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Friday Flashback: Start merging early October 29, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Friday Flashback, Writing Craft.
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Flashback from May 13, 2008

My day job, like most peoples’, requires a commute every morning.  Back and forth along the same stretch of interstate watching the billboards go by and yelling at people who wait until the very end of a merge, stop, and then try to get in front of me.

After watching another idiot try this kind of merge this morning I got to thinking about why it annoys me so.  Two roads are coming together and the vehicles on them need to merge.  I don’t have a problem with the base fact of this.  What annoys me is the last minute nature of the people doing the merging.  If a car that needs to merge uses their blinker and gives me an early indication that they’d like to merge I’m far more likely to tap my brakes and give them the chance to slide in seemlessly to the flow of traffic.  It’s when they wait and try to go around to get that extra few feet ahead of everyone else and swerve in and out erratically that I want to have a loaded paintball gun.

All of this got me thinking about plot threads in a book or series of books and I found that I have similar responses.  When a thread has proper foreshadowing, that little blink that it’s coming I find that the plot merging experience tends to be pleasant.  I see the mystery unfolding and have all the pieces I need to enjoy the building action of the plot and come away satisfied.

Many of the books that I don’t like or find satifying have plot threads that merge like a bad driver.  Plot lines and characters come out of no where, slamming into the main plot line.  There’s honking and shouting and in the end no one gets where they wanted to go in the way they wanted to get there.

So now I’m going back through my WIP and looking for bad plot drivers and where I can put in more foreshadowing blinkers to make sure the merges are smooth.

Who says you can’t learn anything useful in rush hour traffic?



Cup runneth over… October 24, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Uncategorized.
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October is a funny month. I love it because of Halloween and the change over to fall, but I hate it because it’s the mid-semester ‘My cup runneth over’ moment, where all the obligations, papers, jobs, classwork, grading, teaching, and library work is all piling up and there’s a difficult time balancing it all.

I love both of my jobs, I really enjoy the student interaction of the teaching and I like coming up with new ways to instruct and guide students in lessons. I like working in the library and organizing documents and books, and maintaining the collections I’ve been offered to look over.

I also really enjoy singing in the choir, working out and taking my riding lesson once a week, however… after a while it all starts building up with obligations and needs and duties and even the ‘fun stuff’ which helps you unwind is another draw on your time. I hit this point of ‘cup runneth over’ where I think about a week of vacation would do me wonders for trying to get back on an even keel, managing all the varied obligations, staying on top of grading…. where the alarm clock is something I wake too, instead of slept through because of sleep deprivement of trying to work when I should be sleeping….

What do you all do when you need some time to just sit at home, do nothing, see no one… but you can’t manage to get the time off because of having to attend classes, get in the hours at your job and because you have students depending on you to be there to teach them? Or a story that needs to be turned in by a deadline?

I’d love some good advice for ‘my cup runneth over’ syndrome.


Friday Flashback: Talk to people October 22, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Friday Flashback.
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Friday flashback from May 9, 2008

I’m a school teacher (soon to be a College Professor instead, I hope!). Stephen King once taught high school English and listed it as the job that sapped so much of his creativity he found it hard to write. I often see where he’s coming from. I spend my days dealing with 150 different teenagers, and their parents. (All at varied stages of sanity). It’s a demanding job, it’s a job of passion, and most certainly is a draining job. There really are days I want to go home and just let someone else on the tv screen tell me a story. (And then, of course, inevitably those danged story ideas keep popping into my mind, or I hear the Siren Call of the computer whispering my name).

Of course, teaching also gave King the inspiration for the novel Carrie. Funny how life works that way.  For me, what I’ve learned from teaching school is the amazing stories people of all ages have to tell.  The job has given me a daily glimpse into the home lives of many different families and individuals. I’ve learned from my students as much as I’ve taught them, and been inspired by them both for good and the bad.  Here’s a bit of what I’ve been exposed to:

  • Students being shuffled between multiple step-families.
    • I particularly enjoyed the term “step-creatures” one used to refer to his step siblings. Maybe not nice, but definitely amusing and emotionally evocative.
  • Beautiful loving parent-child relationships, and parents so demanding that they make the Dursleys look like the ideal family.
    • One in particular comes to mind, a parent who regularly told me the IQ of their child and insisted, in front of the child, that “John Doe isn’t very smart”.
  • A student with deaf parents who taught me some sign language so I could communicate with them.
  • Several students with preacher parents who have told me stories of:
    • Living in a church for a year, because the congregation was too poor to get them a house.
    • Visiting the Masai tribes in Africa and participating in their rites of initiation
    • Travelling down jungle rivers to preach the Lord’s word.
    • The lonelyness of having to share their father with 100 other families (or more).
  • Students confronting issues of sexual harrasment, drugs and life choices.
  • Students confronting the illness of parents.
  • Students sharing their homes with foster children.
  • Students discovering the Lord for the first time.
  • The beauty of student creativity when you let them go wild creating movies and stories.
  • The depth of poetry that you can find in a teenager’s soul
    • One of my students wrote a story about a three legged dog’s journey to heroism that made me cry.
    • Another writes beautiful stories of love and loss, merely in a few words when defining vocabulary words.
  • The level of involvement and understanding many teenagers have of politics and world morality. (I chose my vote most recently based on listening to the kids debate, most of my adult friends knew jack and squat!)

Anyway, I think there’s a sad tendency for adults to get stuck relating only to people of the same age group, and dismissing the reality that every person has a story. And that maybe, just maybe, someone younger than you can teach you someting. Or we forget, once we become an adult, that older people still have a lot to teach you. The moral of this post? Talk to people. Talk to lots of people. Talk to people of 8 years to people of 80 years. My friends are of all ages and walks of life. I don’t always agree with them. The kids sometimes make me nuts, but I always learn from them. And there’s always stories…

Book Review: Bayou Moon October 20, 2010

Posted by Realitybypass in Book Review, Urban Fantasy.
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Heya there folks,

Fall break for my family was this last weekend and we took my boys to Disneyland for the first time.  As I’ve chattered about before one of my favorite things about travel is the chance to read mostly uninterrupted.  This weekend I finished 2.5 books so those are up for review in the next couple of weeks.

Book the first is Bayou Moon by the writing team of Ilona Andrews.  It should come as no surprise that I’m a fan of the Kate Daniels series written by team Andrews, and On the Edge, the first in the Edge series was another favorite.  In Bayou Moon we’re still in the Edge universe, but it’s the story of one of the secondary characters from On the Edge, William.  I loved William in On the Edge, even though I knew it wasn’t his story and that he wasn’t going to get the chance to win the girl and be the hero, so I was glad to see him get his chance.

Bayou Moon is a fun romp and a very different kind of urban fantasy.  It’s more of a rural fantasy if such is a genre, dealing so closely with family and with communities and how they get along.  This universe combines the Broken, which is what most of us would see as the ‘real’ world, the Weird a world of high fantasy and magic and the Edge, which is somewhere between the two.  In this case we go into a splinter of the Edge called the Mire, a magical swamp thick with personal struggles, political intrigue and used as a dumping ground for the unwanted.

At the heart Bayou Moon is the story of William Wolf, a changeling reviled in both the Edge and the Weird, and Cerise Mar, a young woman thrust into leading her family when an old feud and a new enemy come against it.  This pair of leading characters shows what I think is one of Ilona Andrew’s strongest talents which is balancing the romantic leads.  In the reading the control of the relationship and progression goes back and forth between the two in a way that keeps the reader going.  I was invested in their story and wanted to see how they’d overcome the struggles presented.

On the non romantic angle I also enjoyed the political story and the hunt for an artifact that pulled the Mars into the conflict and allowed William to address a battle long in play.

I loved the world building in this book as it built on what I’d seen in On the Edge, but then took it in new directions.  There were creatures and powers in Bayou Moon which we’d never seen before but which fit perfectly into the swamp setting and into the rules for the magic of both the Edge and the Weird which had been introduced previously.

All in all it was a charming read.  There were a few places where the exposition was a bit rocky, but I chewed through the book with hardly a pause and look forward to another volume soon please!

Jana Brown


Bayou Moon

Genre:  Urban/Rural Fantasy

Age: 16+

Content: violence, some sexual content

Overall:  5/5 paws

Friday flashback: When you can’t travel… October 15, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Friday Flashback.
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Flashback from May 7, 2008

I wrote earlier about how travelling is an enrichment for writing. But let’s face it, sometimes it’s impossible to travel all the places you may want to go. Particularly with the ever increasing price at the pump, we’re feeling the sting in our vacation budgets! I do reccomend keeping a regular ‘vacation fund’ handy, since at least one vacation a year is good for the health and sanity! However, last night while watching Travel Channel, I realized just what a wonderful tool television can be for a writer!

You’re told to ‘research’ your topics or alternately to “write what you know” and many people complain how boring research is, or how time consuming. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel, History Channel and Travel Channel are a wealth of story ideas and exotic settings. And the greater joy? Most of their programs are available for purchase, if you just /have/ to learn about a specific topic quickly.

I suggest adding some regular ‘intellectual television’ time to your writer’s schedule, already overburdened I’m sure. This way, you never know when some random tidbit of Japanese trivia or World War II memories can come in handy.

For instance, I learned yesterday that in Japan baseball is the most popular sport and that there’s a sacred forest where Japanese men and women bathe in icy waterfalls for spiritual renewal. I may never write about Japan, but that may well make an interesting custom, rite of passage or experience for a character in a later book or novel.

Meet the author Monday: Giles Kristian October 11, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Author Interview, Historical.
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Hiya folks!

As promised, we have an interview with Debut Author Giles Kristian for your perusal. His upcoming novel, Raven, will be available from Amazon.com UK this month and is open for purchase in the US in October. He’s also multi-talented, and was the lead singer for the pop group Upside Down in the nineties. Anyway… without further ado, we have… the interview.

Vital Status:

Lives:  England
Webpage: Giles Kristian
Books: Raven: Blood Eye
Genres: Historical Fiction

From the mouth of the author:

1. What made you choose the Viking Era for your novel? What is it that you think will appeal to modern readers?

I chose the era because, being half Norwegian, I have always been fascinated by my own heritage. I admire these men, these Vikings, who dared to take open, clinker-built vessels across seas that even a modern day yachtsman with all his technology would not take lightly. I think modern readers will appreciate their hardiness and daring, their ambition and their skill. They lived and died on the edge, which is, I think, very exciting.

2. What is the strangest, most bizarre fact you learned about the Vikings in your research?

According to the early saga writers, the first man and woman came from the sweat of a giant’s armpit. Not a very glamorous beginning then, and hardly the Garden of Eden. We should be glad they had not invented antiperspirant back then!

3. What’s the one thing that you think modern readers should adopt from the Viking mode of living or code of Honor?

Perhaps one of the reasons why the Vikings were so dynamic is that they seem to have been fatalistic. My characters believe that the patterns of their lives have already largely been woven and so they live without fear. If you believe what will be will be, you can truly seize the day and live each one to its fullest. Of course, you might also take terrible risks that become your undoing!

4. We all know it’s easy to get distracted when a project is taking its own sweet time to bubble.  What is your Achilles heel when it comes to getting distracted from writing?

When you’re writing historical fiction it can be hard to know when to stop reading (as in research material) and when to get on with the writing. Other than that, I get distracted by anything from the washing and the gym, to Facebook and emails. I like getting distracted. I wander what’s for dinner. Oh look, there’s a bird. Ahem, so…er…where was I?

5. I’ve heard of inspirational eating, so when you’re settled in to get things done is there a particular food that you just have to have on hand?

We have a family cottage in the Norwegian fjords and being there brings me as close to the world I write about as it’s possible to be. I will buy a leg of cured lamb and cut slices from it to munch on during the day, knowing that the Vikings would have enjoyed the very same taste. Catching a nice fish in the fjord and eating it for dinner also sets the scene. However, I draw the line at sheep’s head and the rotten sharks the Icelandic Vikings used to eat.

6. What does it take to write a really good villain?  Do you ever find yourself in a mental space that scares you or makes you wonder if that really came out of YOUR head?

I think good villains are the ones that have something about them that makes you think they might actually have a sense of honour and morality. You think they might show mercy this time. Then, of course, when it really comes down to it they don’t! Few people are inherently bad, but villains consistently do ‘bad’ things. I think it’s important to show they are multi faceted just like any person. Knowing what I am capable of writing, I have never scared myself, but I have scared my mother. She was the first to read RAVEN and when she had finished she texted me calling me a ‘filthy heathen savage.’ I took it as a compliment of course.

7. Which of your characters gave you the most trouble and was the hardest to write for?

Raven himself is the hardest to write. The first person narrative means I can never tell the reader what any other character is feeling or thinking. Everything has to come to the reader via Raven and this can be exhausting to write. Also, I try to get outside of my own skin, as I don’t want Raven to think and feel exactly as I would. Having said this, I’m sure I’m in there somewhere.

8. We all have darling lines or paragraphs in our stories.  Stephen King even says we should kill them.  What is your most favorite murdered darling from any of your books?

There was a scene in the first draft of RAVEN Blood-Eye where Raven finds a cave in a forest and explores it with Asgot the wizard and Sigurd their jarl. In this cave there is a pool into which the three men peer. Strangely however, Raven cannot see his own reflection. It was quite a spiritual scene but my agent thought I should cut it. Highlighting and then deleting that whole scene felt terrible, although I think I still have a version of the manuscript with it in.

9. What is your worst writing habit, the thing which you keep telling yourself you’re going to change and you do it anyway?

For some reason I almost always finish my day’s writing half way through a sentence. Then the next day I wonder what I was going to write. It really is

10.   If you were going to interview another author, whose brain would you want to pick?

I think Bernard Cornwell is a masterly storyteller. His historical novels seethe with excitement, but never get bogged down in historical detail, despite being superbly researched. Also, I’d like to get inside Stephen King’s mind, though I wouldn’t want to stay for long.

From the mouth of Sigurd:

1.   What is the best piece of advice you’d give to other characters to survive when shanghaid by violent warriors?

Shieldwall! If we suddenly find ourselves under attack I will yell ‘shieldwall!’ and my men will rally, overlapping their shields in front and above to create a ‘hutch’ that is proof against missile weapons. Then, when the time is right, we will raise my wolf’s head banner and advance together with swords, thrusting spears and axes. You will see my enemies quake with fear.

2. What is the best way to vanquish your enemies?

The best way is to burn your enemy’s hall with him and all his men asleep inside it. Once you have killed his drunk sentries it is just a question of starting a good fire and guarding the doors with archers and spearmen. In this way you can kill thirty men and lose not one.

3. Describe your feelings on loyalty and brotherhood? What lengths should a man go to for his brothers?

A man should be happy to go to Valhöll, Óðin’s hall of the slain, for his swordbrothers. If you cannot rely on the man beside you in the shieldwall you are all doomed. If you die a good death you will see your friends again in Valhöll. You will drink again with your father and your father’s father. Who does not want this? But a coward will wander the darkness forever.

4. Is there a happily ever after on your horizon, or is true love only for those sappy romance books?

When I die I will have woven a tale worthy of remembrance. Men will talk of Sigurd’s Fellowship around their hearth fires for many years to come. Young men jealous of our renown will make their own fellowships and take to their dragonships in search of glory and fame. When I die it will be no straw death. It will be by the blade and with my own sword in my hand. That way Óðin’s death maidens will know that I am Sigurd of the Wolfpack and they will prepare my seat in the great meadhall, Valhöll. This will be my end.

5.   Do you believe in any Gods or religion? Magic artifacts? Religious relics of power?

There are objects of power. I have seen those followers of the White Christ waving their crosses in the heat of battle. I have seen men display the heads of defeated enemies at their gates. I have known a man with a bear’s head tattoo who believed that this seidr gave him the bear’s strength and spirit. I have seen hundreds slaughtered over a gospel book. If a man believes in something, be it a god or a book or a lump of wood, then that thing is a powerful thing indeed.

Friday Flashback: The oft maligned adverb October 8, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Friday Flashback, Writing Craft.
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Since the question of adverb usage, was brought up in the comments I thought I’d bring it more to the forefront.

First of all what is an adverb?  Borrowing from Barron’s Essentials of English; 4th Edition:

Adverbs are words  that modify verbs and other modifiers.

He ranted at her angrily. (angrily modifies the verb ranted)

She danced extremely well. (extremely modifies the adverb well)

Adverbs, as much as they are shunned and maligned, are valid parts of speech.  We learn about them in grammar classes, and for many students -ly adverbs are a particular favorite because they’re easy to diagram out of a sentence.  (At least where diagraming is still done.  I’ve been told that the practice is sooo last century.)

So why, then, does the noble adverb get picked on when it comes to writing and editing fiction?

The biggest reason for the anti-adverb campaign is that adverbs represent sloppy writing.  They contribute to passive voice instead of active voice, and can create clauses that lengthen a sentence by five or six additional words when the meaning and emphasis is better served with one strong action verb. Adverbs also contribute to repetition of meaning.

For example:

She yelled loudly.  – This is repeating the meaning.  Yelling denotes loudness, the adverb is unnecessary and clutters the sentence.

Her eyes snapping angrily, she stalked slowly towards him, muttering very harshly, “Jerk.” – She’s stalking and muttering and calling him a ‘jerk’.  The verbs convey stronger meaning without the angrily, slowly and very harshly.

So does this mean that all adverbs should be struck from all writing forever?  Heavens, no.  Many prolific writers use the adverb, some to better effect than others.  Some have made it a career goal to prove that adverbs are just as good as any other part of speech, though I have yet to see any that have succeeded in that.  I find for myself that my first drafts are often full of adverbs and I’m all right with leaving them there in that draft as markers of an emotion or emphasis I wish  to draw out, but 9.8 of 10 times those suckers are destined for the delete pile in the editing pass in exchange for stronger prose.  So in the long run I feel
adverbs, in specific -ly adverbs, should be used like hot peppers, as a spice and with caution.


I can has dissertation? October 7, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Uncategorized.
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As many people are aware, I’m finishing up my Doctoral studies. It’s hard to believe, sometimes, that I already survived 2 years of this and now it’s on to ‘3rd year’ otherwise known as the indefinite stage of “Dissertation Writing”. I have a good plan. I have a good topic. I have way the heck too many jobs distracting me and exhausting me before I can so much as think about a computer. Yeah, I know…whine whine. It’ll get done, and everything I’ve learned writing fiction about having a plan, taking it a little at a time, doing something fun when you want to panic, is all valid. I know I can finish, it’s just the process of getting there that’s giving me hives! It’s funny, too, how the closer to 30 I go, the less staying up late and getting up early and working 20 hours… is feasible for any sort of cognizant expression of thoughts and higher level thinking.

But I thought I’d share a little PHD humor with everyone, having discovered a comic strip online that should be required reading for all incoming Doctoral students (WWW.phdcomics.com). So much of the comic strip is… terribly true, if exaggerated a little bit (just like Dilbert). In fact this is the Dilbert of Higher Education!

Anyway, wish me luck!  Chapter 1 is due by the end of the month and I intend to get there! Wahoo…

Meet the author Monday: Marie Brennan October 4, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Author Interview, Fantasy.
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*snuggles into the blankie she won at the family party*  Happy Holidays boys and girls.  I hope your houses are having as much fun as mine.  I’m swamped with children, a sick husband and more dirty dishes than I can count.  Oh well…  :)

Getting on to cooler stuff.  Marie Brennan is our last author interview for December and what a fun ride to talk to her.  She’s been on my TBR list for Midnight Never Come since it came out and I’m already a fan of the Warrior and Witch books.  I’m hoping I’ll get to it here in the next couple weeks.

Housekeeping:  this is the last day to comment to go into the end of the month drawing.  A gift card to Barnes and Noble and a book from one of our December authors of your choice is on the line!

Now our author:
Marie Brennan
Webpage: Swan Tower
Books: Warrior, Witch, Midnight Never Come, In Ashes Lie (2009)
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy

How would you classify your fantasy? (For example, epic, historical, classic, re-told fairy tale, low fantasy… etc.)
The series I’m writing at present is historical fantasy, set in London at different points in time.  The first book, Midnight Never Come, takes place in the Elizabethan period; its sequel In Ashes Lie covers the Civil War the following century.  My first two novels, however, are more middle-of-the-genre adventure fantasy.

From the mouth of the author:
What is the fantasy cliché that most bothers you, or what is your book pet-peeve?

I really don’t like Destiny.  Except in the hands of *extremely* good authors, it tends to render the protagonist’s choices less meaningful; I’d rather read about a character who *decides* to step up to the plate and solve a problem, instead of one who’s been fated from birth to do so.  The motif can work if you use it to explore questions of free will and the like, but too many authors use it as a convenient jump-starter for their plot, to explain why this random nobody is so special they’re going to save the world.

What is your favorite fantasy critter or fairy tale character and why?  No, it doesn’t have to be one you write about.
I’m a pretty big fan of faeries, which I *do* write about.  They tie in well with my folklore background, and because “faerie” is a pretty broad category, there’s a wide variety of things you can do with them in a story.

We all know it’s easy to get distracted when a project is taking its own sweet time to bubble.  What is your Achilles heel when it comes to getting distracted from writing?
The Internet, easily.  It contains infinite distractions, many of which update regularly, so that it’s easy to decide I need to check and see if any of them have posted new content.

With the holidays coming up what is your favorite winter activity?
Curling up in the armchair and reading. :-) I grew up in Dallas, so things like ice-skating or snowball fights were a rarity, and being outside in the cold is not something I particularly enjoy.

I’ve heard of inspirational eating, so when you’re settled in to get things done is there a particular food that you just have to have on hand?
Not really.  I try not to snack too much while working, though sometimes I’ll have a bowl of trail mix on my desk that I can munch from.

What does it take to write a really good villain?  Do you ever find yourself in a mental space that scares you or makes you wonder if that really came out of YOUR head?
I very rarely write villains, as it happens.  My plots more often involve antagonists: people who are genuinely trying to do what they believe is the right thing, but their “right thing” lies at cross-purposes to the protagonist.  I find that produces a richer conflict, because the opposition isn’t as clear-cut right-and-wrong — and it usually means the protagonist can’t take the easy way out of their problems by killing the bad guy.

Which of your characters gave you the most trouble and was the hardest to write for?

Tiresias, the mad seer in Midnight Never Come.  He isn’t the actual Greek Tiresias — he’s just named that because of his prophetic gift — but man, writing a crazy person is *hard*.  Making somebody wacky and random?  Easy.  But creating a compelling madness, something that seems to have its own logic and contains buried fragments of truth . . . that’s much, much more difficult.  The book contains five interludes from his point of view, and I think it’s fair to say they were one of the hardest parts to write.

We all have darling lines or paragraphs in our stories.  Stephen King even says we should kill them.  What is your most favorite murdered darling from any of your books?

Hmmmm.  I don’t tend so much to fall in love with specific lines; more often it’s a scene I don’t want to cut.  There’s an outtake from the first act of Midnight Never Come that had Deven, one of the protagonists, interacting with Queen Elizabeth, which I really enjoyed because it showed a side of her that didn’t come through anywhere else in the novel.  She loved to ride very fast, and as one of her bodyguards Deven has to keep up with her, so it’s this scene where she’s playing a little game by trying to outrace him, and he gets to see a side of her that’s more the woman Elizabeth, instead of the Virgin Queen.

What is your worst writing habit, the thing which you keep telling yourself you’re going to change and you do it anyway?
Not so much that I tell myself I *will* change it as I wish I *could*: writing late at night.  My best working hours start at about 10 p.m. and go until about 3 a.m.; I kind of wish I operated better on a more normal schedule.

If you were going to interview another author, whose brain would you want to pick?
I’d probably have to choose Diana Wynne Jones, though I fear my attempts to pick her brain would degenerate into aimless fangirl babbling.  If I had to point to one author who’s responsible for me being a writer today, it would be her.

From the mouth Lune, the faerie protagonist of Midnight Never Come, which is why her responses sound a little archaic.

What is the best piece of advice you’d give to other Fantasy characters on how to survive troubles and tribulations?
Never cease thinking.  If your author is like mine, the trials you face will require you to solve the riddle or learn the history or find the solution no one expects.  Brute force will only rarely avail you.

How do you feel about magic powers? Indispensable? Only for the Lazy Hero/Heroine? You wish your author gave you more?
For those of us whose nature is magical, they are as commonplace as breathing — but their power is limited.  While I might wish to be a great enchantress, I suspect it would not rescue me from the need for quick thinking.

What’s the best way to vanquish mad witches, evil dragons… orcs, ogres?

With aid.  ‘Tis a rare hero who knows all and can do all, without another to guard his back.

Is there a happily ever after on your horizon, or is true love only for those sappy romance books?
Mortals may love until they die.  Faeries may love — until the one they love dies.  The grief that follows lasts forever.

Magic artifacts? Useful, indispensable, more trouble than they’re worth…
All of that and more.  But my greatest protection has come from the most ordinary of things: mortal bread.  Use lies in everything, if you can but find it.

Thanks so much to Marie and Lune!

Friday Flashback: Editing October 1, 2010

Posted by kmcalear in Friday Flashback.
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Flashback from May 5, 2008

Some of the common errors to look for when doing a style edit:

  • Passive Voice (The book was studied vs She studies the book)
  • Dialogue split by large descriptive paragraphs. (It’s much better to put a chunk of 4 – 6 dialogue phrases together before having a large paragraph).
  • Description repeated in dialogue (Use your dialogue to show things whenever you can)
  • Combining sentences. (If you have 3 sentences of description, see how changing the location of an adjective or adding an active verb can let you combine to one).
  • This is one I’ve particularly noticed in Whispers, descibing tone.
    • “Quit it!” Her tone was angry. vs “Quit it.” She snapped.
    • “Are you always so stupid?” She said with disdain. “Are you always so stupid?” She sneered (Or even just “Are you always so stupid?” I mean why do you need to say how they spoke that? It’s self explanatory).
  • Repeated information (If your characters have already experienced something, there’s no need to re-hash it again in the next chapter. The reader knows! Make sure you’re always introducing new information.)

More from me on Wednesday. If you have more suggestions, fire them my way.