When deciding what to write next, I consult one of my many voices to see who has the most to say and is the loudest in my head. Once I have that character, I have them gather the rest of the cast and crew together and then my kick ass hero(s) have to whoop some ass to get the rest of the voices to settle down and wait their turn. If he didn’t ride herd on them, I’d never be able to hear my hero and the others tell me what to write.
Lately the voices have been pulling me in a different direction that has me a little worried. I love writing just about any subject except pure inspirational or what some call chick lit. I’m also not very good at young adult. Just about anything else is fair game. The problem I’m finding with the way the characters have me leaning is that some of it is much darker than what I’m writing right now. All of my books have, had, and always will have happy endings, but some of these stories follow hard journeys to get them where they need to be.
I can’t help but wonder what readers think about books like this. Do they like them or hate them. Do they enjoy one every once in a while, but prefer the lighter ones? I think that there is a group of readers who enjoy them from the huge amount of biker and cage fighting books I’m seeing rise to the top of the top seller lists, but is it something I want to write?
What are your favorite type of books, the light hearted ones, the ones with a little suspense or angst written in, or the ones where the characters are tortured and look as if they will never be able to get together but finally do? It takes all kinds of writers to meet the needs of readers out there, but it takes all types of readers to support some of the niche writers too. How far from your favorite type of book do you explore when looking for something different? Will you go out of your normal comfort zone to try something or do you stick with what you like and that’s it?
I look at it like a favorite restaurant. Do you try different dishes all the time or do you get the same exact one every time you eat there? Maybe you choose something different every third time you go, or maybe you try something from someone else’s plate to see if you might like to try it for yourself. I think readers do that, too. When they want to try something new but don’t want to buy it in case they didn’t like it, they sometimes borrow a friend’s book or browse the Amazon free books to see what is out there.
When the voices tell me to write, I write. But sometimes, what I write ends up sitting on a jump drive until I have the courage to bring it out and find a place it will fit. Sometimes, it never sees the light of day. If I try to ignore the strongest voices in my head to strain to hear the ones I want to listen to, they wait for me to fall asleep and torture me in my dreams. Sometimes, they just keep me awake and wear me down until I give in and write their story.
Regardless of who wins or cheats to be heard, I have to write. I have to get them out of my head and onto the paper. Going more than a couple of days without doing that will have me climbing the walls and banging my head against them in an effort to shut those pesky characters up long enough for me to get back to the computer. Writing for me is like good drugs for someone with a personality disorder. They help me tell the difference between the ones to listen to and the ones to ignore.