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End of the Year

December 28, 2009

I’m not sure whether or not I’m looking forward to 2010 for the sake of 2010. I know I’m looking forward to it because January 1 will mark the day when I Am Not Doing The Headless Chicken from busy-ness. I also know I’m not particularly looking forward to February, given that I live in Vancouver (fear the Olympics!). 2010 will probably just be another year for me—good, bad, writing, editing, working, eating, laughing with friends, crying, and so on. With any luck, I’ll manage to get a manuscript I’m comfortable with and begin shopping it.

Speaking of the manuscript, I’m not going to have the third draft done by New Year’s. I certainly didn’t get it done for Christmas like I’d been hoping. I think I’m about halfway done it, in terms of time. I’ve finished getting my hero’s narration to cover the action the third-and-cut narrator was covering, and I’ve gotten my antagonist’s narration in sync with his new job. Now I just need both of them to be aware of the bad guys, and I need to get shiny things like robotic navigation systems and forcefields into more prominent positions. Right now my novel doesn’t feel all that futuristic, and I want it to.

I asked for and received a lot of urban fantasy novels for Christmas. I’ve been reading a lot in the (sub)genre for the last few months, since I’ve realized that my own novel is urban fantasy, just with superpowers instead of supernatural powers. I’m hoping the books I got are good, since I’ve read a few that have decent entertainment value, but I’m not absorbed enough into the world or characters to want to continue past the first book. I’m beginning to dislike how many heroines (and heroes) are 1) law enforcement, 2) whiny, 3) stupidly independent or untrusting of people, and 4) unable to see the solution staring them in the face. They also seem reasonably flat to me, like their authors have given them all this backstory (ex-husband, traumatic childhood, estranged siblings, friends and enemies, phobias, etc.) but then continued writing as if that backstory wasn’t really there.

I don’t know for sure how a divorced woman who no longer trusts men would act, but I’d like to see more from that woman than statements about her lack of trust and avowals of her need to be far from every male character. I want to get closer to the experience than that, I want a character’s flaws to have more of a bearing on the plot, and I want more realism. Is our divorced woman going to be flirting with a new guy a week later, without a major motive? Is she going to be so stubborn about not trusting men that she won’t trust a man who genuinely wants to help her (without sexual goals) and who has important information regarding the mystery/crime? Is she really going to think that man’s lying to her? I can’t say for sure, as I haven’t been in that situation, but something about those sorts of situations smacks of unreality.

I’ll stop with the editorial. You probably get the point. However, I’d just like to say (for the record) that I’m using the flaws I see in these novels as examples of what not to do. I’ll probably still be guilty of a few of them, but I’m going to try.

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