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Art and Craft: Novel Writing

It takes both to create a novel

I’ve always loved making up stories in the worlds I read about, and as I got older I wrote them down. Now I have the joy of getting them published and sharing them with everyone. Making up stories is not as easy as I used to think, needing the proper structure, grammar, spelling etc. But I find joy in the process.
I always say that writing is art and craft. Art is the creative side which first comes up with the plot, the characters and the world they live in. Once the first draft is done, you switch to the craft and sculpt it into the right shape to be published. Fix the plot holes, the character inconsistencies, the excessive description and insufficient description. That’s called developmental editing.  When it’s nearly there you polish the spelling, grammar, repeated words etc which is line editing. Anyone can make up a story, but it takes a lot of work to make it fit for consumption. Art and craft.
Fiction can be set in history, the present time, or the future. If the world it’s set in is real, you need to do your research. But the nearer to present day and the nearer to home, the easier to write the setting. So the art and craft combine. You might think science fiction world building would be easier to write because you can just make it up. But it has its own challenges. What the author invents has to be believable and consistent, so you need lots of notes. For hard science fiction, the science has to be quite technical as well as plausible, which is why I write soft science fiction.
I’m interested in challenging characters in familiar and unfamiliar situations. I like to create alien species and planets to allow for new challenges. In my current work in progress, the men of various species, including human, have to cope with a Zoan female whose culture practices free sex with anyone. You can imagine the problems this causes, especially with species whose culture thinks that women should stay private!

Ann Marie Thomas authorAnn Marie Thomas is the author of five medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel, Intruders, Alien Secrets & Crisis of Conscience are out now Follow her at