It seems everyone around me is in the revision stages of a finished rough draft. I'm still reading, thinking and setting up the RCPM world. As I read popular authors in the mystery, paranormal, and fantasy genres I'm inspired with new ideas and look at them as examples of what I've learned in the last few years about creating a publishable novel.
In a nutshell:
..Conflict is almost everything
..Characters who evoke emotion and empathy hold the reader's interest to the end and keep them coming back.
..Voice, use of pov, and writing well is what attracts an editor/agent though it’s obviously not a guarantee.
..Hooks are important, little hooks, chapter hooks, the series hook.
..Good characterization grows a plot and optimizes the ability to capture the internal/external conflicts and use of scenes and sequels.
..A unique and believable world captures the reader/editor/agent's attention and these days you may only get one shot if you don’t do it right the first time.
..Pantsing creates challenges regarding the tracking of characters, their traits, the rules of their world, so the more you know in advance the better off you are.
..Know the genre and the targeted publishers’ preferences and track record.
..Network within your genre and industry.
..And LUCK is the rest of it.
Did I miss anything?
Well, I’ve done my part this month to support authors everywhere. I went on a buying spree. (BTW, if you go to your author’s page and use their Amazon or bookstore affiliate link, no matter what you order, they get a small percentage.)
I’m still working my way through the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, I listened to the newest book, Turn Coat, first then I went back to the beginning. I bought Storm Front, borrowed the second from the library, downloaded the third and fourth from Audible. Then I went to the Books-a-Million for Blood Rites and from Amazon ordered Death Masks.
I’m hooked on Harry Dresden. In my favorite line from his books Harry says, “If this dilemma grows any more horns, we’ll have to shoot it and put it on the wall.” That pretty much sums up his philosophy on creating confict. Things can always get worse. I’ll be blogging about Butcher’s take on Sequels later in the week.
While I was at BAM I picked up Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series.
Marjorie Liu’s The Iron Hunt and Darkness Calls
Rachel Caine’s first two in the Weather Wardens
Ann Aquirre’s Blue Diablo
THe first in the Southern Witch series by Kimberly Frost
Richelle Mead’s Thorn Queen
Online I picked up UK mystery authors:
Material Evidence by Bill Kirton
Philip Kerr’s The One from the Other
R.J. Ellory’s City of Lies
From audible (they had a $4.95 sale on 125 books! And I’d already been bad…)
Huston’s No Dominion
Kim Harrison’s A Fistful of Charms
Magicians Guild by Trudi Canavan
The Blight Way by McManus
James Lee Burke’s A Morning for Flamingoes
Lescroat - The Hearing
Stephen White - DeadTime
David Rosenfelt’s Play Dead – this guy has a whacked sense of humor. No one gives
And from the local used book store:
An anthology of paranormal mysteries by Liu, Harris, Butcher, Caine, Armstrong, et al
Some PN Elrod mysteries
Nancy Pickard mysteries
See what I mean? Now I have to watch my pennies. The only other books I plan to purchase immediately are Charlaine Harris’ A Touch of Dead, Diana Gabaldon’s Echo in the Bone, C.L. Wilson's Queen of Song and Souls, Keri Arthur’s latest Riley Jensen. I swear I won’t spend another dime on books for two months. Honest. (Holding my crossed fingers out of sight just in case.)
If you think I’ve revamped my home library with those purchases, um, you’d be wrong. I have a LOT of books but they were concentrated in romantic suspense/thriller/mystery before. (Oh, forgot, I ordered the dvds of Dresden Files, Supernatural, and Harry Potter as well.)
Who have you read lately who has inspired you to do something different in your writing?
Update: Well, I accidentally pulled the post off editing it but there was one comment from Leah who said:
CL's got a new one out? Oooh, I didn't know that! Thanks, Marley.
There's one fairly major item you did miss in your list.
A publishable novel needs to be written. You can only spend so much time on plotting before you have to actually put words on paper. Can't fix an empty page as La Nora says. Can't submit blank pages to an agent or editor.
To which should have replied. UH-OH, you are sooo right!