Monday, December 14, 2009

Lessons for your Novel

The Rejectionist, one of the funniest writing-related blogs EVER, had a great post about how to write a story. The example used is from last summer's "Terminator: Salvation."

Here's a snippet.

1. You need a plot. You really, really do. A Good Idea ("What if it's the future! And robots are the boss of everything and this hot non-emotive dude has to find this kid who is actually his dad and send him back in time before the robots kill everyone!") is an excellent start, but a Good Idea is NOT sufficient to carry the entire vehicle of your novel. We don't care how highfalutin' your concept or your prose is; you leave out the plot and you are going to bore us out of our skull, and not because we are too stupid to comprehend the brilliance of your talent. You REALLY EXTRA-ESPECIALLY need a plot if you are working in genre fiction. Bonus points if your plot MAKES SENSE (see No. 2).

Click on over and laugh aloud.

Oh. One thing TR didn't mention: what's up with having a heart transplant surgery done in the middle post-apocalyptic Somewhere where everyone's fingernails are permanently dirty? We'll just give you a new heart and we can't sterilize anything but somehow you'll live and won't have a nasty staph infection even though there's dirt freakin-everywhere and not a bottle of Betadine in sight. As a viewer, I should suspend some sense of reality, but bacteria and open chest cavities will never... Oh, never mind.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Heroines to Believe In

My 5-year old daughter is the perfect heroine.

I've always thought this, but on Saturday, she reminded me of the type of female characters I love seeing.

This was Maya in the morning:

And this was Maya in the evening:

A Soccer Rockstar and a Princess.

And that's the type of female characters I strive to write. A person interested in all parts of life--she can kick ass, then stick that same foot into a Manolo Blahnik heel like this:

What type of heroines do I enjoy?

The heroine who can diagram a sentence to death and knows all the capitals of the states; but sometimes stumbles on 'cinammon' or 'cinnamon.'

She is strong in public but still weeps watching "Terms of Endearment."

Isn't scared of blood... unless it's her, and then it's, oh crap, what the hell is this about?

Likes expensive rib-eyes steaks and grilled asparagus AND an In-N-Out burger animal style with fries and... a Diet Coke.

Sees past the obvious flaws in people and look for more meaningful ways they are jacked up. "He's a jerk" and "She's a snot" are just way too easy.

Enjoys watching "America's Next Top Model" and a documentary on... anything.

Doesn't go in the dark, creepy house and if she does, it's only because her beloved (mother, sister, cousin or Golden Retriever) is held captive there.

Knows that her happily-ever-after may not include a man. And if it doesn't, then, oh well.

Has her own s*#t yet shares well with others.

Only relies on her looks to get her information that she needs to advance a noble cause.

Is far from perfect but sometimes refuses to acknowledge that.

What do you look for in heroines?

On My Nightstand Right Now

You know, I never finished "Oyster." I'm not finished with "Oyster" and I'll return to it when I require less drama in my reading life.

Right now, though, I'm reading Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry.

It's got the cliches: strong-jawed ex cop recently widowed, beautiful female soldier, a crew of special ops guys with remarkable skills and a villain that has endless resources... but it's got zombies!! And you know how I feel about zombies! And the writing zings! And the strong-jawed ex-cop isn't always so strong-jawed.

And that, my friends, is good writing. Taking something that will make a reader roll her eyes and twisting it into something enjoyable. Joe Ledger of "Patient Zero" isn't perfect, but he's human and his dark past ain't all that dark so much so that his name is dark... (I'm looking at you, Level 26). It's not in the same vein as World War Z by Max Brooks (District 9 reminded me of that), but more of a smarter Michael Bay movie (not Transformers, but more... Con Air).

Pick it up if you want something cool to read.

Oh! I finished Columbine by Dave Cullen and... Wow.. Damn... How awful... How strange... Tragic... Compelling... Really?... I'm reading it again.


I'm back, and it's all good. Will be posting interesting tidbits very soon!