Monday, March 5, 2012

Welcome Lisa Blackwood to DIO

A great thing about blogging is the ability to learn from others.  My guest today, Lisa Blackwood, a friend and fellow author from Muse It Up Publishing, provides us with something to ponder.   On with the show...
Write What You Know

As a writer, one thing I’ve heard several times is ‘write what you know’. In other words, write about a topic you are familiar with and incorporate that knowledge into your writing in some fashion. The idea is to make the story more believable, and it also has the added bonus of making the writer’s job a touch easier—less research and all that.(If only it was so easy. LOL.)
Which is all well and good, but when I first read that piece of sage knowledge I wondered how that applied to writing science fiction and fantasy, since both are not-of-this-world so to speak. Still, you can take things from the mundane world and add them to your made up world.
A beta reader once mentioned a great number of horse issues in my writing. I didn’t know a thing about horses at the time, and she suggested I go take some riding lessons to better understand them; as an added benefit, I’d stop annoying horse people with my inaccurate descriptions (you know, things like horses that can gallop all day, never spook, don’t have to spend hours grazing every day to live. You know, important stuff like that.) I took her advice, and started volunteering at a nearby horse rescue. After a year and a half, I now know enough to write realistic horses, I hope. I even went so far as to adopt one. I’m not saying authors have to go so far to get into their characters mindset, but even a few minutes of research is valuable.
Back to the topic of writing what you know. Another thing from my real life that was helpful in a fictional world was my knowledge of birds. Go figure.

Betrayal’s Price (Coming soon from MuseItUp Publishing) is epic fantasy with romantic elements and the hero Sorntar, a phoenix, is half avian. I knew from early on I wanted him to be more than just a human man with wings stuck on his back, I wanted him to be more, to be other. So I looked to nature—if he was half bird, then he needed a few bird traits. I’ve kept birds as pets since I was a child, so giving Sorntar a few bird traits wasn’t all the hard, humorous, but not hard.

The second novel I wrote, Stone’s Kiss, is a paranormal romance/urban fantasy, and has a gargoyle hero. Gregory was a little more complex than Sorntar, but twice as much fun to write. Gregory just knew who and what he was from the get go, and had no problems with deviating from my carefully planned plot. ::mumbles under breath about unruly, headstrong characters::  Whereas Sorntar was clearly birdlike and I could draw on the mythological phoenix for some character traits and magical abilities, Gregory, as a gargoyle, didn’t have a corresponding animal or even much mythology to draw on. So I started to look at other animals until I found the correct mix of traits that ‘felt’ like they’d match my vision of how a gargoyle would think and act. In the end, while still having a fundamental human quality, Gregory also had some canine and big cat tendencies mixed in too. 
My question to you—what can you take from your everyday life and put into a fictional world. Go on. Give it a try. You might be surprised what you’ll come up with.
Lisa Blackwood, author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance and epic fantasy.
Stone's Kiss
Betrayal's Price (Feb. 2012 from Museitup Publishing 


Heather Haven said...

Fascinating blog! I write about murder, but nevermind, let's move on. I think writing about what we know is a great starting off point. I know a lot about cats, clothes and families, hense my series. I don't know a thing about a phoenix, other than it rises from its own ashes, and am tantalized by the thought of one being half-human and half-bird. I love that you worked at a horse rescue and even rescued a horse yourself. That says a lot about you as a person, I think. I think you're a good lady.

Karen Cote said...

Goodness, you throw down a challenge this early in the day? LOL. I write Romantic Suspense and I get the pleasure of interviewing my real life heroes - cops. So research can be fun for a writer...Having said that, not sure where you'll find a model for your interview. hehehe. Great post and thank you so much for making me think today.

Susan Royal said...

My first book is a time travel romance, set during medieval times. That era has always been fascinating to me, but I did extensive research for accuracy. I modeled my characters on composites of people I know, and I enjoyed them so much I'm writing a sequel. The same is true for my second book. It's a fantasy romance. One of my works in progress, however, takes place in the Texas hill country during the 60s, something I draw from experience to write. I think, for me, it's the characters and how they relate to one another that relate to their experiences. People are fascinating to watch.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone, (Sorry, blogger Hates wordpress and wouldn't let me log on as me. Lisa Blackwood)

Thanks for stopping by. And Ginger, thanks for having me.

As a small gift for everyone who is interest, here's the smashwords coupon code for free copies of Stone's Kiss. A paranormal romance with a gargoyle hero.

Code--->>>> LM59E

Just go to smashwords and login (you need to get an account if you don't have one. It's free and easy--then put in the code before checkout and that's all.)

Anonymous said...

Bye the way, the smashwords coupon code is good for 24 hours.

Lisa Blackwood

Lorrie said...

Wow, Lisa, you are a gal that goes all out for research. I love research too but have never interviewed "live people."

I guess I don't have the nerve--yet. And as far as digging in and working for a research, well, I never did that either. Kudos to you for making your books so authentic.

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