Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I'm so mad right now I could bite nails in half. And while I won't go into the cause, it gave me the topic for this post.

We must have passion in our writing…and for our writing. Our characters must be passionate. Without passion in our writing, it's meaningless.

I'm not talking about passion of a romantic nature though sometimes that can be good too but more of the kind of passion that moves a story, that connects the reader with the story and causes them to remember it long after the last page is turned.

I'm not sure exactly how to get that passion in the story though. Maybe be finding something the characters are passionate about and channeling (so to speak) our passion into them as we write? Or do we somehow fuse our passion to that of our character?

A while back, I'd lost the passion for the writing process and for writing in general. I'd begun to think of writing as work for the most part. It was something I had to do instead of something I wanted to do. And honestly, I wasn't having any fun.

I took some time off from writing, did some serious pondering and found my joy again. I'm having fun, the writing process is exciting again and I look forward to each day's writing time. In fact, it's gotten to the point I get cranky when I have to miss a day. Thankfully for the family, that doesn't happen often.

I think the thing I want y'all to take away from this post is what is your passion and how can you use it in your writing? Why are you writing in the first place? Heaven knows it's darn hard work, the pay is practically nil unless you manage to grab the brass ring and even if you do "make it" there will always be someone out there to put you down. You must find satisfaction in your writing, not for someone else, but for yourself. In fact, if you are writing for someone else, I sorta think you are doing it for the wrong reason.

Now that's not to say you don't have to keep your potential reader in mind as you write and revise, you must. But it's also important to take your own happiness in mind.

So…how do you impart passion into your story? And how do you keep that passion for writing and the process involved? How do you keep the passion you have for the idea throughout the writing process that may take months and months?

Share your thoughts in the comments for all of us. I'd love to hear from you.

I do have one book on passion in writing. I love really, really love this one. I'd say this one is on my keeper shelf but it's usually on the table by my bed where I can grab it often.:-)

The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass


  1. Donald Maass is great! I would love to work with the guy one day.

    Excellent post. I'm not always sure how to add passion in my writing either. I had this great short story idea--you've seen parts of this one before--where a woman tries to off her husband and leaves him for dead, but he doesn't die, and he tracks her down in Mexico where she's living a new life with her lover.

    This idea came up from a local story about a woman who tried to kill her husband while on their second honeymoon, and when that didn't work, she tried to hire two different people to kill him before she was caught.

    My problem--I just can't imagine what motivated her to want to kill her husband, so the writing is not as passionate as it could be. There has to be a huge motivator to want to kill someone, don't you think? I mean, she tried to do it herself first, and then tried to pay to have it done. You think either this guy was a total butthead or she had some real mental issues. So why can't I get into that and present it the right way?

    I've also written a crime fiction piece that an isntructor told me was good, but it once again needs more to it. I just don't know how to get there.

    I would love to hear more from the rest of the group.


  2. My writing turned completely lackluster. I had so little passion for my stories that I couldn't muster an ounce of enthusiasm for face time with the blank page.

    Life was in the way. I was too distracted to concentrate and not nearly as organized as I needed to be in my personal life. (Work is entirely different.)

    I took a serious break and sat down to determine what made me passionate as a child. This led me to an entirely new genre - and characters who captivate me with their adventures.

    It took taking a break - with no recriminations - to really look deep inside my soul for inspiration. Once I found what I truly liked to write, the passion was there. Now, the editing... that is a different story. LOL

    Laurie Sanders offers a terrific class at Black Velvet Seductions about deep POV. She really gets into the nitty gritty about going below the surface of your story.

    I always hated it when editors at the newspaper told me to go deeper into a story. Some days they were lucky I let them live after that statement. It feels the same in fiction. Sometimes, I just cannot "see" past my own biases, so I have to rely on critique partners to help me, brainstorm with me, and give me chocolate when I get too frustrated.

    Cheryl - The woman could just be a sociopath. I read a book once where that was the case, but the POV was from the perspective of a man she seduced. I have never read a book that was, for lack of a better ter, a mind ****, but this was one. It totally got into my head and would not let go. That was because he went through all these crazy emotions of this man, who gets accused of the murder himself.

    Maybe changing the POV would help your idea? Or, is this just not a story that is speaking to you right now? Maybe you need to let it simmer a while before it finally strikes you.

  3. Donald Maass is my dream agent. And I'd LOVE to go to one of his workshops.

    I have his Breakout Novel book and workbook too. I actually took all the questions from the workbook and put them in a Word doc, printed it out and had it spiral bound at an office supply store so I could answer the questions for my WIP.

    I added a cover page with novel title so I could keep up with it. When I get ready for those questions with the next WIP, I'll just print out a new copy and create another workbook. Hope he doesn't mind.:-)

  4. Angela, I wonder if Laurie is doing her deep POV workshop at the Muse Conference again this year.

    Honestly, no story idea has spoken to me in a long time. Book tours keep me insanely busy, as did church and the kids this year. Now that the kids are in school f/t, it's time for me to see what I can do...if tours don't take over my world.

    That's a great idea Jean. I really need to pick up more writing craft books. Maybe next year I'll cut back on the number of titles I review or at least start searching to review titles on writing craft. I have a whole self full, but have read only 2 or 3.

    By the way, Lana was having trouble following the blog. She emailed me. I hope she's figured it out.

    Tweeted this post!


  5. Passion---you can't learn it, it must come from within. You don't gain the passion from your characters, but they from you. This works effortlessly if you are writing about something you are truly passionate about. In cases such as cheryl, I would say--talk with people involved, visit sites about killers. Also think of possible motives--money, revenge, psychological issues? Think of a situation YOU may find strong enough to kill and transfer that passion to your character. Does that make sense?

    I'll be doing a workshop on Psychological profiles at this year's conference and I noticed there is another one. Maybe both could help?

  6. Vey nice post. All I really know about passion is that when I am passionate about a story, that's where my thoughts turn every time I have a spare moment during the day. While I was writing Divinity (the novel I drafted during NaNo), many of the scenes would just come at me one after the other, and I would lose myself in them.

    I've noticed that this happens for me most when I'm planning and writing a novel. At the very least, since I've started editing, it's harder to get a rush from the story. But maybe that's because I'm in a more critical, analytical mindset.

  7. My first love is poetry, and for me, poetry is all about passion, about moving the reader, about putting whatever has struck me about my subject matter and conveying it to the reader -- no easy task. It takes passion, but it also takes craft, and it takes the willingness to let things sit, and to get feedback from others and really listen to it. Sometimes it's just a small tweak (removing the last couple of lines, changing them a bit) to make or break a poem.