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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Friday, January 1, 2010

In the Groove???

What My Reading Tells Me:  I forgot to mention something in my last post.  I took a YA fiction class from Victoria Hanley last year (2009).  I learned almost enough to know what I don't know ... if that makes any sense.

Anyway, on to the structure of Violet Wings.  The book has my favorite kind of protagonist/main character -- a non-conforming achiever.  All three of my kids fit the slot.  My friends' kids did too.  (Some of my favorite memories are of coffees where we dissected the public schools lack of support and understanding of our darling weirdos.)  

In Violet Wings, Zaria, the main character, ends up with an extraordinary amount of magic as does her self-centered friend.  More important, the friend is set up to complicate the story arc in several ways at the beginning, including contacts with forbidden humans.  You just know the kid's going to be up to her violet wings in hot water, -- or is that iron?  The first third of the book sets up most of the characters (I think.), and the action hints at a number of coming problems.  

In the middle of the book, the problems come crashing down on Zaria.  Also, the real antagonist appears from among the annoying authority figures.  The villain seems to have something to do with the disappearance of Zaria's family in spite of being a fairy council member.  More important she tries to control Zaria's learning how to use her magic.  

Only, sneaky sneaky Zaria has a hidden talent -- the ability to work spells independent of the archaic language formulas which only the villain is supposed to teach her.  (Wouldn't Harry Dresden love that!  No correspondence course Latin.)

The last third?  I'm still reading, but I'm looking forward to an interesting confrontation with Zaria, humans and the villain.  (Unwanted bills sucked up my time, but I still got the minimum revisions done.  I'm just sitting here wondering why I can see the structure in Hanley's book but am having problems seeing it in Emma. )

Progress:  Emma.  Have stumbled over the block presented by Chapter 3 without landing on my face, I think.  Problem?  It's the transition chapter from Grandmama's to new town.  Also have to convey a feeling of menace while introducing Hardscrabble. -- One consolation: a critique partner did see at least a hint of  foreboding.

I can just hear everyone screaming:  start the book with chapter three.  Only Chaps 1 and 2 set up Emma's antagonism for her grandmother, and the reason why she takes off into the hills with possible enemies later on.  ... So, what is a novice writer to do?  I'm leaving Chaps 1 and 2, like they are.

Demons:  Haven't heard a squeek.  As if I expected to over the holidays.  Hopefully, I'll slip in at the beginning of the line and get read before the agents get too yawny.

Maren:  Setting up my characters with their auras.  I'm going to try writing a fantasy thriller.

Have the first chapter in process ... with the protagonist in the hospital with main helper/interpreter watching with her knitting needles slithering away.  Madame LaFarge, anyone?  Only Faithful Alice Sweet is one of the good guys.  Also, I think waking up in a hospital bed is a cliche.

Short Stories.  Don't think I mentioned them, but I wrote several short and flash fiction pieces last year.  (One of which was the chopped prologue of Dark Solstice.)  All were gather mold at publishers.  Sent some of status queries, one of which hadn't any record of receiving  my story.  So, I resent.

Trivia:  New Year's Organizing.  New Year's Eve:  We did the recycling and took stuff to Goodwill, but didn't clean the linen/towels closet.  Got rid of some books to the Friends of the Library too.

Think we'll go out to eat for New Year's day.  I'm tired of eating leftovers.  Only we'll end up with leftovers if we eat out since the old man and I can never agree on what we want to eat.
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