Today's Tune: Ca Me Vex
UGH, snow. Snow and I are done. We will not work it out, we will not learn to love each other, and we will not play nicely. END. FIN. AUF WIEDERSEHEN MINUS THE MEET AGAIN PART. Auf Wiedersenever?
Ahem. Moving on.
Rachelle Gardner says to write what you know, and I of course couldn't agree more - especially with her definition of "know." It's so painfully simple.
I'll go a step farther and elaborate that not only do we need to write what we know, we need to write what we love. Particularly where genre is concerned.
We have to love the genre we want to write. Unabashedly, truly, deeply love. It should be the genre we ourselves read and can't get enough of. Mystery, horror, chick lit, thriller, young adult, children's, literary, fantasy, sci-fi, cookbooks, self-help books on how to convince your cat to get along with your hedgehog - you should adore your genre. More importantly, you should READ your genre.
That last bit has been stated umpteen different times by umpteen different people, and that's because it's the truth. How can you possibly expect to write a good science fiction novel if you 1.) don't read much sci-fi, and 2.) really don't like it all that much in the first place?
I have trouble comprehending it when writers are considering writing in a genre they don't really care for. Why would you do that? Not only to yourself (what's less enjoyable than writing about something you're not interested in?), but to your potential readers. It's saddening to pick up a book in your favorite genre and find it to be lackluster and full of tired tropes and flat characters. It's insulting to later learn that the author doesn't give two figs about crime fiction, but they wanted to take a crack at it anyway.
Readers can usually tell when an author doesn't care about what they're writing. They don't take the care to make the story and characters shine. They obviously haven't read much of their peers' work in the same genre, because they reuse a genre standard plot twist for the eight billionth time.
The solution to this is so plain. Write what you love! Write the stories that sing you to sleep at night. Write something you yourself would genuinely want to read.
When you love your work, it shows. Especially in the arts.