Saturday, June 21, 2014

Guest Post by Lindsey Pogue (my co-author!): Writing Stories Is Like Eating Skittles, I Want To Taste The Rainbow

by Lindsey Pogue, Co-author of The Ending Series
Being a new-ish author, I feel like I’ve been treading water over the past few years, trying to navigate authorship-ism-ology to the best of my ability without drowning. There are plenty of things that are difficult about being an indie author, like marketing and book covers, editing and more marketing…If you want to produce high-quality work to the best of your ability, to get your work out there, gaining a loyal readership, then you’ve got to work hard at it. But that’s not necessarily the most difficult part of being an author.

Finding a niche is easy, for most people…
The most looming question of all is, which genre do I write for when I love reading them all? That might seem like an easy answer to some, but having a controversial series under my belt that’s gotten both rave and scathing reviews because it so delicately balances so many genres, has made me question where I stand as an author.

Other authors have told me to avidly read the genre I want to write so that it will make me a better writer, and so that I’ll understand what works well and all the key components to those types of stories. Well, I have seven bookshelves in my house chockfull of historical fiction, historical romance, contemporary romance, new adult, dystopian, science fiction, literary fiction, the list goes on. So, what do I do when my mind is a bottomless pit of possible story ideas that span the breadth of many genres? Yes, I’m fully aware this is a first-world problem, but it’s a problem for me nonetheless. I’m an author, I want to make my fans happy, just like all authors do.

YA? New Adult? Science-Fiction? Romance?
Until I actually started working on The Ending Series with my co-author and dear friend, Lindsey Fairleigh, I never saw myself writing science-fiction, let alone thought the first book I’d publish would ever be considered so; I never read science-fiction and had no interest in writing it. Obviously, things worked out much differently than expected.

Three years, three books, and six novellas later, LF and I are writing our fourth and final installment in our emotionally charged, post-apocalyptic world of The Ending. Perhaps it’s because of our series’s inability to “fit” in anywhere that I am so curious about my own personal writing future. People equally love and hate After The Ending. The feedback is all over the board—it’s too emotional for sci-fi, it’s too girly and the content too young to be adult fiction, but the themes are too adult for YA…see where I’m going with this?

So, that poses the question I keep asking myself, what will I write next? Where will it fit in? Do I care? Yes, I care, but I know I shouldn’t let that stop me.

Writing stories is like eating Skittles, I want to taste the rainbow.
I’ve been writing all my life, completing my first YA manuscript when I was in high school. I was so proud of myself, thinking, oh yeah, this is my niche for sure! I’m gonna be a writer! Woot! Woot! Yeah, well, then my genre of choice changed, and I went completely off the path and ended up writing science fiction—romancey, new adult sci-fi, but sci-fi all the same. I still want to write them all—the fantastical and gritty real life—and just thinking about the possibilities gets my gears turning and revved up for my next writing adventure. Let me tell you, when your book doesn’t fit nicely into a package, you open yourself up to harsher reviews from people who were expecting one book but got another, and when it’s not cookie cutter, your book is much more difficult to market.

But, over the past year or so, I’ve realized something: nothing is black and white. There are tons of authors out there who write historical fiction and paranormal romance, erotica and thrillers. While it generally works out best if a story easily fits into a genre as I mentioned above, that won’t always be the case. So why have I been trying to box myself in? As far as I can tell, there is no single choice to be made if I want to be myself, to write what I’m passionate about.

So folks, apparently finding a niche in the writing world isn’t as easy for me as it is for other authors. But then, I’ve decided to give myself a break. I need to do what feels right. I don’t have to choose one single genre. I can be diverse as long as I can accept the can of worms that comes with it. After all, diversity is what makes good writers, right?

As long as there’s some romance, please.
Assuming that twenty years from now I’ve written stories across many genres and I’m still going strong, there’s one thing I know they’ll all have in common. Romance. YES! Nothing makes me happier than creating new brooding characters or jokesters or hotshots with cocky grins, and some of our fans most beloved characters are those very ones. This gives me hope and a strange sense of security that no matter what I decide to do, if they loved The Ending Series, people will enjoy all that comes next from LF and I as well.

If you’re interested in reading After The Ending and forming your own opinion on the matter, you’re in luck! It's on sale for 99 cents over at Amazon!

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