August 2011


Marja McGraw guest-writes at the blog, Buried Under Books.  Maria’s topic is setting in novels, and how popular authors use this to their advantage.

  • Listen To Your Reader

    Interestingly, I’d just been on a panel at a conference where we discussed settings. The general consensus of the authors on the panel was that setting is paramount to the story in most cases. Readers want to feel like they’re the fly on the wall while they read, and that’s difficult to do if the setting isn’t described in the story.

Read more at the blog

In my writing, the situations of the characters I’ve come up with are all dependent on place.  The characters’ situations aren’t generic troubles that could happen anywhere, but are woven into the scenes of the crimes.  For me, setting is almost a character itself.

With luck (practice and patience), someday you’ll be able to see what I feel.

When you are editing the translation of a foreign language novel, do not allow Swedish people in Sweden in a Swedish story to snack on Cokes, Heath bars and Snickers.  I’d much prefer to read the names I’m assuming were in the original, with a short clause about the items being snacks.

If I were reading a German book in translation, I’d expect to see Afri Cola or Sinalco; Hanuta and Duplo.  I imagine the Swedes have their own candies as well.  Reading “Coke, a Heath bar and a king-size Snickers” took me straight out of the story and sent me here.

Don’t do it again.

Otherwise, I’m finding Camilla Läckberg’s The Stonecutter engrossing.

I finished the ‘nonfiction project’ (see previous entry), the month-plus typing work that reignited the weird feelings in my wrists that the doctor informed me is not carpal tunnel syndrome.  OK, it’s not a carpal tunnel problem, she’s the doctor and I’m not, but I’d like to know what I can do to minimize the problem, given my compulsion to type.

Buzzy wrists, aside, and with that real-life typing task finished, I’m looking forward to re-immersing myself in my fictional world.  It’s a journey for me to leave one world, enter another, and then go back.  Making these shifts isn’t immediate and I feel as if I’m moving from one country to another, sorting and packing the paraphernalia of the world I’m leaving, then reacquainting myself with the people, language, and culture of the world I’m reentering.  Making a blog entry here is one of the steps in making the change.

I’m stashing the link here so that I’ll know where to find it later.  It’s easier for me to click a category link and scroll through my online notetaking than it is for me to read through lists of “favorites” in my bookmarks.  Those link titles seem to run together.

  • Word count by genre, Jacqui Murray’s WordDreams…
    — cozy mysteries = 65k to 90k
    — mysteries, thrillers and crime fiction = A newer category of light paranormal mysteries and hobby mysteries clock in at about 75k to 90k. Historical mysteries and noir can be a bit shorter, at 80k to 100k. Most other mystery/thriller/crime fiction falls right around the 90k to 100k mark.

Those numbers are the ones that interest me most, but even if your number-concern is the same, click over to the link.  Jacqui Murray has information about other genres, as well as word counts of well-known and influential works.