So, I haven’t been writing much lately — I got about an hour in at the computer yesterday and just couldn’t seem to get any momentum on any of the tales that I have going. Probably wrote less than 200 words. Instead, I’ve been getting a bit of reading done.
I have about four books going, and two of them grabbed me and held on — both of them ebooks by Tim Pratt. The first was the eighth entry in his Marla Mason series (he mentions that he’s now written as many (or more) self-published books in the series as he had written for a publisher), titled LADY OF MISRULE. The second was a $0.99 novel called HEIRS OF GRACE, which was originally published as a Kindle Serial.
I’ve been a Marla Mason fan since I read the first one many years ago, and while I enjoyed this one, where Marla et al battle a seemingly-undefeatable extra-dimensional monster, it felt a little scattershot (is that a word?) compared to some of the others. Less focused. More “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” in plot. Which is not to say it was bad — it was a pretty fun, pretty fast read. Lots of imaginative stuff there. Maybe a little too much. Still, I’m looking forward to the next installment for further adventures of Marla Mason.
The second, HEIRS OF GRACE, impressed me. I went into the read with almost no expectations, and the book grabbed me from the first page. This one features recent art school graduate Rebekah Lull, who has inherited from her biological father a fair sized sum of money and a house in North (?) Carolina. And what she finds out is that she isn’t exactly all human — her father is a sorcerer at the least and maybe a whole lot more. And she has some biological siblings — not all human either.
There’s a lawyer named Trey who she finds herself attracted to and it appears that the attraction is quite mutual, but there’s a bit of a conflict seeing as how he’s her lawyer.
Oh, and the house is magic.
This was a really inventive story with lots of cool characters and plenty of peril for our main character as she fights against her siblings and contends with the risks that her inheritance poses to her. Not to mention complications with the relationship with Trey… I had a hard time putting this book down. It was also a fun and fast read, and was unlike much of what I’ve read before.
Tim Pratt is a very gifted writer of fantasy and SF, and both of these were well worth my time.
Now, I’ll just hope that I get some inspiration to actually write something.
Funny you mention fantasy and SF. I just finished Stockmeyer’s Under the Stairs. My beta-reader recommended it. I’m not into fantasy that much (Harry and friends represented a verbose mugging I managed to slog through without major mental damage; I was trying to understand what all the hype was about). But Stockmeyer’s tale has enough SF-flavor mixed in that it held my interest, which says oodles. I just started the sequel, Back Under the Stairs, and I’ll check out your recommendations too. (BTW, Stockmeyer’s mysteries are in the hard-boiled Chandler tradition.)
No one can say I don’t try to broaden my horizons!
BTW, that inspiration will come from reading a lot of books, something too many wannabe authors fail to realize.
There has been a bunch of fantasy that I’ve enjoyed, but it isn’t something I usually seek out. A lot of the so-called “urban fantasy” (with supernatural creatures inhabiting a world very much like ours, but containing a lot more vampires and wizards and werewolves and such) leaves me cold with some notable exceptions, like the Tim Pratt stuff. He wrote an interesting SF story called “The Nex” that’s out there available for Kindle. I enjoyed it also.
Oh, and I liked Harry and friends — though I must admit that I think I liked the last two movies (the final book split into two, as seems to be the trend these days) more than I liked the actual book. (Then again, I think I liked the LOTR movies as a whole more than I liked the books — and I did like those books.)
Believe it or not, I think I got some inspiration from watching a podcast of those guys who do the Self-Publishing Podcast and have written a number of books — Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant, and David Wright. Something they said in the podcast made me think to look at the scene I’m stuck on in a different manner — changing the point-of-view character — and I think I have a hook to get me into the story again.
I’ll check out the Stockmeyer stories as well. Thanks for that recommendation!
POV can be friend or an enemy. The right choice can make the prose shine. The wrong one can be awkward and confusing to your readers. I learned the hard way and am continuously on the lookout for gaffes (lapsing into omniscient, for example).
Too many recommend that authors keep one POV for an entire chapter. I’ll accept changes in each new section, unless I have really short chapters. The best way to check it in a novel-length story is to print out the entire MS and label each section with the POV you want, and then enforce it (gaffes can slip by me on the screen).
Comments on writing for the day….
By the way, I only object to the Harry saga because Rowling becomes more and more verbose to the point where I’m reminded of Moby Dick’s tedious manual on how to change whale blubber into lamp oil, or Twenty Thousand Leagues’ endless description of sea flora and fauna. Harry’s tales are sound, but Rowling is the antithesis of a minimalist writer. She also occasionally bends the magical laws of the land too…at her convenience (that often happens in “magical stories”)–I remember letting those slide.