Mathemat-itis

Today, we’re joined by YA sci-fi author, S.C. Harvey, who I interviewed a little while back about her debut novel, Sand Castles & Seashores. She talks about her love of math and how it affects, and coincides, with her passion for writing.

* * *

I find it funny when people are shocked to discover that I’m a writer as well as a math geek, it seems counterintuitive to some. But I think the opposite is true. There’s a lot of artistry in the field of mathematics. When you look at a mathematical proof and see it in its entirety, it’s a thing of beauty. Math isn’t just about numbers meshed together in a secret code intended to confuse the general public but a logical progression of steps and procedures in order to arrive at a solution for that problem. That goes beyond the realm of just math. It can be applied to most fields. Think of it as looking through a mathematical lens.

Before I write any story, I have firmly in place the characters. I know them inside and out, how they behave, how they react, what they would and wouldn’t do, what makes them tick. I think it’s important to the reader to see this. It’s usually seen when I do flashbacks into the character’s past just so the reader can see where the characters are coming from and what has happened to them to where they are now. A logical progression of procedures in order to arrive at a solution can be rewritten as a series of events that got them to where they are now. There should be a bell going off, (ding!), there it is.

For me, it’s fundamental that the characters are firmly established. It gives them believability and the reader can get behind them and cheer for them, if not empathize with their struggles and go on that journey with them.

Character creation is only half the equation. The other half is the story itself. I generally start by asking myself some important questions: What is the purpose of the story, thus the purpose of the characters? What is their mission? What struggles would be inherent to such a mission? What creative solution can they come up with to get them out? Why is it important to the characters to see it through? Is the journey compelling? Will this be as entertaining on paper as it is in my head? Gee, I hope so.

Because the plots are largely character driven, they’re unique to those characters. Character development is seen when I write. Each main character is morphed because of their experiences. They’ll change and grow, but not beyond recognition. I guess you can say there is a psychology to my story writing – that added depth as it were. I largely write with series in mind and so the element of depth is necessary otherwise you wouldn’t care enough to keep reading. I know I wouldn’t.

There you have it – my basic approach to writing. My belief is we can be both left and right-brained with the right attitude because the two complement each other harmoniously. And we all possess a measure of both the logical and the beautiful. Both are needed to write a good story.

* * *

I was born during a time of unrest for Cambodia and my family fled to Thailand where we were detained. In time, we came to the United States and lived in Texas, but eventually my mother, brother and I settled in Southern California where I attended grade school and high school, which was where my love of learning began and flourished. Not long after graduation, I made my way to Massachusetts and have since married a wonderful husband. Married with one amazing daughter and a couple of cute pets, I continue to write.

Learn more about Sand Castles & Seashores and S.C. Harvey at her new Facebook page.

1 thought on “Mathemat-itis

  1. J. A. Paul

    “And we all possess a measure of both the logical and the beautiful. Both are needed to write a good story.”

    Well stated! I loved your post today. Thanks

    Reply

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