Post Title: Opportunities to Share my RP Knowledge
Tapping into Experience
I love to network with other authors—not only those who write memoir but also those who write romance novels and fiction, in general. The exchange of ideas is wonderful! I learn a lot about topics I wouldn’t seek out on my own, which enables me to widen my own understanding of the world and even uniquely constructed worlds that exist only in fantasy.
Right now I’m learning about the human and political elements in the Spanish American War in the 1800s, about a whole other environment of people being teleported into other fantasy worlds through a kitchen drain or painting, a true-to-life romance through a mafia-kind of crime family, and how one overcomes bullying before bullying became a topic to reckon with. I’ve read WWI novellas about the life of pilots, and I’m reading a faith-inspired historical romance in the late 1800s. That’s just in my immediate critique group!
It’s interesting how and where authors do research about the era, the characters and how that impacts their plots. One author I know watches tons of videos on very minute details, such as British pilot uniforms in WW I. She listens to the vocabulary, sees the actual uniform, while looking at the ages of the pilots, survival rate. Her research can be tedious, she said, but also essential in creating a historically accurate novel. She pointed out how you don’t want your readers to “catch you out” on an error because you didn’t do enough research. You will lose credibility.
Police officers speak to writers’ groups all the time about crime scenes in novels. We have a talented ex-police officer writer in our critique group who weighs in on police matters within the stories presented in the group. Another author also went to the morgue to understand what that’s like. Authors who take the time to do both online and experiential research care about their message and being accurate. I really admire that.
Giving Input on Blind Matters
I belong to an inspirational, faith-based group of fiction writers and readers, and I am exposed to all kinds of novels. The leader of the group wrote a story in which her main character lost her sight. She asked me to give her feedback on the “blind” elements of her novel. As I mentioned, an author can research aspects online but it’s the experience that brings it together for him or her.
It was a privilege to be in a position to provide feedback. I was also fortunate to belong to a sight support group where I could find another person with sight loss who still rode horses. Being able to connect the author with the blind horseback rider also encouraged the writer. She wanted to ensure the part about riding horses while blind was authentic. What a thrill it was to create that other connection. With all her extensive online research and our input, the author felt confident to release her book, knowing her main character’s actions and behavior was true-to-life.
I have read a few books that feature blind characters inaccurately. One best-selling author portrays the main character as someone who seems to have super-human strength to escape kidnappers and also some kind of super-sonic hearing to accomplish another feat along with a photographic memory. Right. It’s unlikely she would have all those characteristics.
Second Opportunity to Share
A little over a week ago, an author I’ve known for more than a decade wrote and asked me for input on the main character who has Retinitis Pigmentosa in her novel. (The author does not have the condition). Being asked to contribute my ideas was really cool! I was able to share RP-specific facts and other aspects of sight loss, such as how O & M (Orientation and Mobility) trainers emphasize using your cane to navigate rather than counting steps. Plus, I got to read a really fun plotline!
I feel like I’ve grown to be able to share my experiences about vision loss. Up until 2008, it was something I never openly discussed. How far I’ve come! My critique group leader also mentioned how it takes strength to write about our vulnerabilities, I never thought about it, but it does. I open myself up hoping and trusting that others will be encouraged by my own admissions—the embarrassment that sometimes comes, the tough aspects of sight loss I’ve handled, and continue to cope with.
I’m thrilled God has brought me to this place of understanding and confidence, where I can share my experiences with my readers and other authors! God says when we are weak, He makes us strong. We are strong in His power, and God can use us for His purposes.
All Experts in Some Area
We are all experts in various areas of our lives – musical abilities, crafting, gardening, knowing of a local area, boating, sewing, cooking, to name a few. Other areas delve into the unseen, such as mental health, psychology, motivation, etc. If we pool our expertise together, we can each grow in knowledge. My critique group leader says we all contribute to the successful writing of our group members by sharing our individual expertise.
What is your area of expertise? Have you thought of untapped areas of expertise in your life? Who do you share your knowledge with?
You have just read “Opportunities to Share my RP Knowledge” by Amy L. Bovaird ©May 4, 2021. All rights reserved.