Quote of the Day -5/5/09

"I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity."
— Edgar Allan Poe

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ready for a Break!

After three months of intense writing, I am taking a week off while I hand Earthcrosser over to my test readers.
Finding good test readers can be a challenge. Most people don't think about what they read. On the other hand, there are people (like me) who always think they know just what the writer should have done to make the book better. That can be even more frustrating.

What sort of feedback have you had from test readers, and was it helpful or not?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Roll Call!

Please post a comment if you see this! I want to know who is still checking the blog.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

'Tis the season

Ho ho ho! I hope you are all getting ready for Christmas! what a wonderful time of the year! Snowflakes, carols, highly overpriced toys...
I looove Christmas and think it's a great time for family traditions. For example: secret santa, mistletoe, and going to see A Christmas Carol at Hale Center Theater in West Valley.
I only mention the last one because if you come on the right night and squint at the soprano in the octet, you might recognize her as yours truly!
Being in plays has been an enormous boost for my character development, on and off stage. I've noticed that there is nothing better for a character than pinning her down and figuring out where she came from, where she's going, and how she's going to get there, then putting on her skin and doing it. It is also grueling. Rehearsals last well into the night, and with an early morning day job, I find myself taxed. But I wouldn't trade it for the world.
For anyone struggling with their character development, I suggest turning to theater. Because, although I am not brilliant (feel free to contradict that), I do think that I am better because of it.
And any of you wanting to see Christmas Carol, please do, but the tickets are twenty bucks a person, sooooo I completely understand if you don't.
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Any good characters?

This is just a suggestion, but if you really want to see some great character work, I suggest you read The Thin Man, by Dashell Hammett. It is neither fantasy nor a children's book, but the characters are really well done. If you have ever seen the Thin Man movies with William Powell and Myrna Loy, those are really good too. It makes me wonder why more books don't use already married couples for their protagonists. The banter between Nick and Nora are really fantastic, and the language used makes me laugh. You might not understand it without a basic knowledge of forties slang. The book is a lot of fun, and I highly recommend it.

Another really great book is The Crocodile in the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters. This is one of my favorite books. The prose is fun and the characters are really strong. Again, not a children's book or a fantasy, but a good read. This is one of those books where the lady who reads it on the audio book is really great. If you can, I suggest listening to the book, I think she adds a lot to the book.

Anyway, I am looking for strong characters in books, if you have any suggestions, I would appreciate them. I contribute the afore mentioned books. I'm sort of looking for more whimsical characters, since I am a firm believer in humor. I don't think characters can be very strong without it. Any recommendations?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thoughts on being a reader

Shannon Hale has some terrific posts on her blog (http://oinks.squeetus.com/) about being a reader. I think she posted them to assuage some of the anger stemming from a recently published book by a friend of hers. While it doesn't make me like the book any better, it did make me more forgiving towards the author. (Except for dissing Gilbert Blythe, of course.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Long Term Relationship?

So how long have each of you been working on your current Work In Progress?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Dark Knut

So I saw the new batman last night. My sister found me this morning still rocking back and forth clutching my teddy bear. It was intense! It took me until now to decide that I liked it. But it was disturbing. The very thought of having a villain who has not only no moral code, but no conscience was a scary thing. He was truly evil.
I don't know if any of you have read anything by Mette Ivie Harrison, but if you look on her website, she gives 20 universal rules to bad writing. It's all a load of corn, don't read it. Lots of her rules are true in some cases, but not true in a lot of others. Anyway, as a demonstration, she states that it's bad writing to have villains who are evil and mysterious.
Isn't that what villains are? I mean, sure you can have a disagreement between good people, and that can be your conflict, but isn't it better a lot of times to just have a bad guy for your bad guy? It creates sympathy, right?

I think some of the best stories are due to villains. Good conquering evil is classic, and will remained loved by all through out the ages! Viva la Villains!
But, what makes the best villain? I guess all types of villains are good, but what kind do you guys like? Funny villains, scary villains, villains who climb on rocks? Or maybe villains in the form of authors who publish a couple books, think they're all that, and then tell everyone else that they suck because they're villains are villainous?
Sorry, I guess that was harsh.
I digress. I've wandered from my original point. But do please tell me your opinions on villains.
Anyway, I wanted to ask about anti-heroes, which is why I brought up Batman. He is the ultimate anti-hero! Everyone loves them! But they are so hard to pull off. The original was The Shadow, who Batman was based off of. He lasted for over thirty years, being very popular, until they turned him all nice, and took out his anti. Han Solo was a great Anti-hero who no one did enough with. Howl, from Howls Moving Castle, was another good one. House, from the tv show, he's an anti too, but in a different way. What is it about anti-heroes that make them so great? Is it that they're not perfect, they're loners, or that they seem to just need someone to hug? How does one write a good anti-hero and what kind of situations are best for them? What kind of characteristics are good for them? ANY WHY ARE THEY SO HARD TO PULL OFF???? If you don't do them right, they end up too harsh, or else wishy washy.
Until I find an answer I have put my epic on hold. I suppose I could study Batman, but I'm afraid I'd just get caught up in Christian Bale and forget what I'm doing. Oh well. I ask for help and opinions.