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.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Getting Your Character's Mental Perspectives Right

Confessions of a Pagan Nun: A Novel    Let us return to the days of yesteryear, when people lived in houses with dirt floors...even in "progressive" Europe. Not very many people remember that the peoples of Europe once thought like tribal peoples rather than national citizens. Let's consider a fictional historical memoir.

   One of my used book-store excursions yielded a gem in Kate Horsley's Confessions of a Pagan Nun set in Ireland of the Dark Ages, aka the times of St. Patrick, when the stone circle of the druids fought with the stone church.

   No, the book isn't salacious, in spite of the title. The pagan Irish, before St. Patrick, had a much freer notion of sex than we do.Yeah the mind set was very different back then on most all life's issues.

   Yeah, Confessions of a Pagan Nun is set in sixth century Ireland when the Gospels of the Great White Christ fought with the Celtic druidic/warrior culture, and the people two-three villages over were considered aliens. The protagonist, Gwynneve, copes with this transition by becoming a cloistered nun, copying Christian works, even though she lies about being baptized in the faith. But more than book-copying goes on in her monastery, and she is caught up in a mystery of who/what is desecrating a monastery grave.

   Told in first person, the book illustrates the cruelty of the times as well as guilt, depression and unrequited love of the main character. Be warned. Gweynneve's motivations are definitely not the same as Suzie Coed's.     

   Bottom line on this book. It reminded me why I don't read much newly written historical fiction anymore, even though I regularly reread my favorite Nora Lofts and Catherine Cookson's. Too many of the recently written historical protagonists are modern square pegs shoved into a round social melieu.

Recommended as a change of pace for the conventionally structured novel. Well-written with beautiful word images, well-researched, and sad. More important, Confessions of a Pagan Nun makes you think.


Writing Tips, Etc.

   By way of backstory: my free estory, Night for the Gargoyles, has done well on the Amazon short reads fantasy & science fiction. [It's still ranking in the top 25 after months without much publicity and no great number of downloads.] How it does that mystifies me.

   On the other hand, "experts" seem to have a handle on their stats. Guess that's how they become experts. Whatever. A recent blog on Marketing for Writers [ Building Author Platforms that Sell More Books] recently linked to articles by 12 experts --12 Book Marketing Tips from 12 Industry Experts. There were just enough good ideas in the lot to make me feel guilty about not promoting my stuff more...until I remembered that my stuff is short stories. Plus, my inclination to write rather than to sell.

    Remember when typeface was used to print things? You might be interested in this bit of sleuthing to recover a missing British typeface ... back when "fonts" were little bits of metal that were assembled to make the words that made books, etc. The Gorgeious Typeface That Drove Men Mad and Sparked a 100-Year Mystery, an article on Gizmodod by Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan.

   Then, there was another marketing blog at The Future of Ink that was dear to my grousing little heart, 6 Ways to Build Your Readership (Without Social Media). Justine Schofield offers a lot of great ideas ... if you have a full-sized book, though I might be able to apply them to my Andor series as a whole.


My Writing Progress 

   Am feeling a little like the millennium has arrived. No I didn't get my website up yet, but it's almost there. I'm in the process of proofing the pages. Tedious to say the least.

   The Ghostcrow is ready for the formatter. Publication's not far behind. I may actually have the e-story up on Smashwords before I do my next blog. Yeah. The thought makes me do a mental happy dance. My publishing efforts may not be going the way I first planned them, but then, if you're not flexible, you break. Right? So, I'll ask the perennial question. Anyone want a PDF review copy?

   I'm also having fun playing with scattered puzzle pieces, aka scenes, of my new Cassy Mae story. YA again. I'm working on the premise of accepting one's strangeness. I'm getting some good comments after putting Dumdie Swartz through the same process. Why not do the same for Cassy Mae's story? My reviewers often say they want more of the character they just read.

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