Write what you read?

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Write what you read?

I just wanted to run a quick question past you all, specifically those of you have written a novel.

I have started writing several novels before and always freeze at about the 20,000 word count.

My problem is that I primarily read epic fantasy novels. Normally, if my book is less than 8-900 pages I feel pretty ripped off. I've tried writing these sort of books and, well, I can't. Either I'm not good enough yet or don't have it in me. Because of this I let my books fall to the wayside.

I'm thinking of turning one of my short stories - 'Amazon Fights'- into a novel, but not into anything resembling epic fantasy. I'm thinking of writing it like a short, stand alone adventure book, similar to the Clive Cussler books. I didn't grow up reading these sort of books and they aren't what I would spend my money on normally.

My question is this: Is it a good idea to write a book in a style you don't normally read? I'm thinking that I just need to actually complete a novel, any novel, and see where I get before starting on something like epic fantasy. I dont want it to sound false or forced though.

What do y'all reckon? What have you done in the past?


I have had the same problem in the past. It is difficult to write in a different genre to the one you really enjoy reading but I would encourage you to go out before the Xmas holidays and buy some really good but accessible fiction from other genres and see if this sparks your creative fires. Can I be as bold as to suggest "The Wasp Factory" "The Road", "Bonfire of the Vanities" "A Handmaid's Tale", "The Collector" and "The Family Arsenal." For more challenging reads you could try "Possession" "Brighton Rock" and "The Magus".


I'm a strong believer that you should write what you want to read. If what you want to read already exists then what would be the point in writing it.


Thank you lavidis. I have read A Handmaid's Tale but none of the others. I will give them all a go, I love recommendations like that. I have just bought several of the Cussler books, having never read them before (I know it's not considered amazing writing, but he must have at least a little something about him to be that successful). I will also try and expand what I read further than that. After reading them to see if I enjoy them I plan to deconstruct them as much as my tiny mind will allow, to see if I can learn anything. Just being on this site for a short time has already broadened what I read and what I write. Maddan, I agree with what you say, but I am not capable of writing that sort of thing, not yet. What would you do in that scenario? Thank you both for replying! Shep
Hi Shep I have written one complete novel (170k words) and am half way through my second. When I wrote the first one I had no idea how long it was going to be – it just ended up being as long as it needed to be for me to tell the story I wanted to tell. In fact, I now wish it had been shorter as it is the first in a planned quadrilogy and I feel they should all be roughly that length for consistency! Pressure! The genre I have written in is Sci-Fi – which I don’t actually read a lot of myself! Well, I say that, but I should clarify… I’m dyslexic and as a result I read very little as I was growing up. I try to read a lot more now, but I still feel like I am playing catch-up. I guess what I am trying to say is that if you feel like you have a story to tell, don’t worry about what genres you have read (or how long you think it should be). Just write! The rest sorts itself out along the way! And when you get to the 20k mark - Just… keep… writing! That’s my opinion for what its worth! Good luck. Sarah
I think I'm lucky in that I enjoy reading a range of books and therefore don't feel trapped in any genre. I think reading more widely is the solution. In a sense it's encouraging that you don't want to write what you read, it shows that you have a clear streak of originality, and I do think that reading around will help bring it out.


Maddan, I agree with what you say, but I am not capable of writing that sort of thing, not yet. What would you do in that scenario? Fall short. It's what I always do. Though I find I fall less short now than I used to.


Thanks guys, I really appreciate your advice. Stan, I am more of the sort to start with an idea then start writing. I've tried plotting it out but it seemed so forced to me that way. I now try and do something in the middle, flesh out the idea somewhat then get down to it. Fantasy (good fantasy) is no more formulaic than any other genre. It takes a good author in any genre to make it stand out. Sarah, thanks for what you said. I think I will just write and see where it takes me, rather than try and force it into one particular genre. Thanks Guys!
I've been trying to post this for days - lets try again... A novella is a great idea Stan, I hadn't thought of that at all. I think I will start writing, aiming at that sort of length, and see where it takes me! Thanks very much! Shep
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