Lessons from My Reading

M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

On Being a Bad Girl

Trivia:  The director of the Northern Colorado Writers has written a pertinent blog on focusing.  [http://the-writing-bug.blogspot.com/]  I even agree with her.  Strongly agree, in fact.

So, what am I doing?  You got it.  Unfocusing.  

I'm supposed to be finishing Yasmine Galenorn's Legend of the Jade Dragon, a beautiful little mystery I'm enjoying a lotSo, on Saturday night, I started re-reading Laurell K. Hamilton's Burnt Offerings, an Anita Blake novel before the ardour (sp) reared its sexy head.  I was just going to check the opening ... to see how she placed her "hook".  It's Monday, and I'm still reading.  Still reading Galenorn too.

In the meantime, I skimmed through a "thesis" of a sort on medieval interpretations of out of body experiences.  Purpose:  to see if it  held any pertinent ideas for my interpretations of elves and fairies.  It didn't.

Writing Lessons:  While Hamilton's opening with the comparison of battle scars hooked me the first time I read the book,  this time, I glomed  onto another aspect of her writing -- her incorporating her descriptions in the course of the dialog.  Galenorn does it well too.

Random Hamliton (Anita Blake as narrator):

"'I'm so glad you've come,' he said.  'I tried to take care of them, but I couldn't. ...'  His shoulder had healed enough that he covered his eyes with his hand so we couldn't see him cry, but his voice was thick with tears, as well as blood."

"Zerbrowski met me on the steps leading into the squad room.  'If that dress was slit any higher, it'd be a shirt,' he said." 

Random Galenorn (Emerald O'Brien as narrator):

"'What a pretty box.'  I could feel a wave of emotion wash off Horvald as I spoke." 

"She pumped my hand like she was trying to jack up a car.  'Pleased to meet you.  Cathy Sutton. ...'"

Then there was: [Galenorn, again]

"'Oh, yes it can"  I told her about the two times we'd caught it in action.  'I was going to wait until we reached the resort to tell you about the visions, but I might as well tell you now.'  I detailed the two scenarios I'd witnessed while holding the statue."  

-- [I thought the above was a clever way of bringing another character up to speed without dragging in a lot of explanation.] 

Progress:  I did a re-review of a chapter of Tangled and submitted it to its critique group, but not much else.

Emma.  Ditto, except it was two chapters since they are so short.  I'm now working on Emma more than Tangled.  I'm tasting the end.

Now for the bad girl part:  I decided to revise a short story I had out for submission.  It's gathered some nice editorial comments, but no check.  

So, I went back and looked at it.   Aaargh!  While I try to write dialog like the above.  The first couple pages had several examples of showing the action, then telling what I showed.  Granted it wasn't as bad as the stuff I'm removing from Tangled, but still ....  You'd think I'd've learned to notice the fault the first edit around by now.



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