Dreams, Drugs, and Yawning

I have a confession to make: I ***HATE*** dream sequences and drug sequences in my books, movies, and television shows. (You might think that I’m being a bit too forceful, with stars, capital letters, bold, and increased font size. Believe me, I’m not. My goal is to make you understand the depth of my emotion on this topic.)

I get it. Authors want to convey information outside the mainstream of their narrative. They want to show a character’s inner self, her secret motivations, his true core beliefs. They want to demonstrate what happens when a character is plucked from all that is familiar and normative and thrust into a world where none of standard rules apply.

But when I read these scenes, or when I watch them, all I get is a disconnect from the story. All of the creator’s careful worldbuilding, the contract between the author/director and the reader/viewer, […]

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Creative Intersections: Worldbuilding and Plot

Today, I continue my series of Creative Intersection posts with a discussion of plot and worldbuilding (You can find the first Creative Intersections post here, and the second one here). Many of you asked for posts that would tie plot to pretty much anything, and as I begin work on the third Thieftaker book, City of Shades, I am still thinking a lot about worldbuilding and research, so this seemed a natural combination. Sort of.

Sometimes, the intersections I discuss in these posts will be fairly obvious. The last one I did — plot and character — is a good example of this. Tying together story arc and character arc is a fairly intuitive thing to do. As our narratives develop, so do our characters, and since so much of our plotting revolves around our characters’ emotional journeys, the relationship just makes sense.

As it turns out, this week’s […]

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Creative Intersections: Plot and Character Development

As of December 27, Thieftaker, the first book in my Thieftaker Chronicles, is available as an audio book from Audible.com. The reading was done by Jonathan Davis, who happens to be a friend of A.J.’s who also did the voicings for A.J.’s Will books. If you are one of those people who enjoys listening to audio books as much as you do reading regular books, I hope you’ll check it out.

I don’t listen to a lot of audio books, but I have enjoyed those I’ve heard. I also find, though, that listening to someone read a book tends to highlight for me all the flaws in the writing. This is one of the reasons why I read my own work aloud when I am revising. But it’s a little different when it’s my own book, and it’s too late for me to edit. Yesterday, after a couple of weeks […]

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Memory, Narrative, and a Journey Home

I’m still on vacation and so am writing this from the road. In part, my travels have taken me back to New York, and more specifically, to the small town north of the city where I grew up. I’ve seen my old schools, the part of town along the coast where I used to hang out with friends, restaurants where I used to go with family and friends. And I even braved a visit to the tiny dead end street where I grew up. I stood outside my old home, marveling at how much the house had changed and, at the same time, how familiar it all looked.

And, of course, as I saw all these old haunts, stories flooded my mind. I remembered people I hadn’t thought of in years, decades even. I thought of things I’d done with my parents and siblings. I was struck by how […]

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