I was fortunate enough to be a guest at Atomacon last weekend in Charleston SC. It was the second year for this con, and I was happy to see that attendance increased by a noticeable margin. (It would be way cool to see some of you guys there next year!)
I appeared on several panels, one of which was “Ten Things That Will Make An Editor Stop Reading”. It was based on things we covered during the Live Action Slush panels at ConCarolinas (for those of you who weren’t there, we asked people to submit the first page of their work without their names attached. David, Faith and I listened while one of our intrepid readers read the work aloud. As we heard something that would make us stop reading, we raised our hands. Once all three hands were raised, we stopped the reading and discussed what we felt […]
Continue reading Home From Atomacon
Often people will find out I’ve co-written a novel with my husband and they’ll say, “I could *never* do that — we’d kill each other!” And to be honest, even when JP and I started writing The Map to Everywhere, we weren’t sure how well it would work. We’re both stubborn and opinionated and I don’t think it would have surprised either of us if we’d had to scrap the project (we’d already agreed that our marriage came first).
Happily, we found that we compliment each other in the best of ways and writing Map together was a fantastic experience! But there were a few things we had to learn (or re-learn) along the way. First, we had to both be willing to let go — this project didn’t belong to either of us more than the other. We were both invested, we both brought a lot to the table, […]
Continue reading On working with others
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 of […]
Continue reading Jagi Lamplighter: All About That Spook, ‘Bout That Spook. No Terror!
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 […]
Continue reading Aaron Rosenberg: Writing Characters Who Aren’t Like You . . . Completely
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 […]
Continue reading Christina Henry — of Running and Writing
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… […]
Continue reading Self-Doubt and Perspective
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 […]
Continue reading Christina Henry–Plot and the Protag