Fear in Writing: Uncommon Goods

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Friday, November 6, 2009

Uncommon Goods

When one "becomes" a writer the very idea of finding others in the craft is exciting. The online community is amazing for meeting those with this "affliction." We spend our days staring at computer screens and living in our imaginations. We create characters who become like family, friend or foe.

But we still think of ourselves as unique.

We write and write and write until one day it is time to find that agent. Find that publisher. Find that place in the world for our book to be born into the hands of the reader. Who will that lucky reader be? Which greedy hands will first turn our pages and smell the glue that binds our world of words?

And we still believe we are unique.

The more I delve into the writing community, the more people I meet online who write or want to write or have written, the more I realize I am not unique in this aspect. I thought this would be disheartening, but it is not. It is encouraging that there are others like me. But it does push me to distinguish myself from the crowd. So how do we do that?

What device to you use to make yourself marketable? What makes you an uncommon good? What makes your book unique, your character singular?


  1. If we work really hard, I mean really hard, we will learn how to write well enough to let our own unique prose fingerprint shine. Just last night I was reading Elizabeth Gilbert's "Stern Men", (published in 2000), and her voice rang out so true and strong it took my breath away. Like that.

  2. Well, I’d love to tell you it’s my scintillating style and handsome good looks…I’d like to tell you that. Sadly, neither one is even close to true. For me, marketing and standing out is tough. I’m naturally a reticent guy with low blood pressure, so, getting hyped up, or trying to hype me runs against the grain and is pretty tough to do.

    One thing does kinda standout, though. My first book is set in Korea and features an Amerasian love affair. I don’t guess you see that every day.

    Best Regards, Galen

    Imagineering Fiction Blog

  3. Hi Michele!

    I think Galen has a good point--originality is important.

    I think voice is also important. I definitely have been both rejected and accepted based on my voice. If an editor isn't looking for a Southern voice, they're going to turn me down (and have), no matter whether they like the story or not.

    So you have to just keep trying. And sometimes the same publisher who turns you down one day needs your particular voice months later...

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  4. I agree with Elizabeth SC - I think voice is the key. It is for me as a reader. We each bring our unique insights and emotions to a topic, and that is what makes us ourselves :)