Monday, June 18, 2007

Now look what I've done!

I need to smack that Linnea Sinclair.


Because I've just spent hours playing at because she sent me there!

And this is what I did;

What's in a cliche?

Someone asked about cliches. Are pebbled nipples, six pack abs and so on cliches, or are cliches restricted to plot?

Well for me, it's usually something the author hasn't thought through properly. Falling back on handy ways to describe something, or letting a plot follow a course that is entirely predictable and has also been used innumerable times are cliches.

But you can make cliches into something memorable. Take a girl who thinks she isn't pretty. That's a cliche, right? We've all seen that one. Then the hero makes her feel beautiful. It's partly a cliche because it's real - every teenager looks at the airbrushed pictures of Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell and thinks she'll never reach that standard (well neither do Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell in real life!) It's led to a whole slimming industry, and department stores are packed with cosmetics. Every woman has a little seed of insecurity deep down, whether she admits to it or not. But to take this and plop it into a plot without thinking it through, that's cliche.

I deliberately used that one in JEWEL OF THE DRAGON and tried to make it real. For most reviewers, it worked, I'm happy to say. I made her a member of an isolated community that didn't think much of beauty, denigrated her and dressed her in frumpy clothes. She got away and turned her back on the community, so she showed she had guts. But her brother was still a member, so she had that reminder every day, since brother and sister shared an apartment and opened a business together. So when the hero arrives, Alix is used to thinking of herself as not pretty. But when Dev makes it clear he's attracted to her, she doesn't keep telling him how ugly she is. And Dev makes her see her attractiveness for herself, instead of making her reliant on him for compliments.

I loved doing that. Make it deep enough and it stops being a cliche.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007


suddenly finding myself without a home for Department 57, I've been blown away by the responses from publishers. When did it happen that people like the books enough to want to pick them up?

I've been working hard to write the series, and in some ways it's run away with me, far more successful than I ever dreamed it would be.

I only ever wanted to write, not a lot else, and it was only recently I sent books to publishers. Writing is what I do, everything else is secondary, so promotion and conferences, while fun, come second.

Now I find myself with a bank of books to find homes for, and when they do settle somewhere, I won't have to write anything new for ages.

It doesn't bear thinking about. I just can't. So I'm still writing, still working and characters are still speaking to me.

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