This is Sarah and this week I’ve been busy with the local (relatively) to me Superstars Writing Seminar.
During a time when I could talk to my publisher, we had a long talk about things that help writers (with plot, particularly.) For which I want to recommend, yet again, Dwight Swain.
Another thing that works well for learning to plot is to take your favorite novels and diagram them. This consists of reading each chapter carefully and writing down which characters were introduced, and which events happened in that chapter. At the end, go over what you’ve written, identify theme and plot, and then diagram how each chapter moved theme/plot forward. This can be very useful, as you’ll often think that a novel is introspective and doesn’t have much of action or plot, and then find, on diagraming, that you were completely wrong.
There was a time when I thought real, “pro” writers sat around in their Olympian heights and drank the ambrosia of fan adulation and enjoyed having arrived.
Now, thirteen years and 30 or so books into a writing career I have not yet glimpsed even the tippy end of mount Olympus, and as for ambrosia, it’s not on the menu. Instead, I seem to be busy running after myself, forever conscious of what I’m lacking, what I need to improve, and the things I’d really, really would love to be able to do.
For instance, a recent re-read of Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International series left me with an inferiority complex about my foreshadowing.
And I take at least two craft-improvement classes a year, as well as holding discussions with my sons and husband (otherwise known as the Hoyt Family Writers’ Workshop) about how to do this and how to evoke that and how to express this or that character.
It never ends. Nor does the doubt.
Once, at a panel, Connie Willis said that in the dark of night, in the secret of your own heart, you knew exactly how good or bad you were. To be fair to her, she said it mostly as a way of depressing the pretensions of newbie writers who think they are the best thing since sliced bread.
However, I hope she’s wrong. In the dead of night, in the secret of my own heart, I know I sucketh mightily in a way not unakin to a Hoover. Which is why I keep striving to learn.
The balance between knowing where my flaws are and trying to improve is where I keep writing. I think either certainty of eternal suckage, or certainty of having reached those ambrosia-sipping heights of writing Olympus would both guarantee I never wrote another word.
Fortunately neither seems like a likely conviction to take hold of my mind.
And so I write. And I study. And I write.
We’re running with some plugs for Sarah’s books again this week, as well on one new book, because Mercury is retrograde and that apparently affects people’s ability to follow guidelines.
Remember, tell all your writer friends to send the AUTHOR, TITLE, a SHORT BLURB, and an AMAZON LINK AMAZON LINK AMAZON LINK to [email protected] to be plugged here on PJ Media.
It really helps if you don’t bother with HTML magic at all, because we just have to parse it apart to put it into the template. The ideal submission is like
TITLE My Book AUTHOR My name as it's on the book cover. AMAZON LINK http://www.amazon.com/My-Book-By-Me/dp/B00ABCDEFG/ BLURB no more than about 100 words. I might fudge it a little more. If I'm feeling friendly. Which last happened in about 2004.
“Seven Days in September” is a political satire that chronicles the seven days in Washington, around Sept. 11, 2012 – the time when the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was assaulted. It is told by Valerie “Val” Plum, from her perspective as the CIA liaison to the White House.
Readers will meet President Obama, his advisers, Secretary of State Clinton and her advisers.
We watch as the crisis arises, the characters deal with it and the aftermath – all while avoiding responsibility, culpability and poor performance reviews.
The first installment of Val Plum’s long-anticipated memoirs.
Young Will Shakespeare is a humble school master who arrives home to find his wife and infant daughter, Susannah are missing, kidnapped by the fairies of Arden Woods, the children of Titania and Oberon. His attempts at rescue are interrupted and complicated by a feud over throne of fairyland, between Sylvanus, king regnant, and his younger brother Quicksilver who is both more and less than he seems. Amid treachery, murder, duel and seduction, Shakespeare discovers the enchantment of fairyland, which will always remain with him, for good and ill. (This book was originally published by Ace/Berkley 10/2001)
Touched by the magic of fairyland, unable to forget Lady Silver, Shakespeare goes to London to seek his fortune. But there, the elf will follow, on the trail of a creature so deadly that, unless Shakespeare and the king of Elves stop it, it might very well consume London and all of England. (This book was originally published by Ace/Berkley 10/2002)
Praise for All Night Awake:
“Ingenious… fans of the first book won’t be disappointed.” – Publishers Weekly
“Hoyt sustains her intriguing premise with a soaring, lyrical style. A most enchanting novel” – Booklist
William Shakespeare, successful playwright, receives word that his only son has died. Reality is far more complex. The young Hamnet is a hostage in fairyland, where a war rages, and where a young princess waits a Prince Charming who might never come.
Can an all too human playwright stop the magical war that threatens both worlds?
(This book was originally published by Ace/Berkley 10/2003)
Kathryn Howard belongs to a wealthy and powerful family, the same family that Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s great love originated from. From a young age, her ambitious relatives maneuver to make her queen. Brought up in a careless manner, ignorant of the ways of the court, Kathryn falls victim to her kind heart, all the while wishing she could be the wife of Thomas Culpepper.
In Avalon, where the world runs on magic, the king of Britannia appoints a witchfinder to rescue unfortunates with magical power from lands where magic is a capital crime. Or he did. But after the royal princess was kidnapped from her cradle twenty years ago, all travel to other universes has been forbidden, and the position of witchfinder abolished. Seraphim Ainsling, Duke of Darkwater, son of the last witchfinder, breaks the edict. He can’t simply let people die for lack of rescue. His stubborn compassion will bring him trouble and disgrace, turmoil and danger — and maybe, just maybe, the greatest reward of all.