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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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Adventurous Fluff

The Read ...
The book the family lending library gave me provided lots of adventurous fluff to enjoy -- the second volume of R. L. LaFevers Theodosia series, Theodosia and the staff of Osiris.  Think of all the mummies in London, public and private, coming to life and running around after the staff of the Eqyptian god, Osiris, in the dead of night.  All this is complicated by the police inspector who tries to solve the mystery -- without a clue that magic is happening under his nose.

At the beginning of the book, Theodosia is presented with a major problem for an eleven-year- old girl.   Her veddy proper grandmother insists she have a governess so she can become a proper lady, ie. stop mouthing off to the adults in her life  --  In spite of her being smarter than 80% of them.  Of course, all the governesses are despicable and complicate her life, limiting her ability to solve the mystery of the over-active mummies and neutralize the secret societies pursuing her.  [Yes, that was plural.]

LaFevers' plot rolls downhill gathering speed.  The main villain is the Serpents of Chaos come back for another round of trying to best Theodosia, of course.  As the plot twists, possible villains turn into friends.  Friends turn into villains, and possible villains are just red herrings.  As I said, a delightful bunch of fluff.  I wish all the books I read entertained me so much.

I'll close with the pitch:  "Once again, Theodosia takes on secret societies, evil curses, and dark magic too sinister to imagine!"
 
Web Stuff ...
Dark Urban fantasy writer, Justine Musk  blogged on the elements of scenes that make them building blocks of your novel.   There's lots more info in the blog, but I thought this quote should be read by every writer.

"A scene is the basic building block of your novel. A scene is like a novel in miniature. It has its own tiny plot. It starts out in one place, builds tension, reaches climax, and then ends up in a different place."

Looking for critiquers?  Or, just maybe a litmus test to tell you where you need to revise your current WIP?  Isolated without a good writer support community?  Well, Operation Awesome recently posed a blog on identifying the garbage in your writing.  The blog gives some places where you can get some knowledgeable fresh eyes to make some comments about your writing.

Then, there's all that conflicting query writing adviceNathan Bransford has a great blog on what to do with it.  [No, not that.] One of the founts of information I picked up from his blog is how fast the publishing industry changes.  I think all the agents who blog are acting like yeast in the setting of preferred styles.  Then, there's that thing called "voice".  Does that mean:  to thy own self be true?"

All sorts of good stuff seems to popping up in the blogs.  Guess the end of summer rejuvenates the brain cells.  If you're fussing about querying like me, you will be interested in agent Mary Kole's blog about how she evaluates manuscripts at Kidlit.  She's also doing a Webinair, but it costs.

Progress ...
The revision of Voices is coming along.  I keep finding holes I need to fill and infodumps I need to dramatize, and all sorts of stuff to delete.  Haven't gone after the nags -- "to-be-forms", "lys", "ings", passive verbs, etc yet.  [Ain't revising fun!]

Haven't done much with querying ... for any of my manuscripts.  [You do know I hate marketing?]  I do need to send out a couple status queries.  Which comment means I have to go back to websites to see if  "no answer" = rejection.

Did send my Hattenel Half-Elven story to Untreed Reads because Smashwords was much too complicated for me to figure out how to format.  Now I don't have to think about the story for three months ... or more.  Don't have to worry about cover art either.  If I'm lucky, they'll accept and do the formatting for me.

Trivia ...
We were going to take a day trip to Estes Park, Colorado yesterday, but the smoke clouding the hogback some three miles from our house changed our minds.  You may have heard of the Boulder, Colorado mountain subdivisions threaten by fire.  We're about 50-75 miles away, north and east.  Hopefully, the winds die down, and weather pumps some moisture into our air.  Everyone needs more rain than fell yesterday. 
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