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, March 24, 2010

Creating Characters that Stick

The Read:  I bought Cynthia Peale's White Crow about seances, murder, kidnappings, and romance at the Friends of the Library book sale, and my immediate reading pile got so low that it rose to the top above odd Thomas.  More important, while the book was copyrighted in 2002, I remembered the MC, Caroline Ames, from the previous two book, printed before 2002, which I had read in the past.  

Yeah, I have a soft spot for cozy mysteries with lots of cultural background.  --  Unfortunately, Nancy Zaroulis, the real name of the author, doesn't seem to have published any books after 2003.  But, I've read lots of cozies with and without paranormal overtones.  Why did Caroline Ames stick in my mind enough for me to buy the books and then read it?

Caroline Ames is a complex character who has several problems going on in her life at once, just like a real person.  She's a proper Victorian Boston upper crust lady who has a knack for finding herself in the middle of murder investigations and, worse, getting her name in the newspapers!  She also has a self-centered brother who she caters too, by making his home life too comfortable, against her druthers.  She's fallen in love with their boarder, a recovering-from-knee-surgery retired army surgeon on a small pension, who loves her back, but Victorian conventions get in the way of any declarations or actions.  She's got tons of relatives and contacts that firmly place Caroline on the outskirts of Boston society in spite of her poverty.  All that fodder, and I'm left hanging dry without any sequel.

I made a quick check, and the most recent reference to Peale was:  she was working on the fourth book in the series.  As far as I can tell, it was never published.  Darn.

Web Notes:  The Dark Wyrm playing Satan to my wallet by giving Patricia Brigg's signing schedule for her new hardcover of the Mercy Thompson series, Silver Borne, featuring Samuel, a former love interest of Mercy's and Mercy's problems in returning a fae book she borrowed, on her blog. [How's that for a run on sentence.  We're all college graduates, aren't we?] 

Why is this important?  Well, Silver Borne is out in hardback, and cheapskate here is faced with the dilemma of "to buy or not to buy".  So far, I'm not buying.

Then, Dark Wyrm, one of the few book review blogs I visit regularly, listed Patricia Briggs signing schedule
[ http://darkwyrmreads.blogspot.com/2010/03/wheres-patricia-briggs.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DarkWyrmReads+%28Dark+Wyrm+reads...%29 check it out in case you're a fan. ]


To get back to the subject of characters, besides creating one of my favorite characters of all times, Patricia Briggs, in my opinion, sums up the basics of character writing in one of her recent blogs:  "Mercy wasn't as happy with me but happy people don't make for good stories."  
[http://www.patriciabriggs.com/books/silverBorne.shtml ]

Progress:  Are you kidding.  I can't git the beginning to jell.  Maren's viewpoint still hasn't appeared, and I'm into the fifth chapter.  Gads!  [Actually, I'm thinking something more profane.]  At least I don't have a critique group meeting tonight so I can write.

Trivia:  It snowed -- maybe 12 inches at our house.  It's a little hard to tell since first it rained and then a lot of the first snow fall melted.  Still, my old man brought in the first adventurous daffodil, stupid enough to bloom, and put it into my only champagne flute.

Gotta love the Spring,
the snow's melting! 
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