Jagi Lamplighter: All About That Spook, ‘Bout That Spook. No Terror!

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My youngest son has a longstanding problem with nightmares. So he has learned to avoid things that might spark them. He will not walk through a modern bookstore, unless either he’s mapped out a safe route to the kids section that passes through language tutorials and books on auto repair, or I am there to cover his eyes. He knows I am also not a huge fan of horror and gore, and nowadays, many Halloween displays are quite horrific.

So it has been quite a challenge to make it clear to him why I love Halloween so much. I tried to explain:

Me: “I love the parts of Halloween that are creepy and spooky, but not scary or horrific. There are a lot of movies like that.”

Son: “Like what?”

Me, thinking: “Well, Arsenic and Old Lace.”

Son: “What’s that about?”

Inexplicably, I totally failed to convey the humor [...]

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Aaron Rosenberg: Writing Characters Who Aren’t Like You . . . Completely

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Everyone always says, “write what you know.” But how many of us are actually heroic men and women, ready to charge into danger to save others? How many of us are dashing swashbucklers, as quick with a quip as with a rapier? How many are hyper-observant detectives, able to notice the most minute details and instantly analyze everyone we meet?

In short, how are we supposed to write what we know and still write engaging, interesting characters?

Then there’s the other side the coin. If every character we write is shy, reclusive, uncomfortable around new situations or strangers, allergic to shellfish, irrationally afraid of green cars and striped umbrellas, and whatever odd little quirks we ourselves have, that’s going to get awfully repetitious—and awfully boring—after the second or third character. But if we’re supposed to write what we know, how can we convincingly write any character who isn’t exactly like [...]

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Christina Henry — of Running and Writing

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I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t run I wouldn’t be a professional writer. Strike that. I’m 100% sure that if I didn’t run I wouldn’t be a professional writer.

See, when I was 12 years I read The Lord of the Rings for the first time and I decided then and there that I would be a writer when I grew up. My dad gave me a notebook and I wrote my first “novel” in that notebook. As you might imagine, the story was just a teeny-weeny bit like The Lord of the Rings, except that it had a 12-year-old girl as the protagonist (surprising, no?).

I continued to write for fun, for myself, all through high school, although at that time I took up poetry instead of fiction because I was going through puberty and I had FEELINGS and I needed to FEEL my FEELINGS.

I went to [...]

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Self-Doubt and Perspective

Lucienne DiverLucienne Diver

BAD BLOOD, the first book in my Latter-Day Olympians series, is on sale right now for 99 cents in digital. I wanted to do a fun promotional blog, one that would convince you all to run out and buy the book, but the blog begging to be written this morning is about self-doubt and the importance of perspective. (Incidentally, if you want to read a fun promotional blog, two of my recent favorites are Character’s Court: Tori Karacis vs. Lucienne Diver and If I Ruled the World by Hermes.)

Self doubt. Here it is—for years and years lack of faith in my creative abilities kept me from even submitting my work. I’m a literary agent, after all. I have to deal with editors on a daily basis. I didn’t want any of them to lose respect for me because I was a talentless hack—not original enough or strong enough or… [...]

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Christina Henry–Plot and the Protag

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I’ve written seven books in the BLACK WINGS series and one stand-alone novel (the forthcoming ALICE, August 2015) and I’m pretty sure I can’t tell you a single useful thing about how I plotted any of them. I know, this sounds a lot like what I said about writing character last week. The trouble is that I just don’t spend that much time thinking in a concrete way about the plots of my books. I don’t have a nice neat formal method.

This is what I do: I start writing the book. And then I see what happens next.

All my books begin with the protagonist, and I tend to let the protagonist dictate the action that follows. I don’t write an outline, summary or synopsis of any kind. I just let the book unfold as I write it chronologically.

I do have a general idea of where the book [...]

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Beth Bernobich: The Time Roads

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Once upon a time, I had an idea for a story. It was tentative, as ideas sometimes are. All I had was an image of a young woman reciting prime numbers as her brother listened. The seed for that image was easy to identify—Oliver Sacks’s essay “The Twins,” which describes twin brothers, autistic savants, who recited prime numbers to each other. I chose to make my twins a brother and sister name Síomón and Gwen Madóc, both mathematical geniuses.

That initial scene came to me complete with setting and emotions and full-color video, but I wasn’t sure how the story would unfold. So I wrote as much as I knew, following the brother from the visitation room of the sanitarium (because Gwen is mad, suddenly and mysteriously mad from too many numbers), down to the lobby where a police detective introduces himself and…

…and all of a sudden, I had [...]

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Faith Hunter — New Book and Wounded Warriors

Faith HunterFaith Hunter

Last Tuesday was release day for BROKEN SOUL. I am supposed to be wildly promoting the book, but other things are getting the attention. So before I go on — Have you bought your copy yet?

Today I finished delivering and crating the last 3K books collected for the Wounded Warriors of Walter Reed. To what purpose, you may ask?

My friend and fellow author Sarah Spieth, who has spent considerable time in and out of hospitals in past months, realized how little there is for patients to take their minds off of where they are, and what they’re suffering from. Rather than just think about it, she decided to do something about it, and to make that “something” dedicated to the Wounded Warriors at Walter Reed near where she lives.

To her author friends, she put out a call for books for the Wounded Warriors to read to [...]

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