Linda Wood Rondeau

Preparing the Sacrifice

WHAT KIND OF WRITER DO YOU WANT TO BE
Monday, January 8, 2024 by Linda Wood Rondeau

Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

What kind of writer do you want to be when you grow up?

Now in my 70’s, I still ask myself this question.

An agent told me, “You’re so far out of the box you’re in a different room.” 

Defining myself as a writer continues to evolve.

While branding is important, it took years for me to finally discover who I was as an artist.

I wanted to be the next Asimov, Tolkien, or at the least Gene Roddenberry…George Lucas would be taking the comparison too far. I’d never come close to his genius. But why not write a space trilogy that changed the world?

I dashed back and forth from speculative, science fiction, romance, contemporary, historical and wondering all the time, “What kind of writer am I? What is my brand? Why can’t I settle on something and write only that?”

 At every fiction conference, I am asked, “What is your genre?”

How can I answer that?

I spent over twenty years in Community Theater. During that time I took on a variety of roles: some dramatic, such as the mother in Night Mother, Steel Magnolias, and in the less serious, Under the Brooklyn Bridge. I played a nun who had a little rebellious spirit in Nunsense. I played an elderly woman, a cross-dresser, a spy, and a bewildered opera singer in some of the many dinner theaters I took part in. I played comedic roles as well. Each role required a different interpretation and presentation. I would be hard put to say with certainty what kind of role best suits me.

I find in my writing, that I crave variety. I don’t want to write just one kind of story. Soon, I’ll be releasing my first middle-grade book. The previous books ranged from sci-fi, romance, suspense, comedy, and nonfiction. I’ve yet to write a historical, but I hope to someday. 

The advice I keep getting is to write what I like to read. That doesn’t define me either. I like to read anything from a prairie romance to a spine-tingling horror book.  I love a good story regardless of its trappings.

When first starting, I was told I’d never get published unless I settled on what I wanted to write and focused solely on that until I “made it.” Then I might stand a chance to veer from that mode.

But I am once who could never stay inside a box.

As door after door slammed shut on a speculative writing career, I truly began to examine my brand, as it were. I find the stories I write, whether speculative, historical, or romance, all encompass a style that has come to be uniquely me: a blending of storytelling that encompasses the human spirit, healing from brokenness, and hope for lives damaged by wrong turns. I tell my stories from a deep point of view and always infuse the inane in the telling.

I get it now. Branding is not the same as genre. It is voice and style that makes you uniquely you. You cannot be unique if you copy. To quote another writer whose genius far exceeds the imagination of all writers, “This above all, to thine own self be true.”

What is your brand? How is it uniquely you?

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