Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sequels, trilogies, and series - oh my! PART I

So the other night The Boy (also a writer) and I were discussing series books. You know, sequels, trilogies, etc. It all started when I mentioned to him reading on Justine's blog about interviews with Norton nominees. In one of the interviews, Susan Beth Pfeffer announced she just finished writing another book set in the same world as her book Life as We Knew It (except this new one is in NYC).

We all know from my recent post that I loved that book and therefore it follows that this was pretty exciting news to me. I mean, I thought this was a neat world. It's all about what happens when the moon is knocked a little closer to the Earth causing all sorts of problems: floods, out of control tides, economic failures, earthquakes, etc etc. Juicy survival stuff.

So I was excited to share this news with The Boy which started a whole conversation/debate over series books. My whole thing is that I think it's pretty neat to create a world and then make it withstand the tests of other stories. I mean, creating a world for one story is hard. Then making that world sustain another story and still work, and still have the rules of that world stay consistant, that's pretty cool. His whole thing is that he thinks that too many writers are jumping on the series bandwagon and aren't turning their creative juices to creating new and cool worlds and that we as readers lose out.

Now, I must admit that I have a personal stake in this argument. After all, I've been playing around in a world that The Boy created and I've come up with a sequel idea to my current WIP (gotta think of such things now so that I can plant the seeds). So I like the idea of sequels cause... uh... I'm plotting one. One would think that The Boy would feel similarly since he's already started a short story/novella/novel set in the same world. Hey, it's a big world. And pretty neat too.

Anyway, I think his main point is that he doesn't mind series books, but he just feels like every single author is jumping on the bandwagon. That it's a given. A must these days. So I thought about the books I've been reading. Twilight (first of three). The Rest Falls Away (book one of the Gardella Vampire Chronicles). Magic or Madness (book one of the Magic or Madness trilogy).

I have my own thoughts about this, but must give some attention to the dog at this moment. Y'all comment away on the blog and I'll finish up my thoughts soon. Do you think this is a trend? If so, why do you think it's more prevalant these days?

Oh, and as an aside, we decided that there are basically two ways to go about a series. The first is one where it's basically one book split into many. He cites Lord of the Rings as an example. The other are loosly related books that each stand on their own but are in the same world. He cited Sword of Shannara books as examples. Do y'all agree?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

What we read...

So, recently I posted lots of photos about my bookshelf and the piles of books slung throughout the house. In the comments, Miri pointed out that our tastes don't overlap too much and that got me thinking about the books in the pictures.

After a quick perusal I realized that the books you can really see the titles of in my pics aren't really my tastes either. I know that sounds strange, so let me explain... lots of the books piled on the table are books I bought for research. Some are on the same topic as various WIPs and I wanted to see how other authors approached the same subject. Other books are just really popular books that I wanted to read to understand their popularity. Still others are in the genres that I'm interested in (most specifically I've been reading a lot of YA - you can see the bottom of
An Abundance of Katherines on the floor by my bed).

Then there's the Terry Brooks book that I purchased because I was having problems writing a group of people and so The Boy suggested that I read books that deal with multiple interacting characters (kind of the standard fantasy group of people go on a voyage type). I was in the middle of reading
Foul Matter and the recent Romance Writers Report which is why they're also on the floor by my bed (Foul Matter was recomended by Kristin Nelson on her blog). Oh, and the Neil Gaimon Sandman series in the suitcase - that belongs to The Boy but I think it might be on my TBR pile now :) Peeps is on The Boy's bedside table cause I think he'll like it since he was really into parasitology in college.

Once upon a time I was pretty much a strict romance reader. At the bookstore, I'd head straight to that section without passing go. I knew what I liked: which authors, which sub-genre, eventually which publishers. There were times I wanted to stray to another genre, but I didn't know how to sift through all of the books to find one I'd like. Now, reading for me is such a mixed bag. These days I tend to head towards the YA section if I go to a bookstore, then I hunt for books recently published by writers I know. Rarely do I find myself in the romance section anymore (to be fair, rarely do I even find myself in a bookstore either these days - I'm an Amazon Prime girl now).

Recently I seem to be in a reading funk. I don't know what I'm in the mood for and nothing in the various stacks in my house speak to me. I just want another
Uglies trilogy that makes me really think. I want another Vanish that keeps me up at night. Another The Rest Falls Away that I can't put down or another Hattie Big Sky that was totally unexpected but wonderful. Some books that I know I want are still not published, some won't even be published for too long to wait. What I really want is something like Life as We Knew It or World War Z.

What I really need to do is sit down and finish writing the book that I really want to read. I need to remember that that's why I started writing this book in the first place.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Reflections on weekend goals

So this weekend I once again posted my goals in the hopes of getting more accomplished than I normally do. And, once again I'm happy to report that it worked!

Yes, I got the contest entries judged, a few blog posts written and stored away, and even a little bit of writing done. In fact, I was done with the first two items on my list on Saturday in the hopes of having all days Sunday to write. I had visions of 5+k words written by this time.

Uh, didn't happen. I was lucky to get 1k written. And many of those words weren't new (to be fair, I actually wrote about 2k but lots of what I wrote was either deleted or set aside for later scenes).

Even though I know what I want to happen, I just can't seem to get it written down. What do the rest of y'all do when this happens? How do you motivate yourself to write? How do you keep at the keyboard when the words either won't come or come kicking and screaming from your head one at a time? How do you keep the magic?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

More weekend goals (updated!)

Ok, so it worked really well last time I posted my weekend goals so I'm going to do it again. Gives me some accountability.

First, I have contest entries to judge that are due today. I always do this, I read the entries as soon as I get them because I'm so excited. But then I realize I have tons of time to judge and so I put it off to the last day. So that should take a good chunk of Saturday to do.

Second, I want to write some real blog entries. I was getting some decent momentum and now nothin'. And I have lots to say. Even a book I really want to talk about. Yes, I did write them, but you don't get to see them yet :)

Third, work on WIP. Yes, once again I'm in the middle of a big scene. Stuff is happening. I want to finish this scene and then clean up the last 10k and send it off to be critiqued. That last part (getting it cleaned up to send) would be a bonus to the weekend - my main writing goal is to add lots of words to my WIP.

The house is clean, the dog is worn out from doggie day care yesterday (yes, we have become those people) and I'm boycotting my blackberry so I can't get dragged into work. So everything is set for a great and productive weekend.

Wish me luck!
sigh... for some reason I can't even comment on my own blog. But Miri pointed out that I wasn't quite clear in my post... when I said last 10k I meant the last 10k I wrote, not the last 10k of my WIP. I only wish I was that close to the end... sigh...