Monday, July 4, 2016

July Letter from the Editor

When I noticed my letter from the editor fell on the fourth, the word that immediately came to mind was fireworks. The second word that occurred to me was independence. Finally, after working on the blog’s Quote of the Week by Dean R. Koontz, and choosing his quote, “Never Scope to the Market,” I knew the focus of my July letter.

When writing, we should be fearlessly independent, the enjoyment we get should be akin to goosebumps or fireworks, and unless paid to do so, we should never, ever write to the market.

For good reason.

I came from a nonfiction background. As an editor for a weekly newspaper I was always looking for breaking stories or something no other paper would have. It was a big deal to scoop another medium—especially the local daily.

So imagine my disappointment when I got into fiction, began attending conferences and learned that the mindset of editors and agents was completely the opposite. I remember quite well walking into a crowded room, notebook and pen ready, to listen to a big time editor.  I was prepared to hang on her every word until she said, “We’re looking for this. This genre is hot right now. We’ll consider anything that includes this or this.”

It astounded me that all around me authors and aspiring authors were scribbling furiously. While me, I stopped taking notes. Mainly because I didn’t write the genre she was referring to, nor did I enjoy it.  And if I didn’t love writing that kind of book, I knew it would show in the writing.

In my opinion, three things might have occurred as a result of that editor’s session. 1) The author might have tried, found he wasn’t invested in the work and given up; 2) He might have followed through, completed the story, only to be soundly rejected; or 3) He might have been one of few who squeezed through that remarkably tight publishing door.

Why? Because, thanks to that editor and those globbing on to the next best thing, the publishing industry creates a glut for these kinds of stories. 

The articles we bring you on Writing from the Peak are geared toward bringing out your best as a writer. We want you to succeed, not at another’s whim, but at something you deeply love. 

This month we have articles that, ideally, will inspire you to do just that. Deb McLeod, the Writing Coach is back, Natalia Brothers has a fantastic article called “40 Minutes to Reach the Bridge,” J.T. Evans will talk about something uniquely geared toward originality, “Improv and Story Ideas, and Darby Karchut addresses, By Any Other Name – that often difficult task of naming our characters.

It's hard enough to create a story that matches the one we have in our heads, let alone to write to somebody else's vision. Further when we reach THE END, it should produce fireworks. Think about it; if your writing gives you, the author, the chills, imagine what it will do for the reader. 

Have a marvelous 4th and a productive July.  

About the author: Donnell Ann Bell is the managing editor for Writing from the Peak, the coordinator for the monthly Open Critique held on the first Wednesday of every month, and one of Pikes Peak Writer's board members at largeShe is a best selling romantic suspense and mystery author. To learn more about her books, find her at


  1. Oh, man, did I need to hear this! Thanks, Donnell!

  2. What a great blog. I've felt the same when I hear editors, agents, and even other writers encouraging writers to "write to market." A true setup for disaster since it's eventually followed by market glut.

    1. Kait, I obviously agree. I adore reading something that is new and different these days. Obviously editors do too. Unfortunately, it falls into a vicious cycle. The saw that it sold...and... :)


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