Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Story I'm Meant to Write

May 22, 2011

I think one of the hardest things for an author to do is to completely ignore what those around he/she are writing as it applies to their own work. Writing is a solitary pursuit, and we humans are not solitary creatures. Every day we are bombarded – literally- with news about fellow writers. New releases, new reviews, new blogs – you name it, we hear about it.

That’s not to say it’s wrong to keep informed because it’s not, but information is a mixed bag of good and bad. You wish some people would stop pounding themselves on the back. You begin to wonder if their mother neglected them to the point they simply must, must, must find approval and affirmation anywhere and any way they can. Some people you wish would share their good news from time to time even as you appreciate their low-key approach to life. It’s never right and it’s never wrong, all being part of that solitary pursuit.

Having this bombardment of news creates a peculiar problem for me. I was a reader long before I decided to put my writing talent to use, and I’m still a reader. This morning, I checked on the new releases from various publishers, read the book blurbs to see which one(s) I might like to add to my Kindle. I stumbled across one in particular and wondered why I didn’t think of that plot. The answer is because it’s not the story I was supposed to write.

From time to time, I’ve heard other authors voice the question, “Has someone copied my work?” I’m not going to say that it never happens because maybe it does. Piracy is a big problem and very little is being done to address it at the levels at which it has a chance to be effective. Once a story leaves your hands, anything is possible. But I think it’s more likely that the professional writer taps into the well of shared human experience. Some stories, even if occasionally made familiar by the daily news, are told in our individual voice.

While however disheartening it is to learn someone else has written a story similar to something that we’ve had on our plot board for months, I think our job is to go ahead and write our story as we envision it, to put our own stamp on it. When finished, it will be different, unique with our own voice.

It is also unsettling when demands are made for information. The Internet is a very public place and once we have committed our ideas to the Internet they are free for the taking. When asked what we are currently working on, we need to weigh the pros and cons of our answer, of who is asking the question, why they believe they are entitled to that information, and in what forum we find ourselves when this question is put to us.

So bear with me, and other authors, when we are silent, for we have much work to do, writing the story we are meant to write.

2 comments:

GigglesandGuns said...

Maybe since I'm an introvert I answer about my current work in generalities. The pieces I have o my blog are what I wish to share and nothing more.

Melissa Bradley said...

Hear, hear! I know exactly what you mean and I, too answer questions about WIPs in generalities.

The way something percolates in our individual brain and combines with our personal experience helps to bring our unique stories to life. The Well of Human Experience is a deep ocean of mysteries, secrets and adventures that we tap into in order to create our amazing tales and it's what keeps our readers coming back.