Writing Literacy

Yup, it’s official. Literacy is everywhere.

I apologise for the break between posts. I really did intend to deliver. But, life threw an array of ‘crap’ pellets and I’m still trying to burn them off. The break may have done me some good because I’m not sure what the below actually means. Hang on. That’s right, I was prattling on about info literacy. There was a focus on characters… hmm. I get the first bit but the second?

For your fiction

Identify – fiction facts for your characters

For your writing tools

Identify – what writing and editing tools you may need for your character

Fiction Facts

The great thing about fiction facts is that 1. you can use Wiki and 2. you don’t need to understand any facts you read and 3. different perspectives on a theory actually help.

You can use Wiki – Peer-Worship

Sorry Wiki, no insult intended (and I give you money every year so I really do appreciate your service). The truth of the matter is that unlike writing an academic article (agh, I’ve assignments coming up) you can access Wiki, pluck stuff out, play with it and it doesn’t matter if the material is peer-reviewed. Just keep in mind copyright – that’s the downside to any writing research.

Even if facts are wrong in Wiki it may actually give you a new idea, spearhead you off into a different direction or just inspire you to add to/modify Wiki instead of doing your writing.

And, another danger is that you may look silly – but it’s okay, because it’ll just be your characters who look silly.

You don’t need to get it

This is my fave. You can read science journals, magazines or a text book AND not get it! But it may be that something remains in your brain. You go to sleep and your brain whisks the info (in my case it’s just barely stirred) and your mind-factory has built you a bunch of fiction facts that are smooth (lumpy) and concise (jumbled). Awesome.

There is a danger here though that if you don’t get it, and it’s important to your story, you may get lazy and not go into enough detail, or cause the whole ‘the reader can’t suspend disbelief’ – don’t want that to happen. You may try to avoid how John got to planet Z because working out space travel/time*acceleration effects = disaster was too hard. You could try just watching other sci-fi shows – Time Tunnel, Battlestar Galactica, Lost in Space, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Star Trek, Firefly, Star Gate, Red Dwarf (should watch this regardless), Thunderbirds… you get the picture.

Different perspectives

This can’t hurt, right? But have a serious think about this and not just for how you write in terms of POVs. If you have ever studied theories in ‘things’ then you may be able to add a level to your otherwise bland story. For example, let’s check out Wiki.



It may kill you reading and extracting these ‘fact-isms’ (I mean, they aren’t really facts) for your fiction manipulation but hey, it’s for a good cause. So, if you have read theories on *-ism, and you’ve lived to tell the tale, then think how you could change the perspective of a single character, or an entire culture.

It could be useful when trying to develop an antagonist, or give a good character some annoying interesting traits.

The End

Now, I’m not making promises anymore. But when I write my next post I plan to turn all this around (don’t use Wiki, understand your facts and definitely don’t read up on weird theories – they could seriously warp your mind).

See ya next time.

Atomic Hughes.

Image by © Can Stock Photo / GoodIdeas

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