Saturday, February 27, 2016

Write the Book You Want to Read

"If there's a book you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."

Toni Morrison
That sage advice comes from literary legend Toni Morrison, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award in 1988 and Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. Among her 11 novels are The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, Beloved, Jazz, Home and God Help the Child. The 85-year-old author has also written seven nonfiction books and numerous other works in her distinguished career.

Getting back to the quote, one reason I like it is because it should motivate a writer to compose an original story, not something that mimes what has been written by another author(s). I believe it's safe to say that the best stories are those that offer a fresh and authentic expression from the writer to the reader.

Another point from taken from Ms. Morrison's comment is that if the subject is so strong within the writer, then that person is the one who needs to write the book because only she knows the content and direction of the story. You certainly don't want your novel to sound formulaic.

Another take for authors is not yielding to others (readers, editors, and moms) on changes in a draft if they feel it doesn't strengthen the novel. Only the author knows the story. It's his creation. Now don't misunderstand. I think it's good to listen to advice and contemplate what it means, but if it doesn't feel right and it's not something you want to change, delete or add, then don't do it. If you feel it's an action that you will regret later -- that gut instinct -- then don't do it. It's the author's novel, not someone else. 

Any thoughts?

Until the next time.... 

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