John Scalzi – How to Create Stories

(Leia em português aqui)

This is a text about how to create stories and John Scalzi is a great example.
he is the most recent sci-fi author I’ve been following.

I was hooked by his book “Old Man War” and its extended universe.
Then I read “Lock In” and knew John Scalzi wasn’t a one-hit success.

He writes very well.
His plots and sceneries are all interesting, and he knows how to develop characters.

But there is another thing that attracts me to his works, as a fellow writer.
John Scalzi often lets us see how he creates stories, discretely.

I’ll explain how it happens in this text while I talk about story creation.

– How to Create Stories –

For many people, to write is to be struck by inspiration and then regurgitate stories.
It can look like magic. That is why many call it a gift.

You could write a short story in a moment of great inspiration.
But writers know that it doesn’t happen like this most of the time.

To create a story, you are often required to write a lot.
For a book, it means to write about two or three times more than what will be printed.

When you create a different scenery, as usually happens in sci-fi, you need to create this environment, its characters, and all the background stories.
Stuff that won’t be explicit, but implicit in the book.

The focus in a book must be the main story, not all the stories in that universe.
Even though, the author has to know all the stories in that universe, or most of them, to be able to describe them well.

The same goes for his characters.
The author must know their biographies, personalities, and how they would behave in any situation.

– Writing more and Avoiding Creativity Block –

It is quite common to go through blocks while writing a story.
but it only happens if you only write about the main story.

That is why you must always let yourself go and write about secondary characters or anything else happening in that universe.

While doing it, you’ll naturally come up with the solutions for your problems with the main story.
By better knowing what surrounds it.
If you do it always, you’ll probably face no blocks.  

And John Scalzi does that.
I can tell just by reading the short stories he publishes along with some of his books.
These are almost spinoffs of the main novels.

Because he uses the same backgrounds as the novels in the short stories.
Stuff that you could notice while reading the novels.
But then he makes it the focus and digs deeper into it.

Clearly stuff he wrote while creating the novel and then decided it could be an independent story.

– Conclusion

Every author wants to share what they wrote.
It is a shame sometimes to remove some parts from books.
But even though these parts were great writing, they wouldn’t fit in the main narrative.

And that is how we create stories that show and don’t tell.

Few writers have the patience and control to go through it as I see John Scalzi doing it.

But all this labor is the foundation of a good story.
As well as a good narrative and relevant themes.

That will be all for today, folks!

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