and see a lot of the same subjects covered over and over. Do all kids like mostly the same thing, I wonder? I know that my own teenager doesn’t because he moans that publishers think that teenagers don’t have a sense of humour. He’s finds a lot of the material depressing and so tends to read mostly adult books. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with any of this; I think it is fantastic that children are reading so much. As far as I am concerned, anything, within reason, that encourages children to read is doing its job and I support it 100%. I am simply stating that, for me, writing to formula or writing about something because it is trending, would kill my love of writing.
I remember going to a literary festival and listening to a writer telling us about how he wrote his first book. One of the things which totally fascinated me was the fact that he had taken a copy of Harry Potter and counted the words, lines and paragraphs. He had then done exactly the same amount in his book. This was about six years ago and it still amazes me as I think about it. He went onto to publish quite a few more books. I would get emails from him from time to time inviting my family to his promotional events and asking for us to vote for his books in competitions. I then moved, changed my email address and had forgotten all about him. It was only when I came across an old photograph of my son at one of his events that I looked him up on the internet. There has been no news on his website since 2008. This is very strange as he is one the biggest self-publicists I have ever come across. I can only wonder if all his efforts of trending, jumping on bandwagons and counting paragraphs had killed the muse.
I am not saying that there is anything wrong with following trends and counting paragraphs etc… If anything, I admire people their tenacity. I think it is a gift to have the patience to do it. It is something which I will not be attempting though. I have gone through my life being the only one who didn’t light up at senior school; ignoring what colours are in season as I know what suits me and taking my son out of school at 7 to educate him myself. We all must make our own decisions in life. I know I am not even giving myself any chance of being a medium seller let alone a best seller, but writing as I write gives me a deep sense of fulfilment and the people who like my stuff really like it.
So what about you? Do you follow trends and count paragraphs? Or do you write about want you want to write about?