Fiction, Novel, Writing

How comfortable are you in your fictional world?

When we write fiction, creating the world in which our story takes place is in our hands. I enjoyed writing The Brevity of Roses because I loved all three main characters—and had a good time with a couple of secondary ones too. I also loved “living” in the primary settings—a beautiful Tudor-style mansion with gorgeous gardens and a cottage by the sea. Those things made up for the painful scenes I had to write.

Now, I have to decide which of three books I’m going to work on next. I’ve changed my mind several times while I’ve been busy getting my last novel ready for publication. Soon, it will be time to start serious work and I still don’t know which story to go with.

One would be rather pleasant to write … well, no suicidal characters, or tragic deaths, and just one abuse-scarred psyche to deal with. The other two are much darker—but for different reasons. Neither would be particularly pleasant to write, but I’m wondering if they might be more satisfying to have written.

For any of the three stories I have to choose from, the book world will be more meat and potatoes and less dessert than Brevity’s world. But maybe that will help me develop more writing muscle. So which to choose? Eeeny, meeny, miney, mo …

Your turn: How often does your writing create a comfortable story world? Do you ever deliberately create a world that forces you to explore people, places, and ideas outside your comfort zone? Do you like to combine the two and set a challenging story in a pleasant or familiar world?

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27 thoughts on “How comfortable are you in your fictional world?”

  1. I love switching it up. Sometimes I do simple charactes in a complex world or situation. Other times, I write complicated characters in familiar places. Exploring a character’s ability to cope is great at stretching those muscles.

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  2. I don’t do real novel stuff. Cartoons and humor my blog and some political exchange with particular bloggers that area. But I noticed you said you loved your characters. That has to give a special something or other to the story because as a reader I am disappointed when I finish a book with characters I really liked. It is like they are not part of your day and have moved away forever. I read mostly history/religion non fiction but a little sci-fi and historical novel have become an enjoyment and relief from non fiction.

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    1. Welcome to my blog, Carl. I do hope my love gave “a special something” to my story. And I’m like you when I finish a book I really loved, I wonder what happened after the last page … even when I think about the book years later.

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  3. I remember a high school English teacher told me once to always write about what I know, which I never really took seriously. If that were solid advice, how many fantasy novels would we have? That being said, I think any fictional world or setting outside of my actual life is much easier to write because it’s so much less personal. Even if certain things are drawn from personal experience, as they are bound to be, a fictional story (such as my satirical memoir Bianka in Bovineland) closer to home requires blatant honesty and openness. Granted this may be easy for some, but often when I’m writing BIB I feel very naked. I have to constantly remind myself that if I omit the things I would rather hide or smooth over the truth, then there would be no words and no story. Conversely, I am super comfortable in worlds with completely fictional characters and species.

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    1. To be less convoluted, the aforementioned principle would also apply to me writing in a fictional, but non-fantasy genre. I could get into the head of many different and even dark characters, as long as they didn’t too closely resemble fractions of me. I guess it’s like an alter-ego thing. Even though I may have inhabited the mind of that character for awhile, when readers begin to read his or her mind, they are not intruding on my privacy, just the character’s.

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    2. Welcome to my blog, Mersedes. Good response. Although, inevitably, bits of our real selves creep into our fiction, the distance we have in writing fiction does make it more comfortable. I can’t imagine writing memoir.

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  4. I am normally very uncomfortable in my world! lol.
    Oh, I love it there, can stay there eternally it feels at times (even though I think my real life is wonderful!), but no, it’s not an easy place to be emotionally.

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    1. I’m looking forward to experiencing your “world,” Jennifer. I’m in a reflective mood today because people will soon be entering my fictional world. Isn’t it amazing that we fiction writers create these people, places, and situations for others? It’s a kind of magic, don’t you think?

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