"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Friday, September 29, 2006

Three Loons, Two Book Recommendations

If yesterday was quiet, today is even more so. Rain is falling, and there's a light fog--it was thicker early in the morning, the mountain across the Bay was completely obscured. No boats. I've seen a loon, but he's not making a sound.

Yesterday, the three-loon chorus started up. I wasn't able to catch all three in a photo, but here's the leader of the chorus. It might not be apparent, but his beak is open--I caught him in action.

No long walks today, because of the weather. Ruth and I have been and will be playing indoor games of fetch, for exercise, and doing our homework for Monday night's obedience class. Yesterday we altered our route somewhat. We walked to the Point, but instead of going round it, we sort of went over it, on the hill road.

I've finished Dark Angels and can definitely recommend it. I liked the female protagonist immensely, partly because she wasn't always likeable and mostly because she was so true to her time and place. Koen offered a boldly unusual depiction of Louise Renée de Kerouaille, who is prominently featured. Charles II came across as complex and charismatic and conflicted, as indeed he was.

My other recommendation, in the area of craft, is Novelist's Boot Camp by Todd A. Stone.

It caught my eye at Borders, and at a first glance it seemed easy to read, with solid advice. And I'd reached that place in my book where I want to think about it as objectively and ruthlessly as possible. Drill sergeants are about as ruthless as they come. So I bought it.

The military idiom and metaphors might be gimmicky, but for me, this little Army-green book was a goldmine of inspiration. Although my characters and story are already rather well defined, the boot camp book helped me view the relationships and conflicts and action through a new and different lens. I jotted notes, made fresh outlines, re-thought some plot points and found ways to strengthen them.

I've got an entire bookcase stuffed with books on craft, for storytellers and for screenwriters. I have my favourites, and had my not-so-favourites (those would be the ones I offloaded to a writing group's circulating library many years ago.)

So I don't say this lightly when I proclaim that for me, Novelist's Boot Camp is a keeper!

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