2.69: Putting the Real in Writing

I wanted to talk about infusing the real in writing. Often the things that makes fantasy accessible is how real the emotions and basic situations are for the characters. Take this scenario for example: Kastigan is a Privateer whose ship, The Flame, operates in the Broken Sea. He is protecting a barge moving inland towards Koril. None of this sounds remotely like a story that is real. However, his crew is starting to distrust him, riled up by a particularly distrustful and charismatic crew member and the sea itself is full of obstacles, so he must fear the choppy waters around him and the enemies at his back. More familiar? The second half of that conflict is real. I could just as easily written that as Evan the professor trying to deal with the rigors of teaching students who will pull any trick for an easy A while a co worker fights to destroy his reputation in order to cement her own as queen bee. Same story. Different clothing.

The key is to use all of that real in order to shape the context of the fantasy–give it the gravitas of a situation that feels all to familiar but in a shell that is utterly foreign. More and more my writing is like that. Perhaps that is what makes it work.

Some Thoughts:

  1. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve stopped wanting to say I feel good and even hopeful about my writing or even on the verge, because the moment I do is when shit goes south.