Wednesday, July 17, 2019

5 W's & an H: Today we talk WHEN

We are now on Day 4 and the focus today is about the WHEN part of our novels. In this case, it really is about setting but it is all about marketing as well.

This is one of those issues where authors need to do their research BEFORE even starting that story, and when I say start, I am talking about any research or planning. This is really where so many authors screw up.

The reality is that it doesn't matter about the quality of your writing, if you are writing a story that simply is not going to work in the current market, it is not going to sell. This is not an issue of the publishers having a limited scope of writing, or trying to control things. This is a matter of what the readers are currently interested in.

I remember right after 9/11, there were authors who really wanted to bring up a story that rode on that emotion. The problem is, that while the author might have had a great story, the world was simply not ready to face that emotion at that time.

There is also an issue to plotting. The time of the story really is a backdrop to the entire plot and needs to really be there for a reason, and that reason needs to be significant. Like our discussion of setting yesterday, the time of the story also has to be there for a reason.

I remember one author pitching a story that sounded like it had some potential, but this author set the story in the early 70's. This was a romantic suspense and she wanted to set it in a time where there were no cell phones or the Internet. This was not a great approach because now, she had to not only try to tell the story, she had to add in all of the world building. This was world building that was non-essential to the story.

If you are writing a contemporary story, make it contemporary. You readers will relate to the story better because it is a time they understand and live in. It also makes your life easier when you try to connect the reader to the story.

If you are writing anything historical, ask yourself if this is truly a time period that will work right now. It might not be the time to tell that story. Put it aside for now and focus on something that would sell.

Just something to consider. 

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