Thoughts on authenticity verses marketability

Following  Facebook writer’s pages and reading articles have left me with a dilemma. At what point do you let go of the authentic voice of the character and write to please the market?

When I write, I am nearly dictating. The story, characters, and mood are fully set but hidden in my head. I really do start in the middle and write my way out. I can influence, but they want to be heard clearly.

Now I have a finished draft. (Actually, I have three but I’m only discussing the one I want to publish first.) The main is a strong woman with a passionate nature. She has skills, experience, flaws and internal conflicts. She cusses, throws punches a bit too freely, enjoys sex and is bluntly honest. Following her around is fun. To stay authentic to her story I will have to break several marketability rules.  Science fiction readers don’t normally want erotica or romance. Romance readers want several things that are missing from this story. Who am I writing for, besides myself?

Do I change all the cussing to made up/inoffensive words? Do I slash all the intimate moments to “the camera pans over to the fireplace” so no one is made uncomfortable? Do I make her more PC, or typical, or feminine, or…

The more I sit here, trying to put my internal conflicts down in words, the more sure I am that I need to be as authentic as possible.  People will hate it. People will like it. People will have opinions on how I should have done it differently. I am not those people.

I am me. I write what is in front of me. I do my job.

I guess that is what it is to be a writer.


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