Monday, August 10, 2015

On the book only you can write....

It's not uncommon for writing advice to take on a motto-like feel: Show Don't Tell, You should be writing, But In Chair Hands On Keyboard (BIC HOK), etc. These writing mantras are all over pintrest with clever graphics accompanying them because this advice is good. It's better than good.It's great gosh-darn it.

One piece of advice you see commonly is repeated is 'Write the book only you can write'. Sounds great, right? Simple enough. But what does this really mean?

1. Allow your personal truths to shape the world - This doesn't mean writing in 2nd person POV (for the love of glob, don't). Rather, allowing your emotional truths, or those core concepts that make up the foundation of you, present themselves in your fiction. For example, I believe in love at first sight, I believe in the romantic notion of fate, honor, and doing the right thing. I believe in second chances and that hard work pays off. These, and many more, make up core, emotional truths that shape my personality. These are concepts I relate to and connect with. Allowing these truths to present themselves in my stories help shape a story only I could write.

2. Allow your reality to color your fiction - sounds similar to the item above, I know, but this is different, believe me. Your perceptions are your reality. Did you grow up a country mouse or city mouse? Did you go to military school or public high school? Did you go to college or not? Each of these (and countless more) create the reality of the world unique to you and only you. Embracing your perceptions, preferences, and experiences allow you to craft a story only you could create. Don't censor yourself out of your story. A great example of this can be found in the novels of Delilah S Dawson. She's cool, dark, geek-girl and the worlds and characters she crafts are sprinkled with these characteristics. It makes her novels uniquely her own. As a reader, I find her stories more enjoyable because of this.

Last, but not least:

3. Write what you want - don't cater to trends. Write stories that tickle your brain. Craft plots and worlds that get your blood pumping. If you don't love it do you think someone else will? If you fake it for the sake of trend the reader will know. Be true to your interests and the authenticity will come through. My favorite example of this is Natalie Whipple's Ninja series. She loves anime, role playing games, and Asian cultures. Her Ninja series has all of these elements masterfully included. Her passion allows her stories to pop off the page.

Ultimately, Neil may have said it best:

Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that - but you are the only you. ― Neil Gaiman

How do you ensure your WIP is a story only you could write?

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