Writing Update #211

Cover of "A Fistful Of Sky"
Cover of A Fistful Of Sky

A few random updates:

BayCon 2011 – will post some pictures and discuss my writer’s workshop later this week!

Novel Series – Lorena Libre

Well, it’s official.  I consulted with my husband, my dog, and my under-developed ego, and I have concluded to move forward on the entire seven (yes, 7) short novel series called Lorena Libre.

As some of you may know, I’ve waffled on whether to drop the idea due to lack of skill, or forge ahead and just learn as I go.  What prompted me to forge ahead?  Two things.  One, I said I would do it.  And, two, I like Andreas, love Trevino, and want to see Lorena reach her potential.  I want to spend time with my characters.  And if that means I spend the next ten years with them, that’s fine with me.  In actuality, in one form or another, they have been with me all my life and will be till the bitter end.  It’s about time I give them a voice.

Other Writing – On hold.  If the muse pulls me away from Lorena, then so be it.  Otherwise, my focus is on The Lorena Libre Mystery Series. 😉

Online Writing Group

Though I’d like to take part more often, I’ll probably go on maintenance mode for Critters.  And I’ll probably forego participating in the monthly contests over of SFFWorld.com.  It’s all about The Lorena Libre Mystery Series for the rest of this year!

Offline Writing Group

Doing some research on this, will report back with what ever surfaces.  Do you live in the Santa Rosa City/Sonoma County area?  Do you write science fiction/fantasy?  Yes?  Let’s hook up!  Leave a comment and I’ll get a hold of ya.

Life in General

On our walk this morning, Alby, my dog, shot after a rabbit.  That speedy critter dove under a bush and Ably crashed into branches and thorns; clods flew (it’s been raining), brambles shook, and some serious damage was done to innocent vegetation.  Alby came out shaking the cobwebs out of his ears and wagging his tail.  He couldn’t have been happier unless he could have managed to kill the thing.

Yes, kill the rabbit.  Alby wants nothing more than to kill it.  Ah, the blood-lust.

As we continued our walk, it got me thinking.

I’m reading a book called A Fistful of Sky by Nina Kiriki Hoffman.  A wonderful coming of age story set in a contemporary fantastical world, the writing is superb and the characters compelling.  But…well, I’m on 114, about a third of the way through, and there’s no violence, no sense of real danger, and it’s all just so…oh…I don’t know…pedestrian.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great book.  I’m sure when I’m finished with it, I’ll recommend it to two friends I know who like their fantasy fiction sanitized.  But, for me, it’s just not visceral enough and I find that I’m ready to put it aside for something else despite the fact that I’m actually learning a lot about good characterization and story-telling.

That’s my problem.  I like it, but I don’t want to read it because it’s not violent enough.  Egads, what’s wrong with me?  Why can’t I just enjoy the story?

As I continued walking with my hunting dog, these questions and more came to mind.  Why is all my writing filled with horror and violence?  In Devil’s Blood, I have two rapes, 13 innocent girls drained of their blood and hacked to pieces, one attempted suicide, bolts pierce flesh, swords slice out innards, and poor Andreas gets knocked out a least twice (I’m cutting out the other two times).

Sheesh!  That’s enough to cause a bit of consternation.

But then I started to think about the book I just finished: Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronvitch (review coming soon!).

Dang.  Talk about violent.  Even though just about all the violence in Midnight Riot is committed by a psychopathic ghost, it is anything but pedestrian.  So, what’s wrong with that author?

I think, it comes down to this: Life is violent.  From basic survival instincts to unimaginable crimes done to innocents in secret, violence is a part of our lives, whether we are witnesses, victims, or perpetrators.  There is no judgement; it just is.

Whether you want to avoid violence in your fiction or not is entirely a personal choice.  I chose to set my characters in a world where violent acts occur from which they must overcome or succumb.  I hope that their triumphs will entertain and move my (any?) readers.

With that note, I am planning to re-write my novel keeping in mind the sage advice my old writing-buddy gave me:

Crank it up and write it as if you were possessed by Quentin Tarantino.

(Keep in mind, he read the parts that had two rapes, 13 killings, one attempted suicide, bolts, swords…)

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6 thoughts on “Writing Update #211

  1. Hear that, Nila? That’s me applauding. Good decision to stick with the novels you love. Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean it can’t be good.

    re Violence. I have a violent (literary) streak myself and see nothing wrong with it (as long as you aren’t spending thirteen hour stretches typing ‘ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY’ over and over again. Heh) Don’t censor yourself. If you go over the top, your eventual editor will reel you back in.

    re Aaronovitch. Isn’t he a hoot? He’s one of my new faves now. Nina Kiriki Hoffmann is one of my old faves. I just love her writing and her vision of the magic world. Fall of Light is my favorite by her, and not at all a young adult novel.

    1. Aaronovitch is great. My favorite line was utter by his father at the very beginning: Who the fuck knows why shit happens.

      Or something like that – too funny.

      Sometimes I think the violence I write about may be too much for some folks and that’s what I worry about, but as you said, I’ll let others decide if it’s too much (if it comes to that).

      See that? That’s me bending into a humble bow to your applause. 😉

  2. I try to never shy away from the violent and visceral; I prefer it that way. I mean, you’ve read Scions — not only do I have some irregular sex in there, but also some pretty serious violence, burning horses, and a lecherous teenager. As the author, you get to decide the vehicle that carries your story to the reader. If you need to make it violent to make your point about the extremes of human depravity and/or the lengths to which a man will go for honor, so be it.

    1. Hey Todd! Yup, I read Avatar, too. You didn’t let it up there either! 🙂

      And I liked it. Isn’t that wierd to say? When I think about it, it seems odd, but then I hear a news article about some violent crime and I realize that stories with violence do exactly what you just pionted out – show us the extent of human depravity AND, hopefully, give us insight as to why.

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