Writing the novel you want to read

I can’t say that I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it. I wrote Sector12 because I wanted to see if I could write it – and I could. I churned out my first draft in less than three weeks! Which was exactly what I needed at that time. I committed and I got it done. A fact that I’m still proud of.

I’m writing my second novel (Isla and Morax) because I want to read it. I’ve been looking for a good epic romance to read for ages! I haven’t read a good once since I read Tatiana and Alexander by Paulina Simons. So I guess in a way, you do write what you want to read.

Do you guys agree? How did your first novel come about? Was it something you wanted to read? Or did it just come out of nowhere for no real particular reason?

About Jodie @ Words Read & Written

Book blogger & aspiring author.
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23 Responses to Writing the novel you want to read

  1. Paul Davis says:

    What is an epic romance novel? I was a bit of both. Sure the idea came out of nowhere, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. So had to write it. That and I often use fiction to sort through my own ideas or impress women.

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    • jodiellewellyn says:

      I can’t of see it as something in a fantastical sort of environment where the relationship goes through multiple twists and turns 🙂

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  2. It sounds like you have to write it before you can read it.

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  3. davekearney75 says:

    Hi Jodie

    You raise some really interesting questions.

    I think in many ways writers do write for themselves but I also think that, at least on some level, writers write because they’d like to find a broader audience for their work.

    I wrote a blog post about this a couple of days ago.

    http://scenesandsequels.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/no-one-wants-to-read-your-shit/

    I’d be interested to know your thoughts on whether writers should think about their audience more when they write.

    All the best

    Dave

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  4. Yes!!! I could not agree with this sentiment more! I see absolutely no point in writing something you don’t want to read because … well, if you don’t want to read it, how are you going to be able to devote all the hundreds of hours to re-write, edit, promote, etc.? It just doesn’t make sense. Right now I have like three different novels on the go, and the thing holding me back isn’t that I don’t want to write them — it’s that I’m annoyed because I want to read them RIGHT NOW, and I’m so focused on that that I keep putting off the actual writing of them!

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  5. M. Ziegler says:

    It jut came to
    Me. Most of the authors write in what thy are goo at and something they do enjoy reading. I can’t say whether most write for themselves though. I defiantly write for others.

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  6. simondewar says:

    This might sound like horseshit, or like a cliche but I don’t really feel like I have any conscious say in what I write, or why I write it. I never sit down and think “today I’m going to write a 60,000 word novel about fairies!” rather, I know I have to write – but when I sit down at the keyboard I just write what comes out. Either it comes out like literary diarrhea or it comes out like teeth being pulled.. slow, painful and requiring a lot of brute force.

    Usually after a short period I know whether it is going to be a short story or a longer piece and then the creative process is pretty much self-fulfilling. I’m a firm believer that it’s actually the story itself that chooses the length and form that is right for it.

    At the end of the day though (with the exception of 2 stories) I enjoy what I write about and I pursue it to finishing and then submit for sale. Generally speaking my creative subconscious and the stories I write don’t lead me down the garden path too often.

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  7. arranbhansal says:

    My first novel came about because I was suffering from depression and it was my only release….glad I did it 🙂

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  8. ewhightower says:

    My first novel started as a blog post that I thought would be funny, with roots in a series of odd birthday presents a dear friend gives me every year. It was definitely something I would want to read, as it centers around an obsession of mine: devastating earthquakes in Northern California.

    While I started with those two elements, others arose out of nowhere as I wrote. What helped keep me on track, I think, was the fact that I was writing for an audience, with the immediate intention of getting comments, shares, etc.

    It’s certainly true that nobody wants to read our shite, however: I started writing it in April of 2012, and though I have over 16,000 pageviews, I have only 18 followers — almost none of whom comment on my posts. Even my fiancée only comments on some of them. (If you promise not to comment, you can be my fiancée as well; you can also read the first few pages here: http://ewhightower.com/notes-from-the-future/)

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  9. madcatprime says:

    For me, I write the stories that are in my head. I don’t think so much if I would want to read this story, I just have a story to tell and put it to paper. I guess I’m simple in that way.

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  10. A.D. Everard says:

    I definitely was looking for something better when I decided (aged about 8) to become a writer. It wasn’t the writing so much that got me in, but the story-telling. As a kid looking for adventure, I found movies and books disappointing, especially if they had something promising at the start that just didn’t live up to what it might become.

    I didn’t really start writing until I was about 12 – and yes, as for the books in the series I have begun, absolutely I wanted to read them.

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  11. zachbissett says:

    I always write what I want to read. Usually motivation is hard enough to come by even when I’m fully engaged in my story. That said, I’ve done the NaNo Month challenge twice for the purpose of simply getting a novel under my belt/getting out of a rut. It really helps to always be writing something.

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  12. I wrote my first novel because my husband dared me to. I wrote the twelve after that because I wanted to read them. It’s hard to find good slipstream-alternate-universe-steampunk westerns, you know?

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  13. hesthermay says:

    Sometimes I wish my brain would clear and I could read my novel as if I didn’t know what was going to happen. That would be so. darn. cool.

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  14. I definitely write what I want to read, but I think part of that comes from writing with a partner. I want to know how her characters will react to what mine have done, and I’ll often badger her to write so I can know. Then I badger my characters for their reactions, so I can know what happens after that.

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  15. bri says:

    My first novel was technically a novella that I need to rewrite and make longer. It was sort of what I wanted to read but more of what I felt was relevant to me in high school and I couldn’t find a good book about it. Sometimes I do write what I want to read…but my reading patterns change a lot. Currently I am working on a good fairy tale retelling and a book of poetry about an all girl’s boarding school. I have other books about things I would want to read but the problem is I need to do some research before I write them. I tend to write out of curiosity.

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  16. I have quoted the same author on my blog..Toni Morrison

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  17. Shadow says:

    There’s some very interesting responses here!

    For myself, I write because I have a vivid image in my head of another world, characters and places that want out of the confines of my imagination.

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  18. jpkenna says:

    To loosely paraphrase Huck Finn, “If I’d a know’d what a lot o’trouble it was to promote a book, I’da never written one in the first place.” In the actual Mark Twain quote, Huck comments on the bother it was to write a book. I’m at odds with Huck there. I thought the writing part was fun. And I still enjoy reading from what I’ve written–though I agree with what Hethsermay commented above, that it would be really fun if you didn’t know what was going to happen.

    I finally got around to a decades-old dream of writing when I retired from the railroad. Of four manuscripts, two are complete and self-published–available at Amazon, and Village Books, Fairhaven (Bellingham, WA., USA). They are in the historical fiction genre, about things near-and-dear to me–railroad construction, the Irish American experience, growing up in the Catholic Church, the radical labor movement. I’ve yet to find books by others that include all these themes in one. Which is why I had to write them.

    But for a reclusive personality, self-promotion is a real pain.

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  19. Cay says:

    I’ve been walking around day dreaming a story that I’d like to preserve. Writing it down seems like a good idea. Would I like to read my dream. Yes, definitely. At least if I manage to write it the way I’m dreaming it. And that is of course the big, massive, terrifying challenge.

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  20. jpkenna says:

    Yes, that’s how it starts! Start writing it and a lot of the story will unfold on its own. Of course, getting feedback along the way doesn’t hurt. For me, an initial obstacle to overcome was shyness, bordering on outright fear, of showing my writing. What a contradiction–to be writing something you hope the world may someday read, but to be afraid to even unveil a couple of pages, to a close family member or friend! I imagine for the more extroverted types, that’s not a problem.

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  21. nicecoasters says:

    Still working on my first, but it’s certainly something I’m writing because I’d want to read it. Or, more specifically, something I wish I could give to myself at 13. Some of it’s personal to the point of being terrifying, but I’m doing my best to get over that. Though I’m writing a bit of an anti-romance I hope your epic romance succeeds and is everything you want to read. Let’s all do our best!

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