The sign of a worthwhile story is its persistence. It stays in the back of your mind while you choose to study the market and try to ascertain the route to a high sales volume. It returns to the front of your mind at quiet moments when the noise of the day is absent. It persuades you to give voice to the ideas that lie at its heart. When confronted with such persuasive persistence, you are obliged to concede that this story is a manifestation of who you are. It is born of the interwoven strands of your life story, so you know that writing it out will be a task but not a chore.
This happened to me several years ago. I entertained the idea of writing a story about the ethical issues and moral dilemmas of assisted dying. It resisted all my attempts to override it with a story that would be commercially safer, and its resilience was the hallmark of a story that I could tell from the heart. So I now have a much longer story than I ever imagined, and I have no idea how commercially successful it will be, but what matters most is the sight of myself as a body of coherent text. It will outlast me and speak for me when I am gone, not as a commercially-biased confection, but as my voice telling my tale.
The idea was persistent, and thus persuasive, and it took me on a worthwhile journey because it made me think about an issue that deserves thought. The end result is a story published as three books, each of which is the length of a novel in its own right. It does not fit into any genre, since it is a family drama but not a family saga; it involves a man’s death but it requires no detective to solve the case; it deals with ethics and dilemmas but it is not a literary tome. There is no category for this book, especially when you add in the sex and violence. So how do I find a readership for my work? I cannot say, but as I find out, I’ll write it here so you can see where my decision to listen to my persistent and persuasive inner voice takes me.