How To Write What You Love

How To Write What You Love

In this post, we tell you how to write what you love – not what other people think you should write.

One of the first things we do on a Writers Write course is ask you to list the last 10 books that you have read. The rule (of the very big thumb) being that you will probably write what you like to read.

I always smile when people list all these wonderful literary works, Pulitzer Prize winners, and Man Booker Prize winners, and then somewhere, usually around number four, they add something like a good old bodice-ripping romp. This is always done with a lot of blushing and explanations like, ‘It’s a fun read’ and ‘It’s for when I really need to relax’.

Why are we embarrassed by these books?

I like reading and writing romance, but it is frowned upon. The books are supposedly badly written, with unrealistic plots, and flat characters. And I agree, some of them are atrocious, but it has nothing to do with the genre. I have come across the same problems in all genres, including the literary ones. Bad writing is bad writing in any genre.

Well said, Stephen, but it is easier said than done. 

How To Write What You Love

Try this exercise:

  1. List the last 10 books that you have read.
  2. Write down the genre of each.
  3. Write down what viewpoint it was written in.
  4. What time frame was it set in? Past, present, future?
  5. Gender of the protagonist.
  6. What did you like or dislike about them?
  7. Gender of the antagonist.
  8. What did you like or dislike about them?
  9. Description: Too much, too little.
  10. Dialogue: Good, bad, too much, too little.
  11. Setting: Was the setting integral to the plot?
  12. What was the inciting moment?
  13. Identify the three surprises or twists.
  14. Identify the friend and love interest.
  15. What did you like and dislike about the book?

Spot the similarity.

Even if every book was written in a different genre or if they seem completely random you will find similarities that will echo in your writing. Maybe three had female protagonists and two were male, but what was a commonality between them? Were they all detectives? Were they all strong leaders? Did they refuse to give up?

Pull the books you read apart. Dissect them. What did you love about them? What kept you turning the page?

Life is too short to write stories that don’t excite us.

Write what you love, not what you think your mother, your professor, your spouse, or your friends expect you to write. Forget about the opinions of others. Silencing your internal critic is hard enough. Don’t let them take the joy out of your writing (or reading).

Top Tip: Find out more about our workbooks and online courses in our shop.

by Mia Botha

If you enjoyed this post, you will love:

  1. How To Use External Change To Show Emotional Changes In Your Characters
  2. How To Make The Most Of Your Scenes
  3. Fallen Heroes – Creating Characters By Looking At Real People

Top Tip: Find out more about our workbooks and online courses in our shop.

Posted on: 22nd October 2014
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