Ever feel so obsessed and eyeball deep in a story that you start writing and can’t stop? It’s only happened to me twice now. I get so wound up in my own story that I can’t stop writing. This weekend, I pumped out twenty thousand words in a day. No, I’m not inflating that number. From the moment I had my coffee in hand to the moment the words swam on the screen and I went to sleep, I wrote. Typed like the wind.
I woke up the next morning with a superb sense of accomplishment, and doubt for that last chapter – the words were literally moving about the page. But, as I lay in bed, I thought about why I’d been so interested in that story. Both times this impulsive obsession had occurred, I’ve been writing or editing…*cough* fan-fiction. Yes, you read that right.
So, I thought, “Why can’t I get that excited about my own stories? What appeals to me from this story, these characters, and this world that drives me so?”
Point: learn from what you love. What is it about your favorite book/show/movie that you love so much? Is it the cast of quirky character? The rich world and endless lore? The sense of adventure and need to explore? The magic? The danger? Whatever it may be, take it, dissect it, and then regurgitate it into your writing. Now, I’m not encouraging copying/plagiarism. I’m saying create worlds that you love. Write characters you can fan-girl over.
Sometimes, I think beginning writers write their characters too “cool.” They don’t leave room for improvement/development. They don’t give their side characters enough body. They don’t fully imagine their worlds or settings. they aren’t totally in love with their story. If you know your world inside and out, you’ve got a plethora of writing material.
This is why I highly suggest putting together a Story Bible, regardless of genre, however it’s particularly useful when creating alternative or imaginary worlds. This way, Clearwater’s office stays on the third floor, and doesn’t magically transfer to the fourth floor, and Larkin stays west of the Barious Islands. (Maps are also handy.)
Don’t write for the market. Don’t write solely to get published. Don’t write to make money. Don’t write just to pump out novels for the masses. Write what you want to write. Write stories that you will want to read again. (I pick up Devil’s Blood every now and then because I like it.) Write characters you enjoy. Create worlds that you would want to live in.
Write for yourself, too. If you don’t love your story, it will show. A well-loved novel is a well-enjoyed novel.