Monday, January 08, 2007

Writing angles

Back to writing.

Okay, I've read mails and stuff from all kinds of wannabe writers, and it amazes me how many people actually want to write!

Believe me, if I didn't have a head full of characters yelling, "pick me! Pick me!" I'd find better ways of spending my time.

Like any other profession, the huge success is a mixture of skill, talent, hard work and sheer luck. The last factor is the really important one, if you're talking about the difference between midlist and breakaway success. Publishers try to skew this, and at the moment the trend seems to be to get celebs writing (or rather, being ghosted) their autobiographies, their 'how to' books and so on. While the celeb book will always be with us, at the moment it's getting out of hand. Then the readers will tire of it and move on, leaving a few sure-fire names to hold the fort.

In fiction, the paranormal market is currently a screaming success, but if you want to write a vampire book, about the uber-alpha vamp and the feisty heroine, you're too late for the huge success. Unless, of course, you know different.

And that's what it's all about. Different. A twist, a different approach, something special. I've been a bit taken aback by the success of the Department 57 series, for example. Thinking about it, I shouldn't have been, from a market point of view. The stories are different, they have a different approach to the paranormal market. Not a secret society of vampires, for instance, but all paranormal beings joining together for their mutual benefit. Teams of Talents, led by a mysterious group of people who refuse to say what their Talent is, precisely, but have a bit of everything. Or do they? Neither are my Talents 'different' and special. I really didn't want to write about an elite, but I did want to look out how you would actually face the modern world if you lived longer than the norm, or you could turn into a mythical beast at will - and you wanted to keep your ability secret, at least until the world is ready to accept you as an equal.

So I found my "angle," almost by accident, by writing about something I cared about, something that interested me, and I ended up with a romantic suspense series about a group of people working with MI6 and the CIA. James Bond with wings and fangs, you might say.

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