Freeways and Dead Ends
As the wading continues through this week’s Swamps of Creation, the next item of consideration is the benefits of workshopping your book, along with avoiding the winding & often deadend path of writing to trends.
There’s a writer whose writing I loved earlier this year that is part of a special workshop group that meets by Skype every week. During their sessions, they take turns workshopping each other’s work. It’s an intense process, but they go about it in a no-holds-barred approach. Of course, it’s no surprise that ALL of these ladies are now published. It didn’t happen overnight, but I can promise you that what they’re doing has worked to all of their successes.
Before taking the big leap into the query process, it’s definitely an advantage to gather with group of fellow writers, where there’s a strong trust between all parties. In addition, it’s important that there is a level of knowledge about the writing process, as well as the publishing industry.
One of my favorite conferences, the DFW Writers’ Conference has produced many writers that have moved onto publication. The reason for this level of success has been their regular workshops. This has allowed many strong ideas move into the category of being publication-ready.
As for avoiding missteps in the Swamps of Creation, it’s always a good idea to avoid writing to any sort of trend. What any agent would prefer, and this goes for editors too, is the BEST idea that a writer can do. Yes, there needs to be an awareness of the competition and what’s working commercially. If writing on a topic that is already very popular, the important thing to know is how your book will present its own unique narrative despite books of a similar theme. In the end, it’s the writing that will help win or lose any editor or agent.
Ultimately there will always be similar ideas on the market, just remember to ensure that your own idea stands out due to strong writing and an unique perspective.