Sorry for the late post today. Frankly, the weather’s been so nice, after being crappy for so long, my head is full of gardening and birdsong LOL! Thank goodness for auto-reminders, although I only just saw that too, having already been out with the dog and having drank a cup of tea sitting on the patio. Here’s just a little of what I did yesterday, after a trip to the plant store. So lovely to be in an apartment with good light again, and have plants indoors!
So, to get to the question of which author I’d like to be, well, that’s an interesting one. There are so many authors whose work I love and admire, some of whom have already been mentioned by others here, but there really isn’t any one I’d truly want to be, because then I couldn’t be me, and I’ve grown quite fond of my strange, quirky self (and it’s about damn time too, after all these years!). What I’d really love, though, are some of the attributes of other authors, kind of smooshed to fit my personality and voice.
I want the imaginations of Stephen King and Charles de Lint (to name just two of many!), the prolific abilities and business acumen of Nora Roberts or Maya Banks, the opportunity to write books that become classics, like JRR Tolkien–you know, stuff like that. But really, what I secretly dream of–although it won’t be a secret anymore after this–is the ability to create and sustain a character people come to love, like John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport in the Prey series. I love how Sandford makes the setting and people come alive, how Lucas has remained recognizable throughout the series but has also grown and changed, just like people really do. If you read the first book in the series and then read the last, it would be like seeing someone you haven’t seen in years but instantly recognize because they were memorable and, although time has brought changes, they’re still the same person. Another character like that is Harry Bosch, created by Michael Connolly, and yet another is Jack Reacher, in Lee Child’s immensely popular series.
Of course, characters like that are generally more suited for genres other than romance, but Nora Roberts did the same thing with her In Death stories, embraced wholeheartedly by romance readers, so there’s still hope for me! I’ll just keep plugging along here, hoping for the day a character rises up and says, “You know, I could be a series…” *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*
What are your favorite characters that have stood the test of time, and what is it you love about them?
How do you design a planet (or a club, a village, a city, a country) specifically designed for pleasure? Is there a recipe? Actually, yes. Several in fact. Here’s mine.
10% focus (flavor of your choice)
10% story line (you may think you need more, but you don’t)
Decide on focus of the book. Does your planet cater strictly to humanoids, or to all different life-forms? Is it dedicated to a specific type of pleasure, or does anything go? What are the rules of admission, of running an establishment, of behavior? Who owns it, staffs it, patronizes it? Everything else will, on some level, flow from this, so this step is crucial. Yet, once these decisions are made, you can quickly move on to add your research. This involves the potential type of planet you’ll need, the facilities necessary, etc. A certain amount of realism isn’t a bad thing…
Stir in the story. By now you have an idea of what you want to see happening there, who the characters are peopling your story, the mischief they’re going to get into. You may actually have a bunch of people inside your mind clamoring for a chance to visit your planet, and this is where you make sure you have enough organization incorporated into your final product. Are you abiding by the rules you made? Have you suddenly made something you previously said was impossible happen for no good reason, or without explanation? The taste-testers will be unimpressed by the final product if you have, so double check.
By now you will have realized the store of imagination you put aside has been dipped into again and again but, strangely, probably hasn’t diminished very much. This is a good thing, since you’ll find yourself using even more as you write the next book, and the next in your pleasure planet series.
P.S. The nice thing with this recipe is it can easily be adapted for almost all other genres of fiction. Bon appétit!