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This happened to me too — BLACKBIRDS was me saying, fuck it, I’m gonna write this book my way, not to some mythical market or imagined editor or illusory audience. If it broke rules, oh well, because it was mine.
Obviously everyone's mileage with writing a book -- why they write it, how, etc. -- is different, but I did find there was a lot of value in separating it from the teleporting goalposts of the industry and the audience.
Not to say there's nothing useful in thinking about a book's viability -- but for me that's more a question of when I have multiple ideas and need to choose one. If you have One Idea that's driving you cuckoo bananapants, saddle up and ride that beast until it flies or dies.
Writing a book is such a major investment of time and energy; at the end of the day, a story isn't a widget, it isn't Canned Meat, it isn't some dongle or new phone or brotein shake. It's a story. It's soul and art and DNA and spider-eggs ha ha I didn't say spider-eggs, YOU did.
Given that a book is gonna take you a few months -- maybe even a few years -- to write, AND time to find an agent and/or find an editor and/or find a publisher, you can't use ORACULAR POWERS to see what the audience wants. What the audience wants changes. The AUDIENCE changes.
And a lot of times, a book (or movie or comic or game or whatever) doesn't HAVE an audience until it enters the world. Just because they're not baying for it like hounds doesn't mean they won't show up when it shows up.
This is also a helpful way for me to get unstuck in a book, too -- if I find my attention wavering or I feel stuck on a point, I can cleave to the idea, what would make me happy here? Happy, or scared, or excited? As a reader, what would shock me, or satisfy me, or whatever?
If it were someone else's book, and I was reading it and starting to feel either a little bored or a little agitated and frustrated, what would I want to see? Besides a rewrite from the beginning -- that's a different problem. I mean, assuming the foundation is strong, what next?
At the end of the day you get one go-round on this motherfucking carousel, you might as well enjoy it. Turn out the stories you want to turn out. As intimate or as weird or as blockbustery or as genre-mashy or as disturbing or as optimistic as you want them to be.
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