What is the best secret to writing something original?

Use a formula.

Yep, you heard me right. Sounds contradictory I know. Why? Because we are creatures of comfort and formulas work.

I mean, who doesn’t have a favorite comfort food, favorite chair, a feel-good movie, or book? We enjoy the familiar.

A genre formula is a writer’s best friend.

Sticking to a genre formula lets the reader know what to expect. You know what to expect when you pick up a book by Stephen King, Patricia Cornwell, James Patterson or Danielle Steel.

Putting your own unique spin, touch or style is what makes a reader recognize your uniqueness.

Sort of like spaghetti sauce. Everyone knows it’s made with tomatoes, meat, and spices. But how the cook puts it all together will determine the flavor.

Remember, how you execute a story is what makes it unique.

  • You (the cook) make the difference.
  • Different isn’t always a good thing.
  • Readers want genre fiction they recognize and a world they feel comfortable visiting.
  • A little originality goes a long way, too much can be unnerving, even disturbing to some people.
  • Genre formulas and templates are a writers friend. Like a recipe for a cook.
  • Know the formulas.

Even if you write in more than one genre, it’s important to know and understand the formulas.

You are the secret ingredient. 

Want to know more about genres? Click on the links below.

Okay, time to talk:

Which genre do you write?

Do you know and understand the formulas?

Do you use a template for your writing? Formula outline for the genre?

Are you comfortable with one genre over others?

What do you think?

Genre Writing and Formulas By Rob Parnell
Advice for New Authors: Five sure-fire ways to find your book’s genre By Helena Halme
How To Write A Bestseller – According To The Formula By Peter Winkler






Do you want to curl up with a good book this weekend?

Then today is your lucky day!

Because I’ve got not one, not two but three for you. Each book different and unique.

Long flights are perfect for reading and I found these good talented authors to keep me company as I traveled.

Up first…

The Sanctification of Peter Kane  by Troy Stoops

Want to read a preview of this book? Click on the image.

The Sanctification of Peter Kane by [Stoops, Troy]

At first, the mixed reviews gave me pause. I wasn’t sure what to expect, offered through Kindle Unlimited so I thought, why not. And boy-howdy I’m glad I took a chance on Mr. Stoops.

I enjoyed this book so much, I returned the KU version and bought a copy to keep. It’s that good. Ever heard the old saying, “Truth is stranger than fiction?” That’s what popped into my mind as I read this book.

I also wondered where the author bought his crystal ball, the book was published in 2013. Twilight time. Be sure to open your mind and check your biases before you begin reading. To read my 5-star review on Amazon review… 


Next is…

The Millionaire’s Wife by Shalini Boland 

The Millionaire's Wife by [Boland, Shalini]This psychological thriller kept me on the edge until the last chapter. That makes for a great read. If you enjoyed Gone Girl, you will like The Millionaire’s Wife. Just what will someone do for money?

Kill, plan, and terrorize? All of the above is in this book. Ms. Boland earned five stars for the roller coaster ride of suspense. To read my 5-star review on Amazon review… 


Last but not least…

I Am Watching You by [Driscoll, Teresa]Where do I start? At the end. Why? Because there are few books that have brought me to tears. This is one. I read the last few pages through blurry eyes. Not because my eyes were tired or my Kindle on the fritz. No, the words danced because of the compassion rolling inside of me.

Ms. Driscoll tells a story of murder, loss, and deceit from the perspective of all too human characters. This takes talent. She makes the reader care about the people in her story. I can only hope to achieve this great feat one day.

I didn’t figure out guilty until the author revealed their identity. Now that is great story telling and very deserving of five stars. To read my 5-star review on Amazon review… 


Have you read a memorable book recently?

Have a favorite you enjoy over and over?

Please share your best reads. We all love finding that nugget amidst the rubble.

And when you have a moment, head over and “like” my Facebook page at Facebook at jeanswriting . Or to connect with me, click the “write me” tab. Don’t forget you can follow me on StumbleUpon,  on Twitter @jeancogdell , and Amazon.com.

Please stop by and say “hey!”  I’ll leave a light on. 

You will love reading this self-published NYT bestseller

I read this book back in 2013 and I still love it. I hope you will too.

If you grab this New York Times BestSelling Novel for the Bargain price of $3.99, you will understand, within minutes, why the novel Hopeless by Colleen Hoover shot to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List.

Words will spill from the pages and catch in your throat.

I turned page after page with bleary eyes, read late into the night as fear gripped me waiting for the beautiful words to become marred by the ending, they weren’t. Ms. Hoover is a weaver of tales. Once you begin to read, you will follow her as I did, wherever the story goes, because, in Hopeless, she has strewn the path with words too beautiful to miss. Over eight thousand Amazon.com readers agree! Can’t wait to download more of her books.

Hopeless by [Hoover, Colleen]
Click image to read sample

It’s great to see self-published authors do great!

Have you read a self-published book that you loved? Do share!

I’d love to hear from you! Click the “write me” tab or contact me on Twitter @jeancogdell,Facebook at jean.cogdell and Amazon.com, stop by and say hey! The lights are on, and I’m waiting.

Please remember to share this post with your Twitter  peeps and Facebook fans.

How to surround yourself with the best

Follow, read, and learn from the best; that’s how.

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for ways to improve.

Whether, blogging, writing the great American Novel, or publishing the best darn kids book possible, I want to find techniques that work.

Who knows, maybe I’ll eventually produce a bestselling novel one day. Anything is possible, right?

Bestseller – http://www.pixabay.com

In case you missed the list of best websites put out by The Write Life in January, here it is.

The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2016