I think that in order to become a great writer you first have to have an appreciation of reading. It doesn’t matter what genre, but just some sort of liking of delving into a novel much like you want your readers to do you yours.
My favorite quote is by Toni Morrison “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
This quote speaks to me in so many different ways. First off, it means that you need to be passionate-or even slightly interested-in what you’re writing. It’s the reason that most kids in school don’t excel on the lengthy non-fiction reports. It’s not something that matters to them, or even something that they’d consider reading on their free time. Selecting a topic that matters to you or interests you is the first step in writing a novel.
Secondly, it helps me clear my mind right before a good old-fashioned brainstorm. Since I’m a seasoned reader, I know what I like and dislike in a novel. And while this combination is different for everyone, this is a good thing. If everyone liked the same exact book, we wouldn’t get to embellish creativity. But if there’s something that I know I don’t like based on books I’ve read, I certainly won’t put it into a novel. Or if there’s something that I wish there was more of, I can create that as well.
Writing is an extraordinary opportunity for everyone of any age to create their perfect world. To create this perfect world you need to do a few things.
- Identify the books you love and the books you hate. Dislike love triangles? Okay, take that out. Love old-fashioned mysteries? Include it. Make a list of these elements so you know immediately what your must-haves are and what your must-not-haves are.
- While you brainstorm, keep in mind that you’re writing what you want. Yes, you have a target audience, but that should only stem from the storyline. Don’t include teen romance just because it’s popular, even though you find it juvenile. Just keep in mind that it’s your story, not anyone else’s. And if anyone points out that they don’t like your book, tell them to write their own.
- Do you ever have daydreams of things in life that you wish would happen to you? Well, I do all the time. Most of these ‘daydreams’ have developed into storylines. The phrase ‘follow your dreams’ can be pretty handy in this situation. You’re most likely daydreaming this scenario because you want it to happen. Well, you can make it happen in your novel.
- Be original. Like I mentioned earlier, a perfect novel is different for everyone. So while there might not be thousands of stories about cowboys on Mars, that doesn’t mean that you can’t write about it. Don’t let the world pressure you into conforming to society’s regular trends. Start a new trend. Even if it doesn’t catch on, you’ll still be happy that you went with your gut.
I’ve always tried to write what I would likely read in a bookstore. Writing isn’t always fun, but if you’re interested in what you’re writing you’ll be more apt to want to write it.
I truly hope that you can apply Morrison’s quote to your life like I did for mine. Write what you want to read, and be happy that you did.