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, March 3, 2011

Where Authors Get Ideas

 Fiction Lessons:
Everyone wonders where author's get their ideas -- readers and writers, alike.  Fantasy writers probably make people wonder more than mainstream types.

Imagine my delight when I read the back notes in Laurell K. Hamilton's Flirt where she discusses how discovered and shaped an idea into a novel She also blew my mind.  Hamilton has written 29 books in 15 years, probably more since I think she's finishing one now and has another at the publishers.  --  Makes my 500 words a day [sort of] anemic at best.

Any way, to quote Hamilton:  "Flirt is my twenty-ninth novel in about fifteen years of time and space.  I know something about writing and about how to treat it like a career.  It takes a lot of hard work and a very thick skin so all those early rejections don't crush you.  But first you need an idea."

Flirt is basically a novella like Micah ... and an engrossing read.  My measure?  It kept me reading beyond 11:30 PM.  If you try to dissect novels to see what makes them work, you might use this book as a "primer".  The shortness makes it easier to see the elements that make the story ... and Hamilton's comments makes it easy to understand how she put the story together.

For us beginner types, it also emphasizes the need for revision -- however many it takes.

Useful Promotional Information:
While working to get my Half-Elven website up to snuff, I discovered a useful tool -- a site that helps you determine the rank of your website and/or blog.  No, I didn't do too well.  I hope you do better when you run the Web Grader free diagnosic.  Truth in commenting:  HubSpot uses the grader to gain business.  [This blog ranked fairly well.  The website was dismal.]

In case you're wondering.  Someday, I hope to sell enough to actually make sense to run a professional website rather than the thumb-in-the-wind I have now.

Awards and Social Networking:
One Lovely Blog Award
I've gotten awards before but never figured out a way to get the picture on the page so I more or less ignored them.  Anyway a critique partner, Jennifer Robinson, gave me an award and thought I should mention it.  Her YA blog is well worth reading.  Check it out:  Hanging on to the Wonder.  I find it a nice reminder when I'm feeling my cynical self. 

Another problem with networking is the time it takes.  At this point, I strictly limit the time I spend on Facebook, Twitter, and here.  Otherwise, I wouldn't get any writing done.

Progress:
I'm collection rejections ... and wondering why publishers often send
personal comments and requests for more.
Agents?  Form letters.

Need to organize my computer files ... and clean off my card table desk.  I thought I cleaned it off but it's piled higher and deeper.  It's completely covered at the moment ... including the old thesaurus since I recently bought a newer more recent one.  --  I'm keeping my old dictionary.  It's got a listing on when words came into usage, a handy bit for writing historical stuff.  Surprising how much 100 year old slang is still used though.

Writing?  I'm been doing some of that, but it's mostly revising.  The queries.  The first pages.  Adding a new first chapter which contains something exciting to start the draft novel off with.  Guess the new chapter could qualify as new writing.  Have decided to concentrate on revising at the beginning of the year.  What?  Emma Kloken, Reluctant Hero.

Need to think of updating this site too.  [A writer's work is never done.]

Trivia:
I've been spending lots of time traveling back and forth to a nursing home visiting a friend.  It feels good to be able to escape and go back to my house ... and computer.

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