Writer’s Craft #112 You Have To Be There
February 25, 2013
Writing is her passion and her profession, novels specifically, short stories occasionally, and always with lesbian characters.
She writes under the pseudonym ‘Widdershins’ because she is, if nothing else, contrariwise.
She blogs about all things Widdershins-and-writerly, at Widdershins Worlds, and can be contacted through the links on her ‘About me’ page.
Her Great Canadian Lesbian Science Fiction Novel, ‘Mortal Instinct’ (the first book of the ‘Gallery’ Series) is available as a eBook from her publisher, (in all sorts of eBook formats) in eBook and paperback from Amazon, and of course, from your favourite neighbourhood bookstore.
There are so many things to learn when we begin walking this writer-ly path.
There’s basic grammar, not just what we think is right, but what actually works. There’s pace and plot, infodump and character development, editing and rewriting, first drafts and revisions, etc, etc.
Each of these things has it’s own set of rules. Rules we need to know in order to break, or to not break, as the mood takes us.
Then it’s time to actually tell the story. Which, surprise, surprise, has a set of rules and truisms, all it’s own, handed down from generation to generation.
The most famous of these is ‘write what you know’. Which is about doing research, then incorporating that into the story. Otherwise, how could we write a story about a place we’ve never seen?
But, sometimes, we just have to be there.
I live on an island in the middle of a lake, in British Columbia, Canada. Before that I lived on the east coast Australia; where temperatures peak well above 40°C (104°F) plus every summer.
When I moved to Canada I saw snow, meters deep, for the first time. Until then I believed it was some kind of fairy tale, like moose, and raccoons, and bears.
This winter our lake froze.
For someone who’s experience of monochromatic landscapes had been drought baked deserts or bushfire blackened plains, the sight of an entire frozen lake took my breath away.
Cold radiating from a lake covered in ice is different than the cold from a hillside covered in snow. I know the difference, and now I can describe it.
I have a story brewing that revolves around this bit of information. Information I could’ve read about, or watched a video on, or even listened to someone tell me about. But, I wouldn’t’ve known the truth of it, what it felt like, if I hadn’t experienced it.
Sometimes you have to be there.