by: Staci Stallings
If you took high school Chemistry, you may recall how in lab you were given assignments in which you took various chemicals, mixed them a certain way, and their bonding created a different substance. Theoretically you could take 2 hydrogen atoms and mix them with 1 oxygen atom, and the result would be water.
There were other experiments where you would mix two things, and the result was a separation or rearrangement of chemicals. For example, if you throw sodium or potassium in water, you really should have some safety measures in place for the explosion that will follow.
I recently told my sixth grade life skills class that by and large, we have taken the actual “experimenting” part out of so-called in-school lab experiments. Instead, what we now have are recipes. In middle school and high school, students are not encouraged to truly experiment. Instead, they are given a series of instructions to bring about an already-defined result.
True experiments would be to start throwing elements into a beaker and see what happens.
That’s why I think what I do in writing is much closer to a true experiment than what they do in high school labs nowadays.
I take various elements and put them together–sometimes by design and sometimes quite by accident–and see what happens.
For example, elements in my current series include:
music — instrumental such as guitars, piano, keyboard, and drums as well as vocal
poetry — both lyrical and word art
art — both appreciated in the form of learning about it as well as the actual painting of it
film — several characters study film in college, which includes watching films, discerning comparisons, and writing papers
dance — though not an overly-used medium in this series, two of the characters are now learning to swing dance
psychology — learning about self and the workings of the mind, at least three characters have taken or will take a psychology class
religion — multiple characters have been directly instructed by pastors and their wives
to that you can add (or subtract) the various settings and venues such as:
various work places
and activities and hobbies such as basketball and football games, trampolining, and snowball fights
as well as everyday life events such as
In all honesty, it’s been super-fun to watch all the elements mix and match, separate and come back together to form a whole that alone they could have never been.
It’s a lot like the six friends that this 10-book series follows because at various times, they come together for common purposes and then break apart as challenges happen. Fights, discussions, resolutions… All the elements that make up real life. How about that?
So, dear readers, what elements do you most like to read about? Is there one that is really a magnet to get you to buy and read? Do you care about the elements at all, or is it only a matter of whether it’s a good story? And have you ever read a story where the “experiment” just didn’t work at all? Without naming names, what about it did you think didn’t work?
Conversely, have you ever read a book that the experiment just took your breath away for its perfection?
In short, what’re your thoughts and experiences with story elements and experiments when it comes to romance and fiction? What chemical reactions make your heart beat a little faster or explode like sodium in water?
Spill, dear readers! I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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