A Writer’s How-To: Memorable Settings

I find the easiest way to create a memorable setting is to make it unique. If your story is set in the mountains, give the mountains a cool name with some weird creatures living in it. If the story is set in space, make the spaceship feel like home and add some quirks to it. (After all, we all have that ONE FREAKING FLOORBOARD that creeks like some horror story bad guy is coming to kill you in the middle of the night.) If your story is a romance, make the setting cozy by adding in something that means the world to the main character or something that brings up some unfinished memories.

If you give the setting something specific, something unique to itself, some defining character, readers will remember it better. (It’s the same with making memorable characters!)

Three of my favorite settings are, in no particular order: Hogwarts, because of the ghosts and the moving staircase and trick doors; Serenity, because even though it fell apart ALL THE TIME it became a home and sanctuary to the crew; the Arenas in the first and second Hunger Games books, because it seriously messed with the tributes in unique and challenging ways.

Why do I like them most? They all offered something unexpected and added dimensions to the story, as well as pushed the story along. Doing so with your settings will help your readers remember them!

Readers: what are your favorite settings and why?
Writers: what are some ways you make your settings believable?

Happy Friday, and until next time!
Warm regards,
Kellie

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LifeHack: What To Do When You’re Missing Home

Hello everyone!

Sorry it’s been so quiet these past two weeks. I’ve been busy job hunting (which will be a whole different post going up tomorrow so look for that!) and haven’t been writing much, to be honest.

I’ve been missing my home and my family back in Alaska pretty hard this week, and I didn’t really know what to do to make myself feel better. I was looking through some family photos from our various vacations and it helped a little, so I decided to celebrate them on here! Enjoy some random family photos from 2014 and 2015!

 

(In case you’re wondering, we went to Japan, the BVI’s, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Cannon Beach, and Alaska.)

Do I still miss my family and my home? Well, yeah. But seeing how much fun we’re having and knowing how much fun we’ll have the next time we’re all together again makes me happy, too.

TL;DR LifeHack: If you’re missing something or someone or someplace…look at pictures if you have them and remember the good times. It helps. Trust me!

Hope you’re having a lovely Saturday evening!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Niche Markets

I recently read an article about how it’s better to write a ‘big’ first novel, then to write a little one. I don’t mean big as in 500,000-word wise, I mean one that is destined to do well with all the markets because it’s aimed at the markets. This writer actually says to stay away from writing a book that has a limited readership – meaning religion, gaming, fanfiction, etcetera – and to try to ‘launch big’ – get a high advance, sell hardcover books, and take the current literature tastes into account. If you don’t ‘launch big,’ you might become pigeonholed as a ‘small’ author.

My response?

Ummm… No.

While the article does bring up some good points about how the ‘bigger’ authors will get better slots (think J.K. Rowling back in the Harry Potter days or Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games), it got me thinking about the ‘smaller’ authors in the picture. Honestly, I’ve have to (respectfully) disagree with what the writer is saying.

Now, while I do agree that you should expand your writing styles and try new things, I think it’s equally important to write the story you want to write and not what’s popular right now with the ‘big’ novelists. If you are good at writing fanfiction, stick with fanfiction. You can command that audience. Plus, “restricted audiences” (a term the writer uses) sometimes are the most loyal, too.

Case in Point: My friend, Michelle Magly, wrote for fanfiction.net and fictionpress.com – gaining a hardcore fanbase for her stories. When she decided to co-write a book with another fanfiction/fictionpress writer, the fans supported her every move. All The Pretty Things came out a few months ago and is doing incredibly well. (You can buy it on Amazon.com – All The Pretty Things – by the way.) Now, of course it’s doing well because it’s a good book. But it’s also doing well because of the fanbase generated by the ‘little’ fanfictions, too.

My point? You can make it big by writing for little guys. Don’t rule out the smaller genres or markets.

Write what you want to write, whatever niche it may be.

Warm regards,
Kellie