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L.T. Suzuki

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Blogs by L.T. Suzuki

How to Make a Story Ring True
11/29/2010 8:50:58 PM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

HarperCollins Voyageur author Kim Falconer shares some of her writing secrets.
One of the most fascinating writers I know is the fabulous fantasy author Kim Falconer. I interviewed Kim last year to discuss her Quantum Enchantment series and the writing life. As captivating as her novels are, Kimís real life is just as fascinating and elements of her life weave their way into her stories, giving her fantasies a sense of realism. Today, Kim is going to tell us how fantasy and reality meld together to breathe life into her works.

Thank you Lorna for inviting me to post on your blog!

The old adage write what you know is good advice for authors of how-to manuals, cookbooks, auto repair guides and medical text. With such tomes, writers need to have a certain level of expertise, but when it comes to fiction, especially speculative fiction, itís another matter. Write your were-beasts, off world portals, post apocalyptic witches and cloned detectives. No one on Earth can know these things before you create them. Thatís the job of the storyóto bring new ideas to life.

Rule number one: Research. If you have a world that is primarily desert, you donít have to live in the Sahara to write it convincingly. You do have to research what it is like to have three millimetres of rain a year and dust storms so blinding you can get lost between your camel and tent. You will want to study the ecology of desert life. You canít have bright green grass and furry platypuses, unless you explain the turf that goes eleven months without water and a platy that swims in the sand for worms and not little rivers.

Rule number two: Savvy proofreaders. Research can take the place of direct experience, especially in world building, but there are exceptions. Horses are one. If you donít know horses, you can learn about them, but if they are going to do more than graze in the background, youíll need a proofreader with horse sense. Readers who are also riders will spot ineptitude a mile away if you donít. Jolt! Theyíre out of the story. If itís going to be a feature in your novel, get an expert to proof/advise.

Rule number three: Hands on. This is what I did when I wanted to write a story about a young witch who trained with a sword. I did my research and had some terms and techniques down, but when it came to choreographing fight scenes, no amount of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon could help me. So I learned Iaido, the way of the Samurai sword. Seven years later, Iím confident writing this weapon. If youíre going to give some art, animal, dance, ritual, music or machine a big role in your script, immerse in it, hands on! As a bonus, your life will become more interesting.

In my first two series, I researched quantum computing, physic theory, geo-engineering, bio-engineering and were-animal mythology. I joined a local dojo and learned to wield a sword. Already on board were things like felines, horses, witchcraft, magic, astrology, gender studies and astral travel. I wove together the elements that were second nature to me with the ones I studied and learned. Anything else, like falconry, was proofread by an expert in the field.

Last tip: Always start with a grain of truth. No matter how wild and farfetched your story becomes, that grain of truth is what you build on, and what will give your story richer meaning. In my most recent book, Path of the Stray, I gave a main character my true love of the Gray Wolf and he came up with a solution to their extinction. Research, technical advice, hands on, grain of truth. Put them all together and the story rings true!

Thank you for sharing, Kim! Now, if youíd like to check out some of her novels to see exactly what she means, do visit Kimís website by clicking one the links she provided.


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Sacred Night by Valerie publisher@nightengalepress.com

SACRED NIGHT, by Valerie Connelly, is a fast-paced tale of danger, risk and power that pits greed and revenge against love and redemption. Detective Cameron unravels this fantasy-r..  
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