The Moneymaker

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?

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22 Responses to The Moneymaker

  1. Barbara Vey says:

    Edie, as a reader, it’s definitely the voice for me. The best advice my son gave me when I started my blog was to pretend I was talking to someone. Once I did that, the words just flowed.

  2. Edie Ramer says:

    Barbara, your son is very smart! Your voice is friendly and funny and enthusiastic. It’s what draws us to your blog and keeps us coming back.

  3. Edie, I’d like to say that my voice is my money-maker, but on the other hand, an agent called me once to say she loved my voice, but was rejecting me based on the main character (she hated him). Still haven’t sold that novel, in fact, I’m in the thralls of re-writing it (and I’m not changing a thing about the main character – he is who he is).

    As a reader, though, it’s voice first for me, no matter how bad the story is.

  4. Edie Ramer says:

    Kathy, it’s all so subjective. If you feel your character is great the way he is, you’re right to keep him that way.

  5. LaDonna says:

    Edie, I’ll say voice is my moneymaker, because to me it touches everything. I gather my characters close, and it’s a joint effort. I love dialogue, and characterization and it’s the magic that creates voice in my stories.

    🙂 Great blog, GF!

  6. Oh, I love me some Project Runway! I didn’t necessarily like Christian’s collection the best, but I thought he deserved to win because he was the most creative during the course of the show.

    I’d say my voice is my moneymaker too. It sort of has to be when you’re writing first person like me.

  7. Liz Kreger says:

    Hard to say, Edie. Personally, I think its description that’s my strong point (when I don’t go overboard with it. 😆 )

    Voice is important as far as I’m concerned and I know I’ve found mine. Is it my strong point? Don’t know. Workin’ on it.

  8. Karin Tabke says:

    Thanks, Edie for talking me up. I’d have to agree with you and say my moneymaker is the passion between my characters.
    and my, it’s just biz blog, is up, i tried to answer liz’s blog topic of yesterday as your question. i’m hoping allison pops in, she is the guru of all that is a list stuff. she will no doubt add some good stuff.

    tomorrow i’m going to answer the question: how do you know you do or don’t really suck as a writer and are you or aren’t you wasting your time writing.

  9. Edie Ramer says:

    LaD, I fell in love with your voice the first time I read your writing on Karin’s First Line contest. You’re right that voice alone isn’t enough. We need other things too, especially great characters and terrific conflict.

  10. Edie Ramer says:

    Jennifer, I didn’t like Christian’s collection either. The only people I can think of who would wear his clothes would be Disney villainesses. I was actually pissed that they chose him. But I’ve gotten over my mad and will maybe watch it again next season.

    You do have a unique voice, but I love your characterization. You did an awesome job with Fiona, despite her many faults.

  11. Edie Ramer says:

    Liz, I’d say voice. Your description is part of your voice. You also do pacing and characterization well.

  12. Edie Ramer says:

    Karin, I’m going over there now. It’s great that you’re doing this. I’ll mention it on a couple loops.

  13. Oh, good blog, Edie! I guess my voice and characters are my moneymaker, at least that’s what my editors tell me. One did say I had a grasp for pacing, which is a good thing. But that isn’t what sold me. It was the voice–the characters leaping off the page.

  14. Edie Ramer says:

    Jan, I’d definitely say your characters. They come to life, and that’s what we all want. Once that happens, the book is golden. 🙂

  15. spyscribbler says:

    I think it’s my compassion and sensitivity. Not that I have as much of either as I’d like in real life, but when I write … I think it’s the love, compassion, and sensitivity I bring to the story, the characters, and the readers. Somehow, that seems to be what the readers feel the most from me.

    Maybe. I don’t know. next week I’ll have a different theory. Finding my strength as a writer has been one of my goals, and one I still don’t have a finger on.

    It’s definitely an important thing to know! If not the most important thing to know!

  16. Edie Ramer says:

    Spy, you bring your compassion and sensitivity to your blogs, so I imeagine you bring it to your books too. I know you’re that way with your students.

    As far as finding your strength, Jayne Ann Krentz says if you don’t know yours, ask someone who knows your work what they think it is. I was told my strength is relationships and, bam! Once I knew that everything fell together, and I switched to writing women’s fiction.

  17. Michelle says:

    I think my brain is my moneymaker, and from there, plot, voice, character all emerge. As to what is fierce about my work, mmmm. I think most probably the adventure of my stories, but not sure what others think.

  18. Edie Ramer says:

    Michelle, how smart to list your brain as your moneymaker. I think your voice does it for me, though the others are all necessary. But the first time I read something of yours I said you write like a dream. And you pull me right into your dream with your characters. 🙂

  19. Cynthia Eden says:

    Moneymaker–I think I’m going to have to start using that one! LOL. I’m going to say my imagination is my moneymaker–so when I daydream about stories (as I’ve been doing pretty much constantly for the last week since I’m in my mad finish mode), I can tell my husband–“Don’t interrupt. I’m working with my moneymaker.”

  20. Edie Ramer says:

    Cindy, imagination is a great moneymaker! Right now I’m imagining what your husband might say back to you. My imagination is twisted, so I better not say what I’m thinking. 😈

  21. Jody W. says:

    My husband is my moneymaker. Perhaps one day the cat will exceed him. It’s a plan, anyway.

  22. Edie Ramer says:

    Jody, maybe Mean Kitty will get his own TV show. He has the personality for it, and you know how the ladies love the bad boys. 😉

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