I’ve received lots of email lately this week from people who hope to write someday. Based on the two titles I’m about to recommend, I have some advice for everyone who’s written me this month about wanting to write someday. Here it is: do like these authors did and write the story that only you can write. Brilliant advice, huh? I estimate I’m the two-million-seven-hundred-thousand-sixty-fourth person to give this advice. (Give or take a few.) So you’ve probably heard it before. But it’s good advice.
I read two great examples this week from writers who do just this: Maggie Stiefvater and Laura Elliot. I started reading Maggie the summer Shiver came out. I liked her writing, and I’ve been buying her books ever since. I want to recommend The Scorpio Races as an example of where a writer does what only she could do. It’s scary. It’s romantic. It’s about horses. And the faery-realm. (Ish.) The setting is strongly Celtic. Color (in descriptions) is practically a character on its own right.
Now, lots of people could write a scary story with great descriptions utilizing color. And lots of people could write a romantic tale in a Celtic setting. Or a horse story that draws on mythology. Or—you get the idea. But I’m pretty sure only Maggie could have written a Celtic-set, scary, romantic horse-race story drawing upon faery-mythology with descriptions of color that make you want to get your watercolors out.
Then there’s Laura. I am reading her Thirteen on Halloween which has this lovely crossing in and out of reality based on perception. Laura loves magical realism. Laura loves Halloween. Laura’s funny as heck. Laura uses animals’ names as verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Who else could have written this humorous Halloween tale of magical realism with “to peacock” as a conjugate-able verb? Not me!
So there you have it: my recommends for some fun fall reading. By authors uniquely qualified to tell their stories. And for those of you who are thinking you’d like to write something? Please do. Dig deeply through the things you know and love. And you might find the story only you can write.