Wednesday, June 5, 2019

June 2019 IWSG

Ah, June. Time for shorts and T-shirts, beach visits, and tall glasses of lemonade, right? Well here along the shore of Lake Ontario, we're still wearing our jeans and fleece. It's 59 degrees! But I love it, actually. Perfect weather for gardening and bike-riding. 

Great weather for blogging as well. It's time for another IWSG post. Thanks to our host, Alex Cavanaugh and his incredible band of cohosts: Diane Burton, Kim Lajevardi, Sylvia Ney, Sarah Foster, Jennifer Hawes, and Madeline Mora-Summonte!

Today's optional question: Of all the genres you read and write, which is your favorite to write in and why?

Book Store Cat
Image: Daniel STL

I like to read literary fiction, women's fiction, commercial fiction, historical fiction, speculative fiction, horror, dystopian, paranormal and suspense/thrillers. For writing, the list is a bit shorter. I've written a paranormal thriller, slave/historical fiction, contemporary fiction, speculative, suspense, and horror. I don't have a favorite, per se, because I haven't written in all of them yet. So how could I possibly pick? 

The aspects of writing that I try to incorporate no matter what genre are: 

1. Compelling characters. 

Image: Amazon

Stephen King is my favorite author and at first, I thought it was because I loved spooky stories. But now, I think it's because his characters are so unique/amazing/well-rounded/alive and his voice comes shining through each story. It's simply magical. I love it.

2. Buried themes/symbolism

Male Great Horned Owl keeps close watch
Image: Tony's Takes

My favorite book, Shadowland by Peter Straub, is haunted by birds. They're all over this story. 

3. Twists and Curveballs

Sometimes a twist is major plot point. Spoiler Alert! For example, in Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, you discover the wife wasn't murdered by her husband. Nope. She sets him up as a form of revenge. Genius.

Other times, curveballs are like sweet pieces of candy that liven up the plot. I'm rereading George R. R. Martin's Game of Thrones and John Snow is expecting to be assigned ranger as he joins the Night's Watch because of his skills in fighting and horsemanship. Unbeknownst to him, he's actually going to be assigned steward to the Commander instead, which seems like a big step down. (But it will help train him to become commander some day.)

My problem with twists and curveballs is that I like them so much, I tend to overload my novels with them until the plot gets too complicated. Then I have to have a serious talk with myself, and figure out which ones can stay and which can go. Setting up a major twist also takes a lot of thought and planning. A great twist needs plenty of hints without giving the whole game away. 

US Sea World 1211 (245) 
Image: Diego Tirira

Curveballs in real life are not as much fun as we found out on our trip to Florida during Spring Break. Our first morning, my daughter woke with a high fever and our first stop was the local doc-in-a-box instead of Sea World. 

Luckily, we were early, got through the sign-in, waiting room, strep and flu tests (both negative) very quickly, and even scored her scrip for antibiotics right there at the office. She insisted on carrying on with our plans and we were able to do everything (and then some). Even feeling ill, Sedona outlasted me in energy and enthusiasm. (I must be getting old.) 


Has life thrown you any curveballs?