Stick to what you know best – 3 Tips for writers.

I am of the opinion that it is always best for one-self to understand their strengths and play to them to the fullest. In writing this translate to the fact, authors need to write within the sphere of their understanding. Meaning, choose your genre, choose your market and understand your own reading taste.

Choose Your Genre
There are a hundred and one different genres to choose from and I bet you will find one that suit your writing style. Each genre has a style of it own, reading Nicholas Evans and Nicholas Sparks tell me that both have a way of tugging at your heart strings and both write in the same genre. Take Stephen King and you see he writes in his genre and his style is suited to it. I cannot imagine Stephen King writing in the same genre as Nicholas Sparks but I reckon it is possible but really weird. Stephen King would be too crude and too direct in showing the movement of emotions and feelings. I would bet most of his characters would be deemed angry people with little feelings of affection towards one another. So look at your style and choose your genre. Not everyone can write a novel, so maybe your genre falls in the motivational writing section rather than romance. Give it a thought.

Choose Your Market
If you’re writing for money then aim for the market that sells. Self-help books, children’s book, educational books, billboard advertising, etc…whichever would draw in the money. But if you’re writing for writing sake than you can pick out the one’s with least competition but with potential to be your own private niche. My friends asked me why write in English when the market is so small (almost non-existent) in Malaysia. Why not write in the national language, Bahasa Malaysia? Firstly, I only think in English and though I can write in Bahasa Malaysia, it will probably turn out to be so formal and with enough emotion as a dry prune. I rather write in english and be among the select few who publish in english in Malaysia and the key thing is…I may be the only one publishing in my genre. Yes, I am in direct competition with imported titles but somewhere along the line, national pride will kick in and people would support their local writers.

Understand Your Reading Taste
We write what we like to read. Repeat that with me, “I write what I like to read.” Yes, we mimic those that have gone before us and we do it well. Let’s be honest, somewhere along the road; you told yourself, “I can write like this.” So, you pulled up your sleeves and bit your lips and pounded away a story about a fly that irritated this girl so much, she burnt down the fire-station much in the same way Carrie did in Stephen King’s – Carrie, when she burnt down the school and wreck half the town. We write what we read. So read as much as you want but know that your writing WILL BE influence by what you like best. Even if that means reading billboards for a living.

So stick to what you know best. If you know how to sharpen pencils to the max than write about sharpening pencils or sharping chopsticks into weapons of mass destruction ala a Ian Fleming – James Bond thriller. I’m floating this idea of red and black fingernails in my head, you never know it could turn out into the next best seller (in my wildest dreams).

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