This is the season of gratitude.
That being said, I have a few things to give thanks for, or more accurately, a few people.
Almost two years ago, I started coming to a new reading group in Sandy. Not only do they put up with my truly bizarre personality and my loud opinions, they have also given me some incredible insights into writing in general and my own writing in particular. Thanks, Snippet-ers. I owe you big-time.
With what I have learned from my writing friends, I have been able to examine the published writers that I love, and I have been able, to a greater extent, to understand why I love them so much.
Robert Jordan (and by extension, Brandon Sanderson): When the author of the acclaimed “Wheel of Time” series made his blacksmith talk (and think) with analogies to metal and metal working, I finally got it through my head that a blacksmith will have language and actions and thoughts that reflect his experiences. All the time. Likewise a housewife, or an aristocrat, or a child who has lived through a devastating family disaster will have his or her experiences so woven into the fabric of speech and thought that the character gains far more depth and personality.
Robin McKinley and Lois McMaster Bujold are world and character builders par-excellence. Some existing cultures in this world aren’t as real in my head as theirs are on paper, and in my opinion, the quintessential male character is not Edward Cullen, but Miles VorKosigan. Robin McKinley’s “Beauty” is one of my favorites of all time. The fairy-tale ambiance of the story is something a reader can live and get lost in. Anne McCaffery’s “Dragonflight” was the first fantasy I ever read, and I still dream of being a dragon rider. L. M. Mongomery’s “Blue Castle” is a Cinderella story that I read over and over.
These books are my old friends, and I wouldn’t be myself without them. Like metal work for the blacksmith, these express my subconscious words and dreams, the very formation of my thoughts. I love fantasy because anything is possible. And if anything is possible, maybe I can create something beautiful enough to haunt a reader’s mind to the exclusion of all else. Maybe I can transport others into a story that can’t be put down.
By Ava Mylne