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February 13, 2013

Writer Wednesday: Dianne Gardner

It would be nice (perhaps) if writing a book only meant one was to sit at a computer and type out a story. That might even be possible sometimes. I was able to write my most recent short story in one sitting. But then, the story was only 3,000 words, and didn’t entail any more than looking up a few words and some current event issues.

But when you are writing 60K-150K words, the novel requires more time, and subsequently, more research. And it seems like you never really know what kind of investigating you’ll have to do. It’s almost like being a private eye!

I’m a firm believer that even if I’m writing fantasy, I need to make my story believable. I want my reader to think the worlds I take them to can and do exist. So I write about places I’ve been, and experiences I’ve had. The magic part happens. The dragon flies overhead but you can hear the wind whistle in his wings, and you can smell sulfur on his breath—both very real experiences.

Of course, I’ve never really seen or heard (or smelled) a dragon before so I’m making all that up. But there are some things in my Ian’s Realm Saga stories that I don’t want to invent. Things like the groan of a moored ship, or the sound of wind in its sails. That’s why I took an educational trip with my daughter on a tall ship this summer in the waters of Puget Sound, WA where I not only experienced first hand the hoisting of the main sail but also learned how sixteenth century sailors judged the speed of their ship, measured depth, read the stars, and scanned the surface of the bottom of the ocean.

My main character, Ian and his friends spend some time in the caves of Deception Peak, so I too took a trip this summer to a place called Ape Cave, a mile long lava tube that burrows far under the mountain. Talk about inspiration! We walked the mile. Had we no lantern it would have been pitch black. A perfect dragon’s lair.

Since most of the tribal people in the Realm live in yurts, and I have SCA (Society for Creative Anarchronism) friends that reenact any and all eras, I was most fortunate to partake in the erecting of a Mongolian yurt. In fact, the lady owns the yurt is of Mongolian descent. She even posed for me in her traditional clothing. All these experiences have been recorded on my blog and I’d love for you to take a look.

So you see, the writer doesn’t always have to sit in front of the screen writing. There are some very exciting ways to make your story come to life! I hope this post is an inspiration to you!

About the Author:

Dianne Gardner is both an author and illustrator living the Pacific Northwest. She's an active member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and the National League of American Pen Women. She has written Young Adult Fantasy novels as well as articles for national magazines and newspapers. She's also an award-winning artist.
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  1. Thank you for letting me tell a little about my experiences! I'm honored!

  2. Love this post about your experiences and your fun research for your book! I've been on one of those ships, and down a lava tube too - and hadn't thought about using the lava tube experience yet for any of my stories. I agree that it would be a great place for a dragon's lair. Nice post!

    1. Thanks for commenting. I hadn't planned on Ape Cave as being a place in the Realm, but we ended up using some photos I took there for the trailer and it really worked! Thanks for commenting!

  3. Wow! That sounds wonderful. It really shows through in your writing, too. I wish I could do something like that.

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  5. As a reader of your fabulous stories, I always felt as if I were actually with your characters. I love how you found and used experiences to make your scenes feel so real. Pat Stricklin

    1. Thank you Pat. It makes writing so much more enjoyable!

  6. Thanks for recirculating this post just as we've begun filming the series and a new sequel is coming out.

  7. The book has been combined into one volume and has a new link.
    and wide...