Showing posts from March, 2011

The Precise Word

They say the average mass-market novel is written at a sixth grade reading level.

Now, that terminology is nebulous, at best, because if you talk about a sixth grade education in say, 1780, versus a sixth grade education now, the words you'd find in the vocabulary of students sampled from each era would be vastly different. I'm going to assume when the statistics people say "6th grade education," they mean a relatively contemporary version of that body of knowledge.

Just a quick shout-out

Hey CotC readers!

Heather Titus has paid me the ultimate compliment of asking me for an interview to post over at her blog, so if you want a quick peek into my background and process, hop over there and give her a read. If I had a prize to offer for people who comment, I would hand them out like candy.

(Hmmm. Note to self. Do some kind of really cool fantasy drawing I can make giclee prints of as givaways...)

Blessings on your week ahead!

Hot Buttons

Let's face it. We all have those topics that force us to pronounce the familiar disclaimer--"Don't get me started"--when they come up. Me, I actually have more than my fair share of these subjects, that when I get going on one of them, people must look at each other with woeful expressions that say, "Why did I bring this up, exactly?" I've taken to calling these tirade-inducing topics Can o' Worms Concepts.

So what opens up a Can o' Worms for me? Weird passions, as you can imagine, if you know me. For one: music education. I have no formal training in the area, but boy can I get on a streak if somebody has a substandard program in their schools with teachers who are burnt out, don't care, or are incompetent. If you bring up marching band in this context, prepare for an all out, hands trembling inundation of information you never wanted. Institutional education is another one of these subjects for me, though somehow I stay more level headed a…

An Array of Perspectives

One of the most subtle tools I think the writer has to coerce to his or her side in this battle we call fiction is point of view. I keep reading everything I can get my hands on about it (henceforward referred to as POV) so I can know as much as humanly possible about the enemy. Ahem...I mean, the fabulous nuance available to me as a writer.

The current book on craft I'm studying, at David Farland's behest, is called Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Albert Zuckerman, and the author asserts that you are best able to write a book that garners a wide audience by employing a handful of POV characters...not one, not a dozen. His logic is if you give your readership an array of personalities to see the story through, and you're sure to make those POV characters different enough, different readers will glom onto different characters and hang with your book because of their favorite.

The trick I hope to figure out is how to make my POV characters fascinating in ways that cross ove…