Last season I watched “Project Runway” with my husband. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s the American Idol for fashion designers version. As a writer, it was interesting to see the contestents working on their creations in the midst of all the tension, how some became sloppy, while others became more meticulous. One fussed with details as her model was stepping out of the room onto the runway. (She ended among the top three.) And they were interesting, especially the winner, Christian Siriano. A couple of his expressions amused me. He called things he admired “fierce.” And his face was his “moneymaker.”
You can see from his picture that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. But as writers we all have our moneymakers. It’s not our looks, either, although I know some gorgeous writers. But when the reader picks up a book, she doesn’t care about our looks. She cares about our story.
My moneymaker is my voice. I don’t remember who it was, but someone recently blogged about finding our voices. To me, that’s like someone talking about finding God, and another person saying she never lost God. I’m not sure about God, but I never lost my voice. My voice showed up in the first book I wrote. But now that I’m writing women’s fiction, I hone it, polishing out the dull spots until it shines. The best women’s fiction and contemporary single title writers have distinct and terrific voices. Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Crusie, and Barbara Samuel are a few examples.
Some people write edge-of-the-seat books. Maybe their moneymaker is pacing.
Some people do well with emotion. I love emotion in books. That’s the reason we read books. We want to feel — laughter, fear, worry, amusement. We even want to cry a little. (But not too much. 😉 )
Karin Tabke writes with great passion. Her pages sizzle with energy and passion. That’s her moneymaker. (By the way, she’s answering questions about the publishing industry on her blog on Tuesdays, starting today.)
Great characterization is a moneymaker. Description is another, bringing a story to life with the details in your book. I would have a hard time picking out Nora Roberts’ moneymaker. She does everything so well.
Like Nora, I want to do everything well. I work on it all. But I still stand by my first comment that my voice is my moneymaker. As Christian would say, it’s fierce.
What would you say is your moneymaker? What’s fierce about your writing?