Saturday, 30 January 2010

Write From the Heart

It's been great getting such positive feedback to the Writing 'that sort of thing' post, both on the blog and in personal emails. But I was struck that some people felt guilty about what they wrote and that seemed both sad and, being a practical sort of person, unrewarding because if you don't love your writing, how can you expect anyone else to?

Depending on who you read there are two, seven or twelve basic plots and all stories fit into one of those templates. I write relationship novels. People split up, they get together, they have affairs, whatever. They're not original themes. No one reading one of my books would go 'Wow - I've never read a story like that before'. What makes one of my books original is me. No one will have ever read a story written just the way Sarah Duncan writes a story. If I'm lucky it chimes with enough people's experience to make them want to read more about my characters and see where my imagination goes.

So if I write what isn't 'me', if I pretend I'm someone else, if I try to write what I think someone else would like - whether that someone is my mother, my editor, my teacher, a literary critic - then I'm scuppered. I've got rid of the one original thing I have to offer. Me, and my take on the world. Write from the heart, write from your guts, write what you want to write. It's the only way.

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