Friday, April 9, 2010

Admiration Abounds

For starters, I admire my fellow blogmates. I believe they all have the dedication, the creativity, and the talent to succeed.

I admire contemporary author Cynthea Liu. Don't laugh, but I haven't yet read her book, Paris Pan Takes the Dare. It's on my list. But, I've heard Cynthea speak and read her blog. She is an energetic, and seemingly tireless person, who knows a lot about promotion and appears willing to share.

Truth be told, it was Stephanie Meyer's success that finally convinced me to sit down and start writing after many years of dreaming about it. If she, in her mid-thirties with small children, could find the time to bang out a manuscript, than why couldn't I? I know that there are plenty of writing moms out there, but I guess it was simply the right time for me to be motivated.

I set out expecting to hate Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games due to its premise, but the plot is so deep, the characters so engaging, and the writing so terrific that I ended up loving it. I admire anyone who can wrap readers up so completely in a story that it is ridiculously easy to suspend disbelief.

I think that Sherman Alexie did a great job of crossing over from adult to young adult fiction with The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. By finely weaving grace and wit, humor and tragedy he conveyed not only what it is like to live on a reservation, but also why it's so difficult to break away even in today's society. And he did this through the voice of a pimply-faced adolescent with girl trouble.

While not comparing the subject matter or the styles of writing, I think Alexie's work will stick with me, much the same way Cry the Beloved Country and the Power of One have since I read them 20 years ago.

I guess you could say that I admire writers who use history or current events as a backdrop for an amazing story. Slaughterhouse Five is another that comes to mind. When I went backpacking in Europe, I dragged my friend to see the bombed out buildings in Dresden, not because of history class, but because of Vonnegut's book.

OK. I'll stop now because it seems I've created a tall order. Write a book with terrific characters that somehow brings history alive, suspends disbelief, is written to stand the test of time, and then figure out how to self-promote. Oh, and do it all after the kids go to bed.


  1. I think I can speak for all of us and say that we admire you too! I have yet to tell you but I have lots of ideas for weaving history into both current and future stories! I love that you mention the suspension of disbelief because if a story is good enough in it's first two acts and the characters great enough I am willing to go wherever the third act takes me.

  2. Jim is correct - as usual!

    Just curious about point of view - do most of the books you mention use 1st person or 3rd?

  3. I also love stories that can bring history to life while keeping it current with great characters and suspension of disbelief. How do they do it? I'd really like to know. It's hard. My brain hurts.

  4. Great post Monta!

    I think the hardest part about the suspension of disbelief is that you have to create your own rules, and then actually follow them.

    I'm so bad at following rules, even my own.

  5. Hmm, Vonnegut? You mean your college roommate's uncle?? Anyway, you read a LOT! And i love that you admire an author you haven't read yet. I think SM is inspiring, too, for having all these tiny ones at home and just cracking out that first book, getting it done. But then I see her on tv and she says she basically never slept and sometimes she doesn't look too healthy so i'm not sure that's the way to go. I admire jk rowling for finding a way to write. Then having the book get published by a teeny house and have it end up selling out of the printing and being picked up by a big house.

  6. Robin...The Alexie, Meyer, and Collins books were in first person. The others I'd have to go back and check. It's been a while.

    Trager...I read Slaughterhouse in high school, before I met her:-)