Every fiction writer has fallen in love with stories and dreams of engaging readers the same way. Few, however, are interested in poetry. In our modern age, this art form fights a losing battle against flashier entertainment.
For many of us who write speculative fiction, worldbuilding is a key part of the process. I enjoy harmonizing the story world, themes, and characters. When I succeed, the results are rewarding, and I’m equally fascinated by complex cultures in the books I read. Since art both reflects and affects worldview, its role in a culture reveals many secrets.
“Show, don’t tell” is a mantra that writing teachers quote to conceal the challenges of story crafting, and their students regurgitate it to sound insightful—whether they understand the concept or not. It’s lasted through the decades because it defines the difference between engaging and boring fiction.
Have you ever set down a book, startled that the author turned your outlook upside down with tiny black marks on paper? Do you want to write stories that have the same effect on others?
As I stared at the blank page beneath the title of this article, my mind revisited all the stories that have given me a transformative experience. I love when my heart skips a beat and I pause to process the exhilarating symphony that the words are orchestrating in my imagination. Or when I come to an ending so satisfying that I’m amazed.
Writers tend to view symbols as literary tropes to develop a story’s theme. However, well-executed symbols not only deepen theme: they enhance the audience’s enjoyment of a story. Here’s a few lessons we can learn from the new Star Wars trilogy about how to craft symbols that emotionally impact readers.
As writers, we love the heroes in our stories, and despite putting them through intense misery, we want them to support the right side. But in Fawkes, the scenario is the opposite, because Thomas spends most of the story fighting for the wrong cause.
Fawkes is one of those novels that breaks the “rules” for how to deliver a Christian message without sounding preachy. Many of the tropes used in this novel would be cliched or annoying in other stories. But Brandes makes them work without any of those downsides. Here’s how she did it.
Conversions in literature used to be so common that a person could hardly stroll into a Christian bookstore without the gospel screaming at them the instant they opened a book. One out of every five novels seemed to be another Pilgrim’s Progress (with the rest being Amish romance). Thankfully, with the focus of Christian fiction changing, this is less of a problem. However, you may still be wondering: Should conversions in Christian fiction be eliminated completely?