We were watching the Star Trek Next Generation series II this afternoon and started to discuss why they do certain things the way they do. My daughter was asking how they played the three level chess game they always show on the series. We said we had no idea, we weren't the writers.
The thought occurred to me that writers create their own little worlds. Especially when they deal with science fiction and fantasy. I remember attending a work shop with Brandon Sanderson where he said that there are many sci-fi authors who write whole volumes about the worlds their characters inhabit that the reader never sees.
Have you ever thought about the 'why' of your story? Are you writing something that has it's own world and it's own reasoning? Be careful -- the reader is going to want to know why. They are going to expect the why to be explained, or they are likely to not finish the book. Worse than that, they are likely to complain and tell others not to read it. Even if the why is as simple as:
The reason my main character has powers she never knew she had was because they were blocked in her head until an experience opened up the blocked section and allowed them to work.
That's all it takes. Slip that into the story line somewhere, and it explains the plot or action, making things click and make sense. If a story doesn't make sense, it doesn't grab my attention and I won't keep reading.
This weekend I get to go to a science fiction/fantasy seminar and listen to Brandon Sanderson again, along with Orson Scott Card and others who are well known in the craft. I look forward to more tidbits that will help me to write better. Hopefully I'll be able to share some of them with you next week. Untill Until then...