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.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Plot Points

The Read:  Plot points, big and little, need to be embedded a story -- fiction or narrative non-fiction.  I think plots work as a compass to keep us on track to where we need to end up.  Think of a hook dragging the writer through the story.  If we're lucky, the happenings will hook readers into our tale and keep them there.  Woe be to the writer who can't stay interested in the book they are trying to write.  They will gnash their teeth mightily. 

Now that I've played Cassandra, all gloom and doom, I'll move on to admire Charlaine Harris's nimble exercises in keeping the action in Dead and Gone moving.  No secret that Harris is one of my favorite authors.  I started the book sometime over the week-end (Sunday?) and expected it to take as long to read as Pure Blood.  Only, I was more than half-way through it as of Tuesday, making me wonder why the novels I like the most finish the quickest.  

Dead and Gone is the ninth in the Sookie Stackhouse series [in mass paperback, at least].  I picked it from the pile to comment on because I'm watching the True Blood DVDs.  Only the two don't compare too well.  So, I'll gnaw on the plot points.  By the first fifth of the book [some 60 pages],  Sookie contends with the weres of America coming out, finds herself married to Eric [the New Orleans vampire], and having her sister-in-law [Jason's wife and a werepanther] crucified with silver nails.  A third of the way into the book, Sookie discovers her life's in danger because her great-grandfather (a faery prince) is in the middle of a fae war.  Also, somewhere in that mix, the FBI has shown up to determine whether Sookie's powers are real enough to recruit her.  Yeah, Harris ties it all up in a smoothly flowing story.  --  My mouth hangs open in admiration.  I'll try not to drool in front of you.

In the middle of all this, I went out and bought Dead Until Dark, the first in the series after spending a half hour last night looking for my Charlaine Harris pile.  (I was certain they were behind the Laurell K. Hamiltons, but they weren't.)  It'll be a couple days before I finish the DVDs, and then, I might have something to say about the differences between the two formats.  [Actually, I stayed up late last night and finished them.]

Web Notes:  Technically, I'm commenting on printed material, but since the editor is Chuck Sambuchino of Guide to Literary Agents  [ http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/ ] , I'm going to mention the Writer's Digest Get an Agent.  Haven't looked at too much of it yet, except for the 21 agents panting for new clients.  --  Just my luck.  Very few of them were interested in MG/YA or fantasy.

The publication offers lots of tips to digest, if not implement.  Revising your manuscript.  How not to start your book.  [Probably the next thing I read after failing to get Maren out of the blocks.]  Successful Queries.  Lots, lots more.  Much of the information can be gathered free by reading agent blogs, but I think it's nice to have it contained in one publication.

This blog.  I'm always amazed at the number of non-Americans taking a look at what I write.

Progress:  Gave up on Maren and consigned her to My Documents ... maybe after some fermentation, she'll reappear in another form.  At least, a different story.  I still like her and the new villains.

Emma.  Still, thrashing over a query.  Or, is that twisting in the wind? 

Kaffy Anne.  Pulled her from limbo where she's been languishing for a couple years.  From the looks of it, it's 2/3s drafted with lots of notes for the subsequent chapters.  Got a couple chapters read yesterday, and it wasn't too distressing to read even though it was written before Britt and the gargoyles.

Trivia:  After laying in a stock of sheep sh*t bags ... we went looking for the kind of parsley the old man likes.  The flat leaf kind since he thinks it's best, but that may be a Greek prejudice.  --   I like it too since it has more flavor.  Gives more snap to my mom's German noodle dishes.


Kirsten Lesko said...

I'm all about identifying plot points right now. I've been studying screenwriting just to get a little more structure to my novel. I've never been very good at it. Now plot points are jumping out at me everywhere!

P.S. Bummer about Sambuchino's agent guide. I love that resource. It seems like so many agents represent YA - I'm surprised there aren't more on there for you. You should shoot him a recommendation.

Kay said...

He mentions plenty of YA/MG agents. Just the "Guide" was sparse with them.

Just because I've been reading fantasy for over 50 years, I don't expect everyone to.

Ann Marie Wraight said...


I keep meaning to comment but I see that I've stretched myself a bit thin lately - SORRY.

I love your direct style - VERY MUCH. Maybe my problem is that you usually have a lot of info so I never quite know where to begin...once I start I don't usually stop very easily!

I'll just say for now that your hubby has a point about the parsley you know...that's my prejudice after living here 20 yrs!

THANKS KAY! Say YASOO to the OLD MAN from Greece!

Kay said...

I agree with him too. Maybe that's why I keep him around. (Actually, it'd be too much work to get rid of all his books.)