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Writing Journal: The Triple Win

Good morning, gracious and noble denizens of the interwebs. I come to thee fresh off my morning walk, during which I stopped and drank a coffee so tart that I puckered from within. Courtesy of Cafe Ladro, I have become a human singularity, the uber-Cheri, a pure synthesis of woman and caffeine.

Can’t stop. Won’t stop. (I pump my fist in the air!)

Yesterday was a good writing day. I’m halfway through the first edit on The Queen of Crows and I added about 2000 words to Hostile Takeover. Today I’ll do the same thing, working on the novel for a while, then switching over to editing something else.

The Queen of Crows is a tie-in story, a short story about a side character from my Ellie Tappet series. Indie authors call these type of shorts “bonus stories” because they go out to newsletter subscribers, as a bonus. This is my first time doing a tie-in bonus story, but I already see them as a win/win/win.

Julia Huni, author of the Space Janitor series, uses bonus material really well. She has four series, and a prequel novella for each, and you can only get the prequel novellas by signing up for her list.

I’m not nearly so organized as that, but perhaps someday! In the mean time, I say huzzah for the win/win/win.

Fun with Middle Grade Fiction

I don’t read much “middle grade” fiction. Probably the last thing that counted was the first three books in the Harry Potter series, but even then, the stories became more mature as the series went on. As part of my fall fun reading, I picked up City Spies by James Ponti, and despite being aimed at kids, I really enjoy his work. There’s a knack to telling real stories with challenging themes without “aging up” the language and violence, and he nails it.

Relatedly, we watched a documentary about Nickelodeon on Hulu, and they talked a lot about not “talking down to kids” in story telling. When I saw that Ponti used to work for Nickelodeon, I wasn’t surprised. His books don’t talk down, at all.

Thoughts on Suspension of Disbelief

I enjoyed the heck out of Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. My favorite type of sci-fi is optimistic sci-fi, the kind that makes you want to cheer when you close the book. And Weir is great at writing it.

This last year, I’ve read several books that required me to suspend my disbelief, hard, and this was definitely one of them. Without giving anything important away, there’s a plotline involving short-term memory loss, and I gotta say, the book-logic for that plotline was so so unrealistic and kind of stupid. Still, it was helpful for setting up the structure of the novel, and that structure was a delight.

I can forgive an unrealistic thing or two so long as the book is fun and worthwhile in the end. Who am I to get sassy about realism? After all, I wrote a series where six murders happened in a row on the same cruise ship, and no one stopped booking cruises. That’s so dumb! LOL. We writers are entertainers first, not documentarians. The contract between author and reader includes suspension of disbelief, usually.

“Yeah, this part is totally unrealistic. But go with it… and in the end, you won’t regret the ride.”

Years ago, I attended a writers event where Lee Child said realism is the sprinkle of salt on the meal that is the book. In crime fiction, this is especially true. In book world, no one wants to wait six months for DNA test results.

Entertain, entertain, entertain!

Random Notes on Simplification

My simplification binge continues. I dropped Literal (the book app) not because it was bad, but because it was superfluous. I’m enjoying the Epilogue beta, and I don’t need two systems. What is next on the chopping block? Time will tell.

Okay then. I’ve had a fabulous time procrastinating on my work. But I’ve got a protagonist in deep shit and she’s waiting for her next chapter. Jessica, I am here to serve.

Into the book I go!