Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I haven't posted anything for a while because I've been working on a story. That sounds like a good thing. Writer, story, good. Yeah, not so much.

A story with fewer than 1500 words shouldn't take me a week to do. Yes, there are other things I have worked on, but the majority of my writing time this week was spent on one short story. Argh!

The problem is the main character - she doesn’t talk much. She’s more of a listener than a talker. That’s great except when she does talk, she’s picky and stubborn. She stopped talking to me sometime this weekend and absolutely refused to tell me more of her story until I got it just the way she wanted.

Out went the outline. I didn’t stop writing, but it was rough going. One sentence at a time rough. Those parts will need a lot of revision, because the character’s voice isn’t very strong there.

Eventually, though, I figured out what she wanted, and the story is moving along. Her voice is stronger in these parts. Once this story is done, I hope to write a proper blog post. I read lots this week, but didn’t really analyze the characters as much as I would have liked.

What are you reading?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Farewell to Alex

I attended WriteOnCon (a free online conference for kidlit authors) last week – if you can call not leaving the house for three days attending something. There was a TON of great information about virtually every subject. The workshops on characters and revision got me thinking about the novel I am revising.

I had been looking for plot holes and places the plot needs to be strengthened, and fixing them as I went along. When I thought about it, most of the “plot problems” I have found are more like character problems.

I have a cast of characters I really like. There’s one in particular, though, that makes everything too easy. Just by being there, he takes away the protagonist’s motivation. They do things, but there’s really no need to do anything. Katya doesn’t need to find out answers, Alex is there – and between the two of them, they can figure out anything he doesn’t already know. They’re both smart and funny, and they work well together. Too well.

Katya’s too happy. Things happen to them, but if Katya and Alex are together, they’re both happy. They figure out a plan of action and go for it. That sounds like a good thing, I know. In real life it is, but it’s not very exciting to read.

Katya needs to be shaken up a little bit. She needs to get out of her comfort zone and really have to work for what she wants. She’ll be a stronger character for it, and I love strong characters.

So, I’ll have to say, “Goodbye, Alex. Kat loved you well.”  He won’t be missed, though. Not really.

What are you reading?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I Like Lucy

I just finished reading If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince?, by Melissa Kantor. Unlike my usual fare, this one had no vampires, no werewolves, no magic – nothing paranormal going on.

Except it did have magic. Not spell casting or wand waving, but a quieter, happy-place kind of magic. The characters were well-drawn, so I wanted to read on, even though the plot and setting weren’t what I would normally choose. I liked them, all of them.

Lucy Norton is the new girl in school - for the third time in three years. This time her father has gotten remarried and moved her across country. He still works on one coast, while Lucy is stuck on the other coast with her stepmom and stepsisters.

When they’re being nice, they ignore her. Otherwise they are flat out rude to her. Her life at school seems better – when she’s not grounded.

About halfway through the book I almost put it down. I was indignant, horrified that Lucy’s father would leave her with such horrible people. When I thought about it, though, that was Lucy’s indignation, not mine. I thought Lucy was being a brat – but I still liked her.

I kept reading, and I am glad I did. She made dumb choices, but they were true to her character. People started changing, doing things Lucy didn’t expect. Really, though, it was Lucy who changed. It was subtle. She didn’t notice (or the change would ring false); she just started reacting differently. She made better choices, and those were true to her character, too. She grew as a person, and I liked her better for it.

Her character made me keep reading. I didn’t care that she wasn’t saving the world from evil or have any magic powers. I liked Lucy, period. She spoke to me as a reader, and I cared about what happened to her.

What are you reading?