Ever wonder why are there so many genres of music but not of books? Basic business. The Book Industry Study Group has compiled a list of numbers called BISAC codes, which all published books must be filed under. This makes it easier to market, sell, and stock books based on these categories. And while BISAC codes are always expanding, it is still sad that literary art has to be so confined by the practicality of an old business model. Personally, I’d love to see what a book genre entitled “shimmer pop” or “chilltronica” read like.
You can check out the current BISAC list for Fiction here.
This is something I cannot stress enough:
Difficulty does not equal quality.
Just because something is difficult to write (or read) does not automatically make it of better quality. Likewise, if something came easily, that does not mean you have settled. While intricacy generally takes more time and energy, remember to make allowance for the possibility that you’re a genius.
Never look back at what you’re writing. The chances of you actually liking what you’ve written is very low. Every so often you’ll get to say ‘Wow, look at what I just wrote. That’s genius!’, but 90% of the time, you’ll realize it’s pretentious, worthless crap. So write, write, write and don’t look back. For the sake of the chapters ahead.
A quote from Ray Bradbury:
If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer. It means you are so busy keeping one eye on the commercial market, or one ear peeled for the avant-garde coterie, that you are not being yourself. You don’t even know yourself. For the first thing a writer should be is – excited. He should be a thing of fevers and enthusiasms. Without such vigor, he might as well be out picking peaches or digging ditches; God knows it’d be better for his health.
When was the last time you wrote something out of sheer fun or pure love?
Your muse is a jealous lover, and the pact you enter into with her is dangerous, all-consuming, and demands your dedication. She won’t be cast aside and wait patiently for you to return to her. She’ll snatch you away from more pressing matters with a sudden burst of inspiration and that itch to write at the base of your skull. Or she’ll leave you, let you stagnate in front of a blank page for weeks, if you do not give her the constant attention that she demands.
To appease my muse, I think I will go to a cafe and sit quietly and listen to her, pen in hand, free from other distractions. Maybe then she’ll learn to love me again . . .
A word of warning: As writers, we are creators, gods . . . but only in our rooms, at our desks, on the pages we write. In the real world, we are just another human being trying to sell a commodity we believe other people need, and writers-in-training would do well to remember this when dealing with publishers. No indignant rants, please, no streams of complaints, perfectionist critiques, or snobbish appearances. They do not want your book badly enough to bow to your godliness.
The test of a true writer is when, at some point in the middle of a hectic day, he or she is faced with a choice between an hour’s nap or an hour’s writing session, and chooses the latter.
Today I was the victim of a sudden, violent burst of glorious inspiration. I do believe others thought me insane as I grinned and giggled mischievously to myself and scribbled frantic notes down on the nearest piece of paper.
Make maps of imaginary islands by tracing lines around coffee stains. Hang them on the walls. Name the bays, the crags, the shorelines and the rivers. Populate them with winged people or tailed people or a race completely removed from humans. Imagine them in intricate detail. Do not feel the need to write about them; some things lose their magic when put into words.
My former boss once told me about her eight-year-old granddaughter.
All she wants to do is write stories. ‘Grandma, let’s write a story!’ Every time she draws a picture, she must write an entire story to go with it!
I could not tell her, and indeed cannot describe to anyone, just how much joy that statement gave me. But it also demanded an answer to the question – why are some people seemingly born with the inherent desire or drive to write? Is it genetic code or spiritual gift?