Countdown: Two Stories Left

I am so very, very close to the end of the Great Challenge. I have written fifty stories in fifty weeks. Let that roll around in your mind for a moment. Fifty! Just two more weeks and two more stories left. I’m tempted to try to make them the best stories I’ve ever written, but I’ve learned that doing that will just intimidate me too much to write at all. So the stories will be whatever they are.

I’m brainstorming ways to choose between the novel ideas I discussed in yesterday’s blog. I’ll probably use several of them to see what the results are. One of the nice things about using a methodology to choose is that often when the method shows the result and it’s not what the inner writer wants, she will finally make her choice known.

Here are methods I intend to use.

Reading: Typically when I’m trying to learn how to write in a genre or style, I need to read in it. First I plan to make a list of ten books I should read in each of the genres. If any of the lists look tedious to me, I’ll take that as a sign I should remove it from the Write It Right Now list. Similarly, if any of the lists inspire me to rub my hands together and chuckle like a supervillain who finally has the hero in his trap, I’ll know that genre is rich for me right now.

Market Research: Seth Godin talks about finding your minimum viable audience and serving that audience. Craig Martelle talks about finding and testing a minimum viable product. Also he points out that writers should pick a genre that they are willing to write at least six books in before switching genres. There are market tools like Kindle Spy and Publisher Rocket that can help figure out whether a genre is competitive and profitable. I’ll put my story ideas through that sieve to see what falls through.

Write What You Love: On the flip side of market research is Dean Wesley Smith’s advice, “Never, ever, ever write to market.” Write only what you love. I do love all of the genres I listed yesterday and the reading should help me narrow the love affair a bit. Is it still going hot and heavy? Or am I just going through the motions with a genre? Is this a past fling that I am still sentimental for but no longer in love with? Do I only like having that hot, sweet genre on my arm because it will make other people admire me? That’s not good enough. I need to love the genre for itself. The reading exercise will help with that.

That’s where I am right now in my thoughts on this. If I encounter additional methods, I’ll add them to the tool box.

Today I start beta reading a friend’s book and I’ll do some cleaning as I think about novel ideas and future challenges and before I begin work on the next big thing.

Hope all is going well for you, my friends. Be well. Stay well.

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