Put the “u” in Author

I love to laugh (Ha-Ha-Ha!) when I read a story. I’m fairly certain I am incapable of writing a story without humor. Even if I were to write a serious genre, some of my characters would be witty, or employ dark humor.

But that’s just me.

And that’s the crux of it, right? You are the author of your story and you should not have to include something that’s not “of you” if you don’t want to. You may not want to write a comedy, though, if you’re humorless… just sayin’.

Which Story is Yours?

There is a school of thought that suggests authors and especially new authors should chase trends. If vampires are in, write vampire stories. That’s a bad idea. If you write a trendy story that isn’t “you” it will almost always be shoddy, not to mention trends are fleeting and by the time you write your trendy story, it probably won’t be trendy still. Never write someone else’s story (unless you’re a ghostwriter), always write your story.

This requires a degree of self-awareness.

Think of a story as your friend; write the ones you want to spend time with, because you’re going to spend a lot of time with it!

Back in the day, my stories trended toward dark tales. As I changed, so did my stories. I have no interest in writing horror, though I know how, and I’m playing with a story that has a serial killer, which I would normally shy away from, but I’ve got an idea that takes the character to a different level, so I may get away with it.

While every writer is special and unique, there are hundreds of thousands of people who would eat your kind of special with a spoon.

In a sense, we’re talking about Voice, but not exactly (that’s next week). Rather, we’re talking about writing stories where your voice would be authentic. Know your genres. Don’t be concerned if the genre isn’t the hot ticket right now. There are books I’ve only be able to get through a couple of paragraphs… that doesn’t mean the book is bad, it’s just not my kind of story. That’s OK. It’s also why publishers have several readers who weigh in on taking a story. What is awful to me may make someone else’s day.

Having said all that, don’t be afraid to stretch yourself. Know your genre’s, but know the neighboring, stretch genres, too.  

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