Thursday, September 27, 2018


Hey guys! Welcome back to Too Many Books to Count, and to our September series finale! I’m so glad you decided to stop in and read the final entry in this month’s series.

All September long, we’ve been talking about the things readers are looking for in the books they read, and the ways we can use this knowledge to better ourselves in the craft of writing. We’ve talked about characters both good and evil, about plots that make us scream and ones that make us cry, and today, we’ll discuss what I believe is the most important point of them all.

 #8: Worlds Into Which You Escape

Again, this may seem obvious, and like it’s one of the easiest things in the world to do—but it’s not easy at all.

Readers are looking for worlds they can dive into, worlds that feel more real than our own, worlds we’d rather live in, worlds we wish were real. And I mean this both for purely fiction novels and for genre fiction, taking place in worlds completely different to our own.

No matter what world you write in, it needs to be a world readers feel could be real, one readers want to escape into, worlds that make your readers pick this book up time and time again, looking for the same escape they experienced the first time through.

Doesn’t sound so easy anymore, does it?

See, world-building isn’t just about getting your map made and knowing your east from your south. It’s about visualizing something, about describing it on the page and allowing your readers to experience it the same way you do. It’s about getting that image that’s in your head onto the page, so someone else can see it the exact same way you do.

And it is, in my opinion, one of the biggest things writers need to grow in and develop. While characters are the primary draw for most readers, if the world they’re living in doesn’t seem remotely real, then what’s the point? Readers want to believe what they’re reading, and if the world isn’t believable, then they’ll put the book down in an instant.

That’s the last thing we want.

So work on your descriptions. Master your settings. Find images online that you can use to help you, to point you in the right direction and ensure you don’t describe the same place as looking two different ways.

Go into detail. Think about the things nobody thinks about, even if they won’t make it into the book. Think through every single detail and level of your world, so when your readers enter it, they’ll believe everything you told them.

Allow your world to be an escape for someone—even you.


{Rani Divine}

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Write to Read

Hi there, and welcome back to Too Many Books to Count!

It’s the final week of our series! How in the world did that happen? Again. So soon! Sometimes I wonder if I should do longer series’ just so I’ll have more time to flesh everything out before we reach the end, but then, I like having a single series last as long as a month. Means I get to start fresh in more ways than one, the beginning of every month.

The month of September, we’ve been talking about the things readers are looking for in the books they read, and how we can use this information to better the writing we do on a daily basis. I’m in no way suggesting that we should write to market, that we should use reader trends to determine what we’ll be writing next, but I do believe there are always ways for us to learn, always things we could be doing better—and that a lot of times, readers are better able to teach those things to us than other writers are.

So, without further delay…

#7: Events That Make You Dream

Readers often read books in order to gain something, to feel something beyond what they feel on a general, day-to-day basis. They’re looking to get out of their own lives, to dream of a different life entirely.

That’s something we can give them, through the art of our craft.

We can give them a dream of a life unlike any they’ve before imagined.

But how do we do it, in a way readers enjoy, one they crave? Well, that’s one of the simplest things in the world—and also one of the trickiest to master.

We must enter that same dream, and live it for ourselves.

So many times, writers write stories just to get them out of our heads, just to have something to do, something to say. We write because it’s who and what we are, but during that process we forget what it’s like to be a reader, entering a story for the first time. We forget what it’s like to dream, to live as our characters live, in a life very unlike our own.

We have to dream ourselves, in order to write a dream into our stories. If we’re not dreaming, then our readers will struggle to enter the dream.

But… that still hasn’t answered the question, has it? How do we do that, how do we make sure we’re dreaming right alongside our characters?

Again, the answer is simple, and not easy in the slightest.

Let go.

It’s one of the reasons why I don’t outline, when I write a novel. If I outline, I have too much of an idea where the story is going, what’s going to happen, and I can’t bring myself to finish it. I’ve lost the spark, the dream. Yeah, I’ll have probably made a few plotholes by the time I'm done, but I can fix those when I go back to edit.

Let go of being a writer, while you’re writing. Focus on being a reader, on entering the experience of your story. Don’t write just to write. Write to read.

That’s all there is to it—and though it sounds easy, I know from personal experience that it’s one of the most difficult things to do.


{Rani Divine}

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Weepies

Hey there! Welcome back to Too Many Books to Count! I’m glad you decided to stop by. Always makes my day brighter, knowing you’re here.*

This month, we’ve been talking about the things readers are looking for in good writing, and how we, as writers, can use those things to mold the stories we write. I’m not suggesting that we write to market, that we should bend our writing style to fit what the current market is looking for—on the contrary, I’m suggesting that we grow our writing potential, using the things readers are looking for in fiction. I’m suggesting that we grow as writers in general, honestly.

#6: Stories that make you cry

Readers love being brought to tears by the books they read. It makes us sound a little strange, but it’s true. We love to feel emotion, and to be brought into that emotion via the things we’re reading. It’s one of the reasons why we read, why we long for story. We long for emotion.

For my own reading, I love finding a new book that makes me feel things I haven’t felt in a long time. I love falling in love, alongside a character. I love crying with them when they’re in pain (and I hate crying, so that’s really saying something). I love every bit of emotion that grows from story, and it’s one of the things I always look for in fiction. Always.

Have you ever heard the saying, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader?” It’s true. I’ve noticed it, when my beta readers read my work. If I’m trying to write an emotional scene and I don’t feel that emotion myself, my readers won’t feel it either.

So in order to write the type of gripping and moving stories that really get to our readers, we have to let our stories get to us, too. It’s not nearly as easy as it sounds.

Living in that kind of an emotional rollercoaster is just as difficult as it sounds. It’s like living multiple lives at the same time, and it’s one of the many reasons why writers so often struggle with our own emotions. It’s why we sometimes have difficulty separating ourselves from our works, and why it’s so difficult for us when people don’t love our work as much as we do.

But you know what?

It’s also what makes us pretty amazing, because it’s not just anyone who can live that many lives, who can experience that level of emotion over and over again, and stand up tall even when we don’t want to, just so people can read what we’ve written.

You’re pretty special, if you’re a writer.

You can make people cry, you can make them feel things they’ve never felt before.

Never forget that, okay?


{Rani Divine}

* I’m serious, when I say things like that. I know from my end you might think you're little more than a number on a screen, unless you leave me a comment—but just seeing those numbers, just knowing you’re out there, experiencing life at the same time as me, is really amazing. I love you. All of you.