How many times have you heard “write what you know”? It’s good advice – to a point. Because if everyone only wrote what they knew, we’d have no space odysseys, no dragons, no magical words, no elves or dwarves or krakens… and we’d be poorer for it.
So where does one draw the line between what you “should” write and what you can write? I’d say there isn’t a line, and if you’ve been limiting yourself, STOP! If you can make your readers want to enter the world you’ve written, no matter how unrealistic or crazy, then you’ve still succeeded in writing something good (i.e. interesting). You don’t need to be an expert in fighting to write a fight scene, or on trains to write about your characters taking a train ride. Same goes for flying on the back of a dinosaur, or piloting a ship through outer space – if you can make it interesting and immersive for your readers, only a few are going to nitpick the details. ♦ Continue reading
In our relatively sheltered lives, pain is usually a passing phenomenon – injury or accident; sickness or disease. But what about those that live with daily pain? Those stuck in poverty, starvation/malnutrition, warfare or abuse? All of these should be present somewhere in our stories, even if they remain on the outskirts. Continue reading
At one point in writing history, writers began their stories by setting the scene. Setting was once used as a reflection characters emotions or actions. For example, a storm arises as a disagreement to your evil plot of revenge… But setting in books have changed today with things like TV. We still need setting, but it is not nearly as important as our characters and plot.
Setting brings us to a certain time and place.
Seattle’s physical setting compared with Albuquerque’s is night and day– one is high desert, with dusty browns and golds; the other is sea-level, with fertile flora and greens and blues. But they also eat different foods. ABQ leans more towards a Mexican flavor whereas most anyone in Seattle can list 5-20 favorite Asian foods. Continue reading
Writing fantasy is fun. Why else would so many people do it? Why would so many read it? There’s more than a monetary investment when a reader picks up a fantasy novel. They are taking on faith that the world the writer has created is going to engage them and spark their imagination. As an author, you have to think through more than loving your own world and story – it has to be easily comprehended by a reader so that they don’t get fed up and abandon the attempt to enter into your written world.
One of the joys of writing Science Fiction is how quickly tomorrow’s technology can surpass a writer’s imagination. Computers the size of your palm? Done. Glasses that help you see 3-D worlds? Done. Real Pokémon lurking in your backyard? Well, sort of. And 30 years ago, no one really expected those inventions to become reality in their lifetime.
So what does that mean for a science fiction writer? Should we all retreat to fantasy? No!
Continuing from last time, here are some other roles a writer might use animals for:
We often talk about creating characters, but what about those stories that feature animals as the heroes? There are several great books (and series) with animals manning the cast, while other stories include animals playing side (yet still important) roles. Whether your animals speak, your human character happens to have the ability to speak to them, or you’re writing a story with fantasy creatures, the depth and breadth of possibilities with non-human characters are endless.
For today, we’ll tackle two kinds of characters:
Hindsight is twenty twenty they say. Before I ambitiously embarked upon the adventure of a lifetime, I had no clue what to expect. Sure, I’d read many novels and books and blog posts on how to write them.
What I quickly found out was reading about writing, and actually writing, are totally different. It’s like thinking you’re a good singer because you watch America’s got Talent and belting out off key tunes at a karaoke bar. Time for a reality check.
A thirsty cry startled me from a sweaty sleep. The sound–high-pitched and screechy– rang in my ears. I licked my dry lips and cracked a smile. I knew that sound. Among the tents of my father I heard it all the time –camels. Today it was much more. It was the sound of salvation. I was close. It had been three days since I entered the desert…
What happens next?
Finish this prompt in 500 words or less. Send us yours at firstname.lastname@example.org . We will select our favorite to be shared with our readers.
Pen Friends: Welcome Mary Weber, author of the wildly popular Storm Siren Trilogy, as she shares her writing journey with us. Talk about encouraging, charming, and instructive!
SP: Can you tell us a bit of who you are and when you started writing?
Hi! Yes, let’s see…I was born and raised in California by parents who’ve been pastoring the same church for 40+ years (and are legitimately the coolest people I know). My husband and I have been married for 18 of those years and have three kids (ages 16, 14, & 10). I write books (obviously). I like homemade honey lattes, Sherlock, The Last Airbender, laughter, rain, and sushi, and I work part time as a youth pastor. Annnnd now I feel like I just filled out a dating profile. Nice. 😉 Continue reading