In my current WIP, I’ve given up on fitting the mold. At first I was targeting a very specific publisher’s line, and I decided to let that go because it wasn’t working.
Then, I was trying to mold the conflict into a big black moment where hero and heroine storm out of each other’s lives, seemingly for good. But it didn’t feel right, and it didn’t work.
Thankfully, I have a CP whose suggestions helped me realize that trying to fit this mold wasn’t doing this particular story justice. I also read a book that featured the type of conflict I yearned to create. And, hey, it was published! So, I let go of all of those things I thought I had to have to finally make my conflict BANG.
And do you know what happened? I’m pretty sure I’ve done some of the best writing of my life in these two chapters. Because I let go, because I didn’t worry about what editor’s would think when they read a synopsis of the story. I just thought about my characters and what seemed like reasonable responses for them.
Is the story going to sell? Maybe not. But it definitely wasn’t going to sell if I shoved it into a mold that didn’t work for it.
There’s a fine line between fitting the bold and ignoring the mold. You have to know the publisher you’re targeting, know what they want and don’t, but you also have to accept that not all stories will fit that. And if it doesn’t, that’s not the end of the world. You either find a publisher that it will fit with, or you find a way to stay true to the story and true to the publisher’s promise to their reader.