Characters in many genres, especially Fantasy and Historical Fiction, often travel by foot. Especially when time is part of the conflict, the author must have a clear idea of exactly how far apart everything is and how long it takes to get from one place to the next.
Note that many authors ignore this kind of detail completely. In many Fantasies, actual distances are never mentioned. However, it is useful for purposes of veracity and suspense to be able to use the time factor. Personally, I spend hours with maps and a calculator on all my books. Which is why I am passing this information on to you. Continue reading “Getting it Right: Time and Distance on Foot and Horse”
I began my writing career in drama, and when I start a new chapter of a novel, the first thing that comes to mind is the dialogue. Bad idea. When you come into the middle of a conversation, you always feel like you’re missing something, and I suspect my readers react the same way. So I went looking for a metaphor that would help me write an effective opening paragraph for every chapter. And to do that, I had to figure out what readers want at the beginning of a chapter.
The genre lists are basically an oleo of labels, developed organically over the years, meant to be marketing tools, and their primary objective is to give prospective buyers a hint as to the kind of story they are likely to find. But Children’s, Young Adult and to some extent New Adult are meta-classifications based on the age of the reader. As a sub-heading under that, you can list all the usual genres: Children’s Science Fiction, YA Romance, etc. So when writers are choosing their genres, they can’t deal with the age genres the same way as they treat the regular ones. For example, the age guidelines were created for three separate reasons. Continue reading “Writing for Different Age Groups”
We writers are very sneaky people. We lie to our readers constantly, luring them into imaginary situations and manipulating their emotions shamelessly under the pretense that we are entertaining them. And all the while, what we really want to do is preach to the reader about how the world works and how to make it go better. The difference between a good writer and a bad writer is that the good writer doesn’t get caught. Good writers make readers need what we want to tell them. Less experienced writers start their novels only thinking about what the reader needs to know in order to understand. Continue reading “Writer Wants Versus Reader Needs”