by Carole Brown
Writers are creators. They create people, settings and events. To do this, they need real or realistic thoughts that turn real-life into imaginary stories on paper. And to produce the work they do, they need three things:
- Love of work
Why? Because without all three, most people could not continue through the pressure and discouragement you encounter in this line of work. Today, let’s focus on the first one: Imagination.
Without imagination stories would be unrealistic, flat and boring. Imagination keeps the writer soaring and excited over their work, during their production and marketing. Imagination helps to produce the results you, as a writer, craves. Using your imagination successfully is what keeps the reader reading and coming back for more of your work.
How would you like to stroll along this lane? What emotions would fill you? What sensations would stroke you?
- Writers create settings. That includes communities, whether a forest or a city. To do so and do so correctly, one must give the reader that pull into the setting. As one reader said of the Appleton, West Virginia Romantic Mystery series: “I want to move there.” That’s making the setting real. The reader must experience the coolness of the shady forest and cool wind on their cheeks and shoulders, sense with their feet the squishy, moist softness of pine needles on the path, sway with the headiness of standing on the edge of a cliff and staring into the abyss below. These settings can be real places you’ve visited or imaginary ones you’ve dreamed up, but whichever they must seem real to the reader.
The Civil War was a very real event. How would you draw your readers into this? What would the sound of a cannon be like? What emotions would your characters feel? Fear? Excitement? Awe?
- Writers create events. Again, whether you’re writing about specific happenings in our world and inserting special scenes that help create the story you’re penning, the reader must believe, as they’re reading, that this certainly did happen–or at least it did while they’re reading your book.
What is she experiencing right now? What emotions are running through her? Is she remembering her past? Worrying over her future? Afraid? Hungry?
- Writers create characters. They become people watchers. A certain move, speech impediment or action from a real life person aids them in creating their story world character and help that character emit responses that bring them alive. If your characters are “real-like”, readers will shiver with fright, laugh with happiness and cry over the characters’ disappointments.
Is it okay to use real “stuff” in your books. Depending on what it is, usually, yes. Normally, it’s okay to mention historical figures, historical events and settings from yesteryears and today. In my WWII Spies series, I bring in a mention of the current president during that era. In some of my books, I’ll mention nearby towns and cities, but create my own community. In one book, I was asked where the town was located. Real? Seemed so to that reader.
Does it matter whether your book is filled with real settings and events? Do you need a book filled with people who really did/do live? No, not exactly.
- But bringing in real historical people lends an air of truth to your book. Studying people aids you in inventing your characters.
- Showing that your story plot happened during a specific event grabs a reader’s attention of what could have been.
- Setting your book in a particular city or place is great if you stay true to locations and particular things in that city. Equally good is creating an imaginary community where it’s so lifelike that, as I mentioned above, readers want to move there.
Is it real? Or imaginary? Only the writer knows for sure. That’s the way we want it, isn’t it?
Tell me, how do you create your settings, events and characters? How much truth is in your work/books?