Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Guest Post: Why you write what you write

by Rachel Starr Thomson

Recently, while reading a great book on writing (Million Dollar Outlines by Dave Farland; check it out!), I learned that most kids are drawn to stories that invoke a sense of wonder. Because everything in this world is still relatively new to them, they love stories about discovery, about new and wonderful people and places and things.

That’s why kids are some of the biggest readers (and watchers) of fantasy and other speculative fiction, aka “wonder literature.”

As a kid I think I was more drawn to wonder literature than most, possibly because in my imagination, the world always had more to it than met the eye. When other girls were playing dolls, I was lost in a world of talking trees, warring animal tribes, and a variety of mythic beings.

Well, that conception of the world stuck. (No need to call for professional help—I actually can tell the difference between reality and fiction!) And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that in some ways, it’s accurate. There is more to life than meets the eye. That’s true whether you’re coming from a spiritual angle (angels and demons are real, to say nothing of our Invisible but Always-Present God) or a material one (atoms—who knew?).

That’s why I write what I do—a mix of fantasy forms that always seem to have one foot in the “real world” and one foot in the fantastic, visible or invisible. I still feel a sense of wonder about the world, and I still want to communicate it. Sometimes the best way to do that is to transport readers to other worlds—ones that will help them see this life differently, maybe more accurately.

My books also tend to be, at heart, love stories—whether it’s the love between romantic partners, friends, family members, or people and their God. I write about connection, loss, sacrifice, and hearts in the process of being purified. Why? Because of all the invisible forces in the world, love is the one closest and most urgent for all of us.

Another theme that recurs in my books is searching after truth. That’s a strong theme in my recent Oneness Cycle stories, as the interconnected members of the Oneness seek out truth about each other, themselves, and the Spirit that binds them together. It’s there in the Seventh World Trilogy, where Maggie and the others must unlock the secrets of the past in order to triumph over the darkness of the present. And it’s a major part of the Prophet stories, of which ABADDON’S EVE is the first book.

I hope that as readers explore my worlds with me, they’ll find themselves strengthened to love, seek after truth, and experience wonder.

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