“Poe and his enduring literary legacy assure me that there will always be a market for our sort of gloom and doom. A century and a half later, his stories still resonate with readers. For Poe expresses what is most essential and inescapable, peaks of joy, deep pools of regret and the desperation with which we cling to the known world—whether fearing or welcoming our inevitable end.” Check out my new essay on Annotation Nation.
Oi! Get yer sick & twisted, right here!
“We are not afraid.”
Body Parts is a new, online literary magazine that publishes speculative fiction, fantasy and horror. Each quarterly issue focuses on a theme, which can be interpreted in a multitude of ways and expressed through the creation of bold, fearless writing.
Every writer struggles with how to deepen their characters; how to make them come alive on the page so the reader connects with the story’s protagonist.
Editor Jean Jenkins recently posted a link to the Writer Unboxed blog highlighting “6 Ways to Make Sure Your Reader’s Brain Syncs With Your Protagonist’s Brain.” Jenkins cited it as “One of the best posts lately on deepening your characters I’ve ever come across.”
Blogger Lisa Cron shares some interesting and worthwhile thoughts on how to dig deeper into your characters to show the reader what really makes your hero tick. Her post is worth reading. Be sure to take notes. I did.
–Claire Yezbak Fadden
Fans of Frank McCourt may not understand why his books are so unforgettable, his characters so memorable. In Donald Miller’s blog post “What Makes This Paragraph So Great,” he shares McCourt’s secret. Look at the actions . . .
–Claire Yezbak Fadden
I’ve learned there’s something to Gladwell’s assertion that it takes 10,000 hours to become a true expert at something. It’s taken ten years for me to develop a series idea for a teenage Latina who’s inherited a super-sized sense of touch called El toque de la mente, or The Mind Touch, where she feels objects and movement from a hundred yards, even through walls, and she senses people’s lies. In a symbolic sense, her ability represents how she views the world and herself. I revised the first book, TAKING CHANCES, seven times – and then tossed it. There was a certain amount of mourning before I accepted the manuscript as a necessary, sturdy set of training wheels to prepare me to write MIND TOUCH, which is a thousand times stronger.
In this story, fourteen-year-old Olympic hopeful, Maria Cipriano, steals away from L.A. on a bus with a friend to Guadalajara, Mexico to confront her deadbeat dad. What she discovers there might kill her and her friend killed unless she can get her Mind Touch to stop randomly wandering outside her head – and she can escape the family members who want her dead.
After receiving feedback from four accomplished writers in two different writers’ groups and revising like crazy, I’m finally happy with the story structure, three-dimensional characters, snappy dialogue, tension, intrigue, fast pace, sub-text, foreshadowing – all the things that make a story a blast to read. And I’m getting fabulous responses from the few young adults from various cultural backgrounds that have read the manuscript.
My latest task is to see if I can find an agent to represent me by the end of the year. I have friends who have been successful in self-publishing, and I’m a copywriter, so I know something about marketing. I also have connections with school districts, librarians, and Accelerated Reader since I was a teacher for twenty-three years. But I want to see if I can go the traditional route first. I really value the synergistic relationship writers and agents can develop to establish successful careers for both of them. I’d love a partner in crime. If I haven’t managed to find an agent to work with by the end of the year, I guess I’ll look more seriously at the self-publishing route.
All that business stuff aside, has it been worth all the time and energy I put into Maria Cipriano, her friends, and her crazy family in Mexico? You bet. The second story, TWO FEET, NO SHOES takes place in Los Angeles and is about six months away from a badass revision. The bottom line: there are no shortcuts for getting good at this writing thing, and I’m really glad I put in the necessary time and energy to reach the place where it gets to be the most fun.