Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Does it come in threes?

Just this morning, feeding the baby and thinking about books and writing, I idly wondered how Daniel Abraham goes about constructing his stories; so far, everything of his that I've read has been really well done, and something I feel like I could study and learn from. But that's the kind of thing that might be a little creepy to ask (I am getting a little more aware of common Wannabe behaviors I should avoid), so it was just an idle thought.

Then I open up my RSS feed and see that the dude is starting a series of blog posts on just that topic. Cool!

Also this morning, I was going through my wish lists and checking to see if there were any 2011 titles I really wanted to read but hadn't yet, in case they made the open slots on my Hugo nomination ballot. I was also checking my public library to see which books (2011 or not) I could borrow, especially in Kindle format. One of the 2011 titles I'd been interested in, Of Blood And Honey, was in the library, but only in print. I debated getting in the car, but I procrastinated.

And then I open up my RSS feed tonight and see that the Kindle ebook for Of Blood And Honey is temporarily free! Cool!

I wonder what I should wish for next?


  1. One of my former professors (a scholar of Renaissance drama and a NYT best-selling romance novelist) just came to visit my current place-of-work, and she was talking about how she realized she could write good romances: she enjoyed the genre and was able to analyze how the stories were constructed. So then she did the same, while tossing in additional challenges for herself (like: how can I write this story while grappling with a male lead who struggles with impotency? How can I write a fairy-tale-inspired plot while making the male lead a 19th-c doctor with the bedside manner of TV's Greg House?)

    Which is a long-winded and roundabout way of saying that I don't think you need authorial endorsement to validate your dissecting the workings of any book's plot--that's part and parcel of being an insightful reader and writer.

  2. Hunh! I hadn't been thinking of it as authorial endorsement, or validation - more as an extra data point. I could dissect the final form of the dude's books all year, but it wouldn't tell me some of the things I'm particularly interested in: What did the earlier drafts look like? What did he choose to change, add, or remove during the revision process, and why? What was the initial idea, and what tricks/tools did he use to build the rest of the story up around it?

    I feel like my mental model for writing stories goes like this:

    1. OMG, I have a great idea!
    2. ???
    3. Profit!

    Step 1 is easy for me; I generate ideas like crazy. And there's zillions of great books to examine as examples of what Step 3 should look like in the end. But there's a lot of work that goes into Step 2, and it seems like every author does it differently; I haven't found a process that fully works for me yet, so I find it helpful to raid other writers' toolboxes.