Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Article by Brandon Sanderson on his writing history

Something I'm always interested in reading about is how writers got to where they are today. Very few writers write a novel and see it get picked up straight away - normally it takes years of hard slog. As someone once said, you have to dig through a lot of dirt before you hit the gold.

Brandon Sanderson, author of Elantris, Mistborn and also of the upcoming final Wheel of Time novel - has written a piece about how he started out, explaining why his various projects failed and how eventually he managed to get the break he was looking for.

A particularly interesting point he makes is this:

"That year, 2002, I made three decisions....the second was that I was NEVER AGAIN going to write toward the market. It was killing my books. If I never got published, so be it. At least I would stop writing terrible stories mangled by my attempts to write what I thought people wanted."

This is intriguing because of how aspiring writers are always told to follow the market and find their place in it - there's no point in writing the sort of novel that went out of fashion thirty years ago (unless you don't give a toss about actually getting published). However, Sanderson's admission proves that while this advice is all well and good, it doesn't mean that you should write the kind of book that doesn't appeal to you. I guess ultimately it is about finding a balance - writing a novel that fits in with the market trends, but genuinely is something that you want to write (and the kind of thing you'd enjoy reading).

You can check out Sanderson's article in full here.

No comments: