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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Richardson

Concepts about Writing: Write What You Love

I’m currently writing the third book in a trilogy. It feels strange to type that I am on the last book of something I filed in my ideas folder in 2014 as maybe one book, with a basic premise shakily etched out.

The original title/cover!

Well, that changed quickly.

The original first book was renamed to Western Heat and is now in Paid Stories, with Western Connection almost finished updating and the third, Western Flame, in drafting/outlining stages. Holy moly! I’ve come a long way with this story.

The West Brothers series is all about horses, cattle, cowboys, a ranch set against the foothills of the Rockies with a family in the middle that you can’t help but root for. I position it as Yellowstone meets Heartland: A steamy, yet feel-good romance with family secrets that bring everyone together in the end. Each member of that family gets a happily-ever after in some way in this series.

Pure romance, with all the tropes associated. Inheriting a ranch. Fish out of water. Secret parentage. Old flames. Rescues and heroes, strong heroines who rescue themselves. All within that is some triumphant healing, making peace with the past, a wise matriarch guiding her young’uns, and some baddies that get what’s comin’ to them. Oh, and sex. Lots and lots of steamy, awesome sex.

I happen to think the books are pretty awesome. You should read them!

I was asked a while ago why I was focusing on this series instead of churning out another sports-themed romance like Out of His League, or sticking with a formula like that. I had to go away and think on it. Do I want to have success again, like my Watty-winning book?

Of course I do.

But I also love writing these books. They are fun, the characters comfortable, the premise a pure unadulterated fantasy of mine. I am writing, specifically, the books I would read and enjoy.

I think that is important to recognize.

Enthusiasm = Motivation

When you write what you like to read, there is enthusiasm for the story. You want to tell the story because it appeals to you. There is joy in the writing because the characters and plot is fun for you to imagine. Ergo, motivation to write!

It can boil down to “make the story fun for you and you’ll look forward to writing it”. I know I’m simplifying a fairly personal and complex concept, but sometimes that is all you need to get your own thoughts working towards understanding why you write what you write. Why does one book work, where the other one isn’t? If you are struggling, that may be a concept to look at to discover the reason!

What You Know vs. What You Love

The adage you hear all the time is “Write what you know” - In this context (not all!) I amend this to “Write what you love” - you can always learn what you need to know, but if you don’t love it... It makes it infinitely harder.

For example, I need to learn all about how to buy, sell, and raise cattle for Western Flame. Tanner, the main character, has forgotten more about raising cattle than I will ever know, and to make him credible... Well, I need to know the difference between a steer and a heifer, and the stages in the cattle selling process. What happens at an auction yard when cattle are sold? What is the best price? How are they priced? What time of year are bulls traditionally sold? How is a heifer bred? What are cows fed? What does the average day on a ranch look like? He knows his stuff, it would be second nature to him. How do I write it so it sounds like that?

Let’s just say the list of questions I unearth as I outline is pretty intense, and interesting, to say the least.

So, to circle back to the adage, I am learning what I need to know to write the story I want to write. World building, character development, all that stuff. But in the larger view of the story, it still goes back to the original premise I started with, which yup, is pure personal fantasy. That gives me the wings I need to write the story, and I love it still, in the throes of the third book!

The concept works for me, to keep me writing, and knowing that, I’m more productive and happier as a writer! I’m not a full time writer, so that love is necessary when I do get time to write. It has to be fun, or I’ll avoid it. It has to push some invisible button that pushes me to sit down at my desk and create or I won’t. ♥

Do you agree? Does writing what you love trump writing what you know? Do you write what you love? Does that matter to you? Opinions and ideas are always welcome!

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