An online friend wrote something to me today that, paraphrased, said: "When you write something inspirational, please let me know..." Very nice person, offered to have me on her site as a guest writer, and so on. But this got me thinking. Should writers write what they want, what they feel? Or should they write what they hear will sell?
My writing, for those who've gone to the writings section of this site to check it out (previously unpublished short story and prologue and Chapter One of Cursing the Darkness, a mystery novel), tends to be a bit dark. Okay, it's very dark. Okay, my better half's right--it's straight out depressing and horrifying, if not somewhat interesting. I am, after all, writing a concentration camp novel, an apocalyptic novel, and the finished novel is about murder and mayhem. So, okay, no happy/smiley here. Even my blog, I'm told, could use a touch of the light.
Should I write something happy/smiley? Or should I write what comes? Or, maybe more to the point, should what comes be more happy/smiley? Now were talking personal psyche and psychology. I'm not that bad, or sad, or horrifying, I assure you. Stephen King isn't a complete psycho, despite his stories, and a lot of people actually wouldn't be traced back to their characters or stories if they weren't attached by name or fame.
Though it has been pointed out to me (many times) that Brad Foster and I are essentially the same. I don't have shots of Dewar's at nine a.m., and he doesn't have my job (which WOULD make many people have shots of Dewar's at nine a.m.), but I admit that he and I are alike in...spirit. Mood. I am much more pleasant. And I don't carry a gun. We both have somewhat the same attitude towards society, though he's darker, and I suppose the dead-end alley effects both of us, though he more than I. Hmmm...
But I digress. Not, "What to write?" but, I guess, "What to write like?" I don't know about everyone else, but my answer to that has always been that I can't write what I don't want to write. If forced to write something light, fluffy and amusing, I'm not sure I could do it. Foster is very funny, I'm told (and I agree), but admittedly he's not in a life-of-the-party kind of way. If you like your dose of reality with a heavy touch of sarcasm and slight exaggeration, he's your guy. Cursing does end with inspiration, though that's born out of a hole in Hell to begin with. There was nowhere to go but up, mood-wise.
But what to write like? This is to be continued, but I also have to point out that the question applies to blog entries themselves. A couple of rules of thumb for blogs is that the entries should stick to mostly one theme or subject (mine kinda don't) and the entries should be just a few paragraphs, certainly no more than 4 or 5 (many of mine are much longer than that). The stats bore this out: The longer blogs are read (much) less frequently. In fact, they tend to be skipped, just like long paragraphs of description. So one frame of thought is, "Don't do that because your readers don't like it." And another is: "I'll write what I want, and those who like it enough will read it." Guess which one I favor?
Bottom line, I suppose, is: Who do you write for? If I wrote for my readers, I'd write more light and fluffy, and my entries would fall under the same category (and, no, not just mental), and they'd be much shorter.
And so--I write for me.
Causes Steven Belanger Supports
APSCA and a couple of others that I forget until the pledges come in the mail.