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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Monday, November 4, 2013

Finding an Alien Viewpoint -- Not Different -- Allochthonic

Gotcha with the "allochthonic", didn't I?  

Heh. Heh. Discovered my word-of-the-year when looking for synonyms of alien. Chthonic as to do with "of or characteristic of deities or supernatural beings thought to dwell in or under the earth". Allo means "a combining form meaning other".

I just went through about a half hour's work looking for a word that implied "ultra-different".  Why? Because I've been struggling to create description of the Elflands that would be different from our mundane, human world. It doesn't matter that I've veered off into the "edit" path. I still think of my characters in stasis even though I've been concentrating on getting publications ready to self-publish.

So, where is a poor, struggling writer supposed to find an alien viewpoint. It can be done. Ursula K. LeGuin has done it marvelously in The Left Hand of Darkness, but few of us have her skills.

I'm suggesting a cheat. It came about all because I've recently read Erin Hunter's Survivors: The Empty City. A huge earthquake leaves a city deserted by humans, forcing a pack of pampered dogs to learn for to exist without their humans. Fortunately they are found by Lucky, an unleashed dog, who shows them the ropes.

First Hunter has so many five-star ratings as well as other best-selling series, all told from an animal viewpoint. As such her books are a good object lesson on how to focus in on a few distinct thought patterns and sensory details to tell a story. I would study which type of details Hunter emphasized if you are looking to create a true alien experience.

Okay, for the rating. Five-Stars. What else can I give since the book kept me riveted for a one-sitting read. Granted it's relatively easy to do with a middle grade book, but I wasn't aware of time passing by until I closed the book.

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Have you noticed I haven't been posting to my blog? Got caught tangled in edits, rewrites, and publishing. The new fantastic revised version of Taking Vengeance with a wonderful cover is now up on Smashwords. My new opening is in the sample.


 On  Allochthonic: There's nothing supernatural about dogs, but I still love the word.



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