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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia.

My books

The first two novels of my trilogy, The Talismans, are available as e-books from Smashwords. I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $AU25 including postage within Australia. I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

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The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. I hope to see my books back on Amazon under a new publisher in the near future.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia
Want a copy? Contact me at satimafn(at)gmail.com

The Cloak of Challiver

The Cloak of Challiver
Available again as an ebook soon!

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

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Sunday, 13 January 2008

The horns of a dilemma

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you will know that I’m writing a fantasy trilogy and have achieved very little, writing-wise, for the last five months. The work stalled two thirds of the way through the current WIP. My mood has varied from despair to anxiety to a shoulder shrugging laissez-faire ever since. But even under the laissez-faire there lies a feeling of desperation. You see, I really do want to write this monstrous little opus. I love the story, I love my characters and I want other people to love them, too.

But before people can love the books, they have to read them. And before the books can be read, I have to write them.

Which brings me full circle. I’m stuck.

I suspect it’s because somewhere deep inside I know I haven’t got the story properly pinned down yet. The problem, I think, might lie in the fact that the overall storyline covers several generations, and I have skipped a decade and half about one third of the way into the present book. Now, I don’t know about you, but I resent it when a writer introduces me to cast of interesting characters and just when I’ve become drawn into their story, deserts them, jumps a sizable gap of time and starts anew with an almost completely new bunch of people that I have to get used to. I don’t like it. It’s not fair. I feel cheated.

Apparently I’m not the only one, because the only two people who have read the whole thing in one go both screamed in frustration. How dare I deprive them of those characters! Who is this crowd of strangers I’ve dumped on them? What happened to the other lot? Where are they? Bring them back!

Not bloody likely, sez I. To write the story I want to write, I have to move on. Those characters have served their purpose. If I carry on writing about them, I will be writing a different story. A story I don’t actually want to write.

Stalemate.

But to be honest, deep inside, I have more than a sneaking sympathy for my poor readers. As I’ve already pointed out, I also hate being cheated in this way. So I am working on ways to keep at least the main Bad Guy from the early chapters in the story, but that is, I think, the best compromise I can make. And I can think of no way to avoid the time jump. I have to allow the next generation to grow a little before the story can go on.

In any case, I have promised to leave the work alone for at least a month to give myself some distance from it, so I'm trying not to panic. But it's hard. I miss my imaginary playmates, old and new.

What do you think? Do you hate it when characters you’ve come to love or hate make a sudden exit? Do you dislike time-jumps in a narrative? What other pet hates do you have in stories? Don’t be frightened: your secrets are safe with me and the other forty or fifty people who read this blog every week:-) We are waiting to hear from you!

6 comments:

Patty said...

Satima, you know what I think, so I won't elaborate.

So... you've found out that The Story You Want To Tell isn't exciting readers?

Join the club. Been there, done that.

Now to get published, it is important that The Story You Want To Tell is relegated to the bottom drawer ASAP, and is allowed to occupy a special place in your heart and not in your writing efforts.

As we grow as writers, we grow up and move on. You can either adapt the story so it follows one set of characters all the way through and doesn't skip many years, or write a completely different story.

You've written a complete novel. Found there were some fundamental plot difficulties, which you don't see how to solve.

I'd say trunk it and move on with something totally new, self-contained and tightly-plotted. Then maybe come back to it.

notes from the edge said...

Hi Satima

Sorry to hear about the dastardly Trojan business! Glad you have got it sorted. Yes, what with Xmas and a new project (that I will blog soon) somehow my blogging activities came to a standstill. As regards your dillemma the only advice I can offer is just to keep writing. Your blog is a masterpiece in itself! All the best for 2008.

Jo said...

Happy New Year, I am now back to reading blogs. Sorry you are having so much trouble with your plot. Dick Francis wrote a story "Twice Shy" which is basically two stories in one with the bad guy hanging over from one story to the other. It worked.

Sorry about your Trojans, had PC probs myself lately too, ain't it a bugger??

Marilyn Z. Tomlins said...

Satima -- You are an experienced and talented writer, therefore you will do what is right. It is, though, always a good idea to step away for a while and then to tackle the problem again. Best luck.
Marilyn

Satima Flavell said...

Thanks guys - good to see you back, Anudhara, Jo and Marilyn! Patty's post, I think, deserves a blog entry of its own - that schism between what the writer loves and what the market wants raises many vexing questions!

Silly Yak Tales said...

I have that problem with what I write also, Satima. I get so involved with it then it starts to bore me then, I figure I may bore others. The problem is I have become to close to it so I have to put it away for awhile, maybe a long while.

Let it rest for awhile and go back to it in a month or a year. Then maybe then you will see what needs to be done to fix it.

Randi-Lee

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