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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Friday, June 3, 2011

Character Being Stupid

Fiction Lessons:
Review Question:  What do you do when a character acts stupidly?  

Sandra Dallas is one of my favorite authors in spite of her telling her stories instead of showing the action.  This makes a lot of sense for Dallas since she concentrates on the internal life of her characters. In her latest book The Brides House, she sets one of her characters exactly the time milieu I grew up in.  The read wasn't a happy experience.  Why?  The character kept grating on my teeth.  Why?  I had trouble accepting a smart person being so stupid.

As for Dallas' storyline as a whole, I'm wondering if it was a commentary on preordained destiny.  This is where she doesn't hit you over the head with telling you what you should think/feel ... and an avalanche of backstory ... and general internal mental constipation.  What I like best is the finesse she uses in drawing her characters.  You feel like you wished you lived near enough so you could share a cup of coffee ... or tea.

Each of the three women who live in the bride's house face the same general problem. The third story just didn't work for me.  Granted the kid was bullied.  But, for gads sake, the character grew in Chicago for most of the year.  While I'm an easy read, I just couldn't suspend belief to accept a character who could be so naive about men, even as a freshman in college.  The character wasn't dense.

Web Stuff:
Now that I've got "There Be Demons" edited, I'm looking over my idea files to see what grabs my interests.  A curious practice writers do when starting a new project -- unless they have a character chewing on their ear.  Was rather please to see Stacey O'Neal of YA Fantasy Guide writing a blog on "How Do I begin My Novel".  I've used all the techniques in various drafts I have in my files.  It'll be interesting to see what I do next -- besides revising/editing.

I'm wondering.  Anyone care to share how they decide on their writing projects?

Important to progress on your WIP is setting realistic goals -- a great discussion about which you can find from Janet Reid, Literary Agent.  How to set them and follow through, even when at first you don't succeed.  --  I totally related to this post.

How about another check list on promoting your blog?  This one by by Mavis Nong gives info about increasing traffic to your blog that I've never seen before.  I'm going to go back and study it more to see if I can get it to apply to books too.

Of course, if you don't get someone to read your story -- agent, editor, or reader -- you won't make any money.  Rhonda Stapleton, a YA writer and editor for Carina Press, blogs about how to wow and editor,  like how not to turn them off with the first few pages.   If you're revising/editing, she offer some good check points.  --  But, I'm not going back and revising Demons.  She gets to reject it in the form it's sitting in. [Guess where I'm sending it when I get untangled from from the first four things on the to-do list.]

Last but not least, I found some comments by Sebastien on creating a presentable presence on Twitter.  It's basically tips on keeping a professional image.

Thought that was the last comment, but then I read Pat Stoltey's blog on how she revises.  It's close to what I do ... though I don't read out loud as much as she does.  I linked to her personal blog rather than Chiseled Rock so you could click to the correct entry.

There.  I think I've almost got a total revision plan up there in those blogs as well as some ideas on how to squeeze the most out of your networking time.  Hope you find them useful.  [Enough of this blog.  I've got to go on to my next project.] Care to reveal any secrets to your success?

Progress:
Things are in transition around here.  My to-do list keeps growing:  get blog up, get trailer data to producer, get author's accounts set up, get free story posted [Cavern Between Worlds], get vocabulary sheets for the new project that just appeared set up, combine chapters of There Be Demons so I can submit it, finish the next chapter of Quest [Bad Haiku]  ... etc.

New project?  I'm drafting new pre-primer stories to see if I can still write them ... while the artist explores whether she can still draw them.  Why?  A publisher has indicated an interest in doing several books.  Not enough details available to say much.  Just complain about the extra work.  {Still, project gives a warm, fuzzy feeling.} 

Do you ever feel your to-do list keeps growing without any tasks getting crossed off? 

Trivia:
Miller time has arrived.  Not the beer, but the moths.  So far, we haven't had many.  Just enough to keep Wiggles hunting.  Nothing like having a 16 pound cat jump on your head so he can jump on at a moth.  I think I even have a bad haiku drafted about it.  [Those who follow me on Facebook and Twitter ... grit your teeth.  You have been warned.]  

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