Write what you like?

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Everyone’s heard the saying “Write what you know”, but more recently writing teachers and experts have been saying “Write what you like”. For a long while I’ve been taking this to heart and writing the genre of stories I most liked to read. Mostly light comedy love stories with fantasy elements. I liked reading comedy. I liked reading light romance. I liked reading fantasy. So, if I put these three genres together, I should be writing the best stories I could be writing, right?

img_0257Unfortunately, I’ve hit a awful lot of speed bumps along the way. The first one was comedy, I like reading it, but it’s a lot harder to write than it looks. Just because I think it’s funny doesn’t mean everyone else will. Romance was the next problem, my personal experience with romance has been pretty boring. I’ve never been in a relationship where someone vowed undying devotion or gave some grand gesture of affection. My life has been filled with little sparks of gentle warmth, endearing, but note exactly page turner moments. Writing fantasy has been my smallest struggle. My problem with fantasy is that I’m usually trying so hard to be original that my story just becomes kind of weird.

The end result of my writing attempts is usually good, but not as good as I wish it was. Strangely, my horror stories have been widely critiqued as being really good, much better than my fantasy stories. But I don’t really like reading horror that much. In fact, it’s been years since I’ve read a horror book.

IMG_0242So, when should an author consider changing their preferred genre? Should a writer write a certain genre just because they are good at it? Or should an author stay with their favorite genre to read no matter how long it takes them to become good at writing it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a comment below.

 

P.S. I just added the photos because I thought they looked cool, no special meaning.

Writing advise that will make you laugh!

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I recently found this great channel on Youtube about how to improve your writing. The host of the videos is a self published writer named Jenna Moreci, and her videos are really funny. I love watching them! Not only are they really enjoyable to watch, they actually have some very handy tips in them.

For the past two months I’ve been trying to solve a problem with the development of a couple of my characters in the book I’m currently working on. No matter what I did, I couldn’t figure it out. Then I watched some of Jenna’s videos and they helped me to look at my writing problem from a different angle. After so long, finally the problem with my story is fixed! Now I just have a few more scenes and my book is done.

I highly recommend these videos!

Here are some of my favorites:

Ten worst female character pet peeves

Your love story sucks

Five haters you meet when you become a writer

 

Mortal sin, root of all evil, the baddest of the bad!

IMG_0166If you’ve ever gone to a writing class or been part of a critiquing group or read a writing book or really done anything involving writing in the English speaking world, you’ve probably heard this a million times.

“Show, don’t tell”.

It’s a phrase that had been hammered into every writer for decades. In some writing circles it is considered a mortal sin, and the root of all evil. If there is anything wrong with your work, it must be that you are telling and not showing.

But what does that phrase really mean, and does it even make sense? I mean, if you’re writing a first person narrative wouldn’t you narrate (tell) your novel? Also, aren’t writers supposed to tell a story? So why would telling be so bad?

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Some of the confusion probably comes from the phrase itself.

First of all, I’m pretty sure that it’s not grammatically correct. I know that’s just me being nit-picky, but isn’t the whole phrase about being nit-picky? So shouldn’t it at least be a normally structured sentence?

That a side, in novel writing you don’t literally show anything, you write it. So, “show” really isn’t a great word to describe what is meant. What I understand is the meaning of  “show” is really “action”. Us writers want to have an active rather than passive voice in our writing, so it would make sense to also have action in our story.

Show Action not tell.

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The next problem word is “Tell”. This word has way too many positive writerly connotations to ever be appropriate for this phrase. Novel writers tell stories. Indie writers tell critics where to stuff it. News writers tell it like it is. In this bright, beautiful world of telling, it’s very difficult to understand it in a negative light.

So, in this phrase, what does “Tell” really mean? Well, I believe it refers to exposition also known as an info dump. We’ve all seen these before, it’s those really boring and completely unrealistic monologue moments when a character vomits up their entire life story for no believable reason. It’s when something is explained rather than demonstrated through a character’s actions.

Show Action not tell explanation.

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Action not explanation is so much more clear, it tells you what your supposed to be writing and what your not, in three easy words that actually make sense.  It’s kind of strange that someone hasn’t ditched  the old phrase a long time ago. Too bad this new and improved phrase also isn’t grammatically correct.