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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

THE BUSINESS OF WRITING

So, I have a few hundred readers here, and maybe a few of you might comment if I ask a direct question of readers. I am an author, albeit not a very successful one, and I want to get another book out. I have a lot of different options available to me, about 20 different ideas scribbled down, but I want to write what would likely be the most commercially viable one.

Like it or not, writing is a business, and the man who doesn't understand and work with that is the man that goes hungry. I know what I'd like to do, but I also know what I like and enjoy generally isn't the same as the general public. So here area a few ideas I have for books and I'd appreciate it if as many people as possible gave me some feedback on what they'd like to read or think would be the more successful:
  • The werewolf in WW2 book I posted sections of here several years back. This is a suspense/horror book with hard history in it, not a fantasy so much.
  • A book following the water mage in Old Habits on a voyage - fantasy, and part of the series of fantasy stories I'm working.
  • A western version of the film Payback (which is in its self a remake of the film Point Blank). This would be a western, obviously.
  • A detective novel about a serial killer that is about the nature of faith, more a study of belief and understanding the world than hardcore investigation.
  • A fantasy novel about a reality show contestants and some of the staff pulled into a magical world where they are faced with hard truths about survival, behavior, and priorities.
  • A series of short stories following the life of an extraordinary war horse (in the style of Jack London's wolf books).
  • A superhero book about the birth of an academy to teach young people with powers how to deal with life. Less X-Men than some of the Anime high school books: focus on high school and having powers rather than fighting bad guys.
  • A romance about a noble who is forced into a marriage with a girl half his age; how the relationship develops from being essentially a father, to a friend, to finally his beloved as they both age. This would be set in the War of the Roses.
  • A victorian era book about a British Lord who rescues Dollymops (underage prostitutes) from the streets and schools them, setting up a mail order bride company for the American west. How he fights opposition from the establishment and criminal side of London, the lives of the girls, etc.
  • A series of stories ala Decameron or Canterbury Tales told by people trapped in an elevator - which ends up being inside the World Trade Center as it is under attack. The stories are focused on justice and virtue and what it means to your life, especially at its end.
I have a lot of other ideas, but these seem the most varied and intriguing, to me at least. Any thoughts?

10 Comments:

Anonymous Eric said...

C_T, it's not even a close race. Your final idea about the people in the elevator is the winner by 12 lengths.

12:30 PM, September 04, 2012  
Anonymous Jeff C said...

Agreed- you saved the best for last. I had a lot of friends in those towers and I really wonder wat they thought at the end.

1:18 PM, September 04, 2012  
Anonymous Tom Stevenson said...

I like the WWII werewolf story. You could work some great theames i.e. "Good men working for evil vs Evil creating working for good) into what should be a great action story. Has Blockbuster all over it.

lafayette did marry a girl his age (~24 vs 12?) who spurn for a popular whore (who rejected him). His wife remain faithful was his greatest admirer. When he return from the American Revolution a hero he fell in love with his wife, served the revolution, and was jailed by it. I can seen you an article if you wish.

4:08 PM, September 04, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the last two ideas the most, largely because they juxtapose character development along with action/danger, along with the sometimes hidden but always true fact that we are self-governed by a moral code or lack thereof. In the Victorian setting some interesting questions would be what motivates this man and what is his backstory? Clever epilogues about the girls new lives in the still Wild West....the WTC elevator stories practically write themselves. Does anyone of them survive? Or do their lives and stories die with them in that elevator shaft?

6:47 PM, September 04, 2012  
Blogger vanderleun said...

In terms of commercial viability the ideas are, in order, serial killer, superhero academy, elevator.

7:57 PM, September 04, 2012  
Blogger Philip said...

I rather like the detective novel, then the elevator idea. It's a toss-up between the reality show and the superhero academy. though of it was a hard-choice, I'd say the latter.

8:36 PM, September 04, 2012  
Anonymous Eric said...

I disagree with vanderleun regarding the ranking of commercial viability.

1) A detective novel (or a superhero novel, or a western) of any sort is going to be seen a niche book. Even if it has broad philosophical overtones that sound interesting, there are a lot of readers who will skip over it because, "I don't really read mystery novels".

2) Superheroes do great on the big screen and in comics. I have yet to see a successful novelization of superhero stories. Maybe the market is primed for that and nobody has tapped into it yet, but without a major publishing house or lots of money to spend on advertising, it will be tough to figure out how to market such a book.

3) The elevator concept is a theme that immediately strikes an emotional chord upon hearing just the barest details of the story. It's not a niche market... everyone in America experienced 9/11 and was deeply affected by it. And it is a perfect and natural jumping off point for an exploration of justice and virtue. This has more potential to be seen as a 'serious novel' with wide appeal to people who might ignore an otherwise great story set in a Western, Mystery, Fantasy, or Horror genre.

8:45 AM, September 05, 2012  
Anonymous Larry Knudson said...

I'm not one who likes most sci-fi or romance novels. I do like adventure stories and was also captivated by your idea about the elevator.

In any event, I think your daily writing is superb and I visit your site every chance I get.

9:37 AM, September 05, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a Norwegian movie about zombie Nazis, so while not exactly what you had in mind, the idea is already in play. Still the Nazi resistance that was to arise were called Werewolves and you could build a riff on that historical fact.

Processing the others. First and last in lists always impress the most.

A la Decameron or Canterbury (with which I am better acquainted) is brilliant, especially where it unfolds, but length may be a problem. Time was fairly short and this is a project that even Chaucer had difficulty with. Nonetheless, you could assemble an amazing diverse group.

HK

2:49 PM, September 05, 2012  
Blogger Lovernios said...

I've wanted to write some stories, but I don't have the time at the moment. But if I did here is one of my ideas:

A kid growing up in Boston during the early sixties. Parents are working class and working their way downward due to alcoholism and hanging out at Walter's Lounge, a notorious gangster's headquarters.

He and his older brother have a series of mishaps and adventures as they go shoe shining across Boston's various neighborhoods.

The father gets caught up in the crossfire of the gangster and his enemies during the gang wars of the 60s between the Irish mob and the Mafia.

The title, Shine Boys.

4:00 PM, September 07, 2012  

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