Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Writing Craft

The moment a story is complete, the best I can make it for now. My mind begins to mull over new story possibilities. One of the first choices is setting, which includes time period, location, and thousands of details until the story world is complete.

The story world is a sacred contract between the reader and writer. As a reader, when I open a fiction book I want to be entertained. I want to be surprised, or enchanted, or worried, or frightened, or amused, or perhaps even educated. I need at least one character I can identify with and cheer for. This character should be the protagonist because if the only character who engages me is a secondary I will quickly lose interest in the story.

The quickest way to shatter the story world is tell me a lie. Have something happen that couldn't happen given the story rules, or disrespect the history, or fail to research the facts. This applies even when the story is set in some distant galaxy. If you don't know what you're writing about, then you have two sensible options. Get busy and learn about the setting, the subject, the time period or pick a different story. One you know well enough to write about convincingly.

If you choose to write fantasy, paranormal, science fiction, or history you automatically sign up for lots of research and world building.

The writer's ordinary world seldom seems exciting enough to be a story setting. Yet the best loved stories are those where the fictional world was created without seams. Your everyday reality may be someone's exotic and exciting setting.


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