Karen Traviss

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Karen Traviss

Goodreads Author


Born
The United Kingdom
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Member Since
June 2014


#1 New York Times best-selling novelist, scriptwriter and comics author Karen Traviss has received critical acclaim for her award-nominated Wess'har series, and her work on Halo, Gears of War, Batman, G.I. Joe, and other major franchises has earned her a broad range of fans. She's best known for military science fiction, but GOING GREY and BLACK RUN, the first books in her new techno-thriller series RINGER, are set in the real world of today. A former defence correspondent and TV and newspaper journalist, she lives in Wiltshire, England. She's currently working on SACRIFICIAL RED, the third book in the Ringer series, and a new comic franchise.

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Karen Traviss 1. Don't blog/ FB/ Tweet about writing. (Unless you're marketing an actual book, of course.) Just write your novel and get it finished.
2. For those of…more
1. Don't blog/ FB/ Tweet about writing. (Unless you're marketing an actual book, of course.) Just write your novel and get it finished.
2. For those of you still in education: pay attention to your grammar teacher but ignore everything the Eng Lit one says. (Well, except what you need to parrot to pass exams.) Whatever they tell you a writer "means," they're almost certainly wrong.
3. You can't teach someone to write, i.e. to tell a story. You're either a storyteller or you aren't. But you can develop your technique, only part of which is your language skills.
4. Don't confuse writing style with story. The words are just tools. The aim is to write only what the reader needs to enable them to feel they're involved in the world you've created, not to jerk them out of it with groundbreaking use of adverbs or sentence fragments.
5. Writing fiction is about people. Invest time in talking to them and having your own experiences. Live a bit. Observe a lot. The actual writing bit is just the output, and only part of the overall process.
6. Do proper research, and not by relying on wikis or what other writers have written. Get out and talk to people who've done the stuff you want to write about – nothing beats primary sources. And you *will* have to do research, because writing about yourself and your anxieties might be great therapy but it's probably only good for one book, if that. The best stories are all outside yourself.
7. Ideas are ten a penny, and ideas aren't stories. Every idea has been done before, one way or another. The real story is in the execution – the way you tell it. (less)
Karen Traviss No, they didn't.

I'm *very* picky about dialogue because it's a pillar of characterisation, so if I write an American character, they sound American…more
No, they didn't.

I'm *very* picky about dialogue because it's a pillar of characterisation, so if I write an American character, they sound American both in dialogue and narrative. (All of a scene is the character's POV, not just the dialogue.) The same goes for all nationalities in my fiction. In this case, the characters weren't bound by nationality, so I made them sound like the blokes I was used to talking to in the British armed forces. That wasn't just the jargon, it was the attitude and mindset as well.

I have occasionally been asked by editors on other books to make those kinds of changes and I've refused. The characters are the way they are for a reason, and readers are smart enough to cope with differences between cultures, whether they're based on nationality, age, or whatever. It's part of the colour and texture of storytelling. Editors try to dumb down books too often, which is a bit insulting to the customer. In my experience, readers are intelligent and also more than capable of using a dictionary to look up terms they've not understood! :)

And thank you for the kind comments. I'm glad you're enjoying the books.(less)
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More books by Karen Traviss…
Two years ago, I lost a very dear friend way too young. It’s taken time to work out how to sum up a life like his, but here’s a tribute to the remarkable Sean Baggaley: writer, musician, game dev, polymath, and outstanding human being.

https://tinyurl.com/ya5gq8l5
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Karen Traviss made a comment on Moving platforms
" Julian wrote: "Hello, nice to see you here, much more civilised the FB ;-)"

And a much easier interface to follow!
"
Karen Traviss made a comment on Believe
" I'll try the manga, then! "
Karen Traviss made a comment on Calling for backup
" With that, my assorted job background, WWII history interest, and a few other things, I had the complete skill set for Sera. :) "
More of Karen's books…
“Ugliness is an illusion, gentlemen. Like beauty. Like color. All depends on the light. The only reality is action.”
Karen Traviss, True Colors

“So you want a knife, a nice sharp knife. You hone that blade to its limits. It even cuts through stone when you want it to. It saves your life. And then you're outraged when it cuts you accidentally. You see, knives don't switch off. And neither do people, not when you hone them to a fine edge.”
Karen Traviss

“If you take a shot at someone, you keep firing until they can no longer return fire. Wound them, and you have an angry enemy who knows your position.”
Karen Traviss

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“I know genes are a big deal, son, but they're not the be-all and end-all." Rob slowed to a halt at the lights, wishing the dickhead behind would back off. "If they were, you'd be in a seafood salad and I'd be in prison.”
Karen Traviss, Going Grey

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