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The Sort of Book I Like
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So the first draft of Seven for a Secret is finished. Presumably, one day, a year or so from now, it will be a book. But perhaps not, because Mary and I have done a bad thing.

There are no wild twists, no thrills and spills, not a child in jeopardy to be seen. No, instead of ratcheting up the suspense we decided to write the sort of classic mystery story we like to read, in which the detective seeks out and talks to people whose individual stories eventually fit together to form the solution to the crime.

Yeah, I know. Try to sell that today.

Maybe readers will hate it. Maybe they won't get a chance to because our editor will hate it first. But at some point, as writers, unless our tastes coincide exactly with what the marketplace is demanding (which I am sure happens) we have to decide between commerce and art.

I'm not talking about "art" with its nose in the air or writing as Literature with a capital "L." I'm just talking about writers needing to tell the stories they want to tell in the way they want to tell them, regardless of what editors and agents and marketing departments and BookScan sales figures and several thousand self-styled experts on writing say.

I know I'm repeating what I said a couple weeks ago when I wondered how much writers should compromise. I guess the subject's been on my mind. I've always thought the best approach is select to write, from whatever store of ideas you have, the ones which are most marketable. Lately I've been rummaging through all the books I'd like to write and come to the conclusion that none of them are very marketable.

So what comes next? Well, Sevenfer (as we refer to them around here) will need to sit for a few months while we catch up on other work. Then it'll be polished up and sent off. After that...I have no idea. I'm hoping some kind of book I like makes a sudden comeback.

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