As discussed in a previous entry, I believe strongly in Experiencing the world, culture, location and people that your writing focuses on. In the case of Fantasy genre authors who are creating their own worlds, sometimes this may not be possible. But if your creation is at all inspired by a real life Experience that you can visit, touch, taste, hear, or otherwise sense, your creation will be that much more real to your reader. Realism (even, or perhaps especially in Fantasy) makes the reading more pleasurable because the reader can relate with your world and can willingly suspend their natural sense of disbelief in order to allow themselves to be transported.
A great tool for this is something that Google has made available to us all FOR FREE.
It’s Google Maps. Specifically, the Earth (or Satellite) view.
With this tool, I can describe to my readers down to the detail of a count of the stones in a garden wall. Without ever going to Rousay (although I dearly desire to at some point) I can tell you about the rocks Hugh washes ashore on, and about the sheep in the quartered pastures that will stare at him. I can tell you about the ruined, crumbling house that is the Seeming for Hulda’s house’s disguise. I can tell you about the stone wall that separates her garden from the road and from the magic of the hill further west, and about the post-and-wire fencing that designates the pasture of the next property. I can tell you about the shade trees (on an Atlantic Island?! GASP!) and the purple heather at the corner of the walk. I can tell you about the crunch of the grass. And not because I’ve been there, but because I’ve seen it.
Cheers, Google. Here’s a link to the pictures of everything that Civil Dusk’s Chapter Eight is set in. Click it. And travel with me.
And that is the capacity in which I shall address you for this post. Readers. Adventurers of the mind. Travelers of time and space. Guests in realms alien and yet oh so familiar. Judges, indeed, of those who would dare to share their stories with you.
Be gentle. 😉
I have consistently restricted my chapters to a length of about eleven hand written pages, which usually produces chapters of about seven to nine typed pages. The reason for this is because that is how many pages I can read in one sitting without falling asleep or experiencing a mind wander to other things. Generally this also coincides with how long I can devote my attention to one particular scene. Like in play writing, the best time to shift chapters is when you’re transitioning between scenes. But this isn’t true for all writers!
Let’s be real, I’m sure this also is attributed to the fact that my parents read to me as a child, and those were all chapter books (or “chap books” for you hip kids) and we got one chapter per night. So, there was some training involved early on. (Cheers ma! 😀 )
For instance, there are some authors who don’t break for chapters once. Not Once. They run them down every time with complete disregard for the reader’s safety! They don’t even check their blind spots first! (Hah, puns.)
So, my question is, since there really isn’t a formula for this: what do you prefer as a reader? Do you like frequent chapter breaks? Or do you not care because you prefer to set your own timer and stop whenever the heck you feel like stopping? Or do you never want to see another darn chapter heading in your life because it reminds you of the trauma of doing book reports?
Inquiring minds want – nay, NEED – to know! Because I think I might end this particular chapter after only two pages, and I need to know if you will all be mad at me or not.
Here’s a picture from today’s writing session. 🙂