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Posts by Dorothy Grant

The name’s the thing

I know there are authors who come up with a character name, then fill out a character sheet like they’re doing a D&D game, and proceed from there unto the plot and story. I am not one of those people.

I know there are authors who put tons of research into their names, and crafting them carefully to match the world.

I know there are authors who have multiple baby-naming books or sites, and cruise through them until they get something that matches the character already in their heads.

Me? I often end up using placeholder names, of something that caught my eye, until I finally figure out (you know, about 25,000 words in) what the character’s actual name is. And then comes the find & replace joy. (Fun fact. Find and replace treats Seth, Seth’s, Seths & Seth’ as 4 separate words, and will only replace one at a time. So make sure you look for potential misspellings and possessive cases. And plurals. Or your (hopefully beta) readers will go “Who’s this?”)

How do you handle names? What resources do you use?

InkTober Prompts After-Action Report

As some of you enter into your third day of NaNoWriMo, and others enter into your third day of thinking about whether you could catch up, or wishing you could do NaNo this year, I’ve just finished my month-of-writing. Here’s how my month of Inktober Prompts turned out!

The Goal: Using InkTober’s 2019 prompt list, write every day. Read more

Eating the elephant?

There’s an old saying: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Of course, this presumes that you have refrigeration handy, and you’re eating it alone, where my husband’s stories of shot elephants seem to involve villagers turning up with great cast iron pots and firewood before dust from the creature hitting the ground settles. (Bush telegraph. Is faster than magic.)

They also involve the hilarities of villagers inside the elephant carving out meat above them up to the ribs, and more on top carving meat down to the ribs, and the screaming and cursing when an assegai or machete pokes out between and finds a human foot…

But realities aside, back to metaphors. Read more

Consistency

I’m working on a story… wait, no. I’m working on three stories. Okay, maybe I’ve started and stopped on about seven, but I keep coming back to two stories?

I’d say my muse has ADOS (Attention Deficit… Ooh! Shiny!), but I’m terribly afraid it’s just me. Other people talk about writing to market and checking off the lists of tropes they’re going to use, and I’m over here going “this isn’t working because… I need a second POV? Do I have to go back and rewrite half the scenes? Or am I adding a second plotline in? No, no, bad brain. Just keep going forwa… okay, fine. Wait! I agreed! Why are you trying to throw a different story at me instead of the one I want to work on?”

Not that any of you know anything about that, eh?
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How long does recovery take?

We’re all familiar with the terrible trope of action movies (and cop shows) where a guy takes a bullet, and then in the end of the episode, he has his arm in a sling, but he’s all better by the end of the movie / very next episode. In the really real world, people don’t end up with a little artistic bruising or smudge of blood or soot, and walk, run, and fight perfectly…acrobatically and dramatically.
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Why read me when there are new books out?

Seriously, you’ve got science fiction and fantasy options for your pleasure!

Alma Boykin just released the long-awaited pre-apocalypse book, Fountains of Mercy, that explains where the ColPlatScki Originally came from, and just who exactly were the desperate original colonists who became beatified and unrecognizable legends all those years later?
Fountains of Mercy: Book 8 of the Colplatschki Chronicles by [Boykin, Alma T. C. ]

When the fires dance in the sky, the great machines will fail, and the people will rise…

Colonial Plantation LTD can’t decide what to do with Solana, also called ColPlat XI. Should it be a nature preserve, a living museum of pre-industrial techniques, or a standard colony? As the bureaucrats wrangle, a solar storm disrupts technology and reveals deep rifts between the colonists and their administrators.

Susanna “Basil” Peilov clawed her way out of the slums and wants nothing to do with the Company. Peter Babenburg just wants to build his water system and stay out of trouble. When the sky-fires come, Basil, Peter, and their families and friends stand between the colony and chaos. Company administrators assure everyone that replacement parts and assistance is coming, will come. Without those supply ships from the stars, everything falls apart and the colony will die. All that people can do is wait and hope for rescue.

The administrators never planned on facing a group of engineers, a crazy farmer and his wives, and colonists determined to protect their home. Hope comes from some unlikely places, and courage takes eccentric shapes.
Get it here!

And Margaret Ball just came out with the second in the spin-off series from her Austin mathemagicians!
Dragon Scales (Dragon Speech Book 2) by [Ball, Margaret]

It’s one thing to meet a dragon in the snowbound mountains of the High Pamirs.

It’s another to entertain him when he shows up at your Austin home, along with his sulky and all-too-human teenage girlfriend!

Linguist Sienna Brown battles a shapeshifting dragon who helps himself to her clothes and demands enormous quantities of pizza, a teenager whose ignorance of American customs doesn’t prevent her from picking up every man she meets, a nosy neighbor, and a group of Russian thugs who are tasked with acquiring the dragon for their own country.

In addition, her boyfriend is terrified that the dragon’s presence will tempt her to use its magical but brain-injuring native language. And he’s not entirely wrong about that…

Get it here!

Unraveling the story

This one’s not a how-to; this one’s a request for help. Have you ever put down something you blocked hard on, only to pick it up months or years later, and go “Oh! That’s where it went wrong! …well, and there, too. And I could have done that better. And that’s not quite right… I should explore this bit of worldbuilding, and flesh that out…”

If so, how do you decide when to edit, when to rewrite, and when to rip the characters out and start anew?
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