Wednesday, July 31, 2013

07/31/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Hi everyone and welcome back! I'm glad you were able to make it by today. I hope the week is treating you well. So far mine has been busy and super tiring, but I'm pushing through as much as I can. Right now I'm just trying to remember if there are any federal holidays in August. Let's hope because I'd really like an extra day off thrown in somewhere this coming month.

I've been talking lately about writing what you do or don't know and have been mostly focusing on what you don't know, and how to use it to your advantage. Today I wanted to take a little step back and look at what it means to actually write what you do know, and how to make sure not to get yourself too ahead of yourself at the same time.

I don't want to make it seem that way, but sometimes writing what you do know is dangerous. Not in the rabid wolverine style of dangerous, but more in that sometimes you will find yourself going into unnecessary detail without realizing it levels of dangerous. Now having detail about something you know/like isn't a problem, but you need to make sure you don't put in so much that your readership gets lost in it, and this can happen without you realizing it, so you need to be careful.

For example, I really liked reading Jurassic Park and the Lost World, so I thought I'd give something else Michael Crichton wrote. I went for Airframe, and while the idea of it was interesting there was a point where I just didn't care about how the in-flight pamphlets were written or all of the specifics of airplane construction, or all that stuff that I started not to care anymore and started having to force myself to try and remember what the plot was. Admittedly they were trying to figure out why a plane hit such massive turbulence at the altitude and speed it was at, but the problem came when it felt like I was reading more of a jetliner construction manual than I was a book. I came away from it understanding that Michael Crichton is incredibly technical and detail oriented, but also that maybe sometimes highly technical stuff can be explained via exposition and not what felt like a Power Point presentation.

This is a risk you take when writing about something you know super well. Yes, there's a good chance that your readers won't know the subjects nearly as much as you do, but also keep in mind that it might not be due to lack of exposure, but more lack of deciding not to study that subject because they just aren't interested.

On the other side of things, you have the risk of not putting in nearly enough detail about the subject. This like the other piece, generally happen by accident, and are incredibly difficult to catch. You know the subject so you just gloss over some of the details and keep going, but the problem is that the readers aren't getting nearly as many details from that one tiny piece of information as you think they are, so once it gets to the 'big reveal' they are left confused and feeling like they were hit over the head with a cold iron brick.

The best way to handle this potential issues is to make sure you have two or more good beta-readers for your stories. One of them should be at least a little bit outside your normal demographic so that you get an idea for where people are potentially going to get confused. I'm not saying you have to listen to each and every piece of advice your beta-readers give you, but at least take them into consideration because they are going to be the ones to tell you where to put more or less explanation that you likely didn't notice.  There is a delicate balance you must find, and I'm sure with an open mind and patience you'll be able to do it.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. Please remember if there are any topics you want me to look at feel free to send me a message or leave a comment. I would love for conversations to start here. Also, today is the LAST DAY to get 'The Light Rises' for free, so please tell everyone about it as we do one last push for the sale. I'll be back here on Friday, so I hope the rest of the week is nice to you!

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