In any book, the author must introduce the characters, the situation, and the basic elements of the setting, but in fantasy and science fiction you might have a viewpoint character in the first chapter who isn't even human, living on a planet that isn't even in this universe. The very laws of physics might be different, never mind the differences in culture, history, civilization, and everything that goes along with that: systems of measurement, idioms, naming conventions, philosophical principles, mathematics, science...speculative fiction strives to introduce and immerse a reader in a world that might be completely different from that with which we are familiar.
I've noticed something about my writing recently, a struggle that I've been having but have not fully acknowledged. The problem is this: I'm too focused on the form of the words on the page.
I admit, this post is a little self-serving. It benefits me if you read more, and if more people read; I am an author, after all. It also might be ineffectual; if you're on this site, reading this blog post, you're probably already a reader, and I don't need to convince you of the benefits and importance of continuing to read - you'll do that, anyway. However, this is not just a creative ploy to present a moralistic argument for why you should really go read more Blood Magic (although you absolutely should do that). Every now and then, I'll be telling a friend about a great book that I just read, or I'll recommend a book, or I'll be telling someone about my own most recent writing efforts, and their response will be something along the lines of "I try not to read anything more complicated than The Very Hungry Caterpillar."
If you've been writing for awhile, you've probably reached a point in a story where you've had to kill off a character. I don't mean a minor character or a world character who pretty much exists just to die on a main character's sword - I mean a point where the plot and the characterization and the whole story demand that a character you have worked with and developed and followed through thousands of words must die. Maybe you knew this was something that would have to happen from the time you started writing the story, or maybe it was something you weren't expecting before you reached the scene and realized there was no other good choice. Regardless, it's never an easy thing.
There are a lot of last days of the month falling on a Tuesday or Thursday this year, or at least it seems that way, and while I haven't use all of them to talk about Blood Magic (which as you know releases a new episode on the last day of every month), I did want to do so this time, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it's been awhile since I posted about the series, and for another, this is the halfway point of the first season. Six episodes are now live, with six more to go to round out the first full season. So it seems worthwhile, at this point, to pause for a moment and take stock of where we're at in the series, both within the Blood Magic world, and in our own.
It's been awhile since we've posted a writing technique post, so coming off of reading Steering the Craft, it seemed like a good idea to share a little more of my continuing efforts to improve my writing. Specifically, I'd like to talk about points of view, because I realized as I was reading Steering the Craft that I might have been thinking about my POVs incorrectly for years. For those who aren't familiar, POV (point of view) is the literary term for the perspective from which a piece is written.
With this review, I guess I'm writing about writing about writing. At least, I think that's the right number of layers. You know, I've never really had much in the way of formal writing education. I took a grand total of one creative writing course in high school, and I only took one English course of any kind in college. In my defense, my studies of astronautical engineering were somewhat time consuming. However, I've never done a lot of reading about writing, either, especially considering my penchant for teaching myself things by reading books on them.
I have a lot of interests, especially when it comes to learning, which is a large part of why I try to read so broadly. One of those interests that is especially conducive to indulging through books is philosophy. Although I don’t have any philosophy book reviews on the site yet (maybe someday I’ll make … Continue reading Futility or Utility?
I don’t remember if this was a comparison I developed, or if I read it somewhere and expanded upon it, but I’ve taken to using windows to explain different styles of writing to others. What I do remember is that it's based on Brandon Sanderson describing his prose as "transparent." This made perfect sense to me, but when I mentioned it to others, they were confused by the idea, and ever since I've been trying to come up with a better way of explaining this metaphor. In other words, I hope that this post is going to make sense to you.
It doesn't come up often, but occasionally I'll have someone ask me to write them into one of my stories. They'll say that they don't care what I do with the character, but that they want to be in there somehow. I refuse every time.