Wednesday, August 1, 2012

THINKING LIKE A WRITER



Hi, my name is Mary Andrews, author of The Fireborn Chronicles series. I like to call what I write psionic sci fi: the inevitable fusion of man, machine and the paranormal.

When I was young I remember walking to the convenience store with my brother and sister on comic book days. Between the three of us we collected all the Marvel titles, and quite a few of the DC’s. I learned to draw from comics. I learned about cliff hanging segments. Also, I came to realize that, though the action scenes and ‘good conquers evil’ themes were great, the most important part of the story really centered on the MAN in Superman.

Think about it. It gets boring watching super-humans effortlessly defeat criminal after criminal; but how he feels about it, how it affects his life, where he came from, how he fits into society, all these things make him interesting. This is true of all the characters we create.

The creative spirit can, and should, find inspiration everywhere. To learn the art of writing, one has only to pay attention.

Read. Read everything—anything. When it’s impressive, reread it. Dissect it. Study it. How does the author involve the reader? What things were described more than others? Why? Were the sentences long or short? Did the cadence of the words make a difference in scenes?

Don’t stop with the written word either. What motivates people to behave the way they do? Each person in class, the teachers, parents, family members; why do they behave the way they do? What motivates the winners, the losers, and the bystanders? The act of creation flourishes with an awareness of why things happen.

Now what about television and movies? Million dollar industries must have something inspirational for writers— other than inspiration itself, of course. What emotion does the music elicit? When? Pay attention to what the cameraman is doing. What do the close-ups focus upon? Why? How is this done with words?

Practice describing settings, clothing, hairstyles, facial expressions, vehicles and furniture. Listen to the dialog. There’s a world of wealth for writers to study there.

But wait, there’s more! Don’t forget the internet. Without even leaving the comfort of home it’s possible to cross the world and learn from professional authors, editors, publishers, even agents. For instance, several years ago I found both my publishers through the free, week long Muse Online Writers Conference, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in all aspects of writing. This year’s conference runs from Octobers 8-14th.

Consider checking out my website, http://firebornchronicles.com/ . On the sidebars at, there are links to the Muse and other online conferences as well as classes I have taught in the past. I also recommend visiting my Resources Page which contains several years’ worth of collected links to writing sites.

Don’t forget about search engines. Google is your friend. For instance, check this search out: ‘college scholarships for writing

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“The prophecy tells of their arrival; a Siphon bearing the Breath of God, the Dark Lord whose deathlike hunger shaves away life, the Chosen One who binds them together, and the Dark Angel who will stand upon the mountain and save us all when the death from the sky is upon us.”   —The Fireborn Chronicles: Revelations
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