Writing Peeps and What You Learn from Them: The Genie Memories Edition

Then, there was the mother of all headaches. It kept Catherine home from work, it kept Catherine off the computer. At 2 o’clock, she stumbled into town, her husband driving, to pick up AV equipment for the convention tomorrow. She got on line tonight, and worked some, because it was a costly day she took off work, so she needed to make some of that up. She’s rachetted the headache back up some. Goodie…

While the headache was mostly under control, she took a look at Matt Hughes‘ revamped Genie Memories. AND she was very impressed.

I find it fascinating to look at other people’s writing. I find that I learn a lot.

As I looked at Matt’s manuscript today, I was awed by several things. His use of tech. His apparently casual familiarity with weapons. His action-driven sequences. His atypical and interesting characters. His vigorous verbs. Yeah, there’s work that needs done, but damn.

I feel this way often when I look at other people’s work. How do they do the things they do? Look at the cool and different ways they pull people in.

Inevitably, the brain gets around to thinking: Why can’t I do that?

As I grapple with the last three chapters of The Winter the Troll Danced with Old Nick, I grapple with the action sequence. The town is under siege. Why is this sort of thing so hard for me to write? I love to write interpersonal conflict, relationships, and angst. I can write this other thing, but I’ll be honest with you, I usually fudge the action parts with clever plot maneuvers, and a focus on what’s happening to our mains. The other guys become background.

Then again, Matt did this in one of his sequences. The scene that reunites three big players in the story. And he did it well. Hell, even Tolkien focuses on the main characters in all that…scope. Suddenly what I thought might be a weakness is reinforced effectively by another writer.

I think writing those sort of scenes is hard because it’s not the part of the story that interests me. But it has to happen in this story. And I will do it to the best of my ability because I need to make it work, primarily for the conflict between the two brothers.

So, actually, I owe Matt and Matt’s story, because by examining how Matt did his action scenes, it makes me feel a little more confident about what I’m doing in my own work, and he gives me a good example of how to make it work.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the many reasons why people really need to talk to other knowledgeable writers, and read their work.

Ow. I’m getting off the computer to rest my head. Your thoughts?


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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