Friday, February 26, 2010

Taking Risks

I am leaving in a little over 12 hours from now to meet someone. Will spend the weekend with this special someone in Baltimore. This is a big risk. Flying out, alone, to meet someone for the first time and it has me thinking about other risks I take, or want to take, as a writer.

Writing itself, at least for other people to read, is a small risk. There is the risk of criticism, for example. The risk of someone taking the work an pretending it is their own (which is one I don't often worry too much about). And many others. While I tend to be relatively safe in my personal life, I seem to enjoy taking more risks in my writing. Why? Because what do I really have to lose? Not much.

My sister thinks I should write characters that are more mainstream (aka straight) in order to stand a better chance at publication. She sees it as too much a risk to have alternative characters. I see it as the exact reason why I should write gay characters, to help make them more common. If it's not the usual fare then maybe more should be attempting it. (That's one of a number of reason for my gay characters.)

Collaboration person wants to use humans as a balancer because that is what most fantasy novels of that type do and it works. How I read this: Using the smaller, non-human group as a balancer is a risk because it isn't proven in large amounts of publication. That is exactly why I think we should use a different group. If everyone does it, then why should we? Why can't we do something different?

Different can be a risk. Will it always pay off? Course not. Is it worth the risk? Most of the time, I have to say yes.

Since I have homework, flash fiction and packing to do I'll end this a little early. I could talk more about my risks but maybe if people comment we can carry on a conversation in the comments. I leave you with this:

What risks do you take? Are they worth it?


Elana Johnson said...

Different can definitely be a risk. I wrote an unhappy ending. A lot of people didn't like it. It was a risk. I hope it pays off.

Sometimes there's something to be said for risk. And sometimes you have to know when NOT to risk. And that's the real challenge. Knowing where that line is.

Have fun on your trip!

J. D. Brown said...

First, have fun with your trip, I hope it's good and fun!

Second, I totaly agree with you on using alternative characters. Sterotypical characters are a pet peeve of mine and I'll often stop reading something all together if I don't like the characters because, dude, it's been done 10 million times already! Take a risk, be a leader, not a follower. Follers make money, sure, but they don't make the BIG BUCKS because they don't take risks. They aren't remembered, their name doesn't go down in history as revolutionary without taking a risk. Some, sometimes, using a mainstream character IS a risk itself. I, for example, wirte about vampires. That's a huge risk, thanks to Twilihgt. I run the risk of seeming unorigional, seeming like a copy cat or like fan-fiction. Not good. Just you wait until I start my Sci-Fi novel. Those characters are going to blow minds ... *evil grin*