Short story and flash fiction collections make excellent presents, of course, especially if the people you are buying for have eclectic tastes in fiction. Also, collections can be a great way of trying an author out before going on to enjoy their longer works.
So do put all
kinds of books on your present/wish lists but don’t forget the collections!
Fairytales With Bite – Books and Their Importance
All of my lovely guests for my CFT series What Books Mean To Me have rightly stressed how important books are to them.
What books are important to your characters and why? Are there books they must read?
Are any books banned and, if so, which ones and why? Is there a kind of “read-easy” mirroring the speak-easies of the American Prohibition era?
In your setting, are books, writers, publishers, librarians etc cherished or seen as potential threats? Not everyone welcomes knowledge being freely available to anyone. (Oh how I wish that was only true for fictional set-ups!).
Which formats are books available in? Are books easy enough for most to buy?
Hopefully answering at least some of those points will trigger story ideas.
This World and Others – Worldviews
When you set up a fictional world, what is the dominant worldview of that setting? In my flash fiction, I have to focus on my character(s) and their attitudes as the word count restricts your room for manoeuvre here. (You can imply worldview though).
For longer fiction, you need to decide what it is your readers really need to know here. Do they just need the worldview of your main characters as it affects their behaviour, or do they need the worldview of the setting so readers can see if your characters are “normal” or not compared to that?
Whatever you decide here, do drip feed things into your fiction. Leave some gaps so readers can put two and two together for themselves. One of the best ways of showing a worldview is in the attitudes and actions of your characters.