Yes, another rant. Why? These things make me feel good. Like blurting out a secret that is making another person have a hard time. Once again, I am by no means a master in the art of writing, and these are personal. Anyway…
I’ve read quite a few stories online recently where the opening is paragraph upon paragraph of history spouted off in omniscient before the author throws me into a single character’s head.
This is bad. Very bad. I understand that people want their readers to know some things that happened before, but throwing it all in the beginning is not the way to do it.
A world’s history is a lot like a spoonful of cinnamon.
If it’s given to the reader straight and right away, they feel sick and might vomit and run away because that experience is unpleasant. Too dry. There might be a few people who can get it down, but not everyone will sit through sections out of a history textbook, fictional or not.
Keeping track of all the facts is a task in itself as well. If it’s mentioned that Country A and Country B have been at war for centuries, I will probably get them confused without something to sink my teeth into on either side. I, at least, cannot get down all that information and keep it straight when all I have to go off of is names.
Now, if this cinnamon-history is dispersed throughout the sweet fluffiness of the story, now it only makes things better. Mention things as they become relevant. Now that disgusting spoonful of cinnamon becomes a delicious cinnamon bun, and everyone’s happy.
Like the spoon and baked good, the difference between the block and slotting is time and effort. It takes more work to say everything that needs to be said about a history in a natural way, but it is so much more wonderful.
I love a rich history in created worlds. I love having a real sense of place. I hate seeing an author try to spit it all at me at once.
Wow, that cinnamon-history comparison worked out much better than expected. So is anyone actually interested in seeing more of these? I’m having fun here, so if someone else is enjoying reading them then I’ll feel less horrible about writing on tumblr.
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