Monday, October 27, 2008

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Every time I write a novel I start with Chris Baty's advice of creating a list of things that I love and hate about books I have read. I post those lists on my wall and use them to guide the book as I write. Every year the lists are a bit different. Here are this year's lists:

Things I LOVE in a Novel
  • re-interpretations of mythology
  • wit
  • humor
  • dark modern fantasy
  • well-researched details
  • descriptions that bring an environment to life
  • magical realism
  • “what-if” fiction that starts with a seemingly simple premise and reaches surprising conclusions
  • Stuff that makes me think
  • Stuff that rocks my perception of the world
  • Stuff that makes me uncomfortable
  • Books that seem disjointed, but in the end come together like a perfect puzzle
  • Books I can read over and over again
  • Beautiful language
  • Flawed characters
  • Books that make me feel clever
  • Pop culture references (Simpsons)
  • Short chapters
  • A fast-paced story that I hate to put down
  • Strong female characters
  • Natural “voice”
  • Sex
  • philosophical and spiritual themes
  • Hope
  • Richly detailed worlds
  • Really complicated plots that still feel natural

Things I HATE in a Novel
  • uninspired Tolkien knockoffs
  • bad fan fiction
  • poorly researched novels
  • unsatisfying endings
  • Too much beautiful writing
  • Utterly evil characters
  • vampire anti-heroes
  • heck, nowadays, I’m just sick of vampires
  • Books that insult the readers intelligence
  • A heavy-handed agenda
  • Logically flawed science fiction
  • Too many pop-culture references (Family Guy)
  • Boring plots
  • Most romances
  • Very technical science fiction
  • Forgettable characters
  • Anything with “Dan Brown” on the binding
  • Clumsy stories that drag the characters from plot point to plot point
I probably won't say too much about the novel as I'm writing it (if, indeed, I do write one), but here are some quotes that would go in the preface.

“I speke of many hundred yeres ago.
But now can no man see non elvès mo”
—The Wife of Bathes Tale, Chaucer

“Do you believe in fairies? Say quick that you believe! If you believe, clap your hands!”
—Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie (the play, not the book)

“Mary, it takes a fairy to make something pretty.”
—The Boys in the Band, M. Crowley

Today's writing totals:
Journal:785 words
Blog: 362 words
DAILY TOTAL: 1147 words


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