I met Diana Gabaldon at a writer’s conference and attended a workshop she taught about story immersion.
Two things resonated so much with me that I actually wrote them down. I know!!
The first was, “Start with your story and let your setting catch up with it.”
This is such helpful advice. So often when we write we feel like we need to do everything at once — ground your story in its place and time, draw a compelling character that readers will care about immediately, and pull readers into the action. In the first three pages.
It was nice to be told to settle down and take things slower. Phew.
The second thing she said that I loved was, “Every person reads a different book even though it has the same cover.”
She meant that we all come to a book with different perspectives. It’s why we can reread the same book at different ages and it can seem like a different book altogether. When we’re young we might identify with Hermione Granger, but as an adult we might be more empathetic to Dumbledore or Mrs Weasley.
Diana Gabaldon also spoke at length about her writing process, which was so different from mine I got heart palpitations and sweaty palms just hearing about it. Mind you, I LOVE hearing about other author’s writing divinations, and sometimes I can borrow a tidbit or two from them. But not hers! She is wholly unique in how she tackles the page. Man-o-man it works for her, though.
If you ever get a chance to hear her speak, take it!
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