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, April 28, 2011

Archetype or Cliche or ??

The Reading Lesson:
All too often Archetypes turn into Cliches.  This is a major problem for fantasy writers and readers.  Like, who wants to read another vampire novel ... or zombie ... or fairy ... or ???  You name it, and you can probably come up with examples where hundreds of writers followed the cliche and still got published.  You also know why I laughed out loud when I encountered Alison Pang's leg-humping unicorn in A Brush of Darkness.  [Shades of Chihuahuas!]

I've often thunk that Disney & Company should be prosecuted for stifling people's imaginations.  Fortunately, writers' imaginations can still counter the commercial norms.  While we want to make some money from our books, many of us streeetch people's imaginations in the process.

Off the rant.  Pang creates a very credible fey-touched urban fantasy world with a no-nonsense hero --  acting as a gatekeeper between worlds for her boss who has gone mysteriously missing.  The plot centers on finding the boss and other missing people.  The love interest is dangerous [read succubus] and is looking for his sister who has gone missing too.  The peril is developed from the concept soul capturing.  The cast of characters come from faery, heaven, hell, and human, all mixed together in unexpected ways.

Back to the unicorn who remains silent after the hero rescues him from a demon and takes him home.  She even tolerates him sleeping in her underwear drawer.  While she protests, she doesn't kick his ass out the door but fixes him breakfast instead.  About midway, though the book, she learns he's more than a pet ... with knowledge of Faery that helps save her behind.  The beast gives a great example on how to handle a secondary character who makes a major contribution to solving the plot's major puzzle.

A romance?.  Not really.  Urban fantasy is how it's labeled, but it's a dark one.  The love interest disappears in a fit of rejection. Fortunately, I think the book's a trilogy.  At least, there's a second book.  Guess I should read Pang's blog more carefully ... besides checking out the pictures of hunky men. 

Web Promotion and Other Stuff:
Stumbling over query writing?  Jessica Faust at Bookends is running a query critique on Wednesdays.  Granted it only  one agent's opinion, but you might also take a look at Query Shark.  Between the two, you might find a way to improve your query efforts.  I've been printing them off to study, but it's too soon to know the results.  I haven't sent out a new query -- to agent or publisher -- in ages.

[These sharing agents should be at the top of your blog reading list.  I only wish they represented the stuff I write.]

Maybe this should be under "progress" but I finally got around to cleaning up the 1st Turning Point marketing blogs hanging in my email.  Here are a few ideas I thought especially useful.

1)  Hank Quense ran a series at the beginning of the year on making your book stand out in the marketplace.  Can anyone say Amazon or Barnes and Noble here?  This is the third article, but there are links to the first two.

2)  Misty Evans gives some great tips on marketing your series ... and maybe gives you reasons why you should write a series.  There have been a lot of comments in the stuff I read that you'll sell more if you offer more than one book.  Guess once you've made one sale and they like it, the buyer will come back for more without another hard sell.

3)  John Klawitter writes about your book blurbs:  "Blurb Right or Die".  Hey, you wrote the book -- you have to market it even if you have a traditional publisher -- so write a good blurb.  Again more and more traditional publishers are making the writer to more and more of the marketing.

Got a short, short story off to my critique group.  It borders on science fiction ... or at least uses SF parlance to explain the linch-pin situation.  Need to make sure I sure the vocabulary right.  Fortunately, one of critiquers is a scientist.

"Devil in the Details" started out as a flash fiction piece.  It made the first cut in a couple publications but didn't sell.  Thanks to an idea in a blog I read, I came up with an added danger and 500 words.  --  Next week I'll learn if I improved the story.
Bascially, I'm in revision mode.  Back to Emma ... plus I have Kaffy Anne waiting in the wings.  Then, I need to decide what to do with Britt.  I still have some agents I could send queries to.  Unfortunately the book straddles the line between YA and Tween.  Maybe I'll just try submitting it to publishers.  I'm very good at indecisive procrastination.

It weird watching a family squabble over an estate when they were left out of the will...


N. R. Williams said...

The underwear drawer must be gigantic or the unicorn must be a miniature horse type. Anyway, that sounds like a great read just to find out about the unicorn. I haven't seen the new Harry Potter trailer yet. I must find it.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

Kay Theodoratus said...

LOL, Nancy. The description gave the impression the unicorn was down in the Chihuahua size range.

For the record, I really liked Pang's twists on the motifs.