What a great way to invent characters.
The people in yesterday’s post (Sketching the people glimpsed from the corner of your eye) were all in roughly current clothing, because 75% of the time that is what the people I sketch from life are wearing.
Decorative metal tree/hanger
One of the ways I sometimes develop characters and/or story ideas, however, is to sketch and/or imagine passersby into the clothing of another era. The rules of that game are very simple (see below).
So, for the purposes of the people-less people-watching exercise, and my offhand reference to character design, I picked another style/era for the same experiment:
L-R, top to bottom: Paint-water jug, Cottee’s bottle, kettle, vase of proteas, thermometer, Rork Projects reusable coffee cup, SodaStream.
Similar principles apply, but with the specific constraints of a chosen field of fashion/awareness/visual retention.
They very quickly gain their own opinions, and it is a truth universally acknowledged that…
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Persistence pays off. After two years of submitting to DailySF, I have had a story accepted!
My story, currently titled ‘Cherry Ripe’, made the grade. I did have one other story make it to the second level of reading, but it didn’t get accepted. For DailySF, appears I get better results with humour than with any other writing style.
Steampunk Sunday – on Facebook – has had a post go viral. When I saw this level of enthusiasm, I was gobsmacked! So I am going to write a short story just for my Constant Companions and New Likers.
I can never predict what sort of post will trigger this kind of response. But it’s nice to have my tribe support me in this manner!
Why do I mainly write in the genres of Steampunk and Fairy Tales? One is a Science Fiction subgenre, the other is a genre all of its own. I have both a rational and emotive nature, and these two genres manage to hit all the buttons for me.
Steampunk has it roots in alternative history, but without its strong links to scientific advancements and innovations, it wouldn’t exist. I love Science for its own sake; I blame Isaac Asimov and his robot stories I read when I was eight. Science fiction has so much potential.
Fairy Tales tap into the archetypes that underlie all storytelling. They are metaphors, told with beautiful prose. They are a completely different style from Steampunk. Richer in symbology.
I wouldn’t be happy if I couldn’t write both.
I make no apologies when claiming to love reading. I was reading before I went to school, thanks to my parents reading to me every night.
All writers start out as readers. If someone tells me that they write books but don’t read them, I can’t help but wonder how he knows to construct a sentence, a paragraph, a story arc, and how to avoide clichés and stereotypes. How does he know what genre he is writing in, and what is already in that that genre.
So, a successful writer has to be a reader, for many reasons. Reading is the gateway to being a writer, any sort of writer. Off the top of my head, I read for:
4/ Even more research (I do a lot of research); and
5/ Educational purposes.
Reading for research! You need to research for both fiction and nonfiction texts. I’ve done enough research to fill a library with historical detail for my Steampunk novels; and I still feel like I’ve never researched enough. I find it is easier with my scientific articles, because I can list my references!
Reading has physical and intellectual benefits apart from supplying inspiration and verisimilitude to your prose.
This is why I have ten bookcases in my house and shelves packed with a double layer of books.