Friday, November 13, 2009

Do You Write What You Want to Read?

There's an old axiom in the writing world: write the book that you want to read, but can't find.

As I ponder that statement, I realize that most of the time, I don't follow it. Why? One simple reason: I can't write the books that I want to read and can't find.

I like intricately-plotted, danger-filled novels full of spies and bad guys and romance and thrills. When they are set during World War II, I am a very happy camper. I devour those types of novels. Greg Iles' Black Cross, Ken Follett's The Eye of the Needle, and Jeffery Deaver's Garden of Beasts are great examples of the types of novels I love.

Unfortunately, I can't write those types of novels. Don't get me wrong - I wish I could. But my stories are far more simpler. When I have attempted to go the complicated, danger-filled route, I stumble around and more often than not get a huge case of writer's block because I can't figure the darn thing out. I have lots of notes on these failed novels and plots. But the novels I've finished - three - are nowhere near that type of thriller that I love to read.

So in this case, I'd have to say that axiom doesn't quite work for me.

What about you?

13 comments:

  1. Absolutely. A lot of my published work -- and the produced plays --grew out of frustration because I couldn't find what I wanted to read -- so I wrote it. It sometimes takes longer, because of the learning curve, if it's in an area outside of my expertise. But it's worth it.

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  2. It's working for me. That is the passion behind my story is writing a mixture of what I love to see in a story.

    Internal struggle, character development and growth with a small thread of romance.

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  3. Oh, I hear you. I read a huge variety of books. Yes, I write my favorite genre, romance, but I'm not remotely qualified to write some of my other faves!

    Have a great weekend!

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  4. Yep, that axiom definitely works for me. I write what I want to read... which is pretty much what you like to read! Except I tend to write a SF/F edge to my suspense thrillers. But they're usually set in a '40s/WWII or post-war type setting that I can twist my own direction. Like the novel I'm finishing now is sort of Stalag 17 crossed with Best Years of our Lives crossed with Manchurian Candidate... with magic. :-D

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  5. I'd say yes. And reading the genres of the books I write in also really brings home what works, what doesn't, format, different styles that I might prefer. So reading the genre I write is almost like a mini-education for me.

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  6. Right there with you! I read lots of horror/sci fi/fantasy, but I have no inclination to write it. I don't know why... maybe I want someone ELSE to take me to those cool places, I don't have the energy to invent them myself.

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  7. I write what I want to read, but also I get wrapped up in the idea that what I write has been written before. Is that delusional or what? By the way, Melissa, can you recommend some good WWII-based love stories set in England? That's what I want to read nowadays.

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  8. I do write what I'd like to read - relationship stories I think haven't yet been told, certainly not through my eye, at least. I enjoy thrillers and detective stories, too, but I seem to find WHAT I want to read out there already, and have no urge to add my voice to it, except to prove to myself, perhaps, that I'm capable of it.

    It was an interesting question, Melissa. I'd never thought about it until now.

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  9. The problem for me is that I love to read everything. I don't have the time or skill to write everything!

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  10. Sadly not usually. I delve into other genre's I could never write. I do appreciate them though.

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  11. I am currently writing children's books, but I would like to read them too. :O)

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  12. I am trying so hard to write what I love to read but I keep thinking my talent isn't at that level yet--something is missing and I haven't found what it is yet cause if I did, I'd sure be studying up on it. But trying!

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  13. Great question! My first two books were exactly what I wanted to read but couldn't find anywhere. I'm doing the same with my new WIP. I find that if it's not a book I'm dying to read, I can't get it written.

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