As I'm away on holiday right now, Oliver Dahl, who blogs at The Dreamers Adventures, is here with a guest post. Presumably, if you're reading my blog, you're a bookworm - so here for your viewing pleasure is a post about how reading tastes translated into his work as a self-published author. Enjoy, and be sure to check out his blog on July 13th for my post on how to write dynamic characters - and stick around on his blog for a look, you might like it!
It doesn't take long as a writer to hear the tossed-around phrase, "write the kind of book you would want to read."
When I first started (trying!) writing books, I hadn't heard of this writer adage. I almost discovered it on me own, though under different words and ideas. This was around the fourth or fifth grade.
"Little kid" me wanted to read a book. And not just any book, something with dragons, twin boys, characters like me that I could connect to, and dwarves and elves of my own variation. I wanted to read something that had a colorful, vibrant, unique, and constantly changing setting. I wanted to read a book with magic, and a wizard, and a desert, with a rickety old bridge like in Indiana Jones. I wanted to read a book that, quite frankly, didnt exist.
No matter how hard my little heart looked for something like this, I couldn't find anything. Sure, there were books that were close, and aspects of those books added more little things to my list of things I wanted in would I thought would be a perfect book. When I realized that no such book really existed down to the minute details that I wanted, I realized that I could write it. I could write that "perfect" book. And maybe other kids like me would want to read it. And that's how it all started. I still have the crinkled pieces of notebook-paper that the first pages had been written on.
If you haven't been able to tell already, I have quite a few tastes that I look to satisfy in the books that I read. Oftentimes, I joke about the length of the self-filed genre of my first book, The Dreamers. I classify it as "Modern YA scifi fantasy adventure." What a mouthful. Now if I could only fit in action and "contains cheesy knock-knock jokes" in there somewhere. Hmm...
If we take that adage I first quoted, and apply it right now, you can assume that because I wrote a book in that genre, I enjoy reading in that genre as well. And you would be absolutely correct. Michael Vey, by Richard Paul Evans is another book I would classify in that long genre. I absolutely love fantasy, science fiction, YA, Dystopian fiction, and most subgenres between. My favorite "genre" however, is a mixture of all of these set in modern times. Rick Riordan is a great example of this. Suzanne Collins' "Underland Chronicles" is another. I love how almost believable their stories are. You can make yourself believe that Camp Half Blood exists. You don't know for sure that it doesn't. And that is what I love. Wheras in generic fantasy fiction set in the typical medieval ages, you know it didn't happen because of history books. (The dragons are a little bit of a clue, too...) And, if not for the Doctor or time travel, we could rule out our scifi as impossible as well. It's the slim chance of possibility that draws me in to modern fiction.
"So you're saying... There's a chance?" :)
Alright, I'm getting sidetracked. Like I have mentioned in a post of mine, I think that everything that we write comes from somewhere else. Everything we write comes from other stories that we have seen, read, listened to, and experienced. It is my belief that if we never experienced anything, heard, read, or saw any form of any story, we would be unable to write. Due to the fact that most of the stories I read as a kid were fantasy, scifi, and fiction in general, those stories that I experienced and enjoyed became stored into me.
The things that I have read really are the things that I write. Mixed together with my own experience in my mind like a blender, I make new idea "smoothies" from every story I know. And again, because most of those stories I know are fiction, most of my smoothies are, too. To keep going with this rather strange smoothie metaphor, if my most of my ingredients are berries, (fiction) then most of my resulting smoothie is going to be, too.
Well, I guess that's it for now. I hope my rambling and impromptu smoothie-metaphor-filled, button-pushing made sense. I hope that before you leave, though, you'll check out some of my smoothies. Er, I mean... Books. That's right. :)
Born in 1998, Oliver Dahl is the oldest of five children and lives in Idaho. Previous to finishing middle school, The Dreamers had earned him the a spot as one of Idaho's Top 50 Idaho authors (2011). The title of Idaho's Student of the Year (2012) preceded both the publication of Dahl's second novel, The Nightmarers, and the completion of his freshman year of high school. Oliver's books have spent time in the top percentages of books on Amazon.com. Authors like Brandon Mull, Obert Skye, and Richard Paul Evans own autographed copies and have expressed interest in The Dreamers. Dahl is also an awarded musician and engineer. He has as twice as many Oscars as Leonardo DiCaprio, and has won the Tour de France as many times as Lance Armstrong.
He can be found in too many places online.
Website BETA: www.oliverdahl.weebly.com
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DeviantArt: See what I'm drawing over at www.oliverwdahl.deviantart.com
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