In a lecture I attended by Terry Brooks he gave the example of how after he’d established himself as a fantasy writer, he decided to begin work on a complex and epic novel about the origins of the universe. He slaved away and after some time of trying to force the story, his agent asked him why he was even trying. “This isn’t you Terry” he said, “this is a book for someone else to write. You write about elves.”
Consequently, Terry wrote a short story called “Why I write about elves”.
The point is, we all have a story to tell. We need to write the book we want to write, not the one we think we should write. We have to claim the things we love and be proud of them. So the place where a good book starts is in the phrase “what I really want to write about is…”.
Today I’m beginning my third novel. Yup this is it, day 1. For those of you who are interested, I thought I’d chronicle the steps from start to finish. I’ll probably have more to say after I’ve spent a few hours brainstorming, but let’s start by getting off one the right foot. I’ve written out the sentence: ‘what I really want to write about is…” and now I’m going to brainstorm off that for about 10-15 minutes. It’ll help give me focus and point me towards my deep passions and convictions, a great place to write from!
As I learned from author James Bell (I read his book): Don’t worry so much about writing what you know, write who you are.