Recognizing that I'm just another 40 something hack trying to write his first novel I have been reading about the craft of writing. There are lots of great blogs and sites out there that can teach the topic.
I am open to input and will try to acknowledge my influences as best I can. But I'm finding it hard to maintain independence. I read a post from an editor the other day that said she is looking for books with strong teen girl voices or non-white protagonists. It's not her fault, those are stories she would like to publish. But I started thinking about how to change my book to include one of those two items. The more I read about publishing it seems that writers, particularly in fiction, come up with ideas and then try to morph and cram them into what editors are looking for. If the writer has a story and plot outline they can write a character into it based on what is in demand. But that doesn't really work for me.
I devised the story I am writing in my head over several months. It uses my family as a basis for the characters and with the exception of the Sci-fi aspects I'm writing about what I know. I get that it is supposed to be fiction, but I have never been a teen girl or a non-white.
My feeling is that if I write the story I love and truly believe that I have developed the story to the best of my ability, it will be a great story. So I will remain open to input on plot lines, logic that may not flow and writing critiques (thanks to +Robin Jenson for helping with these). I'll also lean on and acknowledge my influences like Jimmy Buffett and Star Trek. Hopefully I will remain independent though and write my story with my characters. I know I'll be independent with my publishing ;-)
How about you, are any of your characters influenced by what someone else is looking for?