Thursday, June 19, 2008

Booking It and Painting Rodents

When somebody tells you nothing is impossible, ask him to dribble a football. ~Author Unknown

First, a little Booking It Through Thursday:



Think about your favorite authors, your favorite books . . . what is it about them that makes you love them above all the other authors you’ve read? The stories? The characters? The way they appear to relish the taste of words on the tongue? The way they’re unafraid to show the nitty-gritty of life? How they sweep you off to a new, distant place? What is it about those books and authors that makes them resonate with you in ways that other, perfectly good books and authors do not?

I tried to think of the folks whose books I'll auto-buy (or auto-order at the library, in the case of hard-back releases, which are a bit outside my book-buying budget), and what it was that tied them together. It wasn't genre, exactly (though I certainly tend to lean toward romance, I also like westerns, fantasy, thriller, horror, etc), or time period (I read contemporary and historical). Some of them write funny stories, some are deadly serious. What was it about these particular authors that brought me back faithfully, time and again?

Mostly, I decided it was a mix of two things: voice and 3-D characters.

Many years ago, I fell in love with the imaginary country of Valdemar. The first book I read that was set there was entitled "By The Sword", and -- despite being about a girl who becomes a mercenary (among other things) -- it was fairly quiet. And I loved every word. After I finished, I thought about why I decided to give the library back their copy and go buy one of my own (along with the entire series, eventually). And I came back to the fact that I loved the main character. I loved her. I knew her. She was my new best friend and I care what happened to her.

Mercedes Lackey is a master at creating rich, flawed, interesting characters and I own everything she's done.

Dean Koontz... another master at this and, especially in his last few books, he really delves into his characters, their flaws, their strengths. What makes them tick. How far they would go for a loved one...

If I care about the characters, I'll watch them hang wallpaper. But not even the most exciting plot will keep me turning pages if there are cookie-cutter, two-dimensional characters peopling the story.

What about you?
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The Cunning Voles of Doom are still living in my garden. A new hole appeared yesterday afternoon. My neighbor suggested I spray paint the next one I catch before I release it, just to make sure it isn't coming back. I'm not certain how I could spray paint one... but I'm considering some form of marking. I'm also considering a nice, long drive to the lake that's miles from here...

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What I'm reading: Finished "The Hollow" by Nora Roberts. I enjoyed this one far more than the first, which I find amusing... Mary was the exact opposite. Makes it clear to me that you can't please everyone with your writing! I've pulled out "Exit Strategy" by Kelley Armstrong for my next read and will start it today.

What I'm writing: I WROTE yesterday. I sort of drifted around, but I still did some writing and it felt GOOD. I took a look at The Possibility of Forever (Camilla's story) and decided I could probably manage to finish it with Jed still wounded and make it plausible. I still have to figure out how to work the dark moment without going into the rat's POV, but that's another story. I also picked up the story I began that I call "The Hammer". It's one I am gearing specifically for HQ American, but knowing my stubborn characters, they may veer off into a different direction entirely, despite all my attempts to keep them in line. I really, really like my secondary characters already. I think I love them more than my H/H... that may not be a good thing, LOL.

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No more pillar casualties yesterday! YAY! I am trying to figure out a way to move the bigger pillars into their own happy homes so I won't have to worry about bumping their chrysalis' in the main box. I have two pillars (DD calls them Bubba and Bubs) who are getting large enough to start wandering. **sigh**

Monarchs ARE easier. I can't wait for them to show up..

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What the House Test Says About You



You are happy with who you are, and you don't have an inflated sense of self importance. You do your own thing quietly. You don't take up a lot of space.

You can't stand community oriented people and annoying "buy local" campaigns. You prefer to live the best life possible, and that doesn't really involve many other people.

You are a calm, contemplative, and smart person. You take ideas very seriously.

You look attractive, but mostly because your rely on your natural good looks to get by.

You are moved by romance and love. You are optimistic about people, and you love hearing about happy endings.



Okay... that's probably about 50/50.

6 comments:

Jennifer said...

I love the Valdemar series! =D I'm still waiting for another book that captures me like Arrows of the Queen did the first time I read it. I'd happily read a Valdemar book where the characters did nothing but hang wallpaper!

Looks like I'll have to check out Dean Koontz...

Ceri said...

I love Dean Koontz. I just finished Darkest Evening Of The Year. Awesome read! Heartbreaking and hopeful. And I love how he throws in a bit of romance.

Amy said...

My number one item that makes an author an auto-buy is VOICE.

Character is probably next, but I'm not so much for the all-doom-and-gloom-all-the-time characters. I want fun, funny, go-to gals and hot, confident men. Men who cry? Um, not so much. Jen Crusie does a good job, but I know she's not for everyone.

Christie Ridgway: auto buy. I ADORE her books.

Dru said...

I like voice and character. When I want the story to go on and on then I'm truly invested in that author's work.

You are happy with who you are, and you don't have an inflated sense of self importance. You do your own thing quietly. You don't take up a lot of space.

You aren't against being community oriented, but it's not really your thing. You tend to prefer to focus on your family and not the neighborhood around you.

You are a calm, contemplative, and smart person. You take ideas very seriously.

You look good in a low maintenance sort of way. You do the minimum required to be attractive.

You find it hard to be enthusiastic about much. You are a picky person.


That is moderately accurate.

Brandy said...

I find the voice the most important. Without it, even the characters can't capture my attention.
I hope you find a solution to moving the larger pillars.
Have you read Mercedes Lackey's newest books, the re-told fairytales? (Would they be appropriate for a 13 year old?)

The House Test:You consider yourself important, but no more important than anyone else. You love attention, but you don't feel like you deserve more of it than anyone else.
You can't stand community oriented people and annoying "buy local" campaigns. You prefer to live the best life possible, and that doesn't really involve many other people.
You are a calm, contemplative, and smart person. You take ideas very seriously.
You take good care of your physical appearance. You dress well, stay in shape, and do your best to look great.
You are moved by the most simple of things. You can find pleasure from a small, perfect moment.

Hmmm, some yes, some no.

I hope you're having a good day!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Characters. It's the characters that pull me in. I often forget the story line later.

I finished a set of revisions on the mystery yesterday. Onward and upward!