Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wishes, Worlds and Weird - Roadtrip Wednesday

This week's Road Trip Wednesday Topic: What themes, settings, motifs, scenes, or other elements do you find recurring in your work?

It's always always fantasy. I have difficulty not writing fantasy. It's actually painful, and boring. The boring is what makes it so painful.

That said, I also write about wishes, and dreams... a lot. There's something about the things we hope will happen, that we dream of happening, that we wish for, that intrigues me. It's always better, always prettier, always richer, than our lives are now. Most of the time it's unrealistic, and would never happen, even if we had our own fairy godmothers. But, still we do it. Why? Because it helps us endure when life isn't better, isn't pretty, and isn't rich. It's our human way of coping. We also always seem to believe that what we wish for would be good for us.

And that brings me to the second reason I love wishes. They can come true in very bad ways for characters in a story. A wish coming true could be the best thing that could happen, or it could be the just desserts a particular character needs. "Be careful what you wish for" doesn't just apply to the characters either. Readers can get their wish for a character to die, and by the time he does, the reader may sympathize with him and wish he wasn't dead.

Another very large element that I can't seem to get away from in any of my stories is other worlds. I'm a world-builder at heart. Everything - flora, fauna, races, terrain, bodies of water, culture, society, politics - I have to build it all! And most of the time, I have to build it for every new story I create. (...I have a tendency to make things a lot more complicated than they probably should be.) I can't have just one book. I have to have a series! I have to have lands and customs, and cities with weird names! I have to dive into innate abilities and magic phrases, enchanted items, fantastical weapons. It's like an addiction. I have to immerse both myself and my readers in my new world, and relish the escape like a jungle explorer!

There are many other elements that crop up in stories, but the last one I'll mention in this entry is the weird. One or more of my characters, my setting, my plot, has to be 'weird'. It has to deviate from the norm, be more than what you expect, be strange-looking or outright ugly. My main character in
Lividia: A Shadow Story is not beautiful, she's odd. She's appealing in an otherworldly way. You wonder "Why?" about her.

Something that used to surprise me about my work is that it doesn't take long for a villain to become the focus of the story when I hadn't planned for him to be. It's the weird kicking in again. Villains are often more interesting to me than main characters because they have layers. So many writers forget to layer their MCs and end up with a bland, skin suit that readers can easily climb into because it doesn't have a personality of its own. I hate that. I prefer strong, quirky MCs, that you may disagree with, but at least they hold their own.

And that's the end of my Roadtrip Wednesday entry. I hope you enjoyed reading it. What are some elements, and themes you see recurring in your stories?

6 comments:

  1. "'Be careful what you wish for' doesn't just apply to the characters either."

    Love this!

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  2. All of those elements sound awesome, and definitely the type of book I gravitate to. I write fantasy as well, and agree that the world-building is the best part! It's why I play the Sims to build houses and then get bored. :P

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  3. I love a great world so you'd sell me! The amount of detail is something I usually struggle with... trying not to get the story bogged in it.

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  4. Yep, I usually have to create new worlds too! It may be more work, but in the end, I like my story so much better :)

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  5. answering everyone's comment:

    Thanks, Kate!

    J, I'm glad! Us fantasy writers should stick together, I say. World-building is loads of fun. Haha, I know what you mean about the Sims, only I do that on Second Life.

    Beck, thanks! Can't wait til I have a contract and can market my book properly. Details really can bog a story down, though. I think the trick is getting the right descriptive words, but less of them.

    KT, yes it's worth it. It makes it feel more your own, I think.

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  6. I agree with your statement about MC's. Sometimes it is fun to read a story with a MC I can easily 'become', but I, like you, enjoy making mine a little different. Sometimes they can be mean or have a semi-rough, un-relatable quality to them, but in the end, most people end up saying, 'oh, I get. I guess I am more liek this character than I ever though.'

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I'd love to hear what you have to say!

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