Writers spend months, even years, building the worlds where their stories take place. It’s so hard not to include every detail because let’s face it, we’re kind of proud of ourselves. We created a world!
In my novel, Dead Beyond the Fence, headshots were a pretty big deal. The ambulatory dead kept coming unless you wallop them above the shoulders. My protagonist used a tool formerly used to open crates or pry apart boards. This prompted one kind reviewer to comment, “Kaufman is the new king of the crowbar.”
On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress announcing the colonies’ separation from Great Britain. The Declaration was actually adopted on July 2, and a clean copy signed by the congress on August 2, 1776, but let’s not quibble about a couple of days when the results were so momentous.
The past few years have caused me to look more closely at our origins, our history, and the words that our government’s founders used.
Stakes are all about what’s on the line in your story. But the only thing really at stake is your reader’s attention. It’s part of our job to readers invested in our story. If we do it well, we might even keep them on the edge of their seat.
The editor from a New York publisher just wanted to go to the bathroom. The author, attending a writer’s conference in Colorado Springs, blocked the way, promising to be brief. And he was straightforward, delivering his pitch, no windup. Having agreed to look at the first 30 pages of the novel, the publisher could take care of business without mishap.
My mother and father have been living in Turkey stuck after the pandemic shut everything down. A Covid vacation, if you will. During my last phone call with my mother, she said, “Well, I’ve read all the books I brought. I might as well write one.”
What is a palimpsest, you ask? It is defined as a manuscript, typically of papyrus or parchment, written on more than once, with the earlier writing incompletely scraped off or erased and often legible.
We all have them. In some sort of order or disarray, a growing pile of TBR. It’s a compulsion. Getting groceries. Pick up a book. Going to the movies. Slip into Barnes and Noble while you wait. At the airport. Oooh, new best seller. Maybe during the pandemic, we’ve slowed down, but have you checked your Kindle list or your Audible queue recently?
We all know someone who recommends a book they just finished.
It was recently May 4th. Don’t mock. An argument could be made that it is a more appropriate holiday than the following day. George Lucas has said that he was inspired by of the earliest Celtic stories of Arthur and the paladins in The Mabinogion and reimagined it as a space odyssey. He emulated the story that caught his attention in childhood and paid homage while creating a different aesthetic.
He used Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with A Thousand Faces. He lifted themes from Akira Kurosawa and Star Trek. And let’s not forget J.R.R. Tolkien who took some of his story plots directly from another heroic source, Beowulf.