There once was a saying that writers should write what they know. Well,
you can put that fairy tale to rest.
Christie? English-born Christie was a home-schooled child, studied
vocals and piano as a teenager, took up nursing in her early twenties, and
published her first murder
1920. How about J. K. Rowling? Rowling, another English-born author and a single mother on welfare, said
she got the idea for her fantasy Harry Potter series while riding on a train. The
mothers of both women encouraged them to read and applauded their childhood writing
efforts. Christie and Rowling are just two examples of successful authors who
wrote what they wanted to read. But both women were avid readers before they
were successful writers.
The best advice a writer/author can get is to read, read, read…
“Read, read, read.
Read everything -- trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just
like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read!
You'll absorb it.”
You can start by reading books,
magazines, whatever you can find in the genre you’d like to write. Imitate your
favorite author at first. When you’re satisfied that you understand the rhythm
and pacing of the genre, then you will develop your own writer’s voice and
write your own story.
Writing what you
love to read and writing what you know are not mutually exclusive. It’s the “only”
inference of that adage that’s wrong. Writers naturally bring some parts of what
they know (about people, places, events) as well as their imaginations to their
manuscripts. They bring their writer’s “voices” as well. That’s what makes the
story uniquely theirs.
I think author John
Floyd offers great insight into that in his recent SleuthSayers
says his stories are drawn from his life experiences, but he’ll “inject them
with steroids” by asking “what if.”
“What if” is the
question to ask when the action slows down and your character needs to face a
new challenge to keep readers turning the page (and John’s short stories do
that extremely well).
I find the
following quote thought-provoking and think I want to take up the challenge.
How about you?
“If you only read the
books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
Okay, if you
undertook the NaNoWriMo challenge, I hope you succeeded beyond your
expectations. (Congratulations) If you missed by a few words, there’s always
next year. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.
Here’s a freebie for Christmas . . .
And I’ll send a free print copy to the first three people
who leave me a comment.
The anthology includes one of my childhood memories, called “Dancing
with Daddy” and written under my maiden name of Marilyn Olsein.
The joy of Christmas often gets lost in the hustle and
bustle of the holiday season. For many people, fond memories of a childhood
Christmas can bring back that special feeling. This book collects tales written
by adults remembering their favorite Christmases of the past. This heartwarming
collection evokes the true spirit of the season—the perfect gift to rekindle
the true magic and wonder of the season.