Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Doing What Comes Naturally

I knew, when I began writing, that I wanted to write women's fiction. The genre came naturally to me. Writing about a female character who has to find strength in herself to meet a challenge or overcome an obstacle or start over is an exciting venture. But, as a writer, I've also tried to stretch my wings and write other genres--mystery, contemporary romance, and paranormal romantic suspense. It's good to push out the boundaries and try new things. We learn our own strengths. We discover our growing edges. And we identify our weaknesses. Weakness isn't a bad thing here. Because the other side of weakness is strength, and we always want to play to our strengths. When we discover the writing style that comes naturally to us, our writing flows.

I wrote a short story murder mystery. It's a pretty good short story. I thought about writing it into a full-length novel, but I'm not sure I want to work that hard. And it would be work for me. There is always a measure of work involved if you care about the quality of your manuscript. But there is an ease that comes with writing what you know best, what comes from your heart and soul, more than from your head. And I think it shows in the end result. Think of those novels you've read that are easy, flowing, and engaging. The ones you find yourself slowing with because you don't want them to end. Then think of the novels you've read or attempted to read that are dry, in which the writing is jerky or rigid, that read like a meandering through a maze with sudden turns and dead-ends. You know--the books you keep reading with the assumption it will surely get better, then begin to wonder if it will ever end.

I'm not saying I'll never pursue turning that murder mystery short story into a novel. But I will, no doubt, pursue it from the female detective's point of view, more in line with a women's fiction novel that has a mystery element. I hope I'll always remain open to new challenges to develop my skill as a writer.

If you want to test out my theory, read Janet Evanovich, Lisa Scottoline, Elizabeth Berg, Kris Radish, Nicholas Sparks, and John Grisham. These are just a few authors who, in my opinion, write what comes naturally.

Happy reading--and writing!



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Infogypsy said...

In all things! Do what comes naturally! Maybe another way to say this and sort it out from 'doing what we want' which can be seductive but not always productive, would be following the heart, in the Joseph Campbell world. Writing from what we love!

linda_rettstatt said...

Absolutely! We have to write from the heart if our writing is to be believable.