So I've decided that for my second/retirement career (right now I'm a happy IT person right now and a non-professional dog trainer) is that I want to be a writer.
Writing has always been a part of my life (lit undergrad etc) and I never really realized I had much talent at it until email and the internet where I started writing a lot and people would complement me on it. Over time I've finally come to realize that it might be something I could semi-seriously persue.
But I have a lot to learn. I am a great expository writer and I write for work every day and I have two blogs also, but I would like to write fiction and I have limited experience in that. The big thing is the entire art of storycraft and plots and creating a consistent, credible fictional world. We all have a good idea of what makes a good story, but to actually create something that someone actually wants to read is a whole 'nuther universe.
So I've started going back over books I've read just to see how the story develops and it's been really interesting. I'll have to add more to this over time, but things, in particular, I've noticed are.
The beginning drops you right in the middle of something and you are immediately busy trying to figure out what is going on. Something like: "I ducked as the pig flew by and sailed into the dining room and then I noticed that ground squirrels were drinking whiskey and laughing." Then the writer will give you more information while the character and you are trying to figure out what to do about the situation.
Another thing I've just noticed, and I'm not sure I quite understand the point of it is hint dropping that will be missed by 90% of first time readers. "His stance was squared off and seemed vaguely similar to something that my father once did." Then chapters later it turns out that this person is a missing son of said father. What is the purpose of doing that? I can see if it is intriguing, but most of new readers are going to miss the reference.
Then there is the fictional world you build, and you have to understand that readers are going to be comparing your world to other authors.
I'm reading Deborah Harknesses A Discovery of Witches where she has Vampires, Witches, Demons and Humans. I am a devoted fan of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden and I can't help but compare the two, and sometimes I feel like Harkness is directly addressing the issue. For example, when a vampire explains to the main character (a witch) that he doesn't need a specific invitation to cross a threshold. In Butcher's world he would, and my in-house Buffy the Vampire Slayer expert says that in Buffy's world they also would need an invitation. You could probably write a whole essay comparing all the vampire worlds on this issue (including Anne Rice's and Bram Stoker's)
This is one thing I really like about Science Fiction. You get to make the rules. Detailed, reality based, fictional books like the ones that Daniel Silva writes are so perilous because if you get one detail wrong it jars many readers and they really don't like it. In Science Fiction and Fantasy as long as you are consistent in the world you create you're ok.
More as I learn more.