Hi gang, Craig here again. My last post was called Writing Small, which prompted me to ask myself what writing medium should look like. You can go back and see Write Small by clicking on the words.
This was the post where we discussed small personal issues to help readers relate to our characters. Doesn’t really matter if we’re supposed to love them or hate them, a connection of some kind ought to be included.
So what does writing medium look like? Heck if I know, I’m making this up as I type. However, I think it ought to remain personal to the character.
Your main character has to want something as the driving force behind his or her actions. Note: they can also not-want something to fulfill this part. One example might be the blissful newlywed who finds a draft notice upon return from work. (Not what the character wanted.)
In my mind, this medium stuff should be about efforts to either acquire what the character wants, or avoid what they don’t want.
Now this particular desire is usually the wrong thing in fiction. There is usually a bigger picture that will change the character’s mind at some point, but that is a topic for another day.
Medium level gyrations might be approaching a senator to see if military service can be avoided. Perhaps a different character would pay detailed attention in military training so as to increase his/her odds of coming home alive.
Medium level things might be watching for a letter from a spouse at the end of each day. Writing small can, and probably should still happen. That letter might have a scent of her favorite perfume. In a science fiction world, the email might include a naughty attachment.
The medium focus might be on the mission in front of the character’s face. He/she is going to get thrust into something, and that should be the part readers get next. The fact that seven different fleets are massing across four different star systems is irrelevant right now. Right now, bringing that star-fighter back to the mothership is all that matters.
Since this is all personal stuff, a few appropriate deaths might be useful in the space-opera. It makes it all real and specific to your character. Perhaps the horror of it all sparks interest in the bigger picture, so as to end the war faster.
Perhaps the star-fighter performs well, and everything is looking great. Then the mothership explodes and there is no place to return too. That might spark the character into an interest in the bigger picture. Maybe those appropriate deaths were friends in mission control or something.
Like I said, I’m making this up as I go, but I think it’s a worthy topic. Writing medium is a transition. We move from what the character wants, into realization that what they really want is something else. Sure, the main character wants to return to the spouse, but if the war isn’t decisively won, there may not be a spouse to return home to.
This realization might include some specific skills that could help win the war. They might even lead to a re-enlistment… because of the risk to the spouse character. The offer to re-up came with a promotion, and that promotion is your stepping stone to the bigger picture.
My goofy examples were a space opera, but this works everywhere. One guy is handsome and rich, but the auto mechanic makes her laugh. One life includes luxury and leisure, but her value is limited to arm-candy at political rallies. The other life involves working and struggling to make ends meet, but equal value in the relationship and a few laughs along the way. She wants something, and the medium writing helps expose truths that lead to her big decision.
I hope this has value for all of you. It helped me to write about it. Weigh in here, what would writing medium look like to you?
All posts deserve a graphic, and I don’t always include one. I want to be true to my Story Empire compatriots, so I’ll include one here. Write Small included a closeup picture of a lava flow at Craters of the Moon National Monument. Craters is interesting on a medium level too, so here’s another picture I took that stepped back a ways.