If you try and figure out the rules about creative writing, you’re going to find that established authors and editors often disagree about nuances of the craft. There are, of course, some hard-and-fast rules about punctuation and grammar, but so many rules vary from genre to genre, generation to generation, audience to audience. Sometimes there are rules that boil down, simply, to consistency.
So you might even say that you have your own set of writing rules. Each and every author’s rules are slightly unique. That unique set of “rules” is part of what makes up your author’s voice.
So when are the appropriate times to break those rules, your own rules? They happen, don’t they? In my last post, I gave a list of filler words and overused words that you can consider cutting out of your writing to help sharpen it. But everything–even mediocre vocabulary, poor grammar, and repetitive structure–has a place in writing.
So, so many works I’ve read could be vastly improved with tightening and shaving of superfluous words. Wordiness is an easy stumbling block, as we’re used to how we talk. We’re used to how others (long ago) wrote. But times change, my friend, and so do expectations of the writer. We don’t get paid by the word in fiction. So show your smarts and say as much as you can with as much power as you can in as few words as possible.
Developing the technology of your world
When you set out to write speculative fiction, many times you’ll be writing within a world very different from our own. Whether your story is set in ancient times or the far future, your people will still have a set understanding of science and, thus, a certain level of technology.
In order for your readers to feel oriented within your fictional world, it’s important for you to establish what kind of technology they can expect to find within your book. Any deviation from what is “normal” will need to be clarified and used consistently. If your world is mostly medieval but they’ve discovered radio communications, that needs to be made clear and it needs to make sense…otherwise the random radio in the middle of the stone, torch-lit castle will be very jarring.
Using prophecies in fantasy without making eyes roll
Good ol’ stand-bys, ubiquitous fantasy tropes, are difficult to avoid. And sometimes we don’t want to avoid them. Goddammit, sometimes you just need a good, solid prophecy to write the story your want to write.
“It’s not my fault all these other people before me have written prophecies, too!” you say.
And you’d be right. Unfortunately, they did. So us modern-day writers have to live with the it. So what do you do when you want or need to use a well-worn trope?
Know the trope. Make it your own.
Foundation of currency and its use
Money! My fictional world needs money!
No worries. If you’re writing a fictional country, nation, kingdom, or alliance that uses currency, then chances are you’re going to need to make one up. All you or your fictional country need to start a currency are three basic things:
Is it possible to have a planet without a certain kind of environment? Like a world without tundra or deserts?
In a word: Absolutely!
In many, many more words (and a picture):
You have several options here. The first and most obvious one is simply this: Do whatever the hell you want. If you want your world to have never seen snow, then go for it! No rainforests? Be my guest!
But since you’re asking about possibilities, I’m assuming you want something more scientific than that. And I’m always happy to oblige.
“DON’T INFO DUMP,” said every writing-advice-giver ever.
And that advice is so annoying, isn’t it? You’re going along, writing your first draft…or maybe you’re revising your old draft…whatever stage your in, if you’re trying to build a world in a well-paced, interesting story, then it can be difficult to find places for brief bouts of exposition and backstory.
It would be so much simpler to just have a paragraph or seven where you spout out all of the relative information in one go so you can get to the meat of the scene. Or maybe you could find a way to use your powerful brain waves to transfer all that information to your reader. Or…can information be absorbed intravenously?