Countdown to Publication

THE ALIGNMENT, Book One in my series, will release this month. Cover art and formatting are complete. A paperback proof is expected to arrive on Friday. If it passes final inspection, I configure the Kindle version and push the PUBLISH button.

This has been a four-year journey that included countless revisions and a trek through the purgatory of querying the traditional machine. But all that time, and the rejections, have strengthened my writing and my final product. I truly believe this book is better as a result of me going indie and keeping control over my work. I hope readers will agree.

I’ve updated my Fiction page with details about THE ALIGNMENT and the other books in the series. As soon as I push that PUBLISH button, I go straight to work on Book Two.

Look for an announcement about THE ALIGNMENT soon!

36 Story Types

A fascinating list of the 36 types of stories according to French Writer Georges Polti, posted on Futility Closet:

In 1916, after extensive study, French writer Georges Polti announced that all the stories in classical and modern literature could be reduced to 36 essential situations:

1. Supplication. The Persecutor accuses the Suppliant of wrongdoing, and the Power makes a judgment against the Suppliant.
2. Deliverance. The Unfortunate has caused a conflict, and the Threatener is to carry out justice, but the Rescuer saves the Unfortunate.
3. Crime pursued by vengeance. The Criminal commits a crime that will not see justice, so the Avenger seeks justice by punishing the Criminal.
4. Vengeance taken for kin upon kin. Two entities, the Guilty and the Avenging Kinsmen, are put into conflict over wrongdoing to the Victim, who is allied to both.

…more

Brains Love Strong Metaphors

Understanding brain science can make you a better writer.

I found this article about scientists studying the effect of fiction on the brain. Here’s a clip of something intriguing—and proof of that “avoid cliches” writing advice.

The way the brain handles metaphors has also received extensive study; some scientists have contended that figures of speech like “a rough day” are so familiar that they are treated simply as words and no more. Last month, however, a team of researchers from Emory University reported in Brain & Language that when subjects in their laboratory read a metaphor involving texture, the sensory cortex, responsible for perceiving texture through touch, became active. Metaphors like “The singer had a velvet voice” and “He had leathery hands” roused the sensory cortex, while phrases matched for meaning, like “The singer had a pleasing voice” and “He had strong hands,” did not.

Read the rest: Your Brain on Fiction

Women and Heroism in Fiction

There’s a through-provoking essay and discussion going on about how we write women in fiction and how we view women in our real world over on aidanmoher.com. The comments are all worth reading. My own is on page 3. If you get that far, the rest of this post will be a rerun.

I consider myself a feminist. But I struggle. The feminist I am lives in a world where our definitions of heroism, strength, and courage are often defined by a male-oriented world.

I often struggle with this masculine filter that obscures our view of our world. To write strong heroines, we often give them guns. We put them in armies. We make them fight. We give them a “male” role. We make them single and childless and tattooed and badass.

In real life, we often gain respect by joining the boys. We shove our way into their No-Girls-Allowed fort and we demand equality. And in doing so, we’re declaring our roles to be worthless. Our playhouse to be inferior.

I want the boys longing to get into our playhouse. And not for the stereotypical reason, for the lazy writing reason–to get into our pants. I want them hungry to join us. To be like us. I want motherhood and teaching and nursing to be as valued as being a soldier.

Can you think of any highly-respected traditional female role that men fight their way for the privilege of taking on? I’ve tried, and I can’t think of any and I know I must be overlooking something. Because if nothing exists, that just isn’t right.

Our definition of heroism lives in a man’s world. How do we overcome that without undermining the value of our own roles?

I don’t think we will ever know the answer to this until men and women are truly equal, and women are respected as women–not as women who have become more like men. But if, or when, that happens, this question will be irrelevant.

Have you seen Joss Whedon’s Equality Now speech? It’s good.

Gone Indie

I’ve been lured to the dark side. It took three years but it has a very solid hold. Don’t try to talk me out of it.

I could list the reasons, but I’m sure you’ve heard them all from other independent writers. If not, feel free to google “pros of self-publishing” or “pros of being an independent writer.”

My first novel, book one of a series, will be out this year. I’ve put up a blurb (click on Fiction above). It’s been a work in progress since September of ’09 and is currently being edited and revised for the 2,152nd (and hopefully the last) time. Photos have been shot and will be sent to the cover artist soon. I’ll post updates as it progresses.

I’ll be giving out heaps of free copies when it’s published so stay tuned!

Recommended Reads: SONG OF SCARABAEUS by Sara Creasy

It’s really hard to find the blend I like in fiction: just enough action, just enough sci-fi/fantasy, just enough of a love story.

SONG OF SCARABAEUS is one of the few novels I’ve found with that perfect blend. Toss in a captivating plot, great characterization, realistic dialogue, and several fresh story ideas that I wake up in the morning pondering, and I’m disappointed I can’t erase my memory of this book just so I can read it again. Maybe slower this time, so it can sink in more.

One of my favorite elements was the masterful male/female interaction. One example–the hero’s trigger finger is a bit eager even though the gunshots seem to do nothing to scare off a threat. The heroine says, “Save the bullets, Finn. There are hundreds of tons of biomass up there. Clearly it doesn’t want to have a hole carved through it.”

And at the end of Chapter 28? I actually put down the book and said aloud, “Oh my god. Awesome.”

I can’t wait to read the sequel.

SONG OF SCARABAEUS by Sara Creasy
Amazon | Goodreads | Sara Creasy’s website