Tag Archive | Anne McCaffrey

World Building

We’re gonna talk about world building tonight, kiddos. I recently realized that I read a lot of series, especially in the fantasy genre. (wow, wyn, great alliteration there!). Successful authors of a fantasy series, or any series, has to do with these things at some point or another.

The author needs to keep it fresh for themselves, allow themselves to grow while still hanging onto the original readership, and keeping from going out of their ever loving mind while doing it. Because who wants to read, let alone write, the same novel over and over again?

This first came to mind with me while reading one of Mary Janice Davidson’s novels (Undead and Unwelcome, I think). Because that book blew me out of the water. While before there had been lots of cute jokes, there hadn’t been a whole lot of growth. Until that book, when it took a hook for the dark side and the main character started to grow up. It was a humbling moment. As a writer who reads a lot, it showed all the ways to grow not only your own writing but your character at the same time, dragging your core audience gasping and yelling at you all the way.

Bridge of Dreams, by Anne Bishop was the second novel to make me wonder about that. Part of a series that is preceded by Sebastian and Belladonna, Bridge of Dreams takes the reader to a portion of the world that feels foreign, new and exciting along with new characters. But the world was built that way from the very beginning, giving limitless options for scenery, potential stories, lots of ideas. (The way the three sisters are handled is amazing!)

Kind of like Anne McCaffrey with the Pern series. You have the normal books, then of course there is the southern continent, and the sci fi element they may or may not go back to but even if she does, the people in the here and now are trying to figure out what feels like future technology.

And of course there’s Lynn Flewelling, who with the Bone Doll’s Twin took me and shook me completely to my core. She went back into her land’s distant past and told the story of the queen. That trilogy is written so differently from the Nightrunner books that it was a “WOW” moment.

So. Writers! Have your escape plan hatched. Because if you’re lucky, you’ll need it!

Dragon Riders

What makes a book a classic? Is it universal themes? Or readability, five, ten, twenty, a hundred years into the future? Being a fantasy fanatic, there are very few “modern classics” to pull from. J.R.R. Tolkien. Zelzany. McCaffrey.

I resisted reading Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series for decades. How many, I didn’t realize until I read the copyright notice AFTER reading the book. The book was published a few months after I was born, so it is… twenty one twice plus one.  Hehehe.

The first time I remember anyone telling me about the books was while I was in college. At the time, I resisted because I was writing about dragons. I didn’t want any influences on my world building, characters and dragons. Quite frankly, I was jealous too. I *wanted* to be Queen of the Dragons!

For some reason, I never did pick up any of the Pern novels. Despite often running out of books to read, new authors to try, being bored out of my skull… You get the idea. Never. Once.

So on Saturday I was given a brief respite and ran to the book store. My brother Leonard, who has very different tastes in books than I do, highly recommended it. “You loved Tolkien. You love that Game of Thrones series. I can’t stand those types of books.”

“I guarantee you’ll like Anne McCaffrey,” he told me.

Normally I take recommendations with a grain of salt. This time I went ahead and jumped in and I am so glad I did. Because it is simply amazing. What makes it so? It’s a fairly great idea, even though I’m not sure why the Sci-Fi elements need to be in there (to be fair, there are a lot of books left to plow through, so it might actually be needed later). It reads well, even after forty some odd years (drat, I spilled the beans).

For popular fiction, or genre fiction, to become a classic though there has to be magic. An audible pop in the reader’s mind when all cylinder’s start firing and the book sets out pell mell for the finish line. It’s still kind of funny to me that I ignored this series for so long.

No more!

Yay! I have a new series by a writer who was very prolific and whose son has taken up the pen!