Monday, May 7, 2012

Write What You Know

By Dawn Marie Hamilton

Write what you know. How many times have you heard that bit of advice?

I write Scottish inspired fantasy and paranormal romance. Knowledge of Scottish history is easily acquired by reading. Time travel, magic, fae creatures and shapeshifting vampires—not exactly subjects learned during a lengthy corporate career. Research helps, but imagination plays a larger role in creating fantasy and paranormal elements.

How do you persuade readers to suspend long-held beliefs and accept the fantastical?

It's all in the worldbuilding…and the details. The details are where real life is inserted.

Having been a County Cooperative Extension master gardener, I know a wee bit about gardening. Gardens are where magic happens in our busy world of today. So I incorporate gardens into my stories. Sometimes in a large way, where the characters are gardeners. Other times in a small way by incorporating gardens into the setting.

At the cottage, Laurie offered them a nightcap, pouring each a glass of port. They wandered into the garden to enjoy the beautiful evening.

"Do you feel the magic in the air?" Caitrina asked.

Douglas peered at the moonlit sky and chuckled. "Aye, lass. Strong magic."

An uneasy sensation crept through Laurie as she glanced around.

Caitrina grasped her hand. "Come. I want to show you the foxglove we planted. They flowered."

Walking with Caitrina to the back gate, Laurie sensed something strange. She frowned when she smelled a familiar exotic fragrance on Caitrina. "What the hell?"

A tinkling sound confirmed her fear.

The gate swung open.

He [her dream lover] stood just beyond the garden gate.

Her pulse raced. Yanking her hand away from Caitrina, she stepped back in panic.

Caitrina pushed her forward through the gate. Terror forced the air from Laurie's lungs.

Nothing held her back, no barrier. She fell forward over a precipice into a swirling fog, down...down...down through a tunnel. The walls spun and she plunged downward, faster and faster, toward a blinding, bright light that continued to move out of reach.

Sucked through an opening into the white brilliance, she choked on the scream in her throat, cringing against the intense noise assaulting her ears.

She spun, or everything around her was spinning, she wasn't sure which. Her sensitized skin tingled as if touched by an electric charge. Then, the bright, white light exploded into a million fragments of brilliant color, a dazzling kaleidoscope, and she was falling again.

Down...down...down, the speed of her descent increased. Water flowed below her, a stream. She plummeted toward it. Bracing herself, she thought she'd crash into the rushing water, only to propel across it. She hit the ground hard and saw nothing more.

…excerpt from Just Beyond the Garden Gate, an unedited Garden Gate manuscript.


Mona Risk said...

Hi Dawn, we write fiction, so we should be able to play with reality. It's only when we describe a real place that it better be accurate. Nice excerpt.

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

Thanks, Mona. I love writing fiction! :)

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I'd be in a lot of trouble if I had to write a story featuring gardens - unless I showed the destruction because of someone who had no skills in keeping the flowers alive and healthy.

I live in gold country and love writing stories about the great history around here. I think my imagination loves this genre too because whenever we leave the house, I look for story plot lines in what I see.

Terry Spear said...

Great post, Dawn! I absolutely love writing about what I know. Werewolves. No suspension of belief needed. They're real. True, the wolfish hunks are secretive about who they are, but they're super to have around when you're in trouble, need some help, or want some loving.

So I totally agree. Write what you know. :)

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

The gold country must be rich with inspiration for romantic stories. How lucky you are, Paisley, to live in such a wonderful place.

Thanks for dropping in!

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

LOL, Terry! I love the way you think. Who could walk away from one of your hunky werewolves without believing. Not me.

Thanks for stopping by!

Josie said...

Thanks for sharing your excellent excerpt. Yes, we should write what we know, but as Mona said, we're fiction writers so we can be creative with our characters and surroundings.

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

Hi, Josie! Thanks for popping in.

Pat McDermott said...

Such an exciting excerpt, Dawn. Makes me wonder if you've been through that garden gate yourself!

Dawn Marie Hamilron said...

I visit the garden often in my dreams. :) Thank for popping in, Pat.