Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tiny Bit of Self Indulgence

I'm getting the idea that publishers don't understand how much influence manga has on YA readers and how the narrative flow differs between traditional western novels and Asian storytelling. I'm not the one who will teach them, but they should be aware of it, because it will be a bigger issue in the future.

I'm also wondering if I should find an artist to work with.

I need to start writing again. I'm beginning to fret. It isn't pretty.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Saints and Sinners

Today, I head to the Saints and Sinners Literary Conference in New Orleans.
Most writer's conferences are about promotion or offer only beginner level panels. Saints and Sinners has something for every level.

Hanging out with dear friends such as D.L. King, Michael Thomas Ford, Greg Herren, and Rob Byrnes (and a host of others) is a big plus. I lvoe spending time with other writers. They speak my language.

It's strange to be in a city that isn't my home, but every time I turn a corner in the French Quarter, I see someone I know, but it also gives it that "old home week" feel that I love. We'll keep one eye on the river this year. Last year, it was the oil spill. Five, four, and even three years ago, it was the still visible signs of Katrina's passing. Does New Orleans ever catch a break? And yet, it endures.

Every year, I come back re-energized and ready to write. The ideas spill out of my brain, and I'm recommitted to improving my craft. I look forward to this all year.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

While I Wait

With Wind Voyagers out on submission there's little to do but wait for word from the publisher. Rather than fretting - which I do very well - I'm trying to look forward.

What do I want to do with the next story in the series? Where do I want it to go?

I've figured out personal goals for Elek and Jutin. Tehan is a bit of an issue since she was along for the ride in the first book but had no personal stake in anything. She deserves and needs her own story. She's too strong to push off into that "helpful gal pal" role. So I've spent a great deal of time thinking about her and what she might want.

The other issue I'm mulling over is: How do you follow up the destruction of an entire city? Bigger explosions? More carnage? I don't think so. Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge fan of Mythbusters TV show because they blow things up real good almost every episode.

The Swarm was front loaded with a lot of action. I don't want Tehan, Elek,and Jutin to sit around talking at the beginning of their next story, but there has to be a reason for them to take off on another adventure, so unless I can think of a way to force it onto them right away, I'm afraid that I'm looking at a slower pace in the opening chapters of book two. So I'm thinking, plotting, and planning all sorts of misfortune for the trio. One of those ideas will be the right one. It might seem cruel, but it beats fretting over my submission.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More on Wind Voyagers

The role of the main heroic main character seems simple enough. S/He has a duty or a goal and s/he suffers trials until s/he finally reaches her/his goal. S/He's usually single-minded. But s/he's also usually competent. Would you want to be on Lisabet Salander's bad side? Sure, you could hurt her, but she'd come back at you with a vengeance. Harry Potter was incredibly competent in his role. If he lacked a skill or information, he found someone who had it and made them an ally, or he went to the library and looked it up.

Unfortunately, Elek, my main character, wasn't competent. I only have myself to blame for this, but I put him into a situation that was way over his head. He had no skills to fall back on. It's was like teaching someone to swim by dropping them into the deep end of the pool without floaties. It turns out that naive but not stupid is a fine line for a writer to walk with a character. Last year at Saints and Sinners I asked Jim Grimsley in a master class if he had any tips for writing a character like that. All he said was, "It's going to be difficult." He was right.

So my huge thanks to Nan and Diane, and especially Kelley, for challenging me every time I made poor Elek look stupid rather than naive. For such a simple seeming character, he sure was hard to write - harder than almost any other character I've created.