I don't want to be Carrie Bradshaw, how do I avoid it?!
March 23, 2007 8:47 AM   Subscribe

I jokingly refer to my life and every experience I've had so far as "research" and say I'm going to write a book about it. But I'm not trying to be the next Carrie Bradshaw.

Like a lot of women in their mid-twenties, I've run the gamut in the dating pool - I feel like I've dated every type of guy, been in every kind of goofy situation you can be in, yet still struggled with the idea of giving up my independence and wanting to cling to it. I like to tell stories to people as anecdotal advice or whatever. A couple of my friends have encouraged me to write a "real" book about it and I would love to do it. I feel like maybe what I've learned can help other women.
However, I don't want to be the next Carrie Bradshaw. I'm not all about the "single and fabulous" and what not - and I feel like every idea I have eventually winds up back there. I'm trying really hard to avoid it when I try to brainstorm.
I've thought about a David Sedaris style too, a collection of essays that don't really tie together or provide anything except (great) entertainment.
Does anyone have any ideas of how to avoid "copying" Sex and the City? Or do any single ladies have any ideas of what they would like to gain from a potential book like this?
posted by slyboots421 to Writing & Language (8 answers total)
Write as yourself. Find your own voice. Write as though you are talking to your friends. Be who you are and write about what you know. Do not think about what other people do, go inside of yourself and express the things you find there.

You are the only person who can do that.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:10 AM on March 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

What if you try writing some of them from the point of the view of the guy, as an exercise? Or maybe, officially from the POV of the guy but secretly from your POV? Know what I mean?

(Do I know what I mean?)
posted by ORthey at 9:13 AM on March 23, 2007

If you could turn it into a fiction book, you might easily be able to find a publisher for it, as it sounds like it would be very chick lit.

Please actively pursue the David Sedaris angle, I've heard so many books pitched to me as "David Sedaris meets X" and rarely does the book live up to the comparision.

The best advice I've heard, twisted slightly to fit your situation. Don't worry about being or not being Carrie Bradshaw, just write the story you want to tell from beginning to end. Then, after you finish the first draft feel free to go back and up the volume on the feeling and ideas (humor? insight? general sexiness?) you wish to get across. (This idea is stolen from Stephen King's thoughts on theme).
posted by drezdn at 9:17 AM on March 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

The other possible suggestion I would give is sum up why your story is both interesting and unique in one paragraph (even better if you can pull it off in one sentence).

Then write your book using that paragraph as your guiding mission statement.
posted by drezdn at 9:18 AM on March 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

blog. blog. blog. You will find your voice and what you want to write about. And you'll gain readers that will respond and push you in different directions based on what they find interesting and who they are.

Personally, what I'd hope to gain from a book like yours is to be able to laugh uncontrollably at bizarre (but not all that uncommon) relatable experiences. We've all been there, but you seem to have the special talent of laying it down. Do it!
posted by iamkimiam at 9:48 AM on March 23, 2007 [2 favorites]

As the others say, write until you find the voice you're comfortable in. Also: I wouldn't necessarily go for a "chick-lit" style as that market has absolutely tanked. Maybe take a spin through the self-help/dating section of the bookstore?
posted by sugarfish at 10:37 AM on March 23, 2007

I'm going to nth "writing in your own voice." Creativity dies when you care about someone else's style. Don't worry whether your book will be similar to "Sex in the City" or anything else. Just tell your stories as evocatively and honestly as you can. The end result -- if you're truly honest and use strong words to convey all your idiosyncrasies -- will inevitably be original, because you are a unique human being.
posted by grumblebee at 12:03 PM on March 23, 2007

By the way, as a published author, my advice to you is to write this for yourself and your friends. In other words, imagine a scenario in which no one wants to publish your book, but you self-publish it and give copies to the people you know.

Will you be content with this scenario? If not, don't write a book.

Also, you may find a publisher and -- after your book is published -- you'll receive no money. Books have to sell incredibly well (think Stephen King) before authors make much money from them.

I'm not trying to discourage you. So far I've made about 60 dollars from a book I wrote four years ago. And yet I love writing so much that I've agreed to write another book.

So write because you love writing -- don't write for fame, glory or money.
posted by grumblebee at 12:12 PM on March 23, 2007 [4 favorites]

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