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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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Written More than I can Chew???

Lessons from My Reading:  I've been reading best sellers lately.  (Wishful thinking?  Nah, I think I'm too much of a realist for that.)  Anyway, I picked up Jude Deveraux's Lavender Morning at the grocery storeThey make it easy to find best sellers.  1-10 are shelved in a row at the head of the book section.  

I'm guessing the book is what is known as "women's fiction" with a slight mystery about the secret of the MC's parentage while she's finding "true love" and "happily ever after".  The mystery isn't solved by the MC, but by the men in her life and delivered like a game carcass  -- something I think is a weak point considering the MC is a fairly strong woman.  Obviously, millions disagree with me.  So, what?  Different people look for different things in the books they read.  I only ask a writer capture my interest and keep it when I want to fall asleep.  The other hurtle?  Drowning out the evening news.

I' m beginning to wonder if writing 500 page books is a qualifier for becoming a best seller.  I'm not complaining about padding here.  Both O'Connell and Deveraux tell their stories in an efficient manner ... like they don't bog down in the verbiage.  -- You'll know when I start feeling paranoid ... when I start complaining that best selling authors are stealing resources from the wanna-bes ... like the delegates at Copenhagen.

Lavender Morning did have an interesting construction.  A major plot twist happened about every 100 pages ... or about every fifth.  So much for the three act structure.  Deveraux hit my soft spot for depictions of small town life with decently drawn characters -- even if I thought them a little cliched.  But I guess that's what goes with the territory.  Like reading the short stories in the women's magazines in the 50-60s.  --  Never thought of the form surviving in books after the magazine fiction had died.  Interesting.

The book made me consider the plot/characters in Mariah (Dark Solstice).  The fantasy has many of the elements of Lavender Morning ... if you take out the elven magic, genetic drift, border conflicts, and political plotting.  Talk about making a manuscript unsellable!  The relationship stuff, not the other.  (I should also add multiple viewpoints showing how different factions view the same events.  Probably, makes it even more unsellable.)


Progress:  I'm slow on the uptake.  Just noticed all I'm trying to do amidst the Christmas mess.

Emma ... Still in revision -- some chapters more than others.  I think I'm working around chapter 20 or so.  Ten more to go.  I'm beginning to think I might run it up the flag pole at the beginning of the year, ie send it out to a couple agents.  Which means trying to decide to send to not-so-dream-agents or to the ones I'd drool if they wanted to look at even a partial.  --  After working on adult novels, it feels like I'm doing the quick-step.

Demons aka the Gargoyles ... Really not thinking about them while the agents consider their ejections ...  though Britt and Cahal think they should have a sequel set when they are older.

Mariah and her discovery that her granddaughter wasn't the idiot, the child's maternal grandfather claimed...  I still don't quite believe it's a trunk novel.  Rather it's some sort of strange hybrid.  A fantasy family saga about a half-Elf ruling family thriller???  No wonder I can't think of how to market it.  I'm sure a sales department would have a harder time.

And then, there's Maren ... She's getting antsy.


Trivia:  We did our Old Town wander in the semi-cold today.  Four hours of puttering through shops and having lunch downtown.  Used to be we'd spend about $50. on lunch and whatever took our fancy. 

Now there are next to no shops (It's mostly restaurants now.), and we spent over $100. on very little.

The haul?  Cookies, a used book, a couple Putamayo CDs, coffee, and horehound drops.  Oh, forgot the 2 Froodles -- cherry and raspberry.  Looks like The Cupboard won the shopping sweepstakes.  The Stone House Grill came in second.
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