One must think like a hero to behave
like a merely decent human being.
~ May Sarton
I’m receiving really wonderful questions about SOUL SONG. Feel free to send me more and I’ll answer them here!
From Mitch: Is there a scene that just sang to you? Any favorite moment from working on it? Also, do you research the paranormal elements of your books? (i.e. did you look into mermaid lore?)
I really enjoyed working on this book, so that’s hard to answer. Although, I will admit that there’s one scene that takes place between Kit, M’cal, and Koni that was very, very, fun to write. I won’t spoil anyone, but I think you’ll know the part I’m talking about when you hit it. Heh, heh. As for research, it depends on the paranormal element. I did look into mermaid lore for SOUL SONG, although after a certain point I had to set aside what I had found in order to make the mer-folk of my universe mine and mine alone.
From idreamofthee: The heroine is Kitala Bell – is that Dela’s friend from TIGER EYE? If so, did she just hide her powers, or did Dela know about them?
The heroine is indeed Kit Bell, Dela’s friend from Tiger Eye. I was originally going to tell her story in the novella that was published in DARK DREAMERS, but her story ended up being too big, and deserved an entire book. As for her powers, she’s hid them from everyone. Dela has no clue about Kit—and Kit has no clue about Dela. But that’s going to change.
Lilith Saintcrow’s Five Rules of Plotting are excellent reading:
Don�t let your characters turn into Mary Sues or Gary Stus. Get them hurt. Make them cry. Give them scars and unlikable traits. Every human being has a flaw. Make sure your characters are human. With all the messiness that implies.
Here, from an interview with Scott Westerfield:
One thing I’ve realized since then is that writing is a sport too; it takes conditioning. You have to write every day to build your sentence-level craft. You have to write your way out of hundreds of plot-tangles and character breakdowns to develop sufficient problem-solving reflexes. And until you’ve written a novel in one focused stretch, you can’t build up the muscles it takes to keep 80,000 words of plot and character arcs in your head, which is a hard, hard thing to do. Someone who writes “every once in a while” is like someone who plays chess by mail. It’s much easier, but they don’t really develop the stamina that it takes to fight their way through difficult problems. All of which only means I’m giving the advice everyone gives new writers: write. Till it hurts.
Other words of wisdom from Robert Crais: “Novel writing is never about the plot,” Crais observes. “It is about human beings and what lies beneath their surface. Every one of my books has that subtext.”
So, so, true.