for the love of fiction

Does our fiction define us in the same way our locality does?

I listened to this Ted talk today:

I related strongly to it, because I’ve lived in so many different locals in my life and have always found it difficult to answer the question, “Where are you from?”

The idea that we are defined by where we are local more than where our passport is from drive be to consider those of us who spend a lot if our lives mentally living in fabricated worlds. No, I’m not talking about people who can’t clearly perceive reality. I’m talking about fiction readers. 

How many years did I spend in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time world? How many decades in Ankh- Morpork, courtesy of Terry Pratchett? How many voyages in Weber’s beloved Manticore or trudging across Marduk? And how much do those locales define me? 

That they define me is not in question. They most certainly do, maybe even more so than the mundane world I’ve traversed.

 Is there some way we can discover this about the people we meet? 

More importantly, what should we as fiction authors be considering when we create worlds to house the minds of men, giving them space to breathe and live in worlds inaccessible outside what we have penned? 

Sometimes people shrug off fiction writing because it’s just “make believe” and doesn’t really help people. Maybe it doesn’t help people. Maybe it helps define people. 

September: rough-draft-palooza

Good news for those of you waiting for The Splitting: Book Two of the Ruined Dynasty Trilogy.

As of today I am 50 pages into the rough draft and going strong. We’re looking very good for the planned launch at the end of my wattpad run for The Ex-Pacifist, so thanks for being patient, and keep those fires stoked.

And…it’s on! 

I’ve set myself an ambitious goal. I want to have the rough draft of The Splitting done by December. That means starting today I need to live and breathe SF. Any cool ideas you want to share with me?

How to Avoid Major YA Errors

I’ve been reading people’s work on wattpad lately. It’s a mixed bag. Mostly I enjoy reading new work, and socializing with fellow writers and readers, but over the last week I’ve been reminded of the things that drive me nuts about a lot of Young Adult fiction from Twilight to Maze Runner and back again. I’ve been inspired to write a small guide – or maybe it’s just a rant. You decide.

Here goes:

How to avoid major YA errors:

  • Stop with the squealing already!

Believe it or not, I was a teenage girl once, and *gasp* I did not squeal. In fact, I have worked in a volunteer capacity with teens for many years and on only one occasion (6th graders in California) did I hear girls squeal. Now maybe that’s because I suck all the happy out of the room. That’s possible. More likely it’s because teenage girls are not as vapid as YA authors make them out to be.

  • Could we try for a little equality?

If I read one more teen romance where the girl is some little nobody whose only good points are an ability to resist the leading man’s charms or the ability to run her mouth like a politician, I’m  going to squeal. Could we try for a little equality? Did you know that love between equals is ok? Actually better, really. Plus, this way your feminist mom who went to all that work burning her bras back in the 60’s won’t have to lie about what you do to her online poker friends.

  • Geez People- Consent. Consent. Consent.

I’m actually not really kidding here. I just read yet another YA romance involving sexual contact without consent between the leading man and lady – actually it was sexual contact after the man said “no” twice. Just FYI people – that’s sexual assault. Please stop promoting it and making it “sexy” in your YA novels. Young people are still learning how to treat each other with respect. Unless you are actually trying to describe something that’s wrong or possibly traumatizing, I’d stay clear from depicting sex without consent. Especially from depicting it as a good thing. Please think with your heads, people. It’s what they’re there for.

  • No society is going to trust teens to do everything – sorry.

I’m 34. Currently I don’t let teens babysit my kids. Fly my starships? Unlikely. Fill every single position of authority? Ummm…did I tell you I don’t trust them to babysit? I mean we all say that government couldn’t get any worse but it could…can you say Government Class? My U.S. Government Class was half full of girls doing their nails and guys trying to hit on the substitute teacher. Not exactly world-running material. I totally get that YA novels are more interesting if some of the characters in high position are teens, but could you involve some adults, too, for at least a hint of realism? You do know that we don’t all die of old age at 25, right?

  • Just because it’s exciting doesn’t mean it’s integral to the plot.

Oh, yeah. This is worth noting. A lot of YA writers substitute action for plot. I’ve done it myself. It’s kind of a shabby stunt to pull. It means you were too lazy to do the rewrites involved to spice up your work so you just added more action.

  • Sterotypes suck – and I’m not talking about vampires (although they count).

There are so many stories about girls and their quirky friends, and the friends always seem to be the dame three people recycled to infinity – they are also often minorities. Have you ever noticed that it really sucks to be a minority in YA Fiction? The best you can hope for is to be a really awesome bad guy or to be the best friend of a cool white hero/heroine. Yikes!

  • Try an online editor to catch the worst of your errors.

Autocrit. Prowritingaid. Try them.

  • Feedback and rewrites are your friends – even if they don’t feel like it.

Listen, I know rewrites are hell. I know. You can produce three new rough drafts in the time it takes to do a thorough re-write and edit of your novel. Please realize this, though – your novel will always read like a rough draft if you don’t do this. I’ve recently read quite a few novels that read like rough drafts. I can see clearly where they should have been cut and polished, but for some reason the author self-published them without bothering to do the work. The comments on Amazon show that readers notice and are not amused. Take warning. Don’t let this be you.

And in that vein – you do realize that anyone who offers you a critique is your friend, right? It’s better to be momentarily embarrassed when someone points out your error than to be embarrassed for all time when it’s left on the page for all to read.

  • Multi-dimensional characters…who needs them?

Or at least, that’s what I envisioned some authors saying as they cranked out “bad” characters who do nothing but “bad” things and “good” characters who are always kind and supportive and “there for you.”

  • Try not to let your YA romance read like a season of The Bachelorette.

Enough said. By the way, have you noticed that love triangles are the bread and butter of the YA world? Who are these lucky girls that inspire soul-sacrificing devotion from not one, but two unbelievably gorgeous and talented men? Are they all basically Taylor Swift? And yet somehow, despite being so amazing that every man within a mile is head over heels for them, they can never seem to solve their own problems. Again, you’re feminist mom is crying into her eco-friendly organic cotton hankie right now because she can’t bear to tell her friends that you are immortalizing a view of women as helpless objects requiring rescue by men. (See, there’s some of that helpful critiquing. You’re welcome!)

And now back to writing my own next novel. I wonder if I can fit a love triangle in there somewhere?


I’m really enjoying the wattpad app and checking out some of the books on there. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should! I’ve been sticking to sci-fi so far (you know, ahem, market research, ahem) and I’ve found a few interesting books in the mix so far. So if you’re into sci-fi it might be worth a try.

wattpad: future of The Ruined Dynasty Trilogy

Hi loyal friends. If you’ve hung in there this far, then you definitely deserve to be called loyal. It’s been a bit of a long haul for me over the past few years, but I have good news! Belly of this Great Land is finally finished and kicked out the door to go look for a home with a friendly Canadian publisher. So… that means I am back to The Ruined Dynasty Trilogy.

I’ll be posting The Ex-Pacifist a chapter at a time on to wattpad. That should take about 14 weeks. After that I’ll begin posting chapters of The Splitting: Book Two of The Ruined Dynasty Trilogy. If you’ve been waiting for the second installment, then it’s time to get excited, because it is on the way.

But how can I be the first to get a hold of it? you may ask. Easy. Follow me on wattpad. My name is sarahklwilson and then you will get notifications of my work and as soon as the chapters of The Splitting start being released you can read along.

Once again, my work will be free (that’s how wattpad works) and eventually I will put the whole book on along with The Ex-Pacifist. So, please, tell your friends. It will cost them nothing to give my writing a try. It will cost you nothing. What do you have to lose?

Rough Draft Complete

Well friends, I have the rough draft of my latest novel complete as of yesterday. I’m now beginning the rounds of editing and cleaning up pacing, characterization, symbolism etc. I think I’ve settled on a title as well: “Belly of the Great Land”
What do you think?

Sometimes a story sure gets away from you! One of my minor antagonists just demanded to be made a major protagonist. 

Comparison Statement

This novel is a cross between The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Heart of Darkness.

Rough Draft continues….

As of today I am 48,000 words into my rough draft. woot. woot.

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