Saturday, March 16, 2013
Writing From the Heart
Of course if we knew the answer, every book we write would be a best-seller.
Instead of trying to figure out what the reader wants, and twisting our prose to suit what we think might appeal to them, perhaps we should write what interests us.
Think about it. If we write what is real to us, our stories will be heartfelt. We’ll be able to express genuine emotion, instead of throwing out words and hoping that some of them stick. Have you ever read a passage in a book and thought to yourself “that just doesn’t make sense?” Me too.
All of the ‘How To’ books will, at some point or another, tell aspiring authors to ‘write the Book of Your Heart’. It’s become such a trite and over-used expression that most authors recognize the acronym BOYH without even thinking about it.
So why don’t more of us write from the heart? Perhaps because we’re chasing the latest trend. Or maybe we’re afraid to expose ourselves; to let the reader see our fears and insecurities as well as our hopes and dreams. How’s that for four over-used words? Over-used perhaps, but true.
Fiction writers love to discuss which is more important, character or story. I’d also add setting to that mix, although to a lesser degree. As a writer, I need to like my protagonists, even if they’re flawed. As a matter of fact, it’s more interesting if they’re not perfect. I need to be invested in their story and know the setting. I care about what happens to them. That’s what keeps writing fresh for me...and fun. And when all three elements come together, I have a smile on my face when I hit that final keystroke.
My book Then Came Love is an example of writing from the heart. The characters are ones with whom I easily identify, and the setting is familiar to me...a winning combination. And I’m happy to say that a lot of readers agree.