Monday, March 30, 2015

What's Your Excuse

Happy Monday, guys and gals! I'm going to chat with you about something that you very well may already be familiar with, but I wanted to throw it out there for those of you who may be new to the writing community or maybe just new to podcasts in general.

If you write genre fiction, especially sci fi and/or fantasy, then you probably already listen to the Writing Excuses podcast. Buuuuuut on the off chance that you haven't had the pleasure, you should seriously think about checking it out.

It's a once a week, 15 min long (give or take) podcast about writing, and it's run by some really cool folks, namely Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. Maybe you've heard of them?? The podcast is fun, informative, full of fabulous guest authors, and it's short, so you're not wading through 45 mins of off topic banter before getting to the good stuff.

Season 10 began in January and, taken from the shows transcript: "Each month will focus on a specific bit of the writing process, and each podcast will drill down on one of those bits."

I've enjoyed following along so far this year! And even though it's nearly April, the back episodes, plus all 9 previous seasons are available for your listening pleasure via the archives on their website.

Right now, they're digging into story structure, which is a topic I'm always fascinated by. I really enjoyed today's episode, and I thought maybe you would too.

So if you want to check it out, here's the link:

Happy Listening!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Three Basics to Setting

As storytellers we want to ground our readers in the setting of our story. Setting is a necessary tool to help our readers relate with our characters. It can also increase suspense of conflict.

1. Always give a location.
Is your story in a room? Which one? A bedroom and a living room are vastly different. Make sure to mention the city, state, or general area. In fantasy, describe the landscape or lack thereof to familiarize the reader.

2. Seasons and weather can increase your reader's association with the story.
Weather allows the reader to experience the sensations your character is feelings in whatever setting you have placed them. We can all relate to rain and cold or a sunny day and heat. A little extra description of the temperature or season can go a long way. Season can also show your story's time length.

3. Time is important!
All people associate time with their own lives. We all feel different at different times of the day. Time can show your character is a morning person or a night owl. Hunger at breakfast, lunch, and dinner are also ways to bring an extra layer of believability to your character.

The ticking time bomb approach can also build conflict and suspense in a story. For instance if a bomb is going off in 24 hours, you've got a new challenge for every hour.

So check out your manuscript and make sure you have offered a location, time, and described the weather surrounding your character's story. We all experience these aspects of life at all times and it is important for your reader to associate these within your story world.

How have you used setting to increase the reliability in your story? Any struggles in building a realistic fantasy world? We love to hear from you!