On to the meeting! I hope you are all doing well this Friday. It's been the first whole week of lovely weather Utah has seen since, like, Fall. So I'm kind of giddy! Sun! Warm! Celebration! And a summer full of cool authors coming to sign their books here! Wee!
Whoa, excessive exclamation marks. But hey! This is Happy Writers Society, and I'm allowed to be EXCITED.
That, and I'm talking about one of my favorite things today—experimenting. Most of my books have grown out of me taking a risk, out of deciding to try something I haven't done before. For Transparent, that was not only an invisible MC, but first person present.
The invisible MC was crazy enough, right? It took a lot of work, a lot of time figuring out the mechanics and envisioning how she'd see herself and the world around her. I put off writing Fiona for a while, maybe 6 months, but eventually I just had to try it out.
And then there was the first present thing. I'd read some books where I hated it, and some that did it extremely well. It's not for everyone, but the pov gives an even tighter tunnel vision, so to speak. It puts you right there in the MC's immediate world. I felt like this would be a good perspective for an invisible MC, since the reader would have to be connected to her in a very different way than a normal person. I felt like the immediacy and tunnel vision would lend the right suspense for the story.
So I gave it a shot. I kind of sucked at it, but at the same time it still felt right for the story. That, at least, I was right about. Yeah, I had to redo the whole thing, but those elements stayed! And I did much better with them the second time around.
Experimenting teaches you things. Not only do I think it's boring to stay in the same genre, but I think trying new stuff makes you a better writer, even if you never end up pursuing that piece to publication. I've done a lot of things to change it up—multiple povs, sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, contemporary, third person, first, past, present, funny, serious, etc.
Each time, I've learned something I can always keep with me as I write. I've learned a lot about world-building, from mistakes and successes. I've learned that I can foster a different kind of voice and mood just by changing person or tense. I've learned to respect genres that aren't necessarily mine, learned to love what they bring to the table. I feel like I've become a better writer by stretching myself each time I write a book.
For my current WIP, House of Ivy and Sorrow, description has been my focus. It's a book that needs pretty language, and I admit I'm not that writer who can spin gorgeous words and sentences. I usually rely on voice, plot, and, well, weirdness. But my goal in this WIP is to make it beautiful in the description department, and holy crap it's hard. Sometimes I stare at the screen, knowing I need a unique description and having no clue what it would be. Revisions will be a beast, just because there's so much I still want to improve in that respect.
Anyway, I highly encourage experimental writing. It can be fun and low pressure. It can teach you many things. And growing can be fun! At least this part of it is fun for me. Not all growing is fun, mind you, but I personally find great joy in trying new things.