On Monday I mentioned the book No Plot? No Problem. Today I'd like to share this quote from it:
As you plan your book this week, remember, above all else, that your novel is not a self-improvement campaign. Your novel is a spastic, jubilant hoe-down set to your favorite music, a thirty-day visit to a candy store where everything is free and nothing is fattening. When thinking about possible inclusions for your novel, always grab the guilty pleasures over the bran flakes. Write your joy, and good things will follow.
I can honestly say I did this with my first novel, The Mailbox. That novel didn't feel like work. It felt like a very fun hobby-- an activity I rewarded myself with when all my "have-to's" were out of the way. I wrote my joy... and I think it comes through in the story. While my writing might not be my best (I was still new at the novel-writing thing), it was made up for in the passion that is reflected in those pages. I had fun, and it showed.
I want to do that again with this new novel. Recapture the joy. Write for the fun of it. Work in music I love and themes I'm passionate about. Create characters who I want to spend time with. Create scenes I get swept up in. If you're writing-- or want to write-- a novel, this is the essence of creating a readable story. Not a rigid attention to rules, a checklist of what "should be" in a novel. Just story, told by someone who has a passion for it like no other. If you're that person then go for it! Write your joy.