Write the story you’d love to read – Tricia Stringer

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By Tricia Stringer

Writers starting out are often told to write what they know and I agree this can be a good starting point but how can writers know everything they want to write about? Our creative juices are fed by more than what we’ve experienced, sometimes by things we don’t understand, sometimes by people we’ve never met or places we’ve never been.♥

My main aim when I write is to create a story readers will enjoy, with characters they won’t want to say goodbye to. To do this I write about things I love, places and people who inspire me, themes I’m passionate about. This is the kind of story I enjoy reading and so I love writing it regardless of the genre.

Once you determine the stories you love to read, dissect them a little, not too much, I don’t want to ruin the magic for you, but list what it is about them that you liked. Your list might have several things in common across several books and these are the elements you will want to include in your own story.

Table for Eight, published in October, is my tenth book and is a change from the rural romances and historical sagas I’ve previously written. It sits in that strange broad category called women’s fiction and yet regardless of genre the basic steps for writing it were the same.

In January 2016 I went on my first cruise and I fell in love with cruising. Note – story idea developing. I began to jot the first threads that became Table for Eight sitting on a deck chair on a cruise ship gliding across the Pacific Ocean. Back at home I began what was an amazing journey with my characters who were all pulled together by the main character, Ketty Clift. In my story, Ketty has been taking cruises since she was five years old. She adores the chance to leave work behind, to dress up, make new friends, flirt a little.

I had no idea where this story would take me, I knew it wasn’t rural romance or historical saga but I loved the idea of a woman who carried a hint of magic; a doyenne of cruise life who becomes a confidante for those who need a listening ear, a matchmaker for those who need a little help, a healing guide for those hurting or broken. In Ketty I had all the things I loved in a story – romance, mystery, surprise, hope and just a little enchantment.

Research plays a major part. If you write what you love you may not know all there is to know about your theme, setting, characters – but that’s where research comes in. Put yourself in the setting, ask someone who knows, read, explore, it’s an integral part of the process. I like to take lots of photos if I’m visiting a setting or I look for them online. They help keep me inspired during the writing process.

Another reason to write what you love is that writing a book is a long process. If you don’t love what you’re writing you won’t finish it and finishing a story is hard enough so you’ve got to enjoy what you’re doing. And I’m going to slip another tip here, write regularly, daily if you can, the more you write the easier it gets.

I’m not saying you should ignore current publishing trends. If you want to be published you do need to pay attention to what else is out there but when it comes to your writing, if you write what you love to read, you’ll enjoy the process and your work will shine. And I hope that brings its own reward.


Tricia Stringer is a bestselling and award-winning Australian author. Her books include rural romances Queen of the Road, Right as Rain, Riverboat Point, Between the Vines, A Chance of Stormy Weather and Come Rain or Shine. She has also published a historical saga; Heart of the Country, Dust on the Horizon and Jewel in the North, set in the unforgiving landscape of nineteenth-century Flinders Ranges. Tricia lives in the Copper Coast region of South Australia with her husband Daryl.

triciastringer.com.au

2 Comments

  1. deebebbington

    October 6, 2018 at 10:47 am

    Great advice Tricia.

  2. Kathy

    October 6, 2018 at 11:08 am

    I L❤VE how open and honest authors are and willing to share their tips of their trade, providing a sneak peak and valuable insight. So looking forward to reading Tricia’s latest book 💕

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