Thursday, April 14, 2011

Increased Awareness

My car, adorable hatchback of doom.
I once read a study that said you're more likely to notice something once you have familiar contact with it. So for example, if you bought a new car, and that car was a Honda Civic, you were more likely to notice Honda Civics from now on. It's crossed into your personal threshold of awareness.

I am inclined to believe this study has merit. Once I bought a Nissan Sentra, I noticed the Sentras. Now that I have a Nissan Versa, I notice those all the more because they are less numerous than Sentras.

The same thing happens to me while I am writing. When I was writing my steampunk novel, all I noticed was how everyone else seemed to be writing steampunk too. Same thing is happening to me now. I am writing about ghosts, and suddenly I am seeing movies and books crop up that deal with ghosts. 

Part of me wonders if I start writing about an underground ferret smuggling ring, that I will start noticing all the noir books, the books about uncommon pets as main characters, and finally, I will find books about rabbit slave trading rings, and monkey meth cartels.

This is both maddening and heartwarming. On one hand, I feel like I'm writing about things that people obviously want to read about. But on the other hand, there's that voice in my head that says by the time I get done writing and editing, steampunk/ghosts/monkey meth cartels will be old news. And then this voice goes on to inform me that everyone will point and LAUGH at me for being OLD NEWS and I should just GIVE UP my dreams of establishing myself as the go-to girl for ferret smuggling rings. 

This is of course not true. There's plenty of fish in the sea, and just because I am noticing these books now, doesn't mean they haven't been around for a while. Because they have. I am just now noticing them. But even if it was true, and I was writing in a genre that was seeing hard times (Like straight science fiction) I still wouldn't stop.

Why? Because I am a writer and therefore, insane. 

I love my stories with all my writerly heart. I love writing scenes that give me shivers, and even if I was writing something ridiculously popular and possibly glutted, like a paranormal romance with a love triangle between a normal human girl, vampire, and a werewolf, I wouldn't stop. Because if I am going to write the best book I possibly can, I have to write what I love.

So if you ever feel a little panicky, noticing that EVERYONE seems to have hacked you mind and is writing about the EXACT same thing you are, take heart. Because there are many ways to spin a tale, and just because you're writing something that's been "done before" doesn't mean you can't bring something new to the story.

For example, they are widely different stories, but Laurell K. Hamilton in her Anita Blake series had a love triangle between a human woman, a vampire, and a werewolf. Then Twilight comes along, does something similar, but the stories are completely different.

So write the stories that call to you and worry about the rest later.  


  1. Part of me wonders if I start writing about an underground ferret smuggling ring

    That's so crazy! I'm writing a book about an underground ferret smuggling ring. What are the chances?!

  2. I have a Nissan Versa too. Mine is blue.

    But I totally know what you mean about everyone doing the same thing (or at least feeling like it).

  3. Joe: WOW! It's like our brains are in synch!!!!!

    Rena: Don't you just love it??? I do! It's nice and roomy but I don't feel like I am driving a land yacht.

  4. Girl I am writing vampires right now. I am so feeling your pain here. But, like you, I'm freaking insane and I just... keep going. So it's cool!


  5. Tara: Yes! Just keep going and ignore all the other books out there. It's popular for a reason. It works and people like them.

  6. Everywhere I look lately, I see Jeep Cherokees. Imagine that...I just got mine last week.

    And, I write about vampires...(no werewolves in my books...just a Scottish Prophetess and a really nasty vampire who wants to rule the rest.)

    But my favorite line of your blog is:
    "I am a writer and therefore, insane."