This bit of advice was in Barbara's January newsletter.
Do you like what you write? Would you spend hard earned cash to read it? Not just because it's yours and you wrote it, but because it entertains you? Is it the kind of book you'd enjoy sharing a quiet, fireplace warmed, winter evening with, or is it something you've written because you think it will sell?
Are you patterning your writing after someone else's work? Do you write based on the latest trend? Or do you relax, forget all about those published authors, and write what makes you smile? I don't mean you have to write funny, but if that's your inclination, by all means
stir a handful of humor into the pot. But a dramatic heart-wrenching woman's fiction, or a spine-tingling suspense can bring a smile to the writer if it's what you enjoy writing. Knowing what you want to write and writing it your way brings a great sense of satisfaction.
Of course you can't ignore the rules, unless you're just writing for yourself. If you hope to sell your work then you must learn the rules, study the craft of writing, polish your skills, and learn
about the market, the business side of writing. I have a shelf filled with writing books and I study them constantly. When I say write what makes you smile, I mean that sense of contentment that happens when you know you've done a good job; that you have accomplished what you wanted to do.
Where's your passion? Romances are the quickest path to publication, but it's not my path, because it's not my passion. What makes me smile? A woman in jeopardy suspense: with likeable characters talking like real people, real life interaction among my characters, and
realistic dangerous situations that keeps the reader turning those pages. Add a little humor, a little romance, and that's the kind of book that I want to write. The kind that after I finish my final rewrite, I smile. That's the reaction I want from my reader. So, know the audience you want to reach, whether it's a starry-eyed romantic, a lover of hard-edged suspense, or that woman reader who wants a more relaxed, gentler suspense. Match your passion to your audience and you've taken one giant step down that road to publication.
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