M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Can Writers Convey Interesting, Simple Work-a-Day Worlds?

Every writer creates a fantasy world...even those writing contemporary fiction. It all happens by how the author picks which details to illustrate the protagonist's world. Characters can't move in a vaccum. They need a stage where the action needed to move the plot forwards has to happen.

The problem? In too many books I've tried to read lately, the characters act out in front of a green screen. They aren't anchored. They motivations aren't complex and contradictary. Chute opens; characters gallop towards a resolution without any internal sweat. Or, they dither, not doing much of anything interesting while the author lathers details upon similar details. So what if the "bad guys" or society is out to get the good guys.

Yeah. Interactions take place but there is no realistic setting, no grounding in a physical place. Nothing coming out of left field to upset the assumptions made by the reader. Oh, there are generic sops thrown at the reader, but nothing that anchors the characters in a unique place that is their's and no others'.

The pattern mirrors much of the political discussion in the US where broad slogans are thrown out without any indication on how they interact with the complexities of people's lives. Or, maybe it's just that the media write from data gleaned from simplistic polls that concentrate on two factors when most problems contain fifty.

The result too many writers limit the reader to primary-colored worlds, no shades to create a sense of wonder.

The writers I enjoy most work in four-dimensional worlds. The best are spare with words. One example Lee Child. His iconic character, Reacher, now travels with only his toothbrush and, I assume, a mysterious credit card which never runs out of money as constant companions. Yet, Child evokes the semi-deserted byways of the US like few writers I've read.

Granted this abstract rant describes my own biases. But, I demand a sense of people living in realistic places when I read a book. I want enough details that I can construct a world chugging along with or without the novel's characters.

How do you do that? I don't know. I'm a pantser when I write. Yet many of my reviews mention the amount of detail in my stories, details that most don't think slow down the action.

When you have your reading cap on, what do you want the world in the background to feel like?

My Writing Run

Christmas, eye problems. and a staph infection have been cluttering my life the last few months...and may still be chasing me. Still, I play at writing. I'm still working on Rendezvous with Demons. Added several thousand words to the existing draft. Still, haven't gotten my characters over the hump, north out of Pacifica [aka California]. They confront the new demon invasion in Cascadia [Washington/Oregon].

Big note to myself, at this point in this perhaps first half of the novel: increase Gillen's role. Yeah. He reappears when he flees Beatifica. Talk about adding texture to a novel without getting off track.

None of this make sense? You can check out the first book in the Andor Demon Wars, There Be Demons, on kindle or at other vendors. Yeah. My whole crew reappears in Rendezvous: Britt, Cahal, and Gillen plus Pillar and Nate. The demons are represented by Vetis and Grylerrrque along with their new set of minions. It all setting up to be the demons last stand. I'm still writing notes about how Pillar reacts to Britt.

Gee, that description almost has me wanting to get back to the manuscript.

Rendezvous won't be published in 2019, though. I 've decided to go ahead and polish Dark Solstice Turning Point, a book about shifting political allianaces in a world of humans, hybrid elves, and scattered full elves to intensify the mischief. Yeah. I'm going to play with my Half-Elven for a while.


JackHarry said...
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