Tricking the reader is a bad game to play. For instance, having a character pretend not to know that someone is the killer, only to find out that she knew who did it the entire time is wrong. That’s not the kind of trickery that I’m referring to.
What I’m describing is keeping something hidden from the reader, while maintaining your legitimate narrative perspective. Here’s an example. Continue reading →
There are essential elements that make high fantasy novels come alive, but the characters are the banners. Without having characters that people care about, stories will flop. That said, if the characters are admirable, then the story can sag, and people may still continue to read on.
Fantasy novels must have certain elements if they are to fit into the mold of the mainstream fantasy.
One of the dumbest ideas for a novel would have to come from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Think about it. Some kids go to a house where they’re not wanted and they find this wardrobe. After finding it, they realize that this glorious piece of bedroom furniture is enchanted. Not only that, but the wardrobe, if opened by the right people, has an entirely different world hidden within it called Narnia. That’s ridiculous!
Too much back-story will kill you. The common feeling whenever we’re writing is that we have to explain our world. We have to describe what things look like, and how things came to be, and what powers our people have.
I ran into this trouble with my fantasy trilogy. When I looked at it again, I noticed that I had a prose-styled dossier. It just wasn’t working. What I realized is that my explanation of the world was getting in the way of the story.
Seven Pounds with Will Smith, did you go see it like I suggested? If you didn’t then shame on you! (Not really, but you’re missing out).
My wife and I went to see Seven Pounds at the movie theater, and she almost walked out within the first ten minutes. It’s intense. It’s not funny…and it’s exactly what we needed to hear. What happens? I won’t tell you. GO SEE THAT MOVIE!
That said, we have to figure out a clever and precise way to create empathy for our character right from the start. Sympathy is not as critical? Why? Well if you’re writing a story to alcoholics about the dangers of drinking, then you can easily create sympathy, but what if you want to reach a wider audience? Continue reading →
We talked about plot stealing in the last post. Now, I’m going to increase my thievery. We can even steal characters. Wow, that’s hard to hear. For some reason there’s the writers’ hubris that we must birth everything from our literary wombs.
That’s insane. How many times in an interview has the question been asked: “So where did you get your inspiration?” I’ve heard all types of artists respond by saying, “I modeled this after that.”
James Cameron directed Avatar. We know that. Everyone in the world knows that. That’s my one dramatic statement for the day. But a lot of people know it. What did he do right to make so many people watch it?
A lot of things. But he upped the cinematography by eons! That’s my second dramatic statement. They’re adding up. I know. Now I’ve heard people bash Avatar by saying, “Wait! Isn’t this just the plot of Pocahontas?” And, of course, there are a lot of other questions that are similar to the one described. Continue reading →
Isn’t it great whenever you’re talking to a friend whom you’ve known for 20 years, and she says, “Yeah, I just received my certification for my 500th skydiving jump today.” You jerk your head around, squint at her, and say, “What! 500th jump?? I didn’t even know you had ever been skydiving.”
Don’t these experiences open up something new about your friends? I know they do for me.
HOW TO CREATE THE DEEP EXPERIENCES THAT A CHARACTER NEEDS
Free Digital Photos
The “belly of the whale” experience is a biblical reference that alludes to when a character named Jonah doesn’t listen to his God and he gets swallowed by a big fish. The bible doesn’t say if it was a whale, but the common belief is that it was. When Jonah accepts God’s terms, the whale vomits Jonah up on shore. Then Jonah successfully completes his task.
I believe every work should have the “belly of the whale” experience (I’m going to clarify one thing in just a bit. Be patient haha). Continue reading →
Abortion. Gay Marriage. Global Warming. Recycling. What are these? These are the buzz words for today. Whenever these issues come up, people have a lot to say. Granted, most of it’s just parroting what someone else has said, but it feels like we believe it, right?
Anyway what am I saying here? If possible, our works should have a buzz word or many buzz words.