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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Story You’d Hate To Write & Writing What You Don’t Know

I find it very interesting that there have been several writing related blogs within the last week or so especially pertaining to writing the story of your heart and writing what you know. It signifies two of the ways in which writers torment themselves. 8-)

The first issue discussed recently appears to be one asking the question “should you simply write the story of your heart” or write to market demand. More particularly, writing to suit trends. Obviously trends come and go and the publication path is a long one (easily 18 months from novel acceptance to publication, if not longer). But I can see how some people would get a thrill, and may write fast enough, that it’s worth it to them to pursue trends. For others, not so much.

The second issue getting a lot of air time is about the wisdom of the age old advice “write what you know.” Someone I know actually was told they “weren’t qualified” to write in a particular genre because they had no experience in that area. I dare say that if we wrote only in areas where we had direct, personal experience, there’d be a whole lot less books out there, or at the very least, a whole lot of boring books out there. That’s the beauty of writing. We’re not limited to what we know. We’re intelligent creatures who can research what we need to know.

But since these two topics have been talked up a lot in the last week, I’d like to ask a couple different questions:

1. You know instinctively what types of stories grab your heart and keep your pen and keyboard buzzing. But what types of stories would you hate to have to write? The answer, of course, is going to vary person to person because we are each unique, we each have different interests. The genre that turns one person on will turn another off.

My Answer? Women’s Fiction. I don’t know how authors and editors of Women’s Fiction classify it, but when I think of Women’s Fiction I think of these ingredients: it is written in contemporary times, features female protags (well duh!) and most likely features a lot of touchy feely but not much action.

Stories written in contemporary times by their very nature are not an “escape” to me because I live in contemporary times, therefore I cannot distance myself enough from the real world, regardless of the individual character’s story. I tend to like historical or other fiction featuring male protags with a good bit of action mixed in with all the emoting.

2. What type of story would you LOVE to write but feel you will never adequately know enough about the subject to do it justice or perhaps simply in the grand scheme of things are not willing to invest the amount of time it would take to research that subject?

My Answer? Science Fiction. Specifically, I would love nothing more than to write a novel that continues the saga of the original Star Trek, featuring that mythic trio of Kirk, Spock and McCoy. Or maybe come up with a concept and a sci-fi world of my own. But at this time I am simply not willing to study the science, real or imagined, of the sci-fi universe in order to write such a story.

That’s my take. What’s yours?

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