Keeping readers up past their bedtime since 2008.

Keeping readers up past their bedtime since 2008.

A conversation on Sunday with a couple of writer friends over brunch led me to think about my goals and aspirations. One author said that his goal was to sell a few books and entertain people. He was not as interested in awards or writing the kinds of books that win awards; too lit’ry, he opined.

What do I want? I want to write books that entertain people AND win awards. I want a rocketship, dammit! I want critical acclaim and popular sales, and knowing that I tell a good story that people want to read and come back for more.

I don’t think they are mutually exclusive — hell, take a look at Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I don’t think that critical acclaim has sapped their entertainment value.

To get there, it’s not enough to write what sells. It means aspiring to write the stories that move me, and bump my writing up to the next level. In my case, all the things I find the most difficult — plot and pacing — have to come to the forefront. I have to keep working on those skills. I know I’m getting there as I’ve had fans tell me I’ve kept them up too late reading just another chapter. **evil grin **

I guess this is my version of Mary Chapin Carpenter‘s song Passionate Kisses:

Is it too much to demand?
I want a full house and a rock and roll band
Pens that won’t run out of ink
And cool quiet and time to think

Shouldn’t I have this
Shouldn’t I have this
Shouldn’t I have all of this, and

Passionate kisses from you.

Really, it’s not too much to ask, is it?

So — that’s what I’m working toward. I think it’s a worthy cause. Always write up, my friends! Never let good enough be good enough.


*We feasted on smoked salmon and ham, spinach and mushroom omelets, Irish soda bread, fruit salad, fudge (because why not?) and coffee. Writers know how to live


Martin Owton · September 24, 2013 at 11:56 am

Damn right. I want it all, right now! And forever.
Though I would settle for a publishing contract right now.

A3 · September 24, 2013 at 10:17 pm

I’m with you – not too much to ask. But the song playing in my head is (from the musical Baby):

I want it all
I want it all
I want adventure, love, career, kids large and small
I want it all
I want a quiet simple life and some glory
And Steven Spielberg filming my first story
I want to be Gloria Steinam, Janice Joplin, Annie Hall
I want to be Catherine Hepburn, Connie Chung, Madame de Stae”l
I want to be Mother Teresa, Sally Ride, Lucille Ball
I want it all

Dang it, now that’s stuck in my head and it’s not on my ipod. Time to load up some new tunes.

Patrice Sarath · September 25, 2013 at 6:36 am

Excellent! Dream big, y’all!

Angie · September 29, 2013 at 9:27 am

I want to write something that changes lives. Is that so much, lol.

Patrice Sarath · September 29, 2013 at 10:53 am

In what way? I don’t know if I’m ready for that responsibility. But then again, we should think in those terms, not to keep us from writing but to open us up to the possibility.

Angie · September 29, 2013 at 12:07 pm

I think really great literature shapes our characters and instills values without being preachy. I think it is somewhat subjective as to what touches each of us and can change throughout our lives. There were things I was made to read in school that I lacked the maturity to really internalize at the time. And great literature is not always commercially recognized. I have great affection for the Crow God’s Girl. I feel my life as been enriched by knowing her. I want to write characters like that…

Patrice Sarath · September 29, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Thank you! I’m so glad my book reached you that way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.