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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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Review: Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse & Writing Complicated Characters

Tried to watch the third season of True Blood, the HBO series based on Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, while I was in deep recovery. I'm still stuck on episode six ... and can't seem to find time to watch it even though the DVD is loaded and ready for the click of a button. I don't mind the series not following the books, but I do mind the way the scenes jump from one character to another without much development. Like chickens running around without their heads to no purpose.

Guess, I'm a character kind of gal. Don't like the character, I don't read ... or watch, in this case. -- Maybe that's why so many TV series fail? Because the simply-drawn characters keep going through the motions after their characters stop growing. Still, I need to get back and watch it. I think the show should be introducing Sookie's Fae cousins ... and I definitely want to see how the series handles them. -- Hey, there had to be a reason why Sookie could read minds.

Instead of watching the series, I ended up reading Definitely Dead, the tenth (?) book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. Seems I missed it ... or got confused by the sample chapter at the end of the last book I read into thinking I had read it.

Definitely Dead again has Sookie smack-dab in the middle of vampire politics while she tries to settle her cousin's estate and start a romance with a warm-blooded creature. How good is the book? The storyline is complete in itself with just enough back story to understand what's going on and a few loose ends to lead you into the next book in the series.

Harris is sort of an old hand at this series stuff. She has four successful ones [Sookie Stackhouse, Lily Bard, Harper Connelly, and Aurora Teagaren] and has fans still asking for more in the series she's closed. So far, when Harris has ended a series, the major character complications have usually been solved, ie the character stopped growing. If Harris continued, the character would be on repeat of solving a mystery in the British cozy pattern where the detective seems more a deus ex machina rather than a character.

Of course, at this point, I'm not worried about ending my own stories, but found an interesting blog on getting an ending on your stories -- long or short. I have more problems with getting them into second gear. Do you have trouble progressing with your current story, ie floundering for an ending? WiseInk has some ideas that might help you locate the the problem at Four Reasons You Can't Finish Your Book. I've tried to use the ideas to jump-start my writing, but so far ... I just run out of steam. [I'm blaming my surgery.]

Complications can help move a story. I've been trying to create more three dimensional characters, especially with my Half-Elven. Alexia Reed has a neat little list of Seven Ways to Create Character Depth. She even includes backstory as a way of preventing your characters from appearing sui generus from the page.

Give them a visit. I'll wish you an insight that will put you in Charlaine Harris' league.
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