Blessed be, all! I hope your week has been going well! Mine’s been a little rocky, but I’m keeping with it. My draft is lining up exactly as I want it to, which hopefully bodes well for the remainder of this Camp NaNo session. We’ll see how it all falls out!
What I wanted to talk about this week, though, was not so much different kinds of stories as different kinds of authors. Which, I suppose, by extension also extends into the kind of readers one can come across and the kinds of books they’ll enjoy. But for my part, I’m more interested in what it looks like from this side of the screen at the moment.
Understanding what gets you excited to write a story–what you’re telling this particular tale for–I feel is an important step in understanding your writing process and the kind of books you’ll enjoy writing. It also gives you an idea of the kind of problems that you might encounter. Let’s have a look!
- The Worldbuilder- These authors love intricate, detailed settings. Whether it’s a fantasy, a sci-fi, a long-ago time in history, or just the next block over, the point of the story is to show off the world. What gets these writers from beginning to end is the where.
The good news is that they tend to craft immersive settings that feel as though you could reach out and touch them. The bad news is that sometimes it feels as though nothing happens in that beautiful living landscape. They can also come across as empty, being sparsely populated by characters.
If you find yourself in one of these two pitfalls, try thinking of your world as a beautiful work of art in the Louvre. A painting needs an audience to give it meaning. People your world with characters as fully-realized and detailed as your setting and watch it come to life!
- The Schemer- These fine folks are more interested in the goings-on in the world. Whether an epic journey, a thrilling heist, or a forbidden romance, what gets these writers going is the what.
To be fair, the first thing a person usually asks about a story–be it a play or a book or a movie–is, “What happens?” This puts the schemer at an automatic advantage since they’re to be focused on honing exactly that. The bad news is that this can mean the characters fall into flat stereotypes or seem to be slaves to the overarching plot. It can also mean that the setting isn’t fully immersive.
For both of these issues, the fix is the same. Get more fully into the character’s mindsets. Let them tell you about the world, and allow their thoughts and motivations to add a level of complexity to your plot.
- The People-Watcher- This one is definitely my alley. We’re the ones that tend to be in it for the characters. Their quirks, their voice, the things they want and the things they fear. The ones we love and the ones we hate–they’re all our bread and butter.
The good news is this makes for characters that read as if they could actually exist. They move on the page, and readers love them or love to hate them. The bad news is it can lend itself to stories about great people doing nothing or living in a whitespace world.
The best solution I have found is to give my characters more obstacles. Be it other characters at cross-motives, a time crunch, or the environment itself. All of the above help my cast not exist in a vacuum while pursuing their goals.