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Snippet 5

Naming your burden will give you some control over it. But a think you will not name has power over you, instead. The Tale of the Drakanox.
A snippet from The Tale of the Drakanox, by Deby Fredericks

Here’s a little taste of what I’ve been writing. Tisha, as usual, comes up with deep philosophical thoughts.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Weaving a Plot

Today I’m going to dive into my technique for writing a plot that weaves several points of view together.

There are a couple of reasons I like to use multiple points of view. With a single POV, I’m limited to one location (at a time) and can only show what that POV character witnesses. Plural POVs allow me to broaden the canvas by having things happen in more than one location. Often such events are related, but each POV character only knows part of the story. Readers, who see it all, can build their own tension as they see how conflicts are building.

One way I make this work is by alternating among points of view. I’ll go for a bit with one POV, then turn to another POV for the next section. When I have more than two POVs, it gets more complicated, of course. (Whose turn is it to talk next?) The important thing is how I end each section. Sometimes I stop at a point of rest, since I know readers have to do other things like going to work, having lunch, etc.

More often, I stop with points of tension, such as in the middle of a conversation. This could be irritating, but I do it for a reason. The point of tension draws the reader forward. It also gives the reader “think time” to ponder what may happen next. This is important to keep them engaged. If they guess right, they have satisfaction with that. If they guess wrong, then I surprise them, and that’s even better.

That’s my lecture for today, class. Any questions?


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

The End is Coming

The end of summer, that is. The next school year has been creeping closer, and tomorrow is the first piece of it. Okay, it’s a staff barbecue. No big deal. This is a new school to me, so I’ll be there to start introducing myself. Should be fun, honestly.

Next week, there will be principal-led training. Normally I’m strict about not working outside my contracted days and hours. However, since it is a new school, I might go for the parts that cover the school’s policy and philosophy around student discipline. There are more ways to approach student discipline than you might think. I’d like to be on the same page with everyone from the start.

This also means I need to keep pushing on The Tale of the Drakanox. I feel like I’m about 3/4 of the day through it. I wrote out a big crisis point right before my trip to L. A. The two weeks since have been about reactions and coping. After today, though, I’ll be moving into the end game.

I’d say to wish me luck, but we all know with writing the results come from patient effort and skill. So, wish me patience! (But maybe a little luck, too.)


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Among other things on my recent trip for elder care, I had a chance to fact-check with my dad about Aunt Joyce’s poem. So here’s an update!

Gypsy, the horse in the poem, was definitely a real horse. Its full name was Gypsy Royale. Aunt Joyce received Gypsy as a graduation gift after completing 8th grade. She spent a lot of time with Gypsy, just as the poem describes.

I was wrong about the dates, though. Dad was born in 1928, and Joyce a year later, so her poem probably was written in the later ’40s.

These bits of family lore are such a treasure, even if only for the immediate kin.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

When I wrote my book list for Shepherd, it made me so nostalgic that I went down to my library and snagged the paperbacks off the shelf. I’ve since been re-reading them. Well, how do these fantasy classics hold up? I’ll comment in order of their publication.

Witch World, by Andre Norton (1963) is an old-school SF epic. By today’s standards, the prose is a bit stiff. This causes the fighting and other derring-do, and the budding romances, to feel somewhat muffled. However, the basic struggle against gender roles and other prejudice still rings true.

Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey (1968), introduces her famous world of Pern, where humans and dragons share a psychic bond of “impression.” That includes the dragons’ mating, which also draws their riders into sexual activity that is right at the edge of consent. This might be problematic for contemporary readers. McCaffrey’s work frequently got frisky by the standards of the era. If she was writing today, I think she’d fit right in with urban fantasy, where there’s a lot of sex and some of it is quite kinky.

The Tombs of Atuan, by Ursula K. LeGuin (1971). Without reservation, this book holds up to any current fantasy. The language is poetic, yet sparse and direct. There’s a sense of history and grandeur in the desolate landscape around the tombs. Yet LeGuin also draws a sympathetic portrait of a young woman stumbling forward as she tries to escape magical and emotional bonds. Arha and Ged both save each other from the powers of darkness. In this reading, it seemed to me she was infatuated with Ged, who kindly did not take advantage of her vulnerable state.

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, by Patricia McKillip (1974), is one of my all-time favorites and also holds up almost 40 years later. Who wouldn’t love to have a menagerie of legendary beasts? McKillip’s prose is also poetic, but more flowery and emotional than LeGuin’s. You can almost miss the family drama, tormented love, and political intrigue. Sybel becomes intent on revenge and backs one side in a war, but in the end her magical animals prevent the violence that all the humans seem to crave. That’s something I’ve come to value in my own written work.

The last book in my list is Barbara Hambly’s Ladies of Mandrigyn (1984). I haven’t re-read that one yet, but I’m looking forward to it. Perhaps that will come up in a future post.


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

Home Again

My journey has reached its conclusion! I got to hang out with my father for a week, while my sister had some much-deserved respite time to visit her oldest daughter in Missouri. I thought that my niece was going to give birth, but actually they were just setting up the nursery. That’s fine, though. My sister has Dad all the rest of the year and she deserved to get the break for any reason she wanted to.

It wasn’t super hard to watch over with Dad. He mostly took naps, but I did have to make sure he took his correct medications (and didn’t accidentally take them twice) and ate meals, etc. Dad claims to never be hungry, but I did notice he would take his walker into the kitchen and snack on chocolates or garlic-stuffed olives. Which sounds bad, but at age 93, what are we trying to save him from? Everyone agrees that the man can have an olive or three if he wants them.

No surprise, traveling and getting myself familiar with Dad’s care threw me off my pace for writing. I joked to my brother that my characters were walking down a slope for three days, and it was about time to let them move on. So I did write the rough outlines of three really good scenes during the week, and now I have the task of getting them written into the manuscript.

I’m also going around the yard gathering vegies and snagging the occasional weed. My husband did a good job of keeping things watered, but didn’t pick any of the tomatoes or blackberries. What a hardship it will be to eat those yummy blackberries this week!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

My husband came back from a horror movie he had been looking forward to. When I asked how it was, the first thing he said was that people kept doing stupid things. It made me wonder why some authors (not only in horror) seem to develop their plot so that it depends on characters being stupid.

Okay, sure, not every character will be quick thinking or a good judge of others’ motives. We want characters to be fallible so there’s real suspense about whether they’ll get out of whatever the situation is. In fiction, there’s also a theory that things need to get worse before they get better. Having the characters do dumb stuff can be one way to worsen a situation.

However, the audience for a book or movie probably IS smart and a good judge of people’s motives. Like my husband, they can be irritated when characters act too silly or get careless in dangerous situations. Raising the stakes this way can feel forced or manipulative.

I guess it’s something that creators have to balance as we plan our projects. How many dumb mistakes are too many for the credibility of the story?


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

I Made a List

Every writer needs to do publicity, and today I’m exploring a new publicity option. Book Shepherd helps authors conect with potential readers and helps readers discover new books.

Their mechanism is through reading lists. Just as on Goodreads, Amazon, etc., authors create a reading list based on a theme. Ideally, of course, the book list relates to our own work. Authors also show off a single book of theirs to readers who choose their list.

My list is going live today! The theme is 20th Century Fantasy that Centers Powerful Women. Go ahead and take a look if that sounds interesting. If you enjoy my list, you could even share it around. I promise I wouldn’t mind!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

While I’m on my trip, I’m going to be stuck in airports and such. What can a discriminating writer read while waiting for her connections? Here’s what I’ve gathered so far.

Two are paperbacks from my shelves. Dragonflight is the starter for Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series. I first read it in high school and it’s still my favorite of the series. Also Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Tombs of Atuan, second in her Earthsea series. All those books are incredible, and they’ve been an inspiration to me, but Atuan has a special place in my heart. A young girl strives to find her own identity, while trapped in an eldritch labyrinth and surrounded by jealous older colleagues.

Two others are contemporary e-books. Beneath the Sugar Sky, by Seanan McGuire, is in the middle of another series I’ve been catching up on. You know how in YA fantasy there often are Earth children who visit fantasy lands? The Wayward Children series is about a home for such children who find themselves back on Earth and struggling to adjust. McGuire hasn’t always been my favorite author, but she’s hitting my sweet spot with these.

I’ve also picked up a brand new release, A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys. It’s a near-future novel where environmentalist enclaves are trying to maintain some semblance of a civilization while fending off pollution from industrial enclaves — only to have aliens show up! The combination of post-apocalypse with utopian striving sounds intriguing.

Well, friends, what have you been reading this summer?


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.

What’s Happening? My cel company was bought by another company, which required me to switch to their system and also buy a new cel phone. So I’ve been jumping through their hoops and getting the new cel phone set up. I was worried that it wouldn’t get here before I travel, too. Fun in the modern age!

What I’m Working On. The Tale of the Drakanox is over 80,000 words and it feels like I’m reaching the top of the mountain for both main plot threads. Then I can get to the conclusion! The work seems so slow, yet I’ve added over 12,000 words in the month. You’d think by now I would trust myself.

What’s Next? I do travel this month, giving my sister a respite from taking care of our elderly dad. My niece is going to have a baby, and my sister deserves to be there. Guess I’d better set up a couple of posts to cover while I’m gone.

Fun and Games. I’m playing a game I was very curious about, Subnautica. Your character is a space worker suddenly marooned on an ocean planet. You have to find survive until you can be rescued. But of course the rescue becomes complicated! So far it’s been an enjoyable challenge, although I went easy on myself with the survival settings. I also enjoy Animal Crossing for quieter moments, of course.

The summer is heating up but I hope you can all keep cool. And if you need something to read… Look, it’s right over there in the side bar!


Have you read one of my books? Then it would be great for you to leave a review! Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about me and my work, check out my websiteFacebook, Instagram and/or Twitter.