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.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Lessons from Ants

Lessons from the Literary Side of the Fence ....
A confession.  I love to watch ants scurry around ... as long as they aren't too close to my kitchen.  But, I tried for two days to get into E. O Wilson's Anthill, A Novel.  My internal editor kept getting in the way.

The blurp on the trade paperback was a "hooker".  "'What the hell do you want?' snarled Frogman at Raff Cody, as the boy stepped innocently on the reputed murderer's property.  Fifteen years old, Raff had only wanted to catch a glimpse of Frogman's 1,000-pound alligator."  Then, the blurp lied.  It said that was the beginning of the book.

I opened the book and fell over a pretentious prologue.  [Okay.  Easy to skip over.]  Chapter 1 begins with Raff and his cousin eating ice cream on a hot day.  Which was an okay, if slow way, to introduce the characters.  Unfortunately, my internal editor kept stabbing at words with its red pencil.  The narrative is mostly telling by a dull story-teller.  --  I couldn't trade-pile it because the book belongs to my old man.  Guess I'll banish it to the basement.

Lesson?  Well, ants scurry around.  The story arc of a book should move too.

A Little Dip in Old-fashioned Print ...
The Writer's Digest leavened all the advertising circulars in the mail yesterday.  Better, they included an interview of Charlaine Harris as part of the publicity for the third season of True Blood.  Love her attitude towards writing:  She does it for fun.  I really relate to that since I write to amuse myself first of all.

Zachary Petit writes a profile that sheds light on the publishing world as well as the author.  Harris comes across as very down to earth.  Sounds like she was enduring as a mid-list author (of two published series, one of which is Lily Bard, a favorite) until she got tired of the mystery formula.  She jumped over the traces and wrote about telepathic Sookie Stackhouse who just happened to have a vampire for a boy friend.  In the process, she created a logical alternative vampire/werecritter/supernatural world.

Worried about whether you should outline or not?  Harris probably wouldn't recommend you follow her practice.  She basically turns on her computer, types 'Chapter 1', and then, wonders what the heck she's going to do.  She's usually saved from embarrassment by someone throwing a "firebomb through the window".

She does give some good advice tho.  "To read everything you can get your hands on.  And to write.  Constantly."  The July/August issue also has a comprehensive section on writing memoir.

If you don't subscribe to Writer's Digest, try to find a copy on a newsstand ... or order from a bookstore.

Progress ...
Stared at only two more chapters of Voices to do  ...........  I thought ... no hoped.  Then, last night I got a whole 500 words down ... ended the chapter ... then, added another.  Still have three chapters to go.  *nasty face*

Tried to research agents yesterday afternoon.  My back started whining so I used it as permission to shut down the computer.  Do you think my psyche is telling something?

Trivia ...
All was quiet on the robin front, allowing me to sleep in until seven (AM).  For half a day, I thought they'd left.  Then at lunch time, there was a fledgling snuggled in the front lawn grass with a parent hopping around, guarding him/her.  Fortunately, no dogs came by.

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