As a child, did you ever play pretend? It’s the ultimate use of the imagination. At some point along the way many people stop playing pretend and enter into the world of reality. Their focus turns to something else. That’s ok. There’s nothing wrong with that. For authors though, the pretending doesn’t stop. We like to play pretend. It’s how our books get written.
When I was a child, I loved to play make believe. I daydreamed a lot (to my teachers’ angst). As I grew older, the thought of writing stories and poems became my focus. I had much to learn about the writing process, but I didn’t let it stand in my way. You shouldn’t let that stand in your way either. Learn it, use it, keep it. Never lose that hunger/passion within you that wants to write. Write for your pleasure and to make others happy. AND, above all else, KEEP PRETENDING.
At first your story is what you want it to be. At first. Then, you leave it for a determined amount of time, after which you go back to it. You read through it again, and other ideas begin to churn in your mind. You end up deleting much of the original, adding to it, and/or changing it. This period I like to call the cocoon because it’s not yet ready to see the light of day. How do you know when it will be ready? Well….you’ll know.
My novel The Triunix of Timestarted out as a romance under a different title. Talk about change. The beginnings of it and my notes and jottings in my journal were nothing that ended up in the final draft (I still saved it all. See my post entitled Old Writings.). How did this change come about? I talked to a college professor of mine who gave me some suggestions having to do with magic. This turned me on to the fantasy genre. I started thinking of all the possibilities that could come from writing in that genre, and the ideas were endless. I could still put some romance in it, but that ultimately took a back seat.
Over all, our minds are the main focus of that change. We collect information from the outside, bring it inside, work with it by molding it and let it take shape. Then our creation appears for everyone to see and take part in.
What is it about a piece of writing that keeps you glued to the pages? Is it just one particular writing element that does the job, or is it more than one? I’m currently reading a mystery thriller series by Jeff Carson. It’s the David Wolf series. If you haven’t checked out these books, I highly recommend them. In less than a week I’ve finished the first five books and am on book six right now. What is it that keeps me reading them?
Characters–The characters are unique and lifelike. Each of them have their own set of problems, likes/dislikes, habits and quirks, etc. You don’t end up liking or disliking them because you’re supposed to. You do that because these characters are very three dimensional. They jump off the page. They are real. You want to be ‘around’ them.
Description–The setting is richly described and also jumps off the page. The reader is able to see the environment and be a part of the story. The author does this though without being too descriptive. It doesn’t take away from the story. If you read these books, you’ll find that the descriptions add to the story and provides clues.
The Story–YES, the story itself is extremely compelling. You’re eyes/brain will be glued to the pages. The cause and effect of the plot structure is expertly done. Everything happens for a reason, whether you the reader thinks so or not.
So, you see, drawing a reader into your story is done with various tools, not just one. But, essentially, how you do that is up to you. After all, it’s your story.
When snow has come and lingered for a time, The mountains shine like pure white satin sheets. The jagged rocks that stand and point like knives, Have but a look of poise and symmetry. The houses they in hibernation go, and sink like ships way deep beneath the waves. Cold air does whoosh in frigid gusty blows, But stops to peek a while inside a cave. The birds take off from empty bare tree nests, To seek their food which they know is not there. The trees did fall asleep like all the rest Of this great wintry beauty of no where. The hunters coming back from years afar, Do find their world still bright like heaven’s star.