So today’s tips on writing will be based on Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I recently read this book and it is still stuck in my head because of how honest and clever it is. As always, the Goodreads links will be at the end.
Fangirl is about a girl named Cath who is going into college with her twin sister, Wren. But there’s a difference between them. They used to both love writing fan fiction about the Simon Snow series, but only Cath is still obsessed. Anyway, the whole story is about her writing the last book to this series before the real last book comes out.
I love this book because it reminds us writers how amazing writing is and how real it can be. I’m not kidding. The characters she writes about, Simon and Baz, were even more real to me than my own characters by the end of the book. And then I found out that Rowell came out with the book that Cath actually wrote.
Let me paint you a picture. In the book, Cath is writing the book Carry On, and I’m walking through the book isle at Target, and I see a book called Carry On. And it had Rainbow Rowell written across the front. I actually fell to my knees in front of the book rack, grabbed the book, and just collapsed on the floor and started reading. My friend looked at me like I was crazy, but I didn’t care.
Yes, you need to read this book.
Not to mention that the main character is writing fan fiction. There is a whole controversy about it and I didn’t really understand why people write fan fiction until I read this book. Cath loves to write, even if she isn’t getting money or anything out of it except just the story. That’s what writing is about.
Here’s a tip: Rowell is a writer. She wrote the famous Eleanor and Park. Then she decides to write a story about a writer. I think the main reason that I could connect to this story is because I’m a writer too, but also because Rowell knew what she was talking about. She’s a writer, so she knows what it is like. When you have experience in what you are writing, it just makes it that much more better.
Another tip? Okay.
She’s honest with her writing. Its not sugarcoating anything that is usually sugar coated. Like the ambition and excitement of coming into college or the head over heals feeling of love. She makes the reader feel that stuff without saying it. But the main thing is that her characters aren’t as caught up in that. In fact, Cath prefers to stay inside and write instead of go to frat parties.
Try to make characters realistic like that. When we are being real, there isn’t always that overly dramatic essence to life. That’s why they say things “Only happen in books”. She doesn’t try to make more out of nothing like other writers do. It’s a writing style that is unique.
Find your own unique writing style. Maybe it’s way you see things or the way you use rhythm in your words. You may not even realize that you already have created a style until you reread your work.
Also, the weird things in the book are great because she doesn’t make the story bumpy because of them. It is all layered and smooth together and nothing sticks out as not fitting in the story or being too off topic, but still has a moderate amount of comedy and craziness.
My challenge for you is to take a page out of Rowell’s book of writing. Not really; that’s plagiarism. Try to write about something you know about. Writing is a great way to explore what you are writing about, but maybe seed that exploration from something you already know. Or maybe explore in reality and write about it.
Rowell’s work is unique in how she can break the rules without actually breaking them. Her writing is honest, but that doesn’t mean that honest writing is the best. Think about it, though. Do you want the dramatics that come with love stories or adventure and danger? Or do you want to be more to the point of what you are trying to say, and only dramatize the parts that are really important?
And your writing style is also something to consider. By now you’ve probably created your own way of writing, so embrace it. Think about how you want to add or take away from it during the editing process. I know I definitely want to add. My writing is nothing like Rainbow Rowell’s but it is unique to me and I love it. Find a style that you love too, one that is unique to you.
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Thank you for reading, and don’t stop writing!