Seriously. We, as writers, call ourselves this without really thinking about the meaning. You, as a reader, are probably thinking, "Well, obviously a writer is somebody who spends their life writing about things."
But what things? And how do we, or I, as a writer, get you to actually believe in my writing and be entertained enough by the subject matter to go from beginning to end without getting bored? The answer is: Immediate reality.
What is Immediate Reality? If you've spent any amount of time studying the art of storytelling, you know that this is the thing that makes or breaks a book. Making it real is just as important as having a story. In fact, the story and the sense of immediate reality is everything. For example, we all read stories about fantasy, science-fiction, the paranormal, the dystopian, and the historical. When we think back to our favorite books, they're the ones that give us the most immersive experience, regardless of how wild they are. We become sucked into the immediate reality; the things that make the story so incredibly real that you read that and go, "Yes. I believe that. Even though it's a book about apes becoming more dangerous than humans and taking over the planet, I still believe that. It's got immediate reality." (Read: Planet of the Apes...am I the only person fascinated by that book?)
These are the three things that will infuse Immediate Reality into your writing:
- Sense of Place. I like to read about real places and things in a book. Sights and sounds that actually exist will have your readers going, "Oh, I've seen that!" or "I've always wanted to go there!" This will make it real to them. But wait. Your story is set on an alien planet? Then skip to bullet point number two.
- Relate to Your Readers, People! So what if you're flying a spaceship to Mars? Who cares if you're actually half-mermaid and in love with a werewolf? This may not happen to the average person (hopefully), but how can you make this total fantasy real? Even out your fiction with reality. When I wrote my novel, State of Emergency, I set the story around what happens to one girl when the country turns into a tyrannical police state after a mysterious EMP destroys everything she knows. It's a fantastic situation, right? But she deals with it realistically, and does things everybody else would do: she eats, she sleeps, she complains, she goes on and on about how much she misses fast food. Real stuff. She does things the average person would, which makes her relatable to the readers.
- Don't Lose Your Voice. Last time I posted, I talked about finding your voice as a writer. So once you find it, combine it with the two elements above. Your voice, plus a realistic sense of location and a relatable character and situation for your readers will be a home run every time.
Writing is a rare and interesting niche. It's the ability of one person to tell a story and make their readers become that story. Writers make you feel things - it gives you an emotional high or low. But that can only happen if the writing is authentic, and immediate reality - although it can be a difficult animal to tame - will give you the edge you need to be a bestselling author! :)