Tag Archives: busybird

Writing Starts with Questions?

Most writing starts with a question or a what if scenario.

What if we allow same-sex marriage?

What if you had three months to live?

What if you found out you had magical powers when you thought you were small, powerless and unwanted?

What would you do if you found out your partner was cheating on you?

As a writer, it’s your job to try to answer these questions. It’s through the writing that you will nut out the answers or solutions to a problem that your reader might have or the character in the story might have. You may not have all the answers but you can offer the reader some arguments, ideas or solutions that help them come to their own conclusion.

Readers are looking for something all the time. It might be that they feel lost or indecisive and these solutions can be presented in many ways through story. It doesn’t matter whether that story is fact or fiction because it’s the truth in the story that will make itself known. Even a simple love story has to be anchored in reality.

Truth? you say.

Yes, even fiction carries truth. In fact, without it the reader won’t connect with the story and will dismiss it very quickly.

Quite often the reader will already know the answer to their question but it’s from reading it in someone else’s words that helps to validate their own beliefs and ideas and cements a solution for them.

Here’s an example: We have been told through the ages that the ‘little guy’ can defeat the all powerful, that size doesn’t matter. These stories are played out in stories such as The Fellowship of the Ring, Harry Potter or countless biographies. The reader is looking for examples of how they might survive despite feeling like they have no choices, no power in their life.

Think about this when you’re writing. What is the truth that you are giving the reader? You have a lifetime of lived experience to share with your reader. They have questions, wants, and needs that they are looking for answers to.

 

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Share the Love of Books

I live and breathe books. I beg, borrow and buy books. I buy new and second hand, go to the library, borrow off friends. It’s essential that we do this to foster a love of reading, to keep the book alive (although I have no fear of it dying).

There are writers out there who don’t understand this and it makes me sad. I’ve even heard of an author complain about his books being in libraries because he doesn’t get the same amount of money. And this man makes serious money because his books for children sell exceptionally well.

There is still value in a book being in a library. I’ve often borrowed a book then bought myself my own copy or a copy for a gift. And then there’s public lending rights too. But I won’t get off topic. Libraries help to foster a love of books, especially for children when their experience is limited or parents may not have much money. It’s a place to try them out, fall in love with them.

How do you share the love? Do you visit bookshops or libraries? Buy books? Share books? Attend writer’s festivals? The only way to make sure that books are part of our collective mindset is to make sure we actively pursue them and read them, not just be the writers of them.

Besides, you can’t be a good writer without being a good reader. That’s a whole new topic but one I strongly advocate when I facilitate anything around writing and publishing.

This week I’ve been hanging out at bookshops and visiting Adelaide Writers Week. In Port Fairy, I visited Blarney Books and Art and spoke to Jo about the book-selling world. I hadn’t really thought about it too much but it seems that it’s equally hard for a little indie bookseller as it is for a little indie publisher in terms of being taken seriously. I hadn’t thought about this in terms of book distribution but it’s something I’ll be thinking about as I look at different ways to distribute books in the future. In the meantime, we all need to hang out at our local bookshop and make sure they feel loved and help us keep the book alive. If you’re ever passing through Port Fairy, be sure to pop in and check out Blarney Books. They have an awesome space for author events and a mix of new and second hand books, as well as exhibition space.

If you’re an author and worry about your books not selling, have a think about your own reading habits. Are you sharing the love around?

Blaise, the book chick.

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