Sunday, February 28, 2010

Taking Chances

Sometimes you just have to tell the story you have to tell. It may be way out here, like having a dog for a narrator (Who’s going to publish that?) or a story about a spider or one told by a dead girl.

You have to be brave. It’s hard. It’s very hard to write something that you know is pretty far out there. When I began my ALIEN INVASION & OTHER INCONVENIENCES novel about aliens landing and taking over the world and enslaving everyone, I thought—really? Am I really going to try to write this? It’s so, well, weird. Who will publish it? You don’t want to have these thoughts. You just want to write, but most novels take a year or more to finish. It’s a chunk of time and your life. But ultimately we’re writers and that’s what we do and part of that is taking chances, following your passion. I suppose this is the writer’s way of following Joseph Campbell’s advice: follow your bliss.

Every time you write it’s a kind of leap of faith. You have to be brave. If your story is a strange one and it’s going to be told in a strange way, it may be harder to sell to a publisher. That’s true. But who knows what will happen then? An author named Stein did write a book from a dog’s point of view called THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN. Great novel. Great reviews. Bestseller. And of course Charlotte’s Web is a great novel about a spider and ELSEWHERE and THE LOVELY BONES are novels with POV narrators who are dead girls. You just never know. You have to write what you have to write. You have to be brave.

11 comments:

Elisabeth Black said...

I LOVE THIS POST. I could not agree more. You did a great job saying what I've been turning and stirring in my brain for the last week or two. Thank you.

Indigo said...

As long as the writer makes the story believable. No matter how far fetched it may be, if you give your readers a thread of plausibility, it brings the story into the realm of possibility.(Hugs)Indigo

brian yansky said...

Thanks, Elisabeth.

And thanks, Indigo. Yep, and that thread of plausibility might seem thin at times but so what. You have to write what you have to write.

Deb Salisbury said...

Great post, great thoughts!

Linking back to you. :-)

brian yansky said...

Thanks, Deb.

Victoria Dixon said...

Thank you for this affirmation, Brian. Writing using a beloved and universally known mythos that no other modern fiction writer has touched has left me with a lot of agents not interested, but I can't seem to give up on the story. If no one else ever wants it, I won't regret writing it.

brian yansky said...

Thanks for writing, Victoria--hope you keep writing. I think having completed a manuscript is and of itself an accomplishment. A lot of people start novels but not a lot of people finish them. Maybe someone will publish it later on, but at some point you should write your next novel.

Vonna said...

Hear, hear!

Kathy Duval said...

Thanks for this post! Great inspiration as I plunge into new territory with my writing.

brian yansky said...

Thanks Vonna and Kathy.

Andrea said...

Your post is inspiring, especially right now when I keep doubting the premise of my novel and wondering whether to continue. Thanks!