Michelle Rowen

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Point of saturation

Check out the interview I did for FutuRéale magazine’s October issue, “Vampires in Love.”

I’ve reached it. The point of saturation. Which means, in my dimension, that my glass is full. I can no longer keep up with all the blogs I read, online communities I belong to, Facebook stuff, MySpace, even Twitter (although that’s my favorite online venue at the moment).

When I first had a book out I had all the time in the world to google myself till the cows came home. Happily, I can now say I google rarely. My google addiction has reached an all time low. Which is good, since no good can come from the google. Unless a review site emails me that a review has been posted, I no longer seek them out. THIS IS GOOD FOR MY SANITY LEVEL.

I have three books to write between now and next August. I keep thinking that I have loads of time to fit in other projects, but I think I need to just focus on what’s currently on my plate. New ideas are great, but possibly just a bit distracting from my main goals. Could be.

Over the next two weeks I’m editing TALL, DARK & FANGSOME. Some groundwork stuff to change so it’s not as easy as simple surface changes. It’s okay since I know it’ll make the book stronger. I’m rereading the previous books in the series even though I don’t really want to. After you’ve read something a billion times it ceases to be fresh anymore and all you see are the flaws. But it’s not for pleasure, it’s for work, so I’m forcing myself and I must admit it is a bit fun to revisit the characters. I’m also world-building my new demon book to help make things feel bigger in it.

At this moment I have three completed proposals and one first draft of a novel I’ve done since the beginning of the year that may not ever see the light of day. I’ve learned this year that just because an idea seems fun, doesn’t mean you should spent time on it. Not if you’re trying to be marketable and build your reader base — which I am. I have this really fun sci-fi proposal inspired by Barbarella, that I know I’d have a blast to write, but the market doesn’t seem all that open to something like that right now. So I’ve put it on hold. Ditto my post-apocalyptic cyborg idea. Ditto my kick-ass virtual reality idea (Yeah, I know that VR was popular more than ten years ago. I am a bit behind the times. Sigh.)

I’m currently focused on light paranormal and trying to build my brand and voice there. I sometimes wonder what I’ll do if paranormal tanks. And it will, eventually. There will be a few front list winners who will always be able to write the subgenre with great success, but since I constantly live about five years in the future (without the necessity of a clunky time machine) I have given this a great deal of thought. My voice will remain consistent. I have a breezy, conversational tone to my writing (as much as I’d love to write dark, I need to embrace the fact that I am better at light and get way more usable ideas there). I can do humor and snappy dialogue (at least, I think I can). So that all stays. I’d probably shift to mysteries or light thrillers.

Any idea can be adapted to a different genre, I think. I tried to explain this to a friend recently. ie: your evil master vampire villain could become an evil, rich lawyer. If vampires aren’t selling (an example only since vampires, obviously, rock) then change them to something else. Being too rigid and single-minded about your writing will not help you get published. Then again, if you are completely and totally committed to one questionably marketable project, even knowing the potential risks, then more power to you. I just look at things a bit differently, I guess.

I do really, really love having fantasy elements in my writing. If it all works out, I will always write in some form of this genre. But I am very flexible. My agent might disagree with me about that, though. ;-)

One comment to “Point of saturation”

  1. Charlene Teglia
     · October 17th, 2008 at 9:01 am · Link

    Your voice and your core story are absolutely portable from one genre to another. And you’re right that you can take elements and transform them but keep the essence of it. That kind of flexibility is kind of essential to career longevity, IMO.

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