I thought it might be nice to share some of my favourite places for stories and ideas:
Ilona Andrews – Ilona and Gordon Andrews are urban fantasy authors with a knack for turning out tales that manage to be both unexpected and yet feel completely ‘right’. They’re in the final stages of preparing the final book of the Kate Daniels series for release and have a number of other series to their credit as well.
One of the series is known as the Innkeeper Chronicles, and each novel/novella in the series (three so far) have originally appeared as a serial story, posted weekly on their website. The current serial is the story of two of the side characters and is well and truly keeping up the standard. One of the aspects of this blog/series I most enjoy is the clear influence the strong, supportive and highly engaged community following these guys have on story elements. There are clear signs of moments where the authors (or authorlords as they’re known on the site) have taken suggestions or requests as inspiration, or have planted Easter Eggs in the text for delighted fans to find.
Another author I follow, and enjoy hearing from is K.M. Shea. As K.M. Shea she writes fun twists on old English legends and re-writes fairy tales in absorbing and unexpected ways. An intriguing element to the site is her alter ego, A.M. Sohma, who’s recently come on the scene as the author of a very different (but equally enjoyable) series of what’s called LitRPG – stories set inside online role-playing games. A new genre for me, and not one I’m hugely into as a whole, but I do enjoy these ones. K.M. Shea has a highly interactive blogging post style and runs annual polls on reader preferences on characters (already written) and character types (ideas for future tales).
Someone who takes the game I’ve just started, playing around with scenes, vignettes and stories from story prompts is Caffeine and Witchcraft. I’ve bought her book of short stories on Amazon, purely based on her Tumblr writing. She’s highly imaginative and eloquent enough to bring you soaring alongside her without you even noticing you left the ground. I want to write like her when I grow up, even though I think she’s about half my age!
Speaking of story structures, Suzannah Rowntree (another fantasy author) has written a couple of blog posts on plot structure, via an analysis of Lord of the Rings which I find brilliant. She essentially compares the classic three act structure with Freytag’s pyramid (which has five stages to it) and shows how Tolkien uses the latter to very good effect. I hit this up when I’m trying to make head or tail of this area as she explains it really well.
I also have a couple of online comics on hand for pure whimsy, and these ones are super sweet.
Hades’ Holiday involves Hades and Persephone trying to get away for some time together but running into all sorts of hassle (and other gods). It’s set in modern times and features characters such as a beach bum Poseiden and possibly the cutest Cerebus rendition I’ve seen so far.
Equally sweet and straight up romance is Miss Abbott and the Doctor. This is another story that frequently heads in directions I don’t quite expect but runs completely true to every one of the characters and their relationships with each other. The author/artist behind this one, not only spins a cracking yarn, but does it in a non-native language. I remember reading a post saying the comic scripts are originally written in Spanish, but the final output is in better quality English than many native-speakers can command.
So, now you know my guilty story pleasures. What are yours?