Newsletter February 2009
Happy Groundhog's Day! Apparently I saw my shadow and retreated into my writer's cave for a few more days. I hope you are all surviving the cold and snow and ice and "wintery mix" that nature is tossing around these days.
First off, the baby news. Abby is getting bigger and gaining hair at a good rate. She is very nearly able to crawl! Danger! Danger! She can sit up on her own and pull herself to standing, so that means we've been hard at work baby proofing. That involves getting a bunch of breakable/choakable items out of the house and down to the garage or into closets. But that means cleaning the junk out of those places, so progress is slow. Also I've been putting up gates, plugging the socket, and locking the drawers and cabinets. Or for you sci fi geeks, we are on Yellow Alert. Thriller fans: the house is on lockdown. For the fantasy folks, um, the watchtower bell is ringing, the signal fires are lit, and the orcs are amassing at the gate.
In other news, I finally got my copy of Voices, and it looks great! I'm not the only one though. A reviewer on the web checked it out and had this to say about my piece: "Paris by Todd C. Edwards – Celine collapses on her room floor after consuming an overdose of alcohol and medicines. Her hope for help lies in her boyfriend, Marcel, but she will be taken by surprise. An interesting story which deals with the human reactions when facing panicked situations."
You know, that is a pretty good description of what drives my writing. I'm all about what thoughts go through people's heads. I write to explore how someone would behave in a stressful situation. While showing off Voices, one of my book club friends commented that I was all over the map with my writing (horror, thriller, sci fi, fantasy, mystery), but I don't see it that way. I try to come up with interesting characters and then I put them in a crisis and see how they handle it. I'm glad that came through in Paris and that the reviewer caught on.
In writing news, I have been slowly but surely working on my current two: Journey to the East and Legacy Engineer. This morning, my cats woke me up at 4:30, and I had a sudden flash of insight on JttE. I had to write it down, and, of course, once the juices are flowing, I can't get back to sleep.
The problem with the story is that it involves Chinese supernatural beings, but they don't show up until well into the story. I needed a way to get the "weirdness" in earlier, and I needed a good way to tie them to the main character. As it stands in version 1, they randomly bump into each other and Bad Things(TM) ensue. This morning I figured out a way to tie them all together from the beginning and to get weirdness in there from early on. Yay!
If you are curious about how I work out a plot, here goes. I come up with an idea, then I work it out in my mind. I make a mental rough draft. If I like how it is turning out, then I write it down. At any given juncture in a story, there are dozens of ways it could go. I have to mentally follow each path and work out if I like it or not. Then I pick one and write it. For instance, Zook has just snuck into the room with Artemis the bad guy. Does the Artemis wake up and they fight? Does he get away? Then Zook needs to chase him, but they are in this location and I really want them to be over there so that they can be at home in the morning when I want Braenoic to show up. What if he easily captures Artemis and then they have trouble once they get home, etc. and so on. Sometimes following a plot idea leads you somewhere silly, and you abandon it. Other times the choice isn't so clear cut. Usually I wind up thinking to myself: what would the character do? Zook is impulsive, so he would probably rush forward and worry about the consequences later.
Finally, so good book suggestions: Old Man's War by John Scalzi. Shannon Page (writer friend) and I met the author at a reading, a nice and funny guy. Sortof a geekier, more published version of me. H.P. Lovecraft's short stories. They are like Poe on acid.
Until next time,