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.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fiction Formulas

The Read ...
Follow all the rules and formulas, and you increase your chances of being bought and read.  Again, I have two books to comment on since their covers were turned out on the bookshelves, and I liked them enough to buy them after reading the cover copy.  Two cozy mysteries by the "National Bestselling Author" Cleo Coyle: On What Grounds and Through the Grinder.

I'm still puzzled at the number of serial killers that turn up in "cozies", and the MC always seeming to slip through the killer's fingers with ease.  [Maybe that's their purpose.]  But both books made adequate who-done-its with enough twists and suspects to make the reader work to solve the mystery before the end.  There's at least one more in the series, but I'm not going to go searching for it.  I'm reading the Hunger Games.

As usual with cozies, the lives of the characters are important as well as the backgrounds.  In this case, you may learn a lot more about coffee than you ever wanted to know.   The "formula" here:  A little prologue that let's you see into the killer's mind (a bit).  First chapter opens with the main character.  After that, they follow the general formula for writing a mystery which the major complications appearing in about the "right" portions of the book -- with nicely drawn characters -- without making me pause to appreciate the author's skill or get out my mental red pencil. 

Web Stuff ...
Is the effort worth it?
New York Times best selling author Allison Winn Scotch has a blog on What an author owes her readers?  While I grit my teeth to agree with her, I found the comments especially illuminating.  You might want to pop over there if you're wondering if social media is worth it.  [Remember, I hate computers.]

This is a little late for some, but:  Maybe even more important illustration is my friend Pam Wolf's experience of what can happen with the right search labels.  She wrote a blog about a koret cat which the Animal Planet picked up for a segment.  Yeah, a national television crew in our town because of her blog.  The example?  Pam only has 7 followers but made a national splash.

If you want to read more comments on this read Pat Stoltey's blog and what her readers said in response. 

Progress ...
I'm still editing Dark Solstice.  I have a choice:  to complete rewrite it to follow the current fiction structure or leave it as its semi-literary-navel-gazing-while-the-characters-save-their-country ... and, for Mariah, save her grandchild ... self.  Maybe, it'd be better described as woman's fiction crossed with high fantasy.   I'm sure there are parts were I don't make things clear, but I'm liking it the way it is.

Another reason I'm not getting much reading done:  Watching the second season of True Blood.  I can understand why the cinematography is so dark, but I wish it was lighter [ lumins not atmosphere] so I could see more of the background.

Trivia ...
The wisteria is blooming.  It had to crawl over the rose of sharon to be seen, but it's there in all its spindley glory.  Who says the stuff doesn't grow in Colorado?

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