characters, ambitions, and a question

I was going to write about another of my non-guilty pleasures, but some interesting things have come up on some of my favorite blogs. Maybe I’ll do the other post in the middle of the week.

1. There was an interesting connection between Maggie’s post “Anonymity,” and Tiyana’s post, “Consistency.” People are different in different situations and contexts, and writers need to write their characters that way, too. Nobody is the same all the time (thank goodness), but when you’re writing it’s easy to forget that and give your characters an unrealistically narrow range of actions and reactions.

2. Stephen at The Undiscovered Author wrote a post called, “A Writer’s Ambitions.” It was very thorough and thoughtful, talking about different types of ambitions that writers can have (material, output, creative). I don’t really seem to have any of them (as I detailed in my comment to his post), which leads me to a question for any writers who read this.

If you were in some situation where you knew you’d never have any readers other than yourself (desert island, space capsule, last human survivor, etc.), would you write? I guess Output Ambition could still apply, Material Ambition definitely wouldn’t, and what about Creative Ambition? Would it matter if you were breaking new creative ground if you were the only writer left?

So, anyway, that’s the question for this week. [Addendum: or you can answer the less apocalyptic and more reality-based version of the question in the Comments below.]

3. Oh, and T.S. Bazelli over at Ink Stained wrote a post called “Stir Fried Thoughts,” where she talked what it takes to interest agents and publishers these days, and how you have to be able to identify other (successful) novels that your novel is like. So, sort of like a Hollywood pitch meeting (“It’s like Harry Potter meets Twilight!”).

Unfortunately, this would seem to indicate that too much Creative Ambition might not be a good thing these days.

And it also indicates that my assessment (in my comment on Stephen’s blog) of the commercial potential of my stuff is probably right. If somebody asked me what my books are like, what successful books they’re similar to, or even exactly what commercial genre I work in, I’d be a bit stumped.

It probably also relates to my question about whether Henry James or Thomas Pynchon would get a contract if they were starting now.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in writing. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to characters, ambitions, and a question

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.