Carol Callicotte

Author

Leaving a Book Unfinished June 26, 2009

Filed under: Books,fantasy,Reading — A French American Life @ 3:08 pm
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It’s been a good week. It’s amazing what I can accomplish when I cut myself off from the internet. But here’s what I want to talk about: putting books down. Do you do it? Up until now, I haven’t been able to. Once I start a book, I can’t not finish it. It’s a compulsive habit, I know. And more than once I’ve dragged my feet through a novel just in order to finish it. I don’t know why – part of me wonders what I might miss out on, I suppose, and part of me doesn’t want to leave something unfinished, loose threads and all. But I’ve come to the enlightened conclusion that there are far too many great books out there for me to waste my precious time with the ones that just aren’t speaking to me.

So I have a new rule. It’s a 100 page rule – which is still quite generous, I think. If, after 100 pages, I still don’t care about the characters, or the writing grates on me, or (choose your demon), I will put that book down and leave it unfinished.

I’ve tried it once already, and wow, was it liberating!

How about you? What do you do when you don’t like a book? Finish it anyway? Throw it across the room? Use it for kindling? Toilet paper?

GoodOmens-Hard-2006 Currently Reading: I’ve actually nearly finished GOOD OMENS, which is absolutely not a book I would throw across the room or sacrifice to any vile purpose. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett together, writing about the apocalypse – what more could a girl ask for?

 

Fantasy Writers Research, Too August 13, 2008

Filed under: Cheater,fantasy,Projects,Writing — A French American Life @ 1:09 pm
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Yep – we may create our own worlds and our own rules, but that doesn’t exempt us from research.

Here is a list of some of the things I researched while writing my urban fantasy, CHEATER:

• Traditional and contemporary beliefs about death, the gods and angels of death, and the afterlife, including Celtic, Egyptian, Greek, Indian, Norse, Aztec, and Christian.

• Con artists and their “art”, famous cons and schemes, famous con artists

• The Grim Reaper – folklore, history, and portrayal in literature and film

• Death and mortality rates

• Traditionally held beliefs about Limbo

• All sorts of cool techy stuff like hacking into computers, tiny digital cameras, internet scams…

• Slot machines

• Blackjack

• Las Vegas and Death Valley – that was a fun trip!

• The Lake Havasu region

• Several locales around sweet home San Diego

• Casinos, their rules, their layout

• The Etch A Sketch

• My jobs, that have offered wonderful insight to the inner workings of a bureaucracy (including a nice collection of memos that served as inspiration…)

• Poker

• Charles Babbage, his Difference Engine, and his Analytical Engine

While 95% of what I learned didn’t make it into the book (sometimes 10 hours of research becomes 1 line of text), most of these things play a role. Are you intrigued yet?