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, October 13, 2011

Ghostly Book Review #2 -- School Spirit

Pity the poor pre-teen whose mother is a medium for she'll never be part of the "in-crowd". For Kat, life takes a turn for the worse when she also starts seeing ghosts. 

Elizabeth Cody Kimmel 's Suddenly Supernatural: School Spirit explores the relationship of a middle grade girl, her psychic mother, and the problem of fitting in at school, including coping with the dreaded cafeteria. More important, Kay must grow comfortable with her new found power to see and talk to ghosts.

Menace is supposed to lurk in ghost stories. After all, uncanny chills crawling over you skin is the sign of a ghost. Kimmel's book's more of "I gotta fit in" kind of book,though. One positive note. Kat does find a friend in the form of a cello-lugging outcast. The two do help a ghost, trapped in the library of their school, cross over. 

While School Spirit is a nicely crafted story which I enjoyed while reading, the book left me feeling the story was way too benevolent. Guess I felt the book was much too concerned with school relationships and didn't spend enough time menacing the players. The book is written for the 8-&-up crowd, and it's obvious they don't agree with me.  The Suddenly Supernatural series contains four books at the moment.

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Ghosts break into my thoughts a lot now days. I'm almost done with my Mariah [the Half-Elven world] story. I think it's down to three more chapters and the fermentation process before I start revising. In the meantime, I'm thinking about what my next project will be. Key element: What should my next supernatural playground be.

The popularity of paranormal stories has sort of dried up the supernatural possibilities, mostly by over use. So, what's a fantasy writer supposed to do? I can't think of any supernatural that hasn't been used to excess in one form or other ... except perhaps the Windigo of the north-eastern forests. [It's hard to write about a cannibal, except as a villain.]

So, while others write madly for NaNoWriMo, I'll be playing with characters -- mostly villains and secondary characters. Don't really have a setting/world yet, either. Do have my main character and her family, recycled from another story, but I want to put her in another world.  "Small town" is the closest I've gotten so far.

If I had the room, I'd put a dart board up and use it to create my people.  One thing sure. I have to clean off my desk so I can work. I usually use a pencil and much erasing to create my set-ups. What do you find effective when starting a new novel that doesn't burst half-written from your brain?
 
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