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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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Importance of Dead Ends

Okay. I'll admit it. I watch Castle religiously. It's one of the few TV programs that I allow to interrupt my writing. Why? Because the plots always lead to several dead ends as the detectives try to solve the crime. Makes it interesting as you try to second guess them. More important, I think the exercise applies to all fiction, not just mysteries. Your characters -- primary and secondary -- have to have to fail at reaching their goals before they succeed at the end.

Even though it's something of a ghost written-con, I still enjoy ABC's Castle novels. Just picked up Naked Heat, where the Castle clone, reporter Rook, is doing a profile of a gossip maven, who is billed as the most feared muckraker in Manhattan and who gets killed. The Beckett clone, Nikki Heat, starts stepping on celebrity toes to solve the murder. Character after character gets fingered as a suspect until they're ruled out. It was a fun romp, adequately written, but I couldn't see whether it crackled with sexual tension. Eh, consenting adults occasionally end up in bed. What's new?

Dead ends and red herrings make a mystery. Sexual tension, I don't know so much.

--[That's why I wouldn't make a good romance writer. Even though Mariah and Ashton, my main Half-Elven heroes, have the hots for each other, I "close the door on their activities".

As my son wrote of his recent critique of my current Half-Elven WIP, "Mariah and Ashton should be more passionate (weren't they horny elves??). How's he pleasuring her?? Can elves give us any tips?"

I do better at typos than tips.]--

Need a tip on getting out of the procrastination habit? Amy Spencer has a tip at her blog Real Simple: How to Stop Procrastinating.

My suggestion for avoiding procrastination is develop some writing buddies.  I find they do more than anybody to keep my fingers on the keyboard. Don't know where to start? Try a writer's conference near you -- if your local library or independent bookstore doesn't help writer's network.

L. D. Masterson has some good ideas on what to look for in a recent blog on writer's conferences. I'll be going to the Northern Colorado Writer's conference this year. Looks like they have a good slate of presenters this year. 

I'm going even though I don't have anything to pitch, unless I push the Half-Elven. Last year, I pitched an idea of a Color-a-Comic reader, a set of stories limited to short vowels only with the color book simple. Just got word that the publisher is scheduling it for June, 2012. Just have to get the contract back with their signature on it.

However I've improved my craft skills over the last couple years, I still need help. 

Trivia 

I make no secret about being a cheapskate, penny pincher or a saver. If you also have a frugal vein, I recommend you read Mariah Zannini's new book: Smart Budgets for Busy People. If you've got kids, they'll thank when they become adults for the habits you instill today.  -- Recycling can become a habit ... even for your writing.
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