Tuesday, June 26, 2007

In the blink of an eye

It's one thing if you see it coming. If someone is sick, and failing in front  of your eyes, you get a feeling that the inevitable is near. It's a shock  when it comes nonetheless, and the sense of tragedy expands.  But when it comes out of nowhere, in the proverbial fell swoop--then the  sense of shock is sharp. And if it's like that for someone who on the outskirts,  what must it be like for those in the inner circle?  Eilis Flynn www.eilisflynn.com, eilisflynn.livejournal.com THE SLEEPER AWAKES and FESTIVAL OF STARS, cerridwenpress.com 30-DAY GUARANTEE, coming in June from myromancestory.com 


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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Why We Write Where We Write

It occurred to me (as it did to you all, of course) that this title could be
misleading. "Where" as in where to write, or "where" as in the locale of our
stories? Both good questions. Glad I (we) asked it.

Where we write...I had a laptop years ago, back in the earlier days of
laptops. It was relatively heavy as far as laptops went, relatively large as far as
they went too, but I was thrilled with it. I could work with it at the kitchen
table, at the dining room table, at a table not in the house, in bed, even. I
was Freed! Freed, I tell you! (Not that my NAME is "Freed," but...you know.)
The disadvantage of it was its relative clumsiness in editing. And in those
days I was doing a LOT of freelance editing. So much so, in fact, that during
the longest, most painful assignment, I broke down and upgraded to an iMac. It
was one of the early models, lime green (because it clashed with everything, a
fact I found charming), and it sat square in my office, and it didn't travel
(except to the repair shop, but that's another story, and should not be taken
as a negative reflection of the iMac in general, because it's just mine, which
is usually the case). And you know what? I LIKED the fact that it didn't
travel. And that's how I realized I was a stay-in-one-place kind of editor and
writer. I can do both while traveling, but not with a laptop.

Where we write...locales. I like making 'em up, myself. That way I don't have
to worry about getting everything right. In FESTIVAL OF STARS (on sale now
from Cerridwen Press! Go check it out at

www.cerridwenpress.com/productpage.asp?ISBN=9781419909054)(what, me shameless? I've learned that to have shame in
this business is to starve, so check it out now!), I used West Seattle and Mercer
Island as locales. One I had some familiarity with, and when real life kept
changing it on me, I decided to keep it the same, because it's a fairy tale,
and I didn't see any reason to make the locale any more real than the story. In
SLEEPER (www.cerridwenpress.com/productpage.asp?ISBN=9781419908552), it was
easier...because the only thing the locale in the story had in common with
reality was the name "Seattle." Nothing else, and then the locale moved to a
fantasy, so I didn't have to worry about it. And in 30-DAY GUARANTEE, well, it's a
graphic novella. I wrote the script, didn't do the art. If the artist wants to
go for details, images of Seattle are all over the place. (Subscription at
myromancestory.com!)

I also remember the fretting before I let the details go. I don't see how
people writing nonfiction keep up with reality. It keeps changing!
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Friday, June 08, 2007

Why We Write Who We Write

Why We Write Who We Write

After I wrote about why we write what we write in an earlier CP author
blogpost, I started to wonder about the other journalistic questions: how,
where,
why ... and the topic of today's post, the who. How do we create our
characters?
Some of us create characters out of the air, and then the story, while others
create the story and then the characters to suit. Sometimes they leap into
our imagination out of the blue, while others have to be dragged out of our
consciousness, inch by determined inch. I don't know about you, but I much
prefer
the former.

Before I wrote THE SLEEPER AWAKES, I was musing about how sometimes people
rise to the occasion, or don't. And then I was musing about someone who had a
terminal illness and what they would do or decide if they knew they had a
limited time. This isn't a new idea in fiction: I didn't see it, but I know
that was
basically the story in a recent movie with Queen Latifah. And I came up with
the story of Cat Deveney, who had an inoperable tumor, a bad boyfriend, and o
nly a little time left...when she found herself with an opportunity to help
someone else, an entire people, after an earthquake trapped her under a
table,
facing off a civil war and a weather phenomenon that is sentient.

With the story of FESTIVAL OF STARS, though, I had the plot already because
the plot was centuries old: the legend of Tanabata, the festival of stars,
when
two lovers up in the sky can only meet once in a year -- if it's not raining
and they're helped along by their servants the ravens (or magpies or crows or
blackbirds -- always a black bird of some kind). Not a story original in
Japanese myth, because the Chinese have the same legend (they call it the
weaving
maiden story, though), but one that can be translated into any time, any
situation. And with that I gathered the bits of the story of Kristin Olafsson
and
Dare Borodin, who both stared into a cultural mirror...and came up with
differing interpretations.

I'm always on the lookout for memorable characters and memorable situations
to put them in--and I'm always curious to see which comes first, the
character
or the plot!

Eilis Flynn
www.eilisflynn.com, eilisflynn.livejournal.com
THE SLEEPER AWAKES and FESTIVAL OF STARS, cerridwenpress.com
30-DAY GUARANTEE, coming in June from myromancestory.com
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http://www.aol.com.

Why We Write What We Write

It's like the Sapir/Whorf hypothesis, which is something I was introduced to
when I was a youngster in college, many moons ago. Does our environment shape
our language, or does our language shape how we see our environment? My
website partner Heather Hiestand asked me to update our Amazon store on the
website, choose some new items to highlight there. I did -- and the theme I
saw there
was enlightening. I chose:

-Inu-Yasha, both books and DVDs: It's manga, a book (and anime) I was
introduced to by CHANGELING author Yasmine Galenorn when I did a workshop for
a conference on the different types of comics. A little bit of romance and a
whole lot of action adventure, what's not to love?

-Superfolks by Robert Mayer (book): I read this when I was a kid, when it was
self-published and somehow found its way into my local library. It's J.
Alfred Prufrock in comic form, basically, about an over-the-hill super-hero, now
married working stiff commuting on the train, who must save the world one more
time. This book as much as anything else influenced me when years later I wrote
INTRODUCING SONIKA, coming soon from Cerridwen Press.

-Legion of Super-Heroes Archives: The Hub and I met over this comic book.
Some couples have their song, their movie? We have Our Comic Book. (All
together
now: Awwww!)

-Futurama (DVD): Ending where we started, with a little bit of romance and a
whole lot of action adventure ... and because what's life without a little
humor? Great series.

What do these choices say about me? I was meant to write genre fiction,
romance and action adventure. It's where my heart lies. What's on YOUR list
(making
me sound like an Amex commercial)?

Eilis Flynn
www.eilisflynn.com, eilisflynn.livejournal.com
THE SLEEPER AWAKES and FESTIVAL OF STARS, cerridwenpress.com
30-DAY GUARANTEE, coming in June from myromancestory.com
<BR><BR><BR>**************************************<BR> See what's free at
http://www.aol.com.