Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nothing Important

yet, I just wanted to share....

I'm currently at Adventure Peak letting Mason run off a little steam, because I forced him to sit nicely in the back row at Normandale College while I spoke to a writing class about the life and times of a science fiction writer. I think it's one of the coolest (and also the strangest) perks of being published. Somehow, I've become some kind of expert on writing. It's funny because more often or not at some point when people ask me about some bit of process I end up shrugging and saying, "Huh. I don't really know. Magic?"

Today that was my answer about where my characters come from and "how do you _do_ characterization?" Do it? Dude, it just happens. Characters come out of my head fully-formed, like Athena springing from the head of Zeus.

But, of course, that's not entirely fair... or true. How it gets from your head to the paper is the real question, and the answer deserves some considered thought. I think the answer is probably complicated, but the nugget I was able to pull out of my, er, brain today went something like this: give them a motive, a desire, "motivation," if you will. If every character on the page has something they WANT, it's hard for them not to start to breathe, as it were.

Of course, there's more to it than that, but, in the end, a lot of how it gets actually on to the page is a matter of style. And magic.

The other somewhat unrelated thing I wanted to say is that I gave away a copy of one of my books to every student in the class. I could only give away MESSIAH NODE, because that was the first of my books to go out of print and Shawn and I way over-bought. For a while, I had so many boxes of that particular book, I was sending it by the carton full to romance conventions for giveaways. Now, I'm down to less than one box per title. My tetrology is becoming a scarce commodity. Pretty soon, they really will be collectors items. It's weird to think of, really.

And sort of sad.

It's funny what you expect when you first publish, and, while I understood the business was tough, I somehow always thought it would be longer than this before I watched the last of my books go out the door forever. Funky. Oh, and I just read in Uncle Hugo's Newsletter in the "how's business?" section about Penguin's new return policy, and, believe it or not, it's going to be even harder for new mid-list authors to last in the future.


No comments: