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Friday, October 21, 2011

The Trouble with "Not Earth"

Kat the Hacker Heckenbach brings up an excellent point. Ah'rahk isn't Earth. I can have ferns in my forest if I want to.

True enough, Kat.

However, Ah'rahk and Earth have much in common. In Star Trek vernacular, Ah'rahk is a type-M planet capable of sustaining human life. Yes, magic exists there, but, like the magic of your books, it follows certain reliable rules.

TT: Remind me to tell you sometime of the fun I had coming up with a "magic test" for Dangling Participles. Pacing, hair pulling, eye gouging. Well, not eye-gouging, but there was some definite torment (I'm talking about my process, not what the character had to go through). I brilliantly overcame the obstacle and moved to working on another book.

Some famous author (I thought it was Orson Scott Card in How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy but now I'm not so sure) laid out the four basic reasons to write a fiction book. I can't remember all four, but I remember two.

TT: In any list greater than two, the human brain typically remembers the first and last. That's why test-taking tip books recommend paying more attention to the middle parts of a list. Excuse me. I digress. Again.

One reason is developing character. You start with a protagonist and let the reader get to know him. That's really the whole point of the book. This is how I write, by the way, which is why I remember it.

Another reason is to showcase a setting or world. The main point of the book is to say "hey, look at this really weird/cool/wonderful/awful place." This is not how I write. It is how George MacDonald writes, and Piers Anthony to some extent.

I don't invent stuff. I recycle stuff. This is why I'm not J.K. Rowling or Piers Anthony or even Anne McCaffrey. I don't want to create an entire world from the rock up. I just want to add enough to support my characters as they go through all their little problems and make me feel better about my life.

So, while I could invent new names for all the various shrubberies and ferns and trees and flowers in my fictional forest, I'd rather not. Which leaves me researching Earth-type forest environments for all the little doodads and whatsamahooies that will make fighting in a forest harder or easier.

Before you say it, you're absolutely right. I've painted myself into my corner and I'll just have to sit here until it dries.  Or tear the house down and live in a sleeping bag.

On a brighter note, writing continued last night back in the forest. Now my issue is whose viewpoint shall tell this chapter? I've settled on Merritt. He should get to talk while he can, right?


1 comment:

  1. Well, then, I won't feel one bit sorry for ya :P. Stubborn Turtle.


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