I received an email the other day. It was from an aspiring writer who asked me to give any advice I had on how to write a specific type of character.
As soon as I saw this email, my first thought was … you really have to write what you feel. That was my answer.
That was my only answer.
So you’re probably wondering, “WTF is Nicole Edwards doing writing a ‘how to’ post?”
Well, the simple answer is, I’m not. Why? Because that’s not my forte. I mean seriously, my instruction manual for the photo of the dog would be:
Get a sheet of paper, fold it, good luck.
I can write the shit out of a 100k word novel about two (probably three though) people who will ultimately fall in love after they’ve made a valid attempt at slaking the lust they feel for one another. That’s the fun stuff.
I can escape into my backlist and write a 25k word follow-up novella in a hot minute, most of the time falling right back into that world because it’s easy.
I can churn out a 5k word erotica (heavy on sex, light on love) short story in half a day, and I do. In my defense, sometimes my brain simply needs to process the taboo stuff. (If you’re wondering, no, I don’t publish them as NE)
Ask me to sum up a story (short or long) and I’ll give you the million-mile stare. And I don’t think I’m the only author who will tell you that.
And if you ask me to give you advice on how to do any of it, I’ve got nothing. I am not that person who can bestow wisdom regarding my craft. I wish I could, sure. I wish I could start up a blog about writing and help all those who aspire to be, but I can’t and the simple reason as to why is because I don’t feel like I have any wisdom to bestow. I write books because I love to write. I love my characters, good, bad, and indifferent. I love the escape of it all, the fantasy that comes from fictional romance. I love it so much, I once wrote 14k words in a single day. If you’re wondering which book, it was A Million Tiny Pieces.
That’s my record and I suspect I will never beat it but these days I’m not trying to, I’m simply trying to stay sane. (but that’s a post for another time)
So, if you want my advice on how to write a certain character, scene, or whatever, I can only tell you to write what you feel. It’s your job as a writer to run the gamut of emotions for your characters and to do this, you have to get inside their head. It doesn’t matter what their job is because that’s where you write what you know (or plan to do a shit-ton of research).
As a reader, I want to feel everything. The giddiness of them meeting, the butterflies of their first time together, the anger of their betrayal, the pain of their loss, and most importantly, the depth of their love. I want to spend my day thinking about your characters and what they are doing at that very moment because I am so invested, I can’t wait to get back to your story, and when I do, I’ll never want it to end.
And as a writer, that is what I want to give to my readers.
I guess in a round about way, that is my how-to.