Write Large

Hi, Gang. Craig here again with the conclusion to my bit of free-form thinking.

It all began with Write Small, where we learned to include small details to help readers relate to our characters. These are the split-ends and hangnails of our stories.

Then we moved on to Write Medium, where our main story really lives. This is where your character wants something, even if it isn’t the right thing, and we write about that character’s story on a personal level.

So far it’s a pretty serviceable story. Think of it like a piece of chocolate cake, but wouldn’t that cake be better with a bit of frosting? This is where writing large comes in.

When I write, I try to take on a personal goal that points me toward self improvement. My newest one is called Voyage of the Lanternfish. The goal here was to expand my world-building skills. I allowed myself to drift just a bit more than usual. When I did, something amazing happened.

With simply a line here and there, my story took place on a real world, with real history, and other events happening on a global scale. It didn’t take much either. Maybe a character from a different part of the world, a recruiting poster that’s germane to the story, but for events elsewhere.

The previous posts mentioned a space opera, so let’s keep exploring that. Maybe your character gets news of a huge defeat in the solar system down the block. The pundits are blaming outdated tactics, the same tactics your character is forced to deploy.

Another one might be parked in the bar at some distant outpost, and the televisions all start blacking out, first from solar system A, then B, then-then-then. The alarm sounds and they all scramble for their ships. These other places tell readers there is more going on, and that they’re getting the story of one person’s efforts in a galactic level tale.

I have no experience with series writing, but I can see writing large as a gateway to series work. The environment is larger and it’s vibrant. Maybe there are more stories to tell here.

The story still takes place on the medium scale, with bits of the small scale thrown in too. The large scale is, to repeat myself, the icing on the cake. Just like too much icing can ruin a cake, too much large scale can spoil your story.

I hope you got something out of this series. I know I did. Sometimes getting the words down helps bring things into focus.

The first two posts included some photos I took at Craters of the Moon National Monument. They illustrated the small scale, and the medium. I was going to provide something like a map of the whole thing to help this post along. I decided this image might provide a better visual angle.

There it is right there, north of the Great Salt Lake. You can see it, can’t you?

38 thoughts on “Write Large

  1. Pingback: Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links – Staci Troilo

  2. Really enjoyed this series, Craig. I’m like Staci, I enjoy writing a series and it’s hard for me to write stand-alone novels, which is what I had planned for my first novel. A single idea turned into something much larger. I’m planning a new series once the last book of the current one is finished.

    BTW, not sure I spotted the Great Salt Lake, but I love that visual!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved this series of posts, Craig. You really nailed the nuances of each. And your visuals were spot-on.

    I especially like your thoughts about writing large relating to series writing. I’ve used that technique when writing my own series, and I think (I hope) that’s how it came out.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Write Large | Ann Writes Inspiration

  5. I really enjoyed this series, Craig. I never stopped to ponder writing small, middle, or large before. The parallels you drew in each section were excellent for emphasis. The cake frosting in this one was ideal and drove the point home.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post, Craig. I’d say that you definitely accomplished your goal of world-building in the Lanternfish, and that was one of my comments in my review. You expanded the world you created each time a new character or monster was added. Considering the time period of this story, which I pictured to be maybe around the 1600s(?) you did an amazing job of showing us different cultures, even down to the hooch they drank! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jan. What would a pirate tale be without hooch? What surprised me was how little is needed to make the world feel expansive. The wanted posters were printed somewhere. The creature we don’t see on Halfrid’s island home. Even George’s cute pet. That kind of thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Write Small | Story Empire

  8. Pingback: Write Medium | Story Empire

  9. Great series. As someone who does series and ‘writes big’ as you describe, I think you hit the nail on the head. Saying it’s a little here and there is true and people don’t always realize that. Many just go for the big flood of information in one go and then leave it at that. Occasionally repeating the same world-building tidbit can help too.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. My current WIP is forcing me to include some of the large, as what happens on one planet has to affect the other five in the system, and I need to show that, even if only with a small snippet here and there. Thanks for a great series of posts, Craig 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. This is going to take a bit to wrap my head around. I’ve got the small and medium (or what I call micro and meso) worked out, but writing large… I admit I tend to shy away from the large. Maybe now it’s been drawn to my attention I can ponder on it a bit more in my writing!

    Liked by 4 people

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