Monday, November 14, 2005

Feedback on Feedback

Howdy on a Monday, BGs. Thanks for the comments/answers to my questions from Friday. Here’s my take on a few of your comments:

C.J. said: (3) What are you reading now? The Novelist by Angela Hunt (Westbow) to review for Infuze magazine.

I just read Angela Hunt’s recent book, Unspoken. You never know what Angie’s going to do in a book, and this was no exception. This is a wonderful story about God’s creation, told through featuring a talking gorilla. (As in Koko, the real signing gorilla.) I fully expect The Novelist to be another great read. Also, Infuze is an interesting online publication, fusing art and faith. The recent issue has an interview with Kathy Mackel, wonderful Christian suspense writer. If you haven’t read any of Kathy’s books, you’re missing something. You will need to sign up to receive Infuze to read its articles, but it’s free, and the issues won’t clutter your inbox.

C.J. and others said: (4) What would you like to see more of in Christian suspense? I love it when a suspense author doesn't neglect character development.

I’m glad to hear the feedback about character. I have to agree. The most ingenious plot in the world won’t do much for me if I don’t care about the characters. It’s really hard in suspense to keep up high tension, yet take time to characterize. Very hard indeed. You’ve got to weave so much of the characterization into the events without stopping the action. This is something I always try to achieve, but it’s a difficult balance. Perhaps in some books I achieve it better than in others.

Tracy said: (4) What would you like to see more of in Christian suspense? More quantity--I run out of great books to read, because I read so fast.

Aw, sheesh, Tracy, nothing like cracking the whip. But hey, gotta love readers like you! I suggest to all of you to become a regular browser at From the fiction page, you can browse by genre. If you go to the suspense & intrigue genre for instance, you’ll pull up over 650 books. Tracy, maybe you won’t run out of books after all. The defaul listing of books is by current bestseller on (often mirroring which books are newer on the market). But you can choose to have the books list in different order, such as by publication date. This way, you can see the very latest—and some that aren’t quite yet released.

Stuart said: (1) What is your work in progress? My current WiP is a wild & crazy space opera titled SPF: 0 - Zeon Star. It follows the adventures of the misfit crew of the S.P.F.S Superfluous; a giant slug, a bubble, and a stickman, as they seek to retrieve the Zeon Star from the insidious Lord Scarab.

I know this is our Stuart. Even so, I’m not quite sure whether he’s pulling my leg. Either way, ya gotta love the guy.

Lynetta asked: Do you have a favorite book on the craft of plotting? So far I've only read James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure and Jack Bickam's Scene and Structure.

I always recommend Robert McKee’s Story: Principles of Screenwriting. Don’t let the screenwriting thing scare you away. Story is story, and much of the structure is the same. This is a fabulous book, one you’ll read and re-read. McKee also gives marathon weekend seminars, teaching from the book, but you can get much of the info from the book itself.

Also my book Getting Into Character has a chapter on plotting: Secret #2–-Action Objectives. I think I’ve covered much of this chapter on this blog. You might check the archives.

Becky said: Thanks for making the free stuff available, Brandilyn.

You’re welcome. And yes, bookmarks and bookplates are going in the mail to folks who’s already contacted my assistant. Just check out the page on my Web site and ask for what you will.

Domino said: Covering industry questions sounds good to me.

Okay. Not sure I can answer everything, but if somebody’s got a question, feel free to post it.

Bonnie said: I'd like to know how you go about crafting verbs the way you do. It's amazing how many different action verbs you can get into just one chapter, without repeating.

Well, Bonnie, it ain’t hard when you (1) misuse transitive and intransitive verbs, and (2) turn nouns into verbs. I mean, think of the possibilities from #2 alone. I checked out the beginning of Coral Moon. In the prologue I’ve used “tanged” and “puddling.” Great verbs, don’t you think? All they have to do is get by my editor. Buy hey, I have an out, remember? I just tell her—Editor, that’s my Voice. Ya wouldn’t wanna mess with the ol’ Voice, now would ya? Heh-heh.

Drat, she’ll probably flag them, and I’ll have to fight for ’em. That’s OK. Verb fights are worth it.

I’ll bet y’all out there can come up with a few great “verbouns.” Go ahead, try ’em on me. If I like one well enough, I’ll use it.


Deborah Raney said...

Hey, if your editor gives you any trouble about "tanged" or "puddling" you might want to have him/her check out Webster, since "tang" and "puddle" are both perfectly legitimate verbs!

C.J. Darlington said...

Funny you should mention the book Story by Robert McKee. I had just ordered that book and am looking forward to reading it. It was also highly recommended by Frank Peretti when I heard him speak recently. I think that's one thing I need to understand better - the structure of a story. I've been able thus far to know enough about stories to get the structure OK subconsciously, but it will be good to understand why certain aspects of a story work and why others don't. It'll give my writing a zing, I'm sure.

Stuart said...

nope not legging ya, that's my actual wip :)

Now i must finger my keyboard and workhorse my projects.

Have a great day!

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Interestingly I think this "verbouning" is one of the things that creates beautiful language. My question is, can it ever be distracting when it pulls the reader out of the story? Here's one I used at the beginning of Journey to Mithlimar book 2 of The Chronicles of Efrathah: "Jim sprawled on his back staring at the star-laden sky. As a kid in Southern California, he’d relished telescoping the heavens, especially on family campouts in the mountains."


Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

Ah...puddling must be one of your favorites! You use it in the Eyes of Elisha also.

A verboun that I've used laterly...tailpiping

Dineen A. Miller said...

Brandilyn, I didn't read Friday's post until today. I love the dash in the first line. That really makes it pop. And takes the song out of it. It's perfect.

Congratulations on the new agent. Hope he's as excited about your partnership as you are. I'm sure he is. How could he not be? It's you! He'll just have to start looking over his should more. LOL!

Lynetta said...

Thanks so much for the suggestions, both on the plotting book and I had no idea how many suspense authors I still need to discover! :-)

I do have Getting Into Character—it's next on my "to read" list. Looking forward to it!