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.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Extending the Life of Your Fantasy Worlds

Like the way Stephanie Laurens avoided series fatigue in the latest of her Cynster family books -- Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue. Yeah, the Cynster books are romances featuring aristocratic alpha males and head strong females. Yet, only a few of the books in the series fall off the edge of the story line into the cliche-bogs.

How does Lauens keep pumping interest into her series? She builds interesting characters within the romance parameters [cliches], and then, mines characters from previous books for new pairings. I started reading Laurens after I had heart surgery, and the story lines were just simple enough -- with an adequate mystery thrown in -- I could follow them. Yeah, her books tend to be multi-genre even though not marketed as such. 

Laurens' twist on the romance formula hooked me not only because of her admirable craft skills, but because she knows her constructed late-Regency world as well as Georgette Heyer did hers. I hate it when Regency writers throw in Victoriana or other anachronisms. If I want to read about a Victorian world, I'll read Anne Perry's two series and/or the classics.

Why read the Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue? I let several of Laurens recent books slip by without buying because I was focusing more on fantasy and YA. When I noticed this book, I saw the younger females were getting their chance at a Season, and I wondered what could go wrong. Well, Heather Cynster gets kidnapped because of a family vendetta, setting off the chase and romance. Funny, just realized Laurens romances often are coming of age [aka YA] stories.

I get a little tired of Laurens odes to "love", but I can always skip over them. I'm sure lots of readers grove on them.

Good News for Me:
Just read that Karen Marie Moning is writing a sixth Fever novel  and more. The new one will feature an interesting secondary character of her Fever novels, which feature MacKayla battling the evil fae, and a scion of her Highlander novels. 

It must be the anthropology dose I got in college, but I love revisiting worlds that I enjoyed in previous novels. I found the announcement blog interesting because Moning bristles about protecting her world's integrity against publisher norms.

You can bet you'll be getting a review of the book someday.

The Writing Life:
How much time do you spend building your worlds and characters?

For the last three-four months, I had been building background for a science fiction world. The idea has haunted me off and on for years, maybe over a decade. Gave up on it again, though I have pages of background in my files. Couldn't come up with any focused characters to take the place of the vague place-holders. Another way of saying this: I have plenty of societal conflicts but no personal ones.

Now I'm constructing a grimorie, of all things, to do a non-Half-Elven story based on a short story I wrote in my never-never-California world. I might as well get some use out of the thousands the old man spent building his library. Besides, I don't have to worry about due dates and library fines.

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