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, June 23, 2011

Cliched Characters

Writerly Fantasy Review:
Lee Child: Worth Dying For.   Yeah, I consider Lee Child a fantasy writer ... with thriller elements ... but really, just how realistic is the series?  Reacher dodges bullets better than Superman.

In this book Reacher is creaking [badly in need of aspirin] along after escaping from the inferno at the end of the last book.  Found this book disappointing, though.  I thought he was moving towards more emotional involvement with people, but this book was just more of the same: Reacher seeking justice for a girl that had disappeared years before -- with help of the gang who controls the town.

Child trots his well-drawn complications [villains] across the canvas.  The brutalized citizens cower convincingly -- with good reasons.  There's even a cowardly drunken doctor with a heart of gold.  Did I mention cliches here?  Doesn't matter, really.  The book's a good, fast-moving read with well-drawn characters worth studying how he places the details ... if somewhat unsatisfying.

Is there such a thing as internal cliches.  Of course, there is.  I think writers get into habits ... not always bad, but human brains tend to run in ruts.  It takes concentrated effort to jump on the verge and go wandering.  The more bushes concealing things, the better.  No, I won't demand my money back because of the recycled plot pattern. 

Social Networking Web Stuff:
I'm beginning to understand social networking.  [I'm a slow learner.]  It's simple.  You're damn if you do ... and damned if you don't.  I think Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware lifted my lid and looked inside my head.  She posted about how she spent too much time on the web even though lots of it was work related.  Ditto here even though I don't have the excuse.  She does.

Then there's the other side of argument with a critique contest.

Which side of the coin do you fall on? Pro or anti or in-between?

Do you remember the brouhaha the Wall Street Journal article raised about distopian YA books?  Well, Rob Brunner in his blog EW Shelf Life gives support to the opposite position.  He interviews author Jay Asher about how his book, Thirteen Reasons Why, is saving lives.

Thought I'd give another person a chance to wade in on effective social media.  Connor Dempsey does just that at on his blog.  Of course, I mostly agree with him.  --  I think I'm looking for support on cutting back on social media.  Still, he makes some good points.  What do you think?

I'm looking at the first pages for two of the WIPs sitting in my files as I snatch revising time here and there.  Brooke Favero writing about what happened last week in the writing world for The Writing Bug linked to Katia Lief's discussion of the 3 "Cs" of Writing which gives the basics of what your first pages should do.  If your manuscript isn't hooking anyone, you might take a look.

Thought I had this wrapped up when I discovered Eric's blog, "The Long and Short of It",  at Pimp My Novel.  He gives a nice strategy for getting published.  Great ... unless your ideas always metathesizes into something longer ... and longer. 

Writing Lesson:
Writing a series has other pitfalls than cliched characters.  How about keeping everything straight?  This problem has been nagging me since last week when I started creating seriously again.  

Backstory:  Once I wrote a 400,000+ word story about the Far Isle Half-Elven.  Somewhere around 200,000 words, I had a harder and harder time keeping everything straight.  I solved the problem by keeping a log of features, personality traits, place names, special terms, etc.  Later, I discovered many writers call this a bible.  Not the Bible, but the go to source when you try not to make mistakes in your own writing.  Like being able to edit the mistakes before anyone else notices them.

Then, Taking Vengeance was published, and I find I need to write more in the Half-Elven world to support the ebook's sales.  [Thus, the reason why I self-published Cavern Between Worlds.]  

Now, I'm writing a subsequential of Vengeance.  It's an idea that's been bubbling to the surface of my mind for at least two-three years, but always sank again.  Now, I'm 2000 words into the thing, and I'm rather intrigued by the unfolding plot since the main villain isn't one of the Felds.  I think they'll end up being the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend this time around.  It'll be interesting to see how the story develops after having taken some fiction writing classes and doing critiques.

Main change:  I'm having to revise the chaotic Half-Elven bible. [Watch Kay's eyes cross.... especially since she's trying to keep her characters from becoming cliches.]

Do you have a bible for your world, series, or whatever you're writing?  Have you found that one helps if you only plan to write one book in your world?

Trivia:
My cheapness bit me ... again.  Thought I'd try to save money on toilet paper by buying it at Big Lots.  Not only was the roll short by an inch, but the paper was so thin you can almost see through it.  Back to the supermarket.

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