Writing the books of our hearts: Midweek ROW80 check-in

cropped-1163480_43811009_loveandcoffee.jpgAs writers, we’re often told to write the book of our hearts, which is great advice, especially for the fledgling writer. If our work taps into what we’re passionate about—for me, myth and magic are two such passions—it’s easier to make the pages of our stories sing. If the writer loves the subject matter, hopefully the reader will too.

I recently realized the kind of stories that I want to write, and why I’ve struggled with some of my projects in the past. As a reader, I gravitate toward simple, character-driven stories—tightly written tales with a strong voice and characters I love to follow. I love edgy urban fantasy, but I also like a quiet, passionate romance too. And for a while, I was trying to focus on edgier works, action-packed urban fantasy with lots of fight scenes. I’ve come to realize that while I can write fight scenes, that’s not where my passion lies. Some of my stories will certainly feature such scenes—when writing paranormal stories, there tends to be a brawl or two, or even an epic battle. And it’s true that writing those scenes can be challenging and fun.

But my passion is in those quiet moments, those simple stories that showcase the change of the characters, allowing themselves to be vulnerable, opening their hearts, learning from their mistakes, healing the wounds of the past. Even in my edgier stories, those issues will still take center stage. And recognizing that has made me a better writer. After all, anything we learn about ourselves as writers helps our writing.

ROW80 check-in…


  • Finish a second draft of my novella “Good Old-Fashioned Magic.” Finished!
  • Write a first draft of another novella novelette. Finished!
  • Start a second novelette. Wrote 3,949 words. Finished at 12K.
  • Read a minimum of four books on the business or craft of writing. Four of four books read. Reading a fifth book, “Manuscript Makeover” by Elizabeth Lyon.

Social media:

  • Check in on Twitter or Facebook daily. On track to meet this goal.
  • Blog two times per week. On track to meet this goal, though I missed the last Sunday check-in.
  • Comment on three to five blogs per day, Monday-Thursday. On track to meet this goal.

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. It’s also a blog hop!

What about you? What stories makes your heart sing? What passions make frequent appearances in your work?

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Fantasy & paranormal romance author. Witch. Tarot reader. Possibly a woodland sprite. Debut release TANGLED ROOTS now available. Magic awaits at www.denisedyoungbooks.com.

15 thoughts on “Writing the books of our hearts: Midweek ROW80 check-in

    1. I’m in the same boat–writing and reading mostly romance, with a healthy dose of fantasy/paranormal tossed in. It’s great when a book has subplots other than the romance. I’ve noticed family ties/loyalty/heritage is a strong theme throughout many of my stories, in addition to the romance.

  1. This is definitely a topic I can relate to! In college, there was so much talk disparaging genre fiction like science fiction and fantasy….all the stuff I loved to write! So I had a bit of an identity crisis as I tried to write the more contemporary stuff that was popular in creative writing academia. I’m glad for it, to a point, because it challenged me and I’m a much more diverse writer now. But I’m also glad I was able to get over the stigma placed on genre fiction, because that’s the stuff that makes my heart sing more often than not. Even with The Slayer Saga…I know it’s nothing “great” or “groundbreaking,” but it’s fun to write and I’m sure some people will find it fun to read, and so why the heck not?

    Seeing a lot of “finished” on your goals list, too, Denise! Nice job!

    1. My undergraduate university was the same way. We weren’t allowed to write genre, so I ended up writing a lot of poetry–the imagery appealed to me. I will say that writing all that poetry helped me as a fiction writer–I can sprinkle imagery throughout a story, write unique descriptions, and have an appreciation for economy of language. So it all worked out.

      After college, it took me a few years to find the stories that I really wanted to write. But now, here I am!

  2. Look at all those finished drafts. How awesome are you? Spoiler: VERY!

    Actually what you are talking about is something I’ve struggled with. To be honest I’m passionate about geeky things like Dungeons and Dragons, anime, k-pop, and more. I have yet to find a way to bring those passions into my writing. However, I haven’t stopped trying. One day, maybe. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Gloria! 🙂

      Have you read “Of Ghosts and Geeks” by Molly Ringle? It’s a romance/ghost story featuring characters who are both geeks. It’s a really fun read and might give you some inspiration for how to tie the things you love into your work. Hopefully you’re able to find a way to draw things like anime and D&D into your stories. I think a lot of people will be able to relate to characters who are interested in those sorts of things.

      1. I haven’t read it. Will put it on my radar. I have read quite a few things with geek main characters, but nothing has sparked an idea from me other than “I want to write something like this!!!”

        Like I said, “one day.”

    2. For me, it’s Vulcans. And other humans crazy enough to love them – Amanda, Christine, and Trip, mostly!

      And I give them exactly as much care as I do any of my original characters.

      Lovely post, and what a round you’ve had! =D

      1. I can tell how passionate you are about Vulcans and Star Trek. I bet it really shines through in your work. It’s great to have that passion and be able to express it creatively.


      2. Spock has been one of my favorite characters since I was 13 – so I grew up on him, as a person and writer. T’Pol I only “met about 18 months ago, but she Rocked. My. World. What a wonderful female character – strong, smart, adventurous, funnier than she gets credit for, sensual, opinionated, capable – and flawed.

        I’ve been posting snippets from my Enterprise WIP on Wednesdays. Trip and T’Pol have quite a fan base among my readers – and although getting a ‘spot-on’ from someone who watched the series and KNOWS these two characters is really cool – I really love positive responses from the non – Trekophiles. If I can capture them, I know I’ve done it with my passion for these two characters and their deeper stories.

        And that’s really pretty amazing.

        I know I wouldn’t be nearly as good a writer without my Vulcans to temper me. They keep me honest and on my toes!

        Like I’ve said, I’ve been writing Trek fan fiction for a looong time. But it feels wonderful to bring it out of that hidden cabinet and into the light of day, to proclaim my passion and stand up for it.

        And, of course, to play with Trip and T’Pol – because those two are really, REALLY fun! =D

      3. It’s so good to tap into our passions. No doubt readers can feel how much you love these characters and how devoted you are to telling their stories. That’s wonderful!

  3. Congrats on all the finished projects! You go girl!

    I’ve always been a proponent of writing what you want to read, so you’re preaching to the choir here. 🙂 But that’s why I also think it’s very hard to follow trends, unless those trends happen to be exactly your type of stuff. If I were to try to imitate Fifty Shades of Gray, frex, I would be doomed to failure …

    1. Thanks!

      I could never really see the point in following trends. By the time a work was ready to go and a publisher found or all the self-publishing details like cover design and formatting worked out, that trend could be on its way out the door. I figure if we create characters readers will love and share their stories in a fresh, engaging way, that’s better than following any trend.

      You’re right. We each have certain types of books that based on our style and personal preference, we’re more suited to writing.Like you, I try to write the books I most want to read.

  4. You are rockin’ it Denise! You are whipping your WIP! Giddy-up!
    Me? I love to read romance. I love me a love story. But in the sweet sense. I’m not into major, rip-roaring tragedy where I cannot sleep, since I do most of my reading at night. So that’s what my heart tells me to write. It’s just a slow process as I have said before. I am a tortoise who loves romance! 🙂

    1. Thanks!

      I love to read romance, too, especially paranormal romance or a fantasy story with a strong romantic element. I like happy endings, but I also like exploring the worlds writers of these works create. And anything to do with myth or fairy tales is usually right up my alley as well.

      When things are moving slowly, I always remind myself of this saying: It doesn’t matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop. Then I keep moving, word by word. Good luck, Karen!

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