Write What You Don't Know: Embrace the Strange and Wonderful
Author: S. M. Metzler
I'm a Christian writer of science fiction and fantasy. I'm also a book dragon, who consumes large amounts of tea and black licorice. Also aiming to publish a book and take over a couple planets while I'm at it.
This is Susannah, jumping in really quick to introduce this guest post by Harley Rae. I have been ridiculously busy in the last several weeks, what with school, musical theater, etc. that I haven’t been able to post for a long time. Thankfully, the amazing human Harley was willing to lighten the burden of this dangerous dilemma by writing up something awesome for this Tuesday to learn from and enjoy!
Yesterday, Hannah Heath and I went to see the anime Your Name. It was released in Japan in 2016 and it went over so well, they wisely decided to release it in the United States also. It got a whopping 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That, and the fact that it was about a body swap (a concept I’d always dreamed of experiencing or writing about) ultimately helped me in deciding to go. The trailer looked pretty too, so overall, I was pretty stoked. It should be a fairly good movie, right?
Your plot is ready to go. You have a protagonist, an antagonist, a secondary character, an old mentor, a love interest, a traitor, an opposed parent, a jealous sibling, and an intelligent talking horse named Phillip. Hopefully, by the time you sit down to start writing the first chapter of your first draft, you have a general idea of what your cast of characters is like. Well at least you’ll know the gender of your main character. Ideally.
I believe the most important thing that will help you achieve a well developed story is a well developed cast of characters; the story is about those characters, after all. Probably the most crucial question to ask when developing a character is “what are the character’s motives?” The protagonist’s motives alone will drive the plot forward, but when you add the antagonist’s desires, the traitor’s secrets, the mentor’s wishes, along with the protagonist’s motives, the story will automatically become so much more detailed and complex. And complexity is a good thing. Not only will it make the reader think, but it will make each character believable: all their trials, emotions, fails, and triumphs will be real, thus drawing the reader into a deeper level of identifying with each of them. It may be scary at first to think that strangers who happen to be reading your story will connect with your babies if you do a good job, but if your readers don’t connect, what is your story worth? Without a developed cast of characters, it will be hard to connect with them, thus we will feel nothing at their fails, triumphs, or emotions, and thus the message or theme of the story you want to convey through your characters will never be understood by your readers.
Writerly tags are, believe it or not, one of the biggest things that make me think about my WIP more in depth. Most of the tags I’ve participated in (the Six Question Character Challenge being my absolute favorite) made me ask questions of my plot and characters that I’d never even thought to ask. For instance, before participating in the aforementioned tag, I had no idea what my MC’s MBTI type was, where my main six characters saw themselves in ten years, or that my villain resembled Anton Yelchin. Getting to know little details about my characters also revealed so much more about my plot, even future book ideas for later in the series!It results in much elation, as you may well understand if you’re a writer. Writing up Six Questions Character Challenge made my week. I love talking about my characters to begin with, but answering questions I didn’t know about them in the first place made the experience so much more enlightening and enjoyable.
I know this post is a bit unusual and controversial and I might get a lot of, er, interesting comments, based on what kind of followers and readers I have. But there’s a problem Geekery has that we geeks are aware of, but don’t want to even admit or think about. It’s the white elephant in the room, and this white elephant is taking up a lot of space in Geekdom.
The problem is immersion.
It might help if I define it based on the context here; Perhaps I do not think it means what you think it means.
This morning’s post is going to be all about story prompts, including favorite selections from Pinterest. It is also a desperate move made on the blogger’s side to think quickly of a blog post idea the night before the morning it needs to be posted.
I think one of the main reasons I have Pinterest (besides current Storyboards, blog post promotion, social media goals etc.) is for the GLORIOUS STORY PROMPTS. They deserve much love for all the ideas they spark in aspiring writers’ minds. They must never be underestimated for their insurmountable value; every time I see one that really stands out (which happens a lot), a brand new and very attractive story idea will pop into my head and it won’t go away until I’ve pinned it and told myself for the umpteenth time to focus only on my WIP.
Some of you might be wondering why I’ve decided to write a post for writers on how to stay healthy. I realize that nearly everyone knows basic guidelines for staying healthy (it’s mostly just a matter of ignoring temptation), so why can’t writers just do the same thing? Glad you asked! I am armed and ready with an answer to this question.
If you’re a writer, or know writers, you’ll understand that such a life is very sedentary. We read, write, edit, brainstorm, and do everything else writing related while sitting down and/or hunched over a notebook or screen. This is because everything we do writing related, whether getting inspiration or actually doing the art, either comes from or goes on a piece of paper or a blank document. To sum it up, writing is definitely not an active activity, if you haven’t already noticed.