I love to sit in the recliner and read. I have to limit myself to an hour every day; otherwise, I would get nothing accomplished. My favorite genre is fantasy, Christian fantasy. I like the made-up worlds and the variety of abilities that authors give their characters.
I am also learning to write Christian fantasy. I enjoy creating my own world and characters that live for the god of their world, who, in my mind is my God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the father of my Savior Jesus Christ. I write Christian fantasy because I want the world to see who my God is, His characteristics, His love for each one of us. So, incorporating God into my writing is my mission.
While I thoroughly enjoyed his books, I have to admit and I may be the only person who felt this way, and if so—oh, well. I’m talking about pages and pages of descriptions describing the Shire. Tolkien also wrote many pages explaining the Hobbits’ simple lifestyle.
Today, most readers want some description, just enough to be able to picture the scene. However, at times, even a short over-view takes several paragraphs or even more in speculative fiction. How do we write what the readers want and keep it short.
I’ve been reading Elements of Fiction Writing - Description by Monica Wood. She advises writers to describe the setting through our characters’ action. Below is a paragraph from the first book of my Tirwine Series. In this scene, the heroine is following two men.
"Sa’dora slipped around the bare trees, her feet silent as she hurried through the thin layer of snow. Puffs of moisture appeared with each breath as she ran. She dropped behind a sandstone boulder to watch the men, a few paces ahead of her, stumbling over fallen stems in the moonless night. She heard a familiar voice. Mierra! A chill, not caused by the cold, coursed through her. What’s he doing here? A hint of a memory flashed through her mind."
What do you do to keep descriptions short?
It’s that time of the year again. It’s time to decide. Can I afford to go? Which one should I attend? Conferences are a great way of meeting with agents, publisher, editors, take workshops, as well as meeting other writers.
Multi-day conferences have knowledgeable speakers and teachers. Usually, they’re held around the country near airports, with lodging in the same complex as the conference. Several guarantee ten to fifteen minutes pitch sessions with your choice of editor, agent, and author. New writers can by-pass the “Slush Pile” by sending their manuscript to editors, with a comment in the subject line that they met at the conference. Some also have fee based Boot Camps, Paid Critiques, etc. available to attendees. The Workshops are varied, including something for fiction and non-fiction writers, as well as Traditional and Indie writers.
I’ve attended several day or mini conferences. Many local editors, agents, and authors are on staff at these events. One I went to several years ago included one free critique session. I’ve learned a lot at these workshops. At one, I ate lunch with a well-known romance writer. She was very open to helping newbies. The benefit of this type of conference, of course, is the time and money savings. While they don’t have as many selections, they’re less crowded, and more personalized.
Another type conference, that I’ve not been able to attend, is the small group Boot Camp Weekend. Usually the instructors limited each camp to no more than eight to ten writers. These are more expensive; however, many say they are well worth the money. Instructors spend time teaching and focusing on each attendee’s work in progress.
No matter which conference you go to, take a notebook, several mechanical pencils, and a box of No-Doze.
Have fun and learn a lot.
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