Be a Genuine Writer

Be a Genuine Writer, guest post by R.J. Wood

Be a Genuine Writer, guest post by R.J. Wood
“This above all: To thine own self be true.” A pretty good writer penned those words a little over four hundred years ago. This sentiment rings as true today as it did back then. The words speak to every single one of us (or should) as we traverse along our personal journey. I believe this is especially true for writers. It is my opinion that being genuine with your writing means doing so from the heart, unabashed by fads and/or trends. It means being unafraid to break the rules or try to change them, while respecting or embracing the tried and true. Our job as a writer is to share the human experience, and we do this by sharing a bit of ourselves within our stories and words. Only by sharing your genuine self can the reader truly connect with your story and characters, and through them with you. It is that connection that allows the emotions that each of us instills within our words to resonate back in the person reading them. Do you think Shakespeare believed the quote above? I do. I do indeed.

Expanding on what means to be genuine with your writing could span volumes. I will attempt to hit the highlights for this article. First and foremost, being a genuine writer means writing from the heart. In other words, write the story that is important to you and resonates in your core. I have read about people trying to figure out what the next fad is or jumping on a band wagon because this genre or that is ‘in vogue.’ I see such books on the shelves. I understand that there is a market for ‘come behinds.’ To me, a ‘come behind’ is a book written to cash-in on the popularity of another’s success. They are often rushed, poorly written, and a shadow of the original. A ‘come behind’ may result in a paycheck, but will it fulfill you as an artist? The old-soul in me says: “Nay.” This is not the same thing as genre writing. I hope you understand the difference. Chasing the next fad will only make you late to the party. By the time you arrive with a finished manuscript, the market will have moved on and be all about something else. The world is moving and changing…didn’t you know? The worst part of chasing the fad is this: The fad may not be the most important thing to you. If you write a non-genuine story to chase the fad, I guarantee that readers will see right through you.

The second thing I say to a writer seeking their originality it this: Don’t be afraid of the naysayers. I will use archetypes and tropes as an example. Critics and snobs my turn their nose up at them, but, honestly, readers don’t care about them as long as the writing is good. Worry about you characters being well rounded and telling a great story. The rest falls into place. When people in writing circles decry a trope or archetype, I say this: “Huh, I guess we will never have another medical, police, or legal story because people don’t like repeats. I suppose the next James Bond, Star Wars, and super hero film will fall flat on its face and lose money at the box office. Fantasy writers, you better throw that manuscript away if your book has magic, elves, dwarves, swords or treasure in it. Sci-Fi writers, no more spaceships, laser guns, or aliens.” The truth is that tropes and archetypes do not make writing bad, bad writing makes writing bad. I suppose if J.K. Rowling listened to the trope and archetype naysayers, we would not have Harry Potter, because, well, Tolkien already wrote the wizard with a pointy hat thing. Nope, she embraced the genre along with its archetypes and tropes and created something inspiring and new. She did this because she wrote it from the heart. This above all: To thine own writing be true.

Be a Genuine Writer, guest post by R.J. Wood
R. J. Wood has been creating stories and adventures for others since 1979. A bard at heart, he trained in Drama (BA) and History (MA) while at university. He currently lives near Snoqualmie Falls in Washington State with his wife and children. There he does a little fishing, some adventuring, and of course, his writing.

Like everyone of my generation and beyond I have been heavily influenced by film. I like to think of my books as movies in my mind. I developed my creative writing through fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal RPGs. My degree in drama helps me with story, characters, and especially dialogue. Having an advanced history degree is excellent for plots and characters, but it also helps me with world building.

You can find and contact R.J. Wood here:


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