Hello, and welcome to the RADblog! I sincerely hope you enjoyed the month of September, and my Character Creation 102 series. If you have anything else you’d like me to cover in the realm of character creation, please leave a comment and let me know! The RADblog is, as always, designed as a way to help writers grow in their craft, to keep them informed about the changing world of publishing, and to have a lot of fun along the way.
This month, I thought we’d talk a bit about the saturated world of publishing, and discuss a few genres and book types I think you’re better off not writing at all. Now, it’s not to say that you can’t write in these genres or that you can’t possibly do well with them, but to give you a little bit of an idea into what publishers might be looking for, and, by extension, what readers are looking for.
Today, we’ve reached the finale! So for the next few months, Tammy will teach you about writing—and isn’t she amazing at it?
#4: The Same Thing You Just Read
Since it’s the finale, I wanted to take a slightly different tack with today’s topic. Where before we’ve been talking about genres you might not want to write, or might have a little more difficulty getting into, today I wanted to discuss a type of book that you really shouldn’t write.
(Before I get too much further though, I want to clarify that I in no way mean fan fiction. I love fan fiction. Please don’t stop writing that. I need more Firefly in my life!)
There’s a tendency among writers, to copy the book we just finished reading. It’s in no way intentional, nor is it something we really notice, most of the time. I’ve noticed it myself only because I’m an editor, because my editor eye roams over the pages I’ve written and thinks, “Haven’t I read this before?”
Don’t write the same thing you just read.
Don’t write a story you’ve read before.
Don’t write what’s already been written.
Because it’s already been written! The readers who loved it the first time are probably content with the first version they read, and they don’t need a new rehashing of it to make them love the story any more.
Think of it like this:
You just read The Lord of the Rings. Now you’ve had an epiphany, a dream, a notion of a story where a group of women are forced together under strange circumstances to cross the world and destroy all evil through dropping this magic chalice down the mouth of a volcano. That’s The Lord of the Rings, told through a different lens, with different characters.
By doing this, you’re stifling your own creativity. I know you have ideas in your noggin, ideas that are all yours and no one else’s. And though it’s true that you have the potential to write the next Lord of the Rings, that you could be the next Tolkien, isn’t it better if you just be you? Isn’t it better if the books you write are ones that came from you, and no one else? Won’t it mean more to you, to succeed in writing a book that came from you, and not from a rehash of a story you’ve already read?
The answer is yes.
You have stories in you. I know you do. We all do. All you have to do is write them down and allow them to flourish, without being tainted by copying stories you’ve read before.
Thank you all so much for hanging out with me these past few months! I’ll be back in 2019, to start out the new year. (wow, can you believe we’re already that far through 2018?)
Associate Editor, etc.
p.s. I also don’t mean that you shouldn’t be inspired by books you’ve read. By all means, be inspired by The Lord of the Rings. I know I am! Just don’t let yourself write the exact same story, in a different way.