Sunday, January 14, 2007

"Beyond Varallan" again and Shooting for the Stars

Reading the second book of S. L. Viehl's "Stardoc" series again today, I'm enjoying it as much or more than I did the first time I read it. The characters, the dialogue, the twisty, fast-paced plot all keep me entranced -- except for times I stop to think "if only I could write like that". Then I recall how Viehl has come to "write like that": I consider her back list. How many published books did she write before "Stardoc II"? How many that weren't published? If I really, really mean it - that I want to "write like that" - I need to get busy. One unpublished novel to add 20,000 words and revise, one to complete this year, and ??? to go. A good Paperback Writer isn't created in a day -- or even a year.

A friend sent me a card that said 'Shoot for the stars - even if you miss, you may hit the moon.' I like that idea - that my destination my be determined by my goals.


Jaye Patrick said...

Um... I think Sheila mentioned she'd written, ah, thirty before being accepted for publication.

On the other hand, Holly hit it with her first one.

Maggie Shayne wrote eight, so... who knows how many you'll have to write?

Oh, and Nora Roberts has said that reading is research; so for newbie writers, read as much as you can, you'll absorb the how much easier.

Pandababy said...

THIRTY! (gulp) Thanks Jaye - I didn't know any of that, and I agree with Nora.

I notice transition sentences, moving the reader from one scene to the next, and characterizations that play along with dialogue (a sigh, a glance or a frown, a body motion), etc. The thing with Viehl's plots that gets me is the many twists and number of characters. Sometimes I stop and think about 'what happened in the last scene, and exactly at what point did a certain action take place?' Than I realize what I'm doing, and I wonder if Sheila has to write down her plot twists and actions to keep track of 'who-what-where-when', or if it just pours out of her like water out of a tap!