Build a strong and captivating world for your novel and revise your work like a pro with guidance from author Sara Lubratt!
Sure, you're excited about your new story and your setting, but does it work with your plot and does it feel real for the reader?
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Let's Meet Our Author
Sara is a primarily fantasy and science fiction author, currently working on the third draft of an epic fantasy that deals with relationships, religion, and good vs. evil. In her 8 to 5, she works in marketing. When not marketing or writing, Sara can be found painting or making YouTube videos, basically trying to stay as creative as possible.
Author Interview Questions
1. What inspired you to start writing your current or latest WIP?
My current WIP was inspired by an image I saw on Pinterest.
That image sparked an idea that then fell into the back of my brain because the ideas that came from that picture were not strong enough to carry a plot. After a while ruminating in my brain, I realized those ideas were not the main plot but the backstory of one of the characters and it helped show me how beautiful and vast and horrid the world was. I got excited about the possibilities and the scope of this epic fantasy and then I started writing.
2. One of the most exciting aspects of starting your book is world-building, but it can also be difficult to craft something that works. What's your process for building a realistic and functional world for your readers?
The most important thing about world-building is making it feel familiar enough that it is not uncomfortable or strange for the reader.
It needs to have a sense of normalness, of familiarity and humanness. The world could be wild and inventive but as long as the characters are still as real as possible, the world will fall into place as long as there is a sense of familiarity. The world is a vehicle for the characters and the plot.
I focus on the senses and adding concrete detail about the world, the smells, the noises, the tastes.
3. Creating dialogue that doesn't make people cringe, roll their eyes, and that makes sense can be a little tricky. How do you create authentic dialogue?
All good writing is revised a lot from the first draft, and it’s all that revising that makes it feel effortless. As Elmore Leonard said:
“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”
What that means for my dialogue is reading it out loud. If it doesn’t sound like a natural conversation, I alter it until it flows like authentic dialogue.
4. From the revision stage with your editors to reviews from readers, there will be things you miss like that dang comma or scenes that people simply don't like. How do you handle literary criticism?
I’ve learned that I have to be open to criticism if I want to grow as a writer—and as a human.
But there’s also something to be said about learning what to listen to, the constructive criticism from people who want to see you grow and improve and what not to listen to, personal preference on scenes, characters, and style from people who want to talk about things in a non-constructive way.
If you feel yourself getting caught up in the negative comments, remind yourself that it is none of your business knowing or taking care of what other people think of you. If you like your writing, you like your writing, a lot of it is personal style and preference anyway.
5. What advice do you have for a writer who is struggling to create the right setting/world for their story?
Close your eyes and picture you are there in that scene. Then try to notice what concrete details would be around you, think about the five senses:
What are you seeing, touching, smelling, tasting, hearing?
Not every scene will require each of the five senses but the smaller the detail you can add, the more concrete your setting and world will begin to become. By giving concrete detail, you anchor your reader in the world, and thus, the story.
6. Do you have a personal style with the way you edit your novels? What really makes the revision stage of your writing successful?
Giving each version of the manuscript a full reread before starting the draft.
It’s a long step of the process for sure, but it allows you to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and take notes on how to improve the story as a whole, like adding in world building, lore, foreshadowing, clues to improve the story, no matter what level of revision stage one is on. I found that this, while being more time intensive it seems, allows me to move more quickly through the revisions by improving multiple aspects of the book in one pass.
7. What do you find to be the most difficult aspect of the revising phase of your book? How might writers combat this obstacle?
The time it takes.
It can be incredibly overwhelming when looking at the big picture and noticing how much improving it needs. But every book has to start somewhere, and you can’t fix a blank page.
Try to focus on the smaller things, like one developmental revision at a time, and then give yourself the satisfaction of writing it down and crossing it off. Reward yourself for what you accomplish, even if the going seems slow because progress is progress.
8. Of course you trust your friends and family, but are they really the best options for getting the most effective feedback and editing notes for your book? But what if you don't have anyone else to help you with your revisions? How do you get editors and beta readers for your book?
It is relatively easy to find a critique partner, or alpha or beta readers in Facebook writing groups, through events such as NaNoWriMo, or a local writing class or group.
I have found a collection of beta readers on social media as well as from previous writing classes.
It never hurts to ask someone! The worst thing they can say is no.
Often asking someone if they want to exchange writing with you to each beta read the other’s writing is the best way to start building beta reader relationships.
9. What do you look forward to most about becoming a published author?
I am most looking forward to sharing my stories with the world.
I have been so blessed to be apart of the writing community and look forward to building those bonds more as we all continue to grow as writers and as people. :)
Discover Sara Lubratt
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