Thursday, May 1, 2008

Friend Update and Fangirl Post

First the awesome news that my friend, Kris, has sold her medieval romance to Kensington in a two-book contract. This is terrific news and I know Kris is thrilled. She worked very hard on this book and it is well-deserved as the book is absolutely fabulous!

And now some fangirl posting, but there is a point.

I am reading an old novel (I think it was originally posted as a novella as part of an anthology) of Stephen King's called, The Mist. They recently made a movie out of it which I have not seen.

I know there are folks out there that don't like King's work but I think they are crazy. He is brilliant, in my opinion. I have read several of his novels over the years and they are great. Some, of course, have been made into movies with varying degrees of success. I never understood the snobbery of some writers who think so-called genre fiction (horror, romance, fantasy, etc) is somehow inferior to so-called literary fiction. There's a passage in Salem's Lot that literally takes my breath away with it's imagery.

I think writers should read in genres other than the one's they write in. I read romances, of course, but I also read horror, police procedurals, non-fiction, mysteries. I feel it is important to be well-read. Plus often because I write romances I find myself reading them all with a critical eye as though I can't turn off my editor/judge. I think of what I would have done, or how something or other isn't quite right and on and on. I love a book that makes me forget to eye it with a critical eye. Which brings me to The Mist.

I am only 32 pages into the book, but he has managed to grab me and hold me. In those 32 pages he has set up his protagonist and his family in such a way that I feel they are real. It is amazing how much in those 32 pages he has managed to make me care about these characters. So few writers really can master that skill, but in this book, at least, King has done so beautifully. If I were an editor and he a new writer, I would be calling his agent now to buy this book even though I have not read anything else.

Which brings me to my point. It's no wonder so few books are bought my publishers because so few books manage this. I have done a lot of judging in my years with RWA and I can count on one hand the entries I have read that made me go, oh wow, this is great. I have even given very good scores to some, but none of them have grabbed me like this writing. I don't think I come close to managing that myself either. It's definitely something to aspire to even though I cannot see myself ever writing horror, but the skill translates to all genres, I think.

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