They say planning is the key to success. Usually, I agree. In writing, the consensus is that seasoned writers outline and amateur writers don’t. Maybe from a certain perspective, I can believe this to be true, but my writing journey so far has shown me a plausible alternative. Considering how long I sat and pondered the exactitude of this idea, I thought it appropriate to cast my little spiel, especially since one of the EPOCH’s words of the week has been organization. As Project Manager, I often tear through the week with the Director, Julian Brooks, trying to figure out quotas and goals. We like to think of it as a tumultuous quest full of challenges and perils, though, from the outside looking in, perhaps we look to be nothing more than chickens running around with our heads cut off. According to the political theorist and philosopher, Edmund Burk, “Good order is the foundation of all things.”
I’m a verbose writer and, in today’s world, that seems like more of a vice than a virtue. Back in the day, reading R.A. Salvatore’s writing, observing his use of wordplay and vocabulary was like microwaving my brain until it exploded with wonder. But nowadays, I imagine that type of writing—the good writing—seems to falter in the midst of ‘cleaner’ reads, or that prose that lacks more uncommon words or grammatical modifiers. Granted, consuming too much of a thesaurus and then vomiting it onto your writing is never good practice, but that’s also not the type of writing I’m referring to, in case you might be thinking that.
White-haired elves galloping on large widows, the beheadings of evil creatures, booming magic blasts, hybrid races, and blood-curdling battle will always send a thrilling chill down your spine. These are all good components of any typical work of fantasy fiction. But what I have found, discussed, and even received in feedback about my own work is that these genre markers, though awesome, aren't the driving forces that take the quality of your work to the next level. In Enigma: Awakening, my first published novel, the scenes and parts of the story that I believed were its absolute selling points actually weren't that big of a deal to my beta-readers. In fact, all of the scenes that I believed to be the weakest turned out to be fan favorites. So what was it about those particular ones that made the story stand out? They all tugged on the heartstrings of the readers' basic human emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, and surprise. I realized that striking these chords and making my readership care was more valuable than giving them something, "flashy" and/or "cool". I'm sure at one point in time we've all received some variation of, "The battles were good, but I really wish Susie would have spent more time in the garden thinking about how she was going to tell the prince that she loves him. I love their chemistry when they're together."
The struggle is real when it comes to creating a world of pure fantastical lore, or one at the height of a high-tech revolution, or even a story that takes place in Los Angeles’ booming nightlife. To put it simply: Storytelling can and will take us through the trenches. There are many of times, and I mean many that I’ve either been stuck trying to create a climactic situation where my hero is pulled into some unfortunate event or I’ve been trapped trying to set the mood for the reader. By God’s grace, I discovered one of the main problems weighing down aspiring and experienced writers alike, creating a setting.
Creatures rule the fantasy genre. Some are allies, some are foes. Some are mean, some are not. Some are good, some are evil. These creatures are utilized, just on a general level, to establish a fictional world. But, where do these creatures fall on the menace spectrum? When and how are they used in storytelling? Personally, the concept of demons doesn't settle well with me, and yet there is a method to using them in storytelling. In some instances, there is a real necessity for them. This is not to say that I do like monsters. But I can say that some facet of a monster is badass in some situations. Some may wonder why they’d ever need to write about a demon, especially if they’re not in a spooky cult or writing a horror story.
There are so many layers to writing a book, novel, comic, short story, or blog for updating purposes. Each consists of its quirks and structure to give an understandable and easy read. Readers are pulled into stories by the plot and themes laid throughout the storytelling process. Today I’m here to tell you about one of the most important parts, the spirit the intrigues readers and immerses them in your story, the voice of a story.