Sunday, January 29, 2023

The Writer's Goals~~Then and Now

All My historicals @


How did we ever get into this writing business/hobby/obsession? 

Motive varies from writer to writer. Some of us wrote to escape, to create alternate worlds in which to live--worlds where we can control the outcomes. Some of us wrote to tell the stories that natter away in our heads incessantly, stories that entertain us so much, or engross us so deeply, we simply HAVE to share them.  There are many so motives for writing a book.  

When I began writing fiction seriously, by which I mean with an eye to publication, back in the late 1970's, there was a path in place to follow. We learned about the stamped, self-addressed envelope, the eye-catching cover letter, the one page synopsis, and the perfect, not-too-long first chapter, which we slaved and sweated over until finally, with great trepidation, we submitted to a carefully selected editor at a publishing house into which we thought our beloved "baby" would "fit." There were long waits for the mail and for some harried assistant editor's attention, followed by, over the years, perhaps a thousand rejections. Aiming at an ever-shrinking mid-list, acceptance into the "published writer" club became ever harder.

When we weren't working on our latest book or day jobs, we went to conferences and learned about genres and the rules which governed those genres, that is, writing to the expectations of your future readers. If your story was a love story, it had to have a happy-ever-after ending. If you wrote mysteries, you'd probably have read dozens of books by the all time greats, authors like Agatha Cristie, Earl Stanley Gardner, John Dickson Carr and Rex Stout. You planned your story and outlined a twisting plot, because "who dunnit" requires the reader to be engaged by the puzzle you've created, and, you, the author, has to remain always a step ahead. 

Back then, you had to be a master of your craft in order to mix genres, and, as a new writer, you did so at your peril. Over time, much has changed. One example would be the old genre, "Romance," which is now split into many many, many categories. The hard-and-fast rules governing genre writing are out the window. 

Moreover, what the ambitious writer of today dreams of is not only the traditionally coveted book deal, but also a movie deal, a TV show, or a series available on one of the many new hungry-for-content streaming platforms, such as Netflix, HBO or Showtime. 

These days you can cross all the genres you can imagine in film. Look at the success of Lucifer, which started on HBO, and, then found a new home at Netflix. Into what genre would you put this show? Lucifer had a Comic book genesis (via Milton's  poetic sermon, Paradise Lost, via Neil Gaiman's Good Omens. Now the title character is a witty, urbane modern celestial escapee from Hell, but added to that, we've got a mash-up of romance, comedy, police procedural, adventure, soap opera and kung-fu fighting + gunfire, all crammed into a fantasy-fast-lane of sex, drugs and rock'in'roll inside the entertainment world of modern Los Angeles. (How's that for a run-on sentence!?)


One of my cross-genre books:
Black Magic
Vampires, Shapeshifters, Historical, Adventure, Family Saga, set on an 18th Century 
Alpine estate that's nowhere near as placid as it appears.

Writing, now that we've crossed into another century, remains a labor of love/obsession that may or may not ever pay off. It's probably even harder than it once was to get published in the 21st Century, and ever so much harder to attract an audience with so much material clamoring for attention. 

Still, if the madness is upon you...well, all I can advise is "Go for it."

~~Juliet Waldron


  1. Go for it. Great advice. I write because I like to tell stories. Hope all is great with you

  2. Good advice, Juliet. I love Lucifer... and I write cross genres. Sci-fi, fantasy, action, romance, and legends. Mixed in with angels. If you love what you write, the readers will love it, too. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I have to agree with Vijaya... "If you love what you write, the readers will love it too." Thanks for sharing your passion!


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