Thursday, November 19, 2009

Recent Keepers

I'm kicking back and relaxing a bit,
which is another way of saying that today I sat down to work and didn't get anything much done,
though I may have indulged in Deep Thought.
Anyway ...

Recent additions to the Keeper Shelf

Judith Ivory, Angel in a Red Dress
I imagine there might be a Judith Ivory book that doesn't go on the Keeper Shelf. I mean ... I subscribe to this as a theory. Hasn't happened yet, of course.

Pam Rosenthal, The Edge of Impropriety
I've been reading everything of hers I can get my hands on since she beat the pants off poor Spymaster's Lady in the RITA competition.
Just saying.

Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat
What kind of parent names their helpless and innocent kid, 'Jerome Jerome'? Is this the emotional trauma that leads one to write comedy?

Eloisa James, A Duke of Her Own
This may be her best. I'm going to come back to it in a few months and see why the plot works.

Loretta Chase, Lord Perfect
I love Loretta Chase. Y'know.

David Garrioch, The Making of Revolutionary Paris
Which has moved onto the Research Keeper Shelf -- a shelf which obeys wholly different rules from the Regular Keeper Shelf.

I'm going to have to do a Revolutionary and Napoleonic France Bibliography one of these days.

Tanith Lee, The Secret Books of Venus
I don't want to write like Tanith Lee. The writing is too complex and too distracting for the sort of story-telling I'm trying to do.
But she sure does write pretty.

I didn't read these half dozen books today and yesterday, of course. This is the pile of books ready to be put up on the Keeper Shelf. It's been accumulating a while. Six months or so.

I have great books still on the TBR shelf.
Including one by Mary Jo Putney
which is next on the list.
I finally sat down and opened Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel. I've been taking Maass down from the TBR shelf and putting him back for four or five years. Then, at the July RWA Conference in Washington I got to listen to about the first fifteen of a speech he was giving and it engendered in me a desire to get to the book.

Though I'm only through the Introduction.
Why I'm mentioning this ...

Maass says,

"Complexity will do that to you. [overwhelm you] Do not panic. Trust the structure of your outline; or if you are an organic writer who works in successive drafts, trust your unconscious mind. The story is there inside you in all its complexity."

So now I know that I'm an 'organic writer'.
I didn't have a name for it before, I just did it.
Whenever I see Maass' name, I think there's something wrong with typewriter keys, somewhere.
Oh. And being FTC compliant I just want to say that nobody gave me any of those books for free.
Or anything for free, really.
Though I did pick up the Jerome K. Jerome book at the SPCA Rummage sale so one could argue that the SPCA is paying me off, I suppose.


  1. "I'm going to have to do a Revolutionary and Napoleonic France Bibliography one of these days."

    Yes, please!

    Off to update my reading wish list...

  2. Thanks for the recommendations! I recently read Lord of Scoundrels, because it was on your list of 100 best romances. I loved it!

  3. "Organic" writing... Yes, I just realized that about me a couple weeks ago. I started writing for NaNo (though got waylaid by an obnoxious gallbladder that demanded immediate removal and haven't quite gotten myself totally back into things)and discovered that my characters knew the plot and outline better than I did! Very interesting. I kind of just stepped aside and let them have their way. There's a real freedom in that. [g]

  4. In the interests of getting something out there, I've dropped two of my 'working lists' into this blog as a Technical Topic.

    It's a current posting.

    I'm not sure just anyone can view the pages I've linked to. Let me know if there's a problem.

    These two lists ... I use them for my own research.

    So this is an ongoing work.
    I'll try to add to the lists and annotate them a bit when I have some spare time.

  5. @ Annie --

    Chase is just such an excellent writer. Appealing characters. Good depth of motivation. Nice, nice plotting.

    I really admire her work.

    I'm trying to figure out how she does those beautiful plot structures . . .

  6. @ Betty --

    I don't know whether having a name for what I do, (at last,) is going to help me do it better.
    But I do feel less lonely, knowing that other folks go about writing in the same way.

    I have friends who talk about how they can't get started writing until they get the story plotted out.
    In detail
    And everything explained.

    My advice --
    which goes something like,

    'Well, you just keep working on it and it gets a little better every time you go through, and the plot stuff you kinda explain after you've written what happens ...' --

    is not generally greeted with glad cries.

  7. @ Betty

    Hope you're feeling better. I understand gall bladders are painful.


  8. Jo ~
    Gallbladders can be a pain in many ways, I've found. Especially when they want out when you just get yourself immersed in and excited about what you're writing! (Actually, that sounds very like the two dog-beasts with whom I reside.)But I am on the mend physically and doing well.

    Anyhow, I greet your comment with glad cries! [g]

    I did have a vague idea of what was going to proceed in my novel (a fantasy), but I found that drawing a map of the world my characters were going to need to navigate helped far more than an actual outline did.

    And I knew who several of my characters were, but not how/when/if they actually met. I was totally amazed when suddenly my MC looked down the street and there was one of the others walking towards him. I had no idea she was on the same end of the continent as he, much less in the same town! It was delightful to see them interact and listen to them.

    For me, letting my novel just grow like Topsy keeps me excited about it. When I outlined and planned my writing, my internal editor would beat the bejeebers out of every last word I wrote. I was trying to make everything "fit." That usually ended with everything I wrote being deleted - and me morose and determined never to write again! (Of course, that never worked!)

  9. I've come to the conclusion that writers have different methods of going about it.
    How's that for a profundity?

    When we get practiced in writing, we depart more and more from any imaginary 'norm'. We write like ourselves.

    And I think I like the 'organic writing' process. Full of lovely surprises.