This post originally appeared in Deborah's blog.
Today, I’m going to be talking a bit about things that ruin (or at least bring down) a book series . . . when I loved the first book. These aren’t absolute rules; but I do think they’re things to consider when writing. Thinking about them has certainly prevented me from doing some things I really dislike in other authors. All of the examples I use below are from real books by good writers.
Let me chat about my serial novel The Midnight Files, because it perfectly demonstrates one method of getting ideas. (And how you can get them, too.)
But let me go back and explain.
Last November (2020), I decided to do National Novel Writing Month. Only, instead of a novel, I would get myself out of my writing slump by writing short stories to prompts. My prompts went like this: each day, I would go to the alphabetically next part of my bookcase and look at the first three authors. The first book I owned by each author was my prompt; the author’s name of the third book was the name of my character:
We just released another epic fantasy, The Merry Band, so we thought we'd give some advice on writing epic characters. This post originally appeared in Deborah's blog:
Recently, I read a novel about a woman who suddenly became queen after growing up in near-isolation, and her struggles to keep her throne and her life. Most of the book was from her point of view, but maybe two-thirds of the way through, we switched to a pair of minor characters’ POV for a page-long exchange that went about like this:
This post was first published in our CEO, Deborah's, blog.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I was watching the anime Bleach. This post is not about the show; it's just that it made me think about the idea of treating characters with dignity—or not treating them with dignity. Anime makes this concept easy to see (if your character makes a crazy silly cartoon face because they’re upset, you’re not treating them with dignity), but the concept holds true throughout all stories.
This blog post was originally published in our CEO, Deborah Natelson's, blog.
The old cliché of a question from fans and reporters to authors is, “Where do you get your ideas?” Most authors find this a very difficult question to answer, simply because there isn’t one specific place they get their ideas. “Ideas just come to me,” they say, or “out of my head” or “from anywhere.”
This post originally appeared in our CEO, Deborah Natelson's, blog.
There is a thriller movie starring a famous actor based on a novella by a famous writer. The main character is also a writer, and a major plot point in the movie is the importance of having the right ending. It is not enough to slap an ending on; if it’s not the right ending, it’s not good enough. It must be fixed.
It’s a clear evening and cold. I’m walking at the edge of my small town, away from what little light pollution the area produces this late at night. Far above me are the stars. I can recognize some major constellations—Orion and the Big Dipper are pretty obvious—but they don’t look like they did when I lived near or in cities. They don’t look like a few stars in an obvious shape; they are part of a tapestry of hundreds and hundreds of twinkling pinpricks.
I want to write right now, and I totally don’t feel like it.
I’ve been like this all morning—I’ve been up for about five-and-a-half hours so far—and it shows no sign of going away. I feel antsy, like I need to do something, but I don’t know what. Should I go to a café to write? Sometimes that works—but I don’t want to drive down there and spend money and sit down only to feel like I do now, like I am incapable of actually writing. Should I take a walk instead? Or will that only make me feel worse, for putting off what I wish to do?
This post first appeared in Deborah's blog.
So, as those who’ve been following my blog know, I’ve been engaging with a lot of Japanese media lately, and especially anime and light novels (with a bit of manga thrown in). As in, I’ve read over 100 Japanese novels in the past six months. This is relevant because in the particular subgenre I read, I’ve noticed a trend. It goes like this:
The first question I ask a writer I’m working with is “Who are your writing inspirations?" The second is "Whose book(s) are you reading now?”
I get inspiration from many different authors and always have a stack of at least three books I’m currently reading. I have inspirations for style, content, character development, action scenes, suspense building . . . and I try to read from pretty much every genre and topic out there. I’m a writer, so I need to immerse myself in writing. And I expect this from other writers.