What Meat Loaf Taught Me About Writing

Find the Passion to Write in Hobbies and Interests

The other night I went to a Meat Loaf concert. I expected to hear some great music, do a bit of head banging, and have fun. But, I did not expect to learn something which fundamentally shifted my understanding of what and why I write.

Meat Loaf and the passion for writing.

I admire Jim Steinman’s lyrics as much as Meat Loaf‘s performances, so I was excited to find the songs interspersed with short interviews with Meat Loaf, Steinman and others. During one of these, Meat Loaf made a remark about why he thought his songs had outlasted and outsold so many others of their era. It was, he said, down to the genuine passion which he and Jim brought to expressing their feelings about life and love through music. He thought audiences heard that passion and responded to it.

Something clicked in my head when he said that.

Passion is not just for song writers. It is not just for romance writers. It is for all writers. Our detectives need a passion for solving crimes; one that drives them to risk life and limb, their safety and their relationships to get that one last collar. Our sporting heroes need the passion to keep coming back from behind, so that our readers can believe in the final underdog-comes-good scene.

More than anything, our heroes and heroines need passion for each other, so that when we wrap up that final romance plot, or sub-plot, the reader sighs with satisfaction that FINALLY the world sees the depth of feeling in the characters that our perceptive reader has always known is there.

A writing tutor once told me that all good stories are love stories, and that interview with Meat Loaf gave me a deeper understanding of what she meant. Take a look at your favourite book, or at the story you have just written. Can you feel the passion? If you can, it is a pretty good bet that your readers will too.

This article first appeared on the Book-in-a-Week website 04/27/2013.

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