I don’t usually cross post much because I like to keep my author self and my personal self fairly separate, but I thought I’d let you know that my fifth book, Spinning Tales, has just come out. It’s available at Amazon and Bold Strokes and other places you can buy books.
And to tie my separate identities together, I’m going to talk about the writing bit, which is what I try to talk about here occasionally. (See what I did there?)
It’s a fairy tale about fairy tales. I started with a plot idea when I saw a cottage on top of a building in New York, which was selling for 3.5 million. It’s a lovely place, and it got me thinking about what kind of magic a place like that could have.
I love fairy tales. I love the dark morality, the sometimes pure WTFness of the stories, and the sometimes gentle characters you find in them. And I got to thinking, if I wanted to write my own fairy tale, what would it need to have in it? What are the genre elements I’d need to employ? And then I thought, and what if the fairy tale was about fairy tales? That’d be fun.
It was fun. It was a ton of research into the world’s fairy tales so I could create a world outside ours that we were still familiar with (an important part of the fairy tale genre). It was planning; what was the quest about? What journey would they go on? How does the character grow from her experiences? What fantastical characters are there, and how do they move the character’s story forward? What magical item will make an appearance? How do we deal with evil, and destiny, and villains and heroes? What moral question am I going to tackle? (another important genre element). And how am I going to write it all and keep it fun and not preachy?
I don’t know if I succeeded, but for my first attempt, I’m pretty happy with it. I took fairy tale tropes and played with them, moved them around, and tried to do something a little different.
So my writing advice today: play. Challenge yourself. See where you can stick with genre conventions but twirl them around and dance them down the hall until they look like something new. And, perhaps most of all, know your genre conventions. That’s really, really important. If you don’t read crime, don’t write a crime novel without understanding how that genre works. Seriously. You’ll save yourself hours of frustration if you know your genre. And then you can play with it.
If you’re interested in Spinning Tales, you can find it here.