While writers strive for a dramatic plot, stories are always about people and their relationships to each other. Here’s a character sketch from my notebook on the protagonist of A Thousand Perfect Things. Available in paper and the eBook at $5.99.
In 1857 Tori Harding is eighteen years old. She lives in world where magic has lately invaded her country, escaping from a mystical continent called Bharata.
Tori is a devoted student of her grandfather, Sir Charles Littlewood/ She has a passionate love of science and especially botany, a discipline learned from Sir Charles. She suffers from a club foot, and this infirmity has oddly made it acceptable for her to train in science, since she has little hope of marriage.
Far too used to expressing her opinions, Tori can be brash in social settings, something she tries (a little) to control for the sake of her sister (Jessa’s) need for a suitable match and in light of her mother’s relentless social agenda to brighten Jessa’s hopes. Read More…
I’ve curled up with some lovely reads lately. Here’s a list of my recommended reads, ranging from fantasy to mystery, thriller and suspense.
Deadly Faux – Larry Brooks
This ingenious thriller features one of the genre’s best characters, Wolf Schmidt. He’s cynical, out for himself, and has a mouth that will kill him someday – but he’s also sweet, scary smart and sexy. Brooks keeps him believably on the edge of truly appalling danger, while getting laughs in all the right places. For a double treat, pick up the first Schmidt book, Bait and Switch. (Thriller)
Hull Zero Three – Greg Bear
A wildly inventive story of a generation ship run amok. I loved how the main character grew, coming into his memories and his humanity. This was accomplished with a deft touch, humor and mystery. The generation ship is a sheer marvel, technically wondrous and fittingly strange. Stunning work. One of Greg Bear’s best. (Science Fiction)
Theme is a loaded word. In fiction, it aroused the suspicion that we’re preaching about something. Can’t we just give the story a compelling plot and great characters? Why should there be a theme?
The Golden Theme: How to Make Writing Appeal to the Highest Common Denominator
The answer, I’ve been learning, is that theme is to help clarify for the writer, why she or he is writing the book. And what the book will be about, boiled down to its essence.
I usually come into a novel’s theme after working on concept and characters for a couple weeks at the outset of my planning process, I develop/recognize the book’s theme about then, and it guides the major decisions of the plot and much of the execution.
In fact, theme has guided every book I’ve written since 2008. Because of Brian McDonald. Read More…
Before we utterly leave behind the old year, I’m looking back in gratitude. I often remember the tough parts of the year: the set backs, the worries. Not today! I’m lookin’ at the good stuff, and making a proper list.
JAN: Started on a new novel idea. As I pulled the strands together, fell in love with it. A gift!
FEB: Shopped for a dress to wear for son’s wedding. (OK, it’s not about the dress. . .)
MAR: My publisher put the exact right cover on my upcoming book. (Thanks for all the help here on this blog!) Also published a short story, “The Spires of Greme,” in Solaris Rising 2.
APR: Went canoeing on the Columbia River (near my house) for the first time. Serene and beautiful! Read More…
Courage, faith, balance. Essentials for the writing life
This year on my blog I’ve had fun sharing my views, exploring the writing industry and tracking the launch of my new book.
I’m very grateful to those of you who drop by from time to time check out the goings on and say hello. It’s nice to know we’re not alone in this rather hermit-like practice of writing.
So, many thanks for helping to make this a great year, one for which I am deeply thankful, at least today, when I consider how blessed I am to be able to write stories and have contact with so many friends and acquaintances!
The Best of My Blog This Year.
The Next Fiction Dream Read More…