Writers' Ways 6: Fact, Fiction, and Fantasy

Writers' Ways 6: Fact, Fiction, and Fantasy
Photo by Alysha Rosly / Unsplash

As you set off down the road of writing, you need to decide which way to go. Are you writing factually about yourself or matters you have knowledge of? Are you making up a story, possibly developed from areas and people you have met in your life? Are you interested in fantasy, maybe fairy stories, science fiction, or a magical world?

Reading inspires writing

Consider the writing which you enjoy reading. This may give you direction as to where you feel comfortable taking the early steps in your creative writing. Perhaps think of examples of works which you considered to be poor. Why do you think that? And how could you ‘do better’?

Is this writing business all ‘a storm in a teacup’, a fuss about nothing? And can anyone write? Of course you can, but the question is: Do You?

And are you writing for the fun of it? Are you writing solely for yourself? Are you writing because you want people to understand you?

The stormy knot

Speaking of storms, when curating my collection of creative works based on knots of wood, one knot made me think of a storm.

©Christine Hawthorne 2010

With this knot, I could almost feel the power of the wind blowing as a storm passed through. It inspired me to paint, and to write:

©Christine Hawthorne 2010
©Christine Hawthorne 2010

Storms in memory

The power of storms, as showcased in the poem above, invoked memories from across decades.

1952 — A seven-year-old: “Mum, Mum, Mum. What is it? What’s happening?” A little child, woken up in the dark of night by the loudest bang ever experienced. How could anything be so loud; what could be that noisy? The first experience of thunder and lightning.

1962 — A London smog: “I’m fresh up from the country, where we don’t do smog.” What is this stuff? Where’s it come from? It tastes disgusting. Yes, tastes. It gets everywhere. We have to go out to work. Yet, we cannot see a hand in front of the face, let alone another person or the bus. Please can we have a wind, some rain, something to clear the air?

1982 — The flash flood: “It’s the sort of thing you read about in papers.” It happens somewhere else. Except this time, it didn’t. I don’t think anyone had seen a fleet of little boats on the village green before. Since our experience, I’m more aware of the same thing happening elsewhere, and I do feel for the people affected.

15/10/1987 — Our very own hurricane: “No it wasn’t.” “Yes it was.” Well, when I woke up in the morning I thought it had been a bit windy, but nothing too dramatic, until I put the radio on and the news seemed quite unbelievable. Sadly, in some areas, lives were lost. Scenes of devastation; beautiful woodland flattened; houses damaged; cars damaged; sea walls breached; flooding in towns and countryside, were traumatic.

Boxing Day 2004 — Tsunami: “Mum, where’s Stephen?” A village in France. A mobile phone rings at approximately 8 a.m. The mobile phone is never on overnight, especially in France.

“Mum, where’s Stephen?”
“Indonesia I think.”
“You’d better put the TV on.”

I will say little more, apart from we were two extremely lucky parents. Fortunately for us, he’d been on a trek to see Komodo dragons, one of the ‘must dos’ on his world travel adventure. After the trek, he had decided to stay south rather than head north to Thailand for Christmas. In the end, we knew about the Tsunami before he did. It was an event we will never forget and emotions were in turmoil because, for a time, we simply did not know.

Something to ponder

And so, back to business. All I have written about above, albeit the abridged version, are factual stories which I am sharing with you.  For me I enjoy reading about other people’s experience of life. A murder mystery can be very absorbing. Poetry emotive. A play best seen acted out.

Take time to consider the writing which you enjoy reading. And also the writing which you do not enjoy. What is the reason for the difference?

Definitions from the  Chambers Concise dictionary:

Fact — a truth / reality / a real state of things…

Fantasy — a story or film not based on real characters or setting / imagination / mental image…

Fiction — an invented or false story / a supposition that a thing is true, which is either certainly not true or at least is as probably false as it is true…

Sometimes looking up such words helps both to clarify our understanding and focus on which channel we want to take. ~Our personal ‘comfort zone’. As the picture says at the beginning of this blog: Creativity takes Courage.