Tag Archives: writing

Is “Gritty” Realistic?

In response to a recent post about Ursula K. Le Guin, I was challenged on some of what I’d had to say about George R.R. Martin’s writing — specifically, I was told that Martin’s gritty, brutal fantasy was somehow more realistic than Le Guin’s.

Well, to each their own. If you love A Song of Ice and Fire, then great.

I don’t love the series, though I can see the books’ virtues and appeal. But I object to the idea that gritty somehow equals realistic.

When I started reading Game of Thrones, my youngest was seven years old. I got about seventy pages in when (spoiler)… Continue reading Is “Gritty” Realistic?

Character Mutiny, Pt. II — The Author Strikes Back

Here’s the story of how I crushed a character mutiny and finished a book.

Back when Risuko first came out, I was hard at work on the sequel, Bright Eyes. I was cruising along, with every expectation that I’d have the book ready for publication in 2018.

Then one of my characters mutinied.

I was about to kill her off (spectacularly, I thought) in order to move the plot forward. As I began to write the scene, however, I realized that I hadn’t set up the death or the character well.

In my mind, she sat there, yelling at me, telling me the scene sucked. And the way I had written her character sucked. And because they sucked, the whole book to that point sucked. Massively.

She wasn’t very polite about it.

I realized, to my horror, that she was right. Continue reading Character Mutiny, Pt. II — The Author Strikes Back

Writing from another point of view

Can a man write from a woman’s point of view?

Gosh, I sure hope so! I am, after all, currently writing a series of books from the point of view of a thirteen-year-old girl.

Now, she’s also Japanese, living in Japan.

In the sixteenth century.

I’m an American man living in twenty-first-century California.

Continue reading Writing from another point of view

Ursula K Le Guin — Grandmaster

As an author of young adult books, I’ve been asked many times about the authors who had the greatest impact on me. I’ll often start by mentioning Maurice Sendak, which people assume is a joke, but isn’t.

Next, I’ll mention Ursula K. Le Guin, the late author of science fiction and fantasy.

Continue reading Ursula K Le Guin — Grandmaster

Bright Eyes Complete!

I’ve written nearly sixty-eight thousand words of Bright Eyes, the sequel to Risuko.

The most satisfying word of all to write? Continue reading Bright Eyes Complete!

The Hero’s Journey ® as a writing tool

Last summer, I had a really interesting conversation with Scott Calhoun of the Inner Typewriter about Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey® and how authors can use it to enrich and focus their writing:

Optimized

Among other things, I look at Risuko, and how my work on it reflects the Hero Journey.

The Hero’s Journey is a registered trademark of Joseph Campbell Foundation (JCF.org)

Character Mutiny: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Bright Eyes

ETA: BRIGHT EYES LIVES!

So, hi.

I owe you an apology.

I had promised — and confidently expected — to finish and release Bright Eyes, book #2 in the Seasons of the Sword series, in 2018.

What happened? Continue reading Character Mutiny: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Bright Eyes

Interview: David Kudler Talks Risuko

In a recent interview with book blog A Cup Full of Tea and an Armload of Books, Risuko author David Kudler talks writing, publishing, inspiration, writing history as fantasy, and much more. Continue reading Interview: David Kudler Talks Risuko

Interview: Risuko author David Kudler talks writing

John Byrne Barry, award-winning author of political and crime thrillers, interviewed Risuko author David Kudler for the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association web site on the day of Risuko’s release.

In the interview, Kudler discusses the writing process, including:

  • what it’s like to write the first book in a series,
  • how to balance leaving your readers wanting more with leaving them satisfied,
  • where he falls on the “plotting vs. pantsing” spectrum,
  • what inspired him to write the teen historical novel,
  • and much more.

Continue reading Interview: Risuko author David Kudler talks writing

The Magic of History

On writing historical fiction as if it were fantasy

When I first began working on my novel Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale, my daughters were both young, and they were both voracious readers. Which, not surprisingly, I am as well. And so we happily read a lot of books together — both pleasure books and books assigned by their teachers.

Now, most of the books Sasha and Julia brought home from school were wonderful. But I noticed pretty early on that a lot of the “historical fiction” was way heavier on the historical than the story.

Again, some of the books were great. The Witch of Blackbird Pond? Crispin: Cross of Lead? Number the Stars? Terrific.

But a lot of the others were… less so.

I found myself looking at the books that my daughters and I found compelling and realized that, first and foremost, they were great stories — that they had  lot more in common with the magic in the fantasy books that we all enjoyed together (Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, Tamara Pierce’s Tortall books) than a history text.

And so, as I thought about what style I wanted to take on when I began writing Risuko, I decided that I was going to write my historical novel as if it were a fantasy. Continue reading The Magic of History