Toni MorrisonOne question I am often asked is “Where do you get your book ideas from?”

The answer is simple enough, but it may have a few authors shaking their heads. I write books that I can see myself starring in. Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Historical, and all of the other genres have their place but I could never see myself falling in love with someone whose main diet is O-Positive or living on a planet in a galaxy far, far away.

I met the man of my dreams in what many people would call a love at first sight scene straight out of a fairytale. From the moment our eyes met, we knew we would be together forever. We’ve had our ups and downs, stressed about things normal people stress over, and more than our share of arguments over stupid things. That’s the sort of story I like to write because reading is not always an escape from reality. Sometimes you have to read about the same sort of people as yourself and find out on the last page that everything will work out in the end.

Once you decide on the genre and the type of story you want to write – stick to your guns. As a newbie writer, I took the advice of editors, friends, even social media friends that I had never met. By the time my first book was published, I hardly recognized the story I had written.  Now, I’m not saying that the advice of all these people is a bad thing. I am saying that every single suggestion does not need to be fretted over and your entire story rewritten. Take a few minutes to consider how each edit will change the tone and the voice of the story. If you make an edit, will it still sound like you wrote the book, will the flow of the story be changed from how you saw it in your head? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, think long and hard about making the change.

Case in point was the story that had lived in my heart from many years. The character seemed so alive that I felt I could meet her on the street at any time. By the time I edited and rewrote and changed the story line to suit what I thought was helpful advice, I hardly recognized the character and the story was written by someone else. It broke my heart. Older and wiser now, I have republished the book using my original manuscript. It will never make me a millionaire, but I am more proud of the book now than when it was first published.

So, as Toni Morrison says, if there is a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, the you must write it.

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