Saturday, September 8, 2012

Novels Are Like Little Businesses

I was a little mad at myself last night. Through no fault of my own (and I won't elaborate...) I barely got a couple of paragraphs written yesterday, in the novel. Before I went to bed, I made sure to write something, just so it was done, even though I had to work this morning.

I read Rework this week. Yes, it's about business, but I felt like it applied a lot to me as a writer, especially in the context of writing a novel. I've gotten a nice little chunk of the story done, and I've cut things here and there.

I guess a novel is like a business, sort of.

I think a lot of small businesses fail because they dont understand their customers. Case in point, there's a small restaurant where I live, in two locations, one downtown. It's been there for years. We got the cake for my brother's Eagle Scout reception from there. They do cakes and such, but a huge seller is their lunch box. This consists of an entree (sandwich, chicken, chicken pie, etc.) chips, another side, and a dessert. They are literally two doors down from a bank that employs hundreds of people. This place doesn't even have a dining area, but the food is awesome, quick, and affordable.

We've also had a French cafe, a fancy Mexican restaurant, and a bed & breakfast try their hand at success in the same area.

They all failed.

Where I live, no one goes downtown for the experience. Most of the people there are working. After dark, people go home to the other side of town or wherever they live in the county. The Mexican place failed despite the attraction of live music. The bed & breakfast closed because a) this isn't New England and b) it had a great view of an old hotel that probably has hourly rates. I'm willing to bet that the French place didn't quite understand its customer base or possibly priced itself out of the running. It may have been that rent was too high and the food was too special (because for real, my town will stiff you on downtown rent.)

Know who you're targeting for your writing. Mostly it's subconscious, but readers like to have that "they get me!" moment when they read. No, they won't say it out loud, but they also probably won't put your book down after five pages.

Anyway. I highly recommend Rework.

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