Writers get advice all the time. "Use fewer adjectives," someone says. "Never use 'said,'" says--*ahem*--asserts someone else. But then, when the big-name writers come out and say to never use anything but "said" as a dialogue tag, you can understand where the confusion comes in.
One piece of advice that writers get a lot is "Write what you know." Okay. That sounds simple enough, because I've had plenty of exciting experiences! I can write about homeschooling and trips to the Shed Aquarium and how the toddler I was babysitting put popcorn in the watering can--
But wait. These kinds of things don't make for the greatest stories. I can write a memoir, but not a novel, and definitely not a series.
But in this video (youtu.be/1rMnzNZkIX0), Pete Docter (who directed Monsters, Inc. and a few other Pixar movies) talks about what it really means to write what you know. He said to take emotions, not events, that you have an intimate knowledge of. For example, I am chronically task-oriented. So when Alynn declared "I work or I die," I was writing what I knew.
And this emotional charge is really what gives a book its oomph. For example, I'll take a story I've been working on called "Find Me" (it's available on Wattpad if anyone's interested). If it were just another stereotypical Indian-and-pioneer romance novel, it wouldn't get very far. But the protagonist, Running Horse, is constantly wavering between wanting a friend and wishing she'd never see another human being again. That basically sums up what it's like to be a social introvert--aka, me.
Emotions show through your writing. I could write something about first-world problems and city slickers, and only two emotions would show: sarcasm and apathy. It wouldn't be my intention. But it would happen just the same, because I've neither lived in a large city nor understood why anyone would want to.
But if I were to write about small-town people, readers would be drawn to my characters--and my writing--because there's that extra hint of passion. In a way, emotions creep through the pen of a writer almost subconsciously. They are then transferred to the mind of the reader, who is enchanted by the writer's work and has a desire to read more of it.
If you want to express that one emotion that's been burning inside of you, why not write a short scene in the comments? I'd love to read it! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.