I’m going to post just some random thoughts today. I do have a particular issue I’m thinking about discussing, but that may have to wait a few days. For now, here are just a few observations:
• The concept of writing a book can seem overwhelming at the start. In fact, if you’re like me, you may find yourself procrastinating simply because the task seems too big. But the real secret for most writers is that you don’t have to write the entire book NOW. You just have to do the next thing. That’s all. Just the next thing. Maybe that next thing is buying a book for research purposes. Or simply daydreaming about your main character. So, really at any point in the process where you feel overwhelmed, just relax, Max. Take it easy and just do the one next thing you need to do. That’s all. It’s eating the elephant one bite at a time.
• I’ve been seeing manuscripts lately with what I’ve come to refer to as “vertical writing” instead of the more preferable “diagonal writing.” As far as I know, this is a concept that I’ve come up with to describe flat writing versus compelling writing. I may have blogged on this before, but if so, it bears a brief review. By vertical writing I mean writing where the words just sit on the page upright without any forward movement to them. Oh sure, they seem to be telling some sort of story, but not a very interesting one. The words are too vertical. But diagonal writing is like this. It’s like italic font. Each word leans into the next and propels the story forward. I like diagonal writing. Send me more!
• A few days ago on Facebook I mentioned that it as the 96th birthday of author Mary Stewart. I also mentioned that author Phyllis Whitney lived to be 104 (and was writing up until very nearly the end). These women and others such as Victoria Holt, Dorothy Eden, Anne Maybury, and others were hugely successful thirty or so years ago with what were loosely called Gothic novels (neo-Gothic is probably more accurate). For a long time I’ve thought that that genre might do well in CBA. I know many definitions of “Gothic” novels includes some sort of paranormal experience, but I believe those experiences are often later determined to be of natural origin. The way these books could easily be identified was by the nearly identical covers on the books. ALL of the books had an old two-story house with the light on in the upstairs window. A young woman (the protagonist) could be seen running from the house, and often there was a dog barking somewhere on the cover. More or less, those were the common elements on the cover. The plot usually involved a young woman being summoned to the locale of the story on the pretext of some family secret or an inheritance or some such thing. Once there, she found trouble…..and a handsome young man who was also often brooding over something. Perhaps it was that he knew the secret. Are any of you fans of that genre? At Harvest House, our author Mindy Starns Clark has done two novels that approximate this genre: Whispers of the Bayou and Under the Cajun Moon. In looking at the back cover copy for one of these books, I see that we even referred to it as “Gothic.”
Well, all that to say, those books have sold pretty well and I think there’s more room for books in this genre. It certainly helps to be a reader of those authors I mentioned. If you are a fan and a good writer, why don’t you give it a whirl? No weird paranormal stuff. Keep it true to Christian spirituality. I’ll take a look at what you come up with. But please do your research by reading a few of these books first. And write diagonally!
• Finally, I think I’m going to ask for questions at this point. I’m running dry on things to blog about. What’s on your mind? Anything about the industry you want to discuss?