Hello Fiction Lovers!
I realized that I haven’t really said much about what I’m currently working on with my writing. Right now, I’m working on editing one manuscript and writing the first draft of another–both have progressed to the point they are at because of the story sections I talked about in an earlier post. I used to be horrible at finishing the stories I was writing (before I switched to a new idea), but doing the story sections has helped me keep focused on the manuscript I’m sending out to friends and family. Because I was so bad at finishing stories, however, I don’t have much experience writing endings or editing so it’s taking a lot of work to get that first manuscript to where I want it to be. The editing is going slowly, but I rather have it take a long time and be good than rush through it and not have it improve much.
The manuscript that is being edited is called The One Who Speaks and is about a young woman, Irene, who loses her voice under mystical circumstances. After the incident she gains a power she didn’t have before and her body starts moving without her direction. The story continues as she tries to find out what exactly what happened and how she can get her voice back. Along the way she is joined by the son of a spirit, Vix, and her cousin, Sao.
The manuscript I am currently writing is called A Cursed Blessing. The story is told through the eyes of the main character, Ismelle, a family of nobles keeping a secret, and young woman trying to follow her goddess-driven dreams. As the story continues you learn more about each of the characters from their perspective as they try to figure out why monsters are appearing, worry about the danger Ismelle’s presence in the manor poses, and try to keep their secrets.
Do either of these stories sound interesting to you? Please let me know what you think and feel free to share what you are currently working on writing-wise. Thank you for reading and let me know if you have any questions.
Hello Fiction Lovers!
First, I would like to apologize for not getting this posted yesterday, but I didn’t have access to the internet, unfortunately. As for this week’s topic I thought I’d talk about the relationship between science and magic I’ve noticed in fantasy books.
Often, it seems that science is almost omitted from fantasy with only the inclusion of medieval technology or during the few times more advanced scientific understanding is included it’s at odds with magic. I believe that this comes from a belief that magic and science can’t coexist, and I think that belief comes from the stigma we’ve experienced in our world. The social norm seems to rise up science and eschew magic as we use more and more technology. But in fantasy things don’t have to be the same as it is in our world.
I think it would be interesting to see more fantasy books where science and magic work together or where science is a variation of magic (and vice versa). They don’t have be separated, but could help explain each other or be viewed as the same thing.
I’ve been taking an astronomy class and it’s been interesting to see the change in how people used to view the sky and stars as a different place, but now we understand that the stars are like the sun and everything is pretty much made from stardust. There’s something magical about that isn’t there? And there’s plenty science still doesn’t know such as how the universe began or what dark matter actually is, and perhaps in using the two together magic could explain those things. New scientific discoveries and using more technology doesn’t have to mean the end of magic, it just means that maybe we can understand magic in a new way as well.
Of course, if you just want to use magic or science or some new process that’s fine too. I’ve done so myself and it can be interesting and create worlds very different from our own. But perhaps when magic and science do come up in a work together they don’t always have to be at odds. I think it would be a fun thing to explore.
Thank you all for reading and I hope you have a great week! Let me know if you have any questions and feel free to post your thoughts in the comments.
Hello Fiction Lovers!
So this past week I’ve come across the idea that there are no new stories and everything that is being written is some variation on a story that’s already been told once again. I will admit that I believe this to be true in that certain types of stories are going to have similar elements–the hero’s journey, for example–but I also have a couple of issues with it.
The first is that when people mention this, in my experience, it’s typically with a tone of “why bother?” when it comes to writing. After all, if everything has already been written why bother writing more? But just because two or more things have the same foundation doesn’t mean they will look anything alike by the time the construction is finished. Let’s use the example of two identical rooms and only one thing is changed: the paint. One room is painted blood red and the other a bright pink. The paint might be shades of the same color but a visitor is going to have a different experience/expectations depending on what room they enter, and all just because the color of the paint changed. Stories work the same way; they might start with the same foundation–a story prompt or a genre–but based on the different variations they use, however slight, they can be very different by the end and thus give a different experience/expectations to the reader. Writing is worth bothering because of those variations and the entertainment they can give to both reader and writer.
The second issue is the extreme distillation of a story that one needs to employ to encompass them as broadly as the basic plots do. Rags to Riches, Comedy, Tragedy, Voyage and Return are the names of some of those plots. But those aren’t stories, not really. They’re ideas, ideas so broad and vague that there’s barely anything to them and that doesn’t make a story. Even the idea that they are called “plots” drives the point home. Plots aren’t stories but rather the foundations they are built upon. Stories are made up of characters and their decisions, the writer’s voice and style, the emotional journey they–hopefully–take the reader on, and a hundred other little things that people use and play with to make their stories unique. Another way to think about it, to go back to the earlier example, is that plots are the functional parts of the house–the walls, windows, doors, sinks, etc.–that help the people do what they need to do and stories are the lives of the people who live in that house and the personal touches they add to it. It’s why we can read so many books of a farmer boy becoming a king or a person going on a journey or people falling in love and still want more. Those were the plots and we wanted to see what the new story would bring, what variation we never expected would happen.
So there might not be new plots, but there are definitely new stories being written and read every day.
I hope this made sense and feel free to post your own thoughts on this topic in the comments or let me know if you have any questions. I’d be interested in what you all think about this prevalent idea in writing.
Hello Fiction Lovers!
First of all, I would like to apologize for not getting this (and the story prompt) posted yesterday. Things got a little hectic and I somehow managed to forget it was Monday.
This week I wanted to talk about the benefits of story prompts/writing prompts since I post them every week. There are, of course, the obvious benefits of having an idea to write from when you seem to can’t think of anything yourself and to help get the writing flowing when your muse is being particularly uncooperative. The nice thing about story prompts is that they can prompt your own ideas as well. You don’t have to take every prompt at face value, but can change it if it sparks a different idea (i.e. if the MC of prompt is a female you could change it to a male or lizard-person that doesn’t have a set gender).
Another thing story prompts can help with is getting to you writing things outside your comfort zone, trying something new. I’ve writing stories I never would have thought of writing because of story prompts and now I’m glad I wrote them. It helped broaden my understanding of the situations and types of characters the story prompts promoted. Perhaps they will do the same for you.
A last benefit to story prompts is that they can be fun and without the pressure of writing a larger work. Sure, they can develop into that but I don’t think I’ve ever looked for a story prompt with the intent to turn it into a novel. They can help remind you that writing is fun when you when you need to take a break from your work in progress because of a difficult scene, but still want to write.
So I do suggest using a story prompt every now and then, and making it your own. No one every seems to come up with the same story despite using the same prompt and I always think that’s wonderful and amazing. Perhaps, too, you’ll get a new interesting character, scene, or plot line to expand upon or use in another work.
Please let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything you think I missed. Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a fun time reading and writing!
Hello Fiction Lovers!
For those of you who are writers like me I thought it would be good to share how I battle writer’s block every week. I think of myself as a fairly busy person, especially during the school year, between classes, a part-time job, clubs, studying, and keeping in contact with friends and family as well as having this blog. There would be a lot of times when I would use that busyness as an excuse not to write because I was too tired, should interact with people, eat regular meals–in short, do actual things, things that would garner immediate results. But writing is an actual thing and does garner actual results such as being closer to finishing the manuscript I’m working on. I just had to accept the fact that I needed to put the effort in to do the thing I loved doing, even when it was difficult and writer’s block was staring me in the face.
So I started writing story sections and sending them out every week to friends and family who would be willing to read them. Most people say not to share what you are currently writing with others but, for me, doing so gave me the kick I needed to start writing regularly. I knew I had to send something out every week because they were expecting to receive a story section. There was no room for excuses: either I sent one out or I didn’t. An added bonus was that for those readers who have the time and are willing I also get feedback as I’m writing which helps me know what I need to work on as I write (another thing I know people advise against, but it means instead of having to edit and overhaul something once I finish the whole manuscript I can do it right then and keep having it fixed). Now I aim for at least 2,000 words a week and send out questions about each section for those readers who want to answer. They aren’t really beta readers but I have found their advice does help as well as simply being accountable to send out the story section. Since I’ve started doing this I think I’ve only missed sending out the story sections twice in almost a year.
If following the traditional advice hasn’t been working for you feel free to try this out or do something completely different. One thing that doing the story sections has reminded me of is that while the traditional advice can be helpful, it doesn’t work for everyone, and if it doesn’t work for you, you don’t have to follow it. They aren’t rules, only guidelines.
Please let me know if you have any questions and feel free to comment below. If anyone would like to receive the story sections let me know and I can get it arranged. I hope you all have a good week and thanks for reading!
Hello Fiction Lovers!
Many people I know–as do I–love animals and benefit from the companionship a pet offers. The moments when the cat actually deigns to use your lap as a pillow, or the dog greets you with such enthusiasm that you think you must of been gone for ten years instead of ten minutes, really help make the day go from bad to good or from good to perfect. Knowing this, it makes the distinct lack of pets in fiction disappointing. They can add so much to the story and yet often writers don’t spare the words to add them in. Pets can help the characters by giving them support, providing them with motivation to keep going and comfort when things are bad, and being just enough of a lovable nuisance to keep things interesting. Pets aren’t perfect, just like people, but that’s just what makes them more fun.
The great thing about having pets in fiction is that they don’t have to be a dog or a cat or a fish as well. A wizard could have a dragon or a nightmare as a pet, a warrior could have their trusty stead (which could be a horse as easily as it could be a camel or rhino), a cyborg could have a sentient animal-like robot or a monkey. Truly, your imagination is the limit. The pets in question wouldn’t have to been actual animals from here on Earth unless the story takes place on Earth as we know it (and even then you could come up with an explanation about how having a fictional creature for a pet would work for that story).
This isn’t to say that every story needs to have a pet added to it. There are some stories were having a pet involved would be out of place and not good for the characters or the pet, but having pets added to at least a few stories could help them along.
So just as there are many pets looking for adoption in the real world, I’m sure there are more than a few looking for their life long companions in fiction. I wish you luck with finding the perfect one for your story!
Feel free to post any examples of great pets you’ve read in fiction down in the comments and let me know if you have any questions. I hope you all have a great week!
Hello Fiction Lovers!
For the past few days I’ve been thinking about the settings in many of the books I’ve read lately. All of them featured the classic European-esque setting full of fields, castles, and lords/ladies, or the normal urban fantasy setting of a Western city. Even though I like those settings as much as the next person sometimes I think we forget that in fantasy we can do anything as long as it makes sense in the story (and sometimes, depending on the style of what’s being written, it doesn’t even need that qualification).
I think it would help the genre if more authors branched out and drew from other parts of our world to influence the world they are writing or truly made up a new one that has little likeness to what we know. Doing so could make some of the classic storylines interesting again and possibly create new storylines that weren’t even possible before. After all, who wouldn’t want to read a story that takes place in a society whose morality is influenced by the moon and that has never experienced a day without snow? Or perhaps a group of reptilian-like people who live in a forest of giant mushrooms?
It would be a fun exercise I think to come up with 5-10 different settings that are different from the ones I mentioned in the beginning of this post and then start the same storyline in each setting and see how it changes/how the setting influences it. Keep in mind though that usually the best settings make sense for why they are the way they are. While you don’t have to throw all the reasoning at the reader at once it can be good for you, as the writer, to at least have a basic idea even if that idea in the beginning is only “becuase magic/the god(s) made it that way”. You could also take the route where even if the setting isn’t anything like we have on earth the society or societies that interact with that setting make sense becuase of the setting. Geograpghy has a powerful influence on culture.
I hope this post was thought provoking! Let me know if you have any questions and feel free to post anything in the comments that this post inspired.
Hello Fiction Lovers!
This week I thought I’d talk about including ceremonies and holidays in fiction becuase of Memorial Day. Whenever I see a ceremony/holiday included in a story–whether in a passing comment or actually making an impact on the plot–it always seems to make the world the story is set in more immersive.
People celebrate, they mourn, and usually at some point during the year in an actual culture both things are recognized in the form of a holiday. Whether that means celebrating a new year or remembering the dead cultures set aside times to let people break away from their daily lives. How that gets manifested and what gets deemed important enough to get a holiday can provide great insight into a culture and the people belonging to it. They can also help show the divides between people if different cultures are mixed together and don’t celebrate the same things or different ways. Holidays also help show the passing of time in a story and that the story isn’t being told in a vacuum–there is a larger world that this story is a part of and is affected by.
Ceremonies can also be good to include or mention, becuase they can also help show what is important to a culture and add more depth to worldbuilding. They help mark things that don’t always happen annually but are still important to a society such as becoming an adult, getting married, and reaching a certian point in education or religion. Depending on what is emphasized during a ceremony will also reveal things that culture values, which could be anything from honor to cunning to being a certain gender.
Holidays and ceremonies give something for characters to look forward to and talk about as well as showing their values and how well they might know a culture. It makes the worldbuilding more believable and immersive. Though that isn’t to say that you should just include a holiday/ceremony without any rhyme or reason. Both are shaped by culture and so they must fit into the culture to make sense and add to the world.
Feel free to post any comments if you have anything to add or think I missed something, and let me know if you have any questions! I wish you all happy reading and writing. 🙂
Hello Fiction Lovers!
First I would like to apologize for not getting this posted yesterday. My internet stopped working and I didn’t have a way to get to a place that had internet and was still open by the time I had a chance to write.
As for the topic for today lately I’ve been thinking about “diagonal dialogue”. It’s a term I first heard in one of my writing classes. It’s what happens when characters are talking to each other but not neccessarily answering what the other is saying. Instead they are responding to what the actual problem is or what’s important to them. For example, when Character A keeps complaining about how pretty another character is and Character A’s friend forces them to face their insecurity. Or when one character wants to stay and the other character wants them to leave and both are pretending to talk about different character, propriety, candy, or anything else, really.
Diagonal dialogue isn’t lying (though that can have it’s own interesting implications and uses) but is instead when the topic of conversation isn’t what’s actually as important. The important thing is the tension between the characters as they try to lead the conversation in the direction they want it to go–the tension that’s created by what they choose to say and what’s left unsaid.
I find that when I try to write diagonal dialogue the conversation becomes more interesting and gets closer to the heart of the story. It helps to create better dialogue becuase it doesn’t allow the characters to talk about nothing, becuase even if they are only talking about the weather on the surface other clues show that more is at stake. An important thing to remember is that dialogue isn’t just things that are said but includes body language as well, and diagonal dialogue makes use of both (as any good dialogue should).
Of course, not all conversations between characters have to use diagonal dialogue, but making use of it now and again can be a good exercise and can help characters approach topics that otherwise would be too painful or awkward and such to broach.
Let me know if you have any questions and I hope you all enjoy the rest of your day!