Guest Post: The Invisible Line by Chanda Stafford

by - Friday, May 24, 2013

Hello lovelies! Here's a guest post from Chanda Stafford, author of First (Book One of the Live Once Trilogy). Check it out; she's going to talk about "The Invisible Line"... Read on. Also, there's a giveaway at the end of this post. Be sure to enter. It will be fun!

There’s a mark in the sand between the pages of every book I’ve ever read. It’s not a tangible line, and the author most certainly didn’t insert a border across the page. But even though you can’t see it, this line is one of the most critical aspects of every novel.

I’ve heard it referred to before as believability. Authors have to craft a world so clear, so visual, that readers buy into it from the very beginning. After all, if they didn’t, why would anyone buy the book in the first place?

Most of the time, you don’t even consciously recognize that you’ve bought into a novel until something happens to upset that balance. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that critical moment when you go from loving a book to immediately thrusting it away from you, chucking it against the wall, or backing over it repeatedly with your car. For example, let’s just say you’ve read three semi-palatable vampire books in a series only to get to the fourth where you find out an intensely moody young werewolf is now madly in love with a naive teenage girl’s unborn child. This explanation, of course, is supposed to clearly explain his obsession with said naive teenage girl for the past several years. Yeah, that book instantly became chuck-worthy and might have accidently met its demise at the bottom of a lake after being weighted down with bricks.

As a reader, I’ll accept just about anything: dragons, unicorns, ghosts, even rainbow farting bunny rabbits, if I’m asked. If the bunnies are being preyed upon by a vicious hawk and one rabbit rises up to save the day - yeah, I can believe that. But give one of those bunnies fangs, a machete, and the accent of Morgan Freeman as he traipses through Wal-Mart dismembering mannequins and you’ve lost me, especially if he has glasses and a lightning bolt shaped scar. The story has to make some sort of sense, even if it could never happen in the real world.

As a writer, it’s about knowing your world. You created this monster, so own it. Know every aspect of it. Write down all the details. Every. Last. One. And then, when your future masterpiece is finished, have your beta readers tear it apart. A good beta reader is worth his or her weight in adamantium, especially if they’re not afraid to point out problems and mistakes. It’s not just about changing a character’s name mid-story and forgetting to fix it elsewhere (yeah, I did that), or killing someone off only to have them come back to life because I forgot I killed them off (I did that, too). It’s about avoiding things like having your fluffy, bright pink dragons drive taxis and dive off ten-meter platforms because that’s the only way they can save the summer squash from being trampled by a giant ogre. That one was just an example, honest.

We all have different thresholds of what we believe and what turns us off of a book. We’re all unique, after all. Something that bothers me might be peachy with you, and vice versa. But I’m sure most of us would agree that there is a line there, somewhere, in the sand that shouldn’t be crossed. The key to that is knowing your world, remembering your character’s names, and making sure none of them fall in love with a fetus.


Chandra Stafford is currently on blog tour for her newly released young adult dystopian novel, First. Here's the cover and book description:

Guest post: Chandra Stafford
Buy it now: 

Seventeen-year-old Mira works on a farm in the ruins of Texas, along with all of the other descendants of the defeated rebels. Though she’s given her heart to Tanner, their lives are not their own.

When Socrates, a powerful First, chooses Mira as his Second, she is thrust into the bewildering world of the rich and influential. Will, a servant assigned to assist her, whispers of rebellion, love, and of a darker fate than she’s ever imagined.

With time running out, Mira must decide whether to run to the boy she left behind, to the boy who wants her to live, or to the man who wants her dead.

About the Author: 

Photo courtesy of Red Adept Publishing
Chanda Stafford teaches middle and high school English. She loves traveling and currently lives in Michigan with her husband and a menagerie of rescued dogs and cats.

When she’s not reading or writing, Chanda enjoys old zombie movies, authentic Italian food, and comic books.


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4 Dazzling Comments

  1. Can't wait to read the full thing once I can get my hands on it!

  2. Thanks for having me on your blog!

  3. Thanks for letting me write a guest post for your blog!

    1. Hi Chanda. You are very welcome :) Thank you as well for this. The post is very interesting - and very true.

      "The story has to make some sort of sense, even if it could never happen in the real world." -- I definitely agree.