About Misty Massey
I’ve been watching a show called “The Following”. The premise was intriguing – a brilliant serial killer reaches out from prison to create a cult of like-minded would-be serial killers. The only man who has a chance of stopping the madman and his army is the burnt-out former FBI agent who caught him the first time. But the agent has a pacemaker (thanks to a stab wound from the killer years ago) which impairs his ability to fight and run and chase the bad guys. I should mention he’s in love with the killer’s ex-wife. This fellow is not just flawed, he is all broke up in little bitty pieces.
The killer, on the other hand, is flawless. Everything he tries succeeds. Every episode ends with his plan moving forward, even though the full force of the FBI is devoted to chasing him. His people obey him without question. [...]
Continue reading Weaknesses
Last week Kalayna posted asking our readers for ideas of what they’d want us to post about, and you all responded with lots of great suggestions. Some of those ideas, though, wouldn’t really be substantial enough for a whole blog post, so Carrie had a great idea herself – we’d have a day on which everyone answers the question, and we post all of our answers at once. We’ll do this every now and then when there’s an open day, so we hope you all enjoy it.
The question for today is What was the last “Don’t ever break this rule” rule that you broke and did it work?
Diana Pharaoh Francis
I originally thought I would write my Horngate books from Max’s (the main female protagonist) point of view and I did try at the beginning to use the first person perspective. But it didn’t work for me. [...]
Continue reading Magical Words Party Talk
The ending of a story can sometimes be the most important part. In a fable, it’s where the lesson is communicated. In a romance, it’s where the happily-ever-after happens. We spend a lot of time polishing and refining the beginning, making sure the hook line is sharp and that the introduction of characters is compelling. The ending needs the same amount of care, so that when the reader finishes that last page, she closes the book with a satisfied sigh instead of a grumble. Some writers start their novels with only a vague idea of what the ending will look like. Others know exactly what the end will be, and find themselves trying to pull the story together in order to fit that clear ending. As we’ve said many times around here, there’s no one right way to write your novel, so whichever of these describes you is perfectly okay.
Continue reading Endings
Last week we talked about ethical situations in speculative fiction, and how they appear even when we might not be intending to write about them. Everything our characters do is dependent on their ethical beliefs, and when they make a move that conflicts with those beliefs, it needs to be hard for them and important to the story, or it just won’t feel valid.
Have you ever read a book review in which the reviewer complains that the protagonist behaved stupidly? It’s annoying to read something and know that the character we’re most connected to isn’t being smart. Sometimes it’s not that the character was actually stupid, but that he has done something that didn’t fit with his behavior up to that point. It generally means the author needed something specific to happen in her story and couldn’t think of a better way to drive things forward. If you’re in [...]
Continue reading Turning the Ethical Upside-Down
I spent this weekend at Mysticon, in Roanoke VA, where I learned a few things, taught a few other things, observed wacky behaviors and brilliant ones, too, and generally had a great time surrounded by my people. I rode up with Gail Martin and John Hartness. We drove through nearly impenetrable fog and snow-covered hills, chatting and laughing all the way. On Saturday morning, I joined John to read our work to an appreciative audience, and premiered Miniature Pirate Theater as accompaniment to the reading. Trust me, you haven’t lived until you’ve watched tiny plastic pirates work a tiny plastic stripper pole while John reads from Bubba the Monster Hunter. Gail’s launch party for her latest, Ice Forged, was a raucous affair, full of happy people eating cake and buying books. I met a couple of writers who’ll probably be making guest appearances here later on this year, and got [...]
Continue reading Ethics in Speculative Fiction
I got a new handbag for Christmas, so a few days after the holiday, I sat down to clean out my old bag and switch over to the new one. I moved the wallet, the phone, the iPod and the notebook. I dug out all the pens that still worked, slipped them into the little pockets designed just for pens. Pretty soon I was down to the bits of fluff that everyone accumulates over time – cough drop wrappers, cracker crumbs, stray earring backs, pennies I never put into a change purse, and so on. I turned the bag over and dumped it all out on the table, just to be sure there was nothing important lost in the fluff before I threw it all away…and suddenly I had an idea for a story. The detritus ceased to be garbage, and became something special.
Sometimes magic is lurking in the [...]
Continue reading Magic In Odd Places
Since Kalayna opened the door last week, let’s talk about love today. Or rather, the hindrance thereof.
I don’t write romance, but I used to read it, a long, long time ago. I started with Harlequins when I was twelve, took a baby step into Barbara Cartland historicals, then accelerated straight into the familiar bodice-rippers of the late seventies. Somewhere around fifteen I remembered that I liked fantasy much better, and never looked back. I don’t mind a little romance in my fantasy, almost as much as I like peppermint with my chocolate. I just don’t care to read a book that’s nothing but romance. So I don’t write it.
I do know how it goes in fiction, though, and lately that’s been bothering me. You see, whether you’re writing romance or fantasy or Westerns or whatever, it seems that romances between characters have come to follow a certain structure. [...]
Continue reading Is This Love?