Books Read in 2011

Tessa's books-read-2011 book montage

Clockwork Angel
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer

Books Read in 2011 »

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Write what You Like!

Write what you know, is something most of you have already heard. This seems to be a popular saying in the industry. I can understand that if you dive into a new culture and decide to write about it, or from it's PoV, things can get a little askew. But I still think that shouldn't top a person from doing it! Heck, it could shine some light on new and interesting perspectives. And the author would never do it unless he/she's researched it to bits. Any sensible author, that is. The "write what you know" just sounds restrictive and boring.

Write what you like! Heck yeah! There's no point in not writing something because you're afraid to "offend" someone, just because you got a fact or two wrong. So what? Most people read for the sake of a good story. And if you really like what you write, it will shine through.

Write what you read! I both like to write light fantasy and paranormal, because that's what I read. I'm trying to broaden my reading though, because I can well picture myself writing historical one day, dystopia, and even a sweet YA gay (I have an idea for a unique and fantastic one!). I even have an idea for a second contemporary (the gay one would be contemp. too), so I'm going to have to read some contemporary books in each genre to see if I like it enough to write it ;) 

So, don't just write what you know - write what you like and write what you read :)

Picture source:


  1. I just like to write, period. It's such a release for me. I don't know where I'd be if I didn't have writing in my life.

  2. Hey, and there's always research! What you 'know' is pretty fluid sometimes.

    Definitely agree with the advice about writing what you like to read, particularly if you're a genre writer (fantasy, thriller, crime, romance etc). If you're not familiar with the range of possibilities the genre offers and don't enjoy reading that kind of thing, trying to write it seems kind of pointless.

  3. What a seriously spooky pumpkin!!!

    Such great advice, and something I'm having to consider with my current wip (YA Horror/Paranormal). It's been an interesting journey to get me to the point where I've realized I love writing this genre. And as my writing comes purely from my (somewhat twisted) imagination, I can't claim at all to be writing what I know...


  4. Jeffrey: I agree. Writing is a great release. Not just stories. Sometimes if I get really angry about something, I write a letter (which I never send), and it calms me down afterwards.

    Adina: Yes, it's important to write the genre you like, BUT, and I forgot to mention this in my post, it's also important not to become too stuck in the genre outlines. It's important to be inventive and try to bring something new into the genre that makes the story unique :)

    Rachael: That's the industry munching on a writer! And I feel like I have a tiny little hand in pushing you off the edge into horror writing :P But yeah, I don't know "gay" from my own experience, so I'll have to use my imagination to write my characters and try to make them realistic. So that's one I definitely don't "know".

  5. great advice, and love the pumpkin picture! And you know, if you are writing what you like and what you read, then technically you ARE writing what you know - cause if you write it and read it you know know? LOL awesome post :D

  6. Hehe, you're right, Michelle. Technically you're really writing what you know ^.^ Maybe you've helped me discover a formula: What you like + what you read = what you know.

    Bleh, I just took an exam in phonetics yesterday...which is like math in English.

  7. I think the advice to "write what you know" can be taken way too far. Sometimes writers know too much about the subject and are too passionate about it. They wind up bogging down the story trying to give every detail about the thing they love. Then they become so overprotective of their babies that they freak out when they recieve any critisism.

    I think writing what you like to read, or what you enjoy in real life is enough "knowing" to make a good story.

  8. Great post! I like the "write what you like" statement. I mean, in sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal, you can't keep it to writing what you know. I've never fallen through a supernatural gate. I've never kissed an angel (I don't think many have), and I've never met a vampire. Yet, these are all very popular occurrences in literature today. Obviously, not everyone is writing what they know. :)

  9. I have a gay YA paranormal (well, I guess technically it's a bi YA paranormal).

    I also want to expand my reading. I haven't read any dystopians and would definitely like to. I could see myself writing one (perhaps). Historical ... I may be able to read, but I don't think I'd ever be able to do the research necessary to write one.

    I completely agree with you though. If we only wrote what we knew, half the books out there would never have been written.

  10. Melissa: You're so right. Not not only the obsessed ones though *blush* Well, okay, I didn't go "nuts" cutting out all the stuff I spent hours and hours researching, but it was hard. I realized it had to be done, after months of debating myself, and I ended up cutting every single thing. Yup, they no longer live in Bernardsville - they just live somewhere in New Jersey (we don't stick around long enough in our world to be interested in "where exactly" anymore), and there's no mansion or a ghost infested forest. That's material for another story.

    Amanda! You've never fallen through a supernatural gate? Really? Well, okay, I haven't either. But I have kissed two little angels that are my sons ^.^

    Quinn: Cool, maybe we could swap stories some day...when I've written mine. I'm so torn about what to write in NaNo! I have the humorous adult contemporary at the front of my mind, but then, this morning, I jutted down the outline for the gay YA story, which has been haunting me ever since I got the idea, and at the same time I want to work on my WIP. Maybe I can strike out the WIP, because I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to cut and paste already-written text :P Maybe I should start with the gay YA because it's YA, and that's where I'm trying to plant myself right now.

  11. Hi Quin,

    Its my first time to stop by.thanks alot,this sounds a realistic post.

  12. Hi Tessa. Great Pumpkin and great easy to read blog. Today for the first time I wrote about what I'm learning - a departure for me, but am following new passions. I 'd love for you to check it out - let me know what you think:

    Anyway, loved your blog entry and pumpkin. Will come back for more.

    All the best,

  13. Ha! Awesome pumpkin. And I totally agree with you! I think it's important to write what most interest you. It can be a challenge, for sure, but if you feel passionate about it, it may very well become your best work. Right now I'm working on a story that requires serious research. I swear I have no idea what I'm doing, but I've never loved a story more than this one. You've made such a great point!

  14. Yes, I can't wait to see that book of yours in print, Carol! Your enthusiasm is infectious.

    Meryl: I'll take a look tomorrow :)

  15. I agree with you. Write what you like because there are enough writers out there to cover the things your not particularily interested in covering. Keep the hard work fun. I have to remind my NaNo group to keep it fun.

    I try to remember if I don't know what I'm writing then that's what research is for and if that's not enough, I'll move onto something I like. ;)

    When I was in high school my mom bought me a YA book about lesbians. I still think to this day that she didn't realize that's what the book was about. It was a good book though. Hunger Games is great for dystopian and I'm about to embark on The Maze Runner for dystopian. But, like you, I love the paranormal and can't help myself.

    Love the pumpkin though. That's a great picture!

  16. It's amazing how many people love to write paranormal, isn't it? I think the first trend started with Tolkein, second with Rowling, and third possibly with Meyer and/or Charleine Harris.

    Not that I'm complaining! I hope they never stop publishing paranormal.

  17. It's hard enough to persist with a whole novel even when I am writing about something I like...I can't imagine how hard it would be if I forced myself to write about a certain topic because it's trendy (or for some other reason).

  18. Exactly. Trends come and go. If there's anything I've learned over my 32 years is that trends always return...and that's when it's nice to have a ready manuscript ;)

  19. I totally agree Tessa! It is much easier to write about topics that I find personally engaging. My enthusiasm and passion tend to shine through when I do. If I happen to have a good deal of knowledge about it as well, it's an even bigger plus.

  20. Come over to the dark side, Tessa. . . you can't resist. (imagine this in a creepy voice) (contemporary is the new paranormal. join us.)

  21. *Gets sucked into a dark portal*

    Yup, I'm going to write that contemp. YA Gay fiction in NaNo!

  22. Great advice. Can I add also, like what you read. Life is too short to read a book you don't like, even if it's one of the "must" reads.

  23. Janet, so true! It's the reason I stopped reading Fallen. I just didn't want to waste my time anymore (and I had a copy of Burned waiting to be read!).