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What should you write? How about writing your favorite novel?

When starting a new novel or story, it’s a good idea to know what genre you’re writing in. That’s pretty obvious. What may not be so obvious are all the nuances within your genre. What kind of story, exactly, are you telling?

One way to discover this is to ask yourself: What are some of your favorite novels or movies and why do you like them? What makes them stand out above the others?

Below I listed a few of my favorites and why I like them. My “why” may be different than yours.


Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

Why: original pov (from dead girl), lovely prose, deeply creepy antagonist, unique setting: heaven.

Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Why: fresh narrative voice, vivid details, tragic storyline but sprinkled with humor, elements that stand out as unique (the wailing wall one of the sisters sticks messages in).

Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Why: paranormal, love triangle, protagonist discovers she is more than she thought she was, sense of humor, solid storyline.

TV Series:

True Blood

Why: humorous, snappy dialogue, paranormal.


Why: protagonist has a unique job as a political “fixer,” fast paced, espionage, personal stories, great dialogue (Cyrus’s monologues kill me), great characters.

Game of Thrones

Why: great character development and growth, good writing, humor, romance, trysts, unexpected twists, spunky characters, love the dragons!

As I reviewed my list, I realized I like character-driven stories with vivid settings, surprises, some romance, humor, witty dialogue, and paranormal elements. I also realized a hot button for me is when characters discover hidden talents or parts of themselves they never knew existed. They learn they are more than they’ve been led to believe.

As I continue work on my manuscript, I’ll keep this list nearby to remind myself to write my favorite novel.

To learn more about how your favorite movies and books can inform your writing, read my previous post “Find writing magic in your favorite movies and books.”

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wow, you’ve listed three of my favourite books. I also would only ask Brief History of the Dead into that mix.

    October 15, 2013
  2. love this idea! I love Weeds so my short story makes sense to me now. Great post and great title : )

    October 17, 2013

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