Kalayna Price Guest Blog and Giveaway

Posted: June 29, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Kalayna Price had me at “hello.”  Seriously, the opening of the Alex Craft series is like a textbook example of how to hook readers right out of the gate.  Check it:

The first time I encountered Death, I hurled my mother’s medical chart at him.  As far as impressions went, I blew it, but I was five a tthe time, so he eventually forgave me.  Some days I wished he hadn’t—particularly when we crossed paths on the job.  — from GRAVE WITCH

Since then she’s continued to impress me with her voice, her characters and, yes, her wicked streak.  I hope you’ll enjoy her guest blog and that you’ll leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of one of her books.  The latest, GRAVE MEMORY, will release on Tuesday, July 3rd!

                                                           

Okay, but it’s going to cost you.

In life most of us avoid conflict. We don’t necessarily take the easy path, but we’d rather avoid the old Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times.” The smoother ride is preferred.

In fiction, the opposite is true.

Characters are put through the wringer and given two bad paths to choose from. Why? Not because the writers are evil overloads who wish to torture their unsuspecting characters, but because conflict creates interest and forces character growth. A story in which everything went well for the character and around each turn something even better happened would be like sitting down and tackling an entire triple chocolate cheesecake. The first couple bites might be decadent, but it would get sickening fast. No fun.

So we make it hard for our characters. We give them no good place to turn. We make every action count and each one come at a cost.  This cost may be major or minor and might be physical or emotional, but it has to hold a proportional amount of weight in comparison with what is at stake. It also has to affect to story, not just be thrown in there to create false conflict. If the cost is easily sidestepped or has no bearing on the story, it isn’t good conflict, and the reader probably won’t care.

How do you find this cost? Ask yourself what is the worst thing that could happen in the situation you are dealing with (or make a list of worse-case scenarios) and then find a compelling reason why the character has no other choice but take that route. Note the words “compelling” and “no other choice.” If the reader is sitting in their seat thinking, “Why didn’t the character just . . . “ the writer hasn’t done their job well and the suspension of belief is broken.

Of course, all these hard choices and agonizing decisions pay off in the end. They force the character grow so that in the final challenge, they can succeed—at least partially.  Depending on your genre, boy might get girl, the killer found, the bad guy foiled, and/or the world saved. For now.

Hey, we all like our cake at the end, right?

________________________

Check out Kalayna Price’s Alex Craft novels (GRAVE WITCH, GRAVE DANCE and GRAVE MEMORY) and Haven series on her website.  Follow her on Twitter.

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Comments
  1. Sarah Weiss says:

    These books sound awesome! Thanks Lucienne! I will definitely check them out!

  2. Tanya says:

    Finally!! I feel as though I’ve been waiting FOREVER for Grave Memory to be released. I blew through books 1 and 2 in about 2 days.

  3. Bill McCurry says:

    What a fantastic opening. Sometimes I read something so good that it almost makes me wonder if I should just go back to digging ditches–almost. This was that good. Thanks for the helpful post.

  4. Amanda says:

    I am so excited for the third book to come out this up-coming week!

  5. Patchi says:

    Too much ice cream is yucky, but I do want cake at the end of the party. I totally agree that those are the essentials of a good book!

  6. Suzanne says:

    Thanks for sharing your comments. I enjoy hearing how an author develops the story and their characters.

  7. I’ve seen Kalayna’s book in so many places. It looks like a great read!
    Great tips, thank you!

    • Martha, you’re the winner of a signed book by Kalayna Price! I’ve got your contact details. Do you want me to see about having her send the first book in the series or the latest?

  8. carrie goodman says:

    I also blew thru the first two books. I looovvee this series. Still need to Ck out the other series tho

  9. Jessica says:

    Kalayna Price does indeed hook readers from the start. Great series.

  10. Calliope says:

    I’ve been all aflutter with excitement for GRAVE MEMORY’s release – I keep my fingers crossed for a HEA on the romance front with each book!

  11. Donald says:

    Read the first two, waiting for number three.
    I think I have to agree: time-thieves are everywhere.
    I can’t remeber which blog it was, but someone said authors have a sadistic side. Torturing your MC’s is fun. Ms. Price has WAY too much fun with that. ;^)

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