“Have fun, and write what you love. When J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book, and my boss, Arthur A. Levine, bought the American rights, fantasy wasn’t “hot.” Children’s books weren’t “hot.” British books weren’t “hot.” And publishing people sort of thought Arthur was nuts. But he just knew he loved this book, that it was one of the most fresh and wonderful things he’d ever read.
And that magic happened because Ms. Rowling wasn’t writing to please the market. She was writing to please herself. And she did that across all seven books, in spite of the pressures of fans and reporters and the Internet and critics, keeping true to her vision every step of the way.”
from Second Sight by Cheryl B. Klein
There are so many things to love about these passages from Second Sight, a wonderful writing guide written by gifted editor, Cheryl B. Klein, who served as continuity editor for the last two Harry Potter books. While her guide focuses on books for children and young adults, it offers invaluable advice on character development, voice, and plot that applies to all types of fiction.
“Have fun,” and “write what you love” — what better touchstones can we have for the work that we do? So often, it’s easy to derail ourselves by thinking about what’s popular and what’s passé, what’s selling and what’s slumping. But in the end, the best path we can take is the one that leads us straight on until morning by staying true to our vision and writing the best book that we can write in the way that only we can write it. All the rest is just distraction. Write on!