Bookaholic Blogger Reveals the Truth About Her Fix.
Tara Sparling had something like a 12-Step meeting* at her blog, but there were only 6 Steps, which I adapted to guide the writing process of Indie Authors:
Book heroin is an unregulated chemical compound which fills your every waking minute. When you’re not reading it, you’re thinking about it. When you are reading it, you are not wherever you are. You will push everything and everyone away until you get to the other side.
1. If the novel you’re writing takes over your life, you’re writing an addictive book. Keep going! Readers will love your book!
Book heroin is full of people who feel familiar but do unfamiliar things in a believable way. It feels like the characters know you, and are studying you as much as you’re studying them, even though you’re doing the ocular equivalent of licking the windows, gawping at their car-crash lives.
2. If you don’t try to control what the characters are doing, but you faithfully watch and report their behavior, no matter what they do, you’re writing an addictive book. Keep going! Readers need your book!
I want to go from eyebrow-raising to pupil dilation, from facial dimples to damp tearducts. I want to stay up reading until stupid o’clock and get up the next morning not even tired because I’m still high on the book.
3. If the scenes you’re writing make you mad, make you sad, make you laugh, and make you cry, and you do your best creative writing between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., you’re writing an addictive book. Keep going! Readers want your book!
Sometimes I wonder if the problem is that big business publishing is so concerned with average book sales that they won’t risk anything out of the ordinary which could really grab readers by the goolies. For example, right now they don’t seem to like cross-genre stuff, purely because they’re not entirely sure where to market it. . . . And combining the lot is definitely not allowed, because then a book can’t be bashed into this ruinous niche marketing template that’s taken over the entire business.
4. If the novel you’re writing won’t fit into a single BISAC category, and you wish they’d make a category for “Fusion Fiction,” you’re writing an addictive book. Keep going! Publish independently and let readers know how to get your book!
In the last 15 years or so, fewer than 10 of the books or book series I read qualified as pure book heroin, in that they made me fall in love so hard that they took over my brain, actually interfering with my ability to live a normal life. . . . One was a story which defied description and has never been emulated. . . . But all, and I mean all of them, had one thing in common. . . . None of these books could be classified into a single homogenous genre. . . . But they all had combinations of all the best ingredients: love, crime, mystery, fantasy, witty dialogue, tragedy, obsession, devotion, malice. . . . But to make a real page-turner, good people must make terrible mistakes, and bad people must capitalise upon them. That, after all, is human experience.
5. If you can’t come up with a coherent 30-second elevator pitch or a brief back cover blurb because so much amazing stuff happens in the story, you’re writing an addictive book. Keep going! Readers will re-read and always remember your book!
For now, I’m still looking. I’m also well aware, by the way, that after book heroin there is an inevitable comedown. But with this kind of hunger, this need, it’s a side effect I’m going to accept.
6. Every one of these things happened when I was writing Irish Firebrands, and I get the same rush when I pick it up and peruse a scene, because I can remember how it felt to write it. If that happens to you, your book is addictive. Write another one!
To see how the Book Pusher Steps came together in Irish Firebrands, there’s a generously-sized preview available at Smashwords (and smaller ones at Barnes & Noble and the A-to-Z Online Retailer); if your library subscribes to OverDrive, you can ask your librarian to get a digital copy from there, or request the book through Inter-Library Loan (US only); or you can invest in your own copy from the Plover Independent Publishing E-store page at CreateSpace, from Barnes & Noble or another brick-and-mortar bookshop, or via The Major Online A-to-Z Retailer, worldwide. (For more options, see the SHOP page on this blog’s main menu.)
* My description, not hers. That’s how it felt to me, reading her remarks and the comments, and nodding my head until I got whiplash.