I’m sure visitors are wondering what in the world I could possibly be writing about in this post. This is a discovery I have made about myself and my writing as I am working on my edits and rewrites for my second book Escape from Ancient Egypt. I had also written this story back when I was a teenager as well right after Neiko’s Five Land Adventure.
And, no, I am not caught in between the 20th century AD and the 13th century BC in case anyone is wondering ;).
As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I am a self-taught writer for about 90% of my writing career. I’m not from a state that is known to birth tons of authors all the time like New York or California, so writer stuff is scarce and hard to find definitely for a 16 year old (that is not my age RIGHT NOW). So, I had to learn from both books and nuggets from English class and put it all together.
Now, my elementary and middle school classes and the books I read were back in the ’80’s and early ’90’s. The writing style is quite a bit different than it is now in the first part of the 21st century. This definitely made a very interesting conversation between my editor and I. I learned a lot from this conversation. We authors should really appreciate good editors who help us and take their time with us!
Back then books seemed to have more elaborate expositions to start up the story. That was also when prologues were not considered a sin by publishers even though I didn’t use them. Nowadays, though the exposition is cut much shorter; prologues have been banned–so what is a fantasy writer to do about the backstory? So a lot of things I had learned I had to unlearn and relearn differently. All for the sake of beginning my writing career in one era and publishing in another. The publishing is what counts since that is what people are going to see–they aren’t going to be seeing my rough draft. Also other things I may have learned or wanted to do are now out of style. I guess this kind of happens when you are isolated from the rest of the world because of where you live and don’t know anyone who is in your occupation because they are few and far between until the rise of the digital age.
To add, I have always struggled with the beginning of a story anyway, so this really ups the ante on the challenge. Hopefully I can crack the code before I get to the next hairpin curve!
The story hasn’t changed at all–it’s namely the little things, but on do those little things make a difference!
Discovering how things have changed and learning a new style of writing seems to throw some challenges at me and preserving the idea that I had come up with going on 17 years ago: each novel is an episode of the saga all threaded together and they are related one with the other. Between some episodes some things happen that I didn’t necessarily write about last time, but would like to hit the highlights on and sometimes jump from one to the other as well jump into the story.
If it’s one thing about the fantasy genre (for those who don’t know) is that readers always want to know the backstory and the rules of why things work the way they do etc, etc or they get cheated–they’ll let you know about it too I might add. But, at the same time we, the authors, can bog down the story with too much backstory. We have to find that perfect medium! I have seen readers complain about the absence of backstory, and I have done so as a reader myself. I didn’t get why things work they way they work. Being caught between eras presents new challenges in how we can accomplish this feat and not disappointing our readers by gypping them on the rules of the game and not kill the action.
This is all part of growing and adapting to the changes of the industry. It’ll probably change again before it’s over with. It’s fun and challenging, so it shouldn’t get boring. Even in writing the scientist in me likes making new discoveries.
I’m sure there are some other seasoned writers out there that have had to change with the eras after writing and publishing for 30 years. Any newbies out there that feel “caught between eras”? I would be interested in hearing if there are, or maybe the story can help others with the evolving of their craft with the changes of the industry.