Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Channeling Paretsky

If you look over there on the right, you may think I'm not doing anything. For the most part, you're right. I haven't been writing new words, and I'm taking a break from editing (long enough to get back comments from my CP and BRs). In short, I haven't been doing anything I can quantify here on the blog, and it makes me look lazy.

I am lazy, but that's beside the point. I made a promise to do something writerly for at least an hour every day. I have been keeping that promise. Yesterday I worked on my synopsis for RTL in the morning, and worked on some character sketches for C&D - because I hit a snag and I need to rework the whole damn thing.

You see, I realized I was channeling Sara Paretsky and my Jordan was beginning to seem a whole lot like Paretsky's VI. Oh, the horror.


Don't get me wrong. I love the way Paretsky writes. I love her books. I love VI. But I would sooner rip off my own eyelids and lay in the sun than borrow any of her stuff. (I could do worse than mirroring her success, but I don't want to get it by riding on her coattails.)

Case in point: Jordan is a no-nonsense, tough broad. She doesn't take shit from anyone, even though she'll happily give it without thinking twice.

Case in point: Jordan has an off-again thing with the hot macho bi-racial cop. (It would be on-again if her hormones have any say about it, which they don't.) I think VI's hot macho cop was black, but close enough to make me shudder.

Case in point (and this is the one that made me stop writing and restart): Jordan's mother came from a wealthy family who disapproved of her marriage, and who now disapprove of Jordan's life.

I think I need to go back and re-read all the Paretsky novels, so I can consciously pick out everything similar in my book and re-write it. Lord knows, the stuff didn't get in there consciously. Mortified doesn't begin to describe it.

I can only be thankful I caught it before I finished and tried to get this thing published. :shudder:

Yes, I realize there are only so many things you can do with a detective series of this nature, but I refuse to be one of those hangers-on. And sure, those are really the only similarities. Our writing styles are different. I'm trying to go for the whole MikeHammer-esque feel with a large helping of humor thrown in.

So it's back to the drawing board, and it's back to researching other authors to make sure I'm not unconsciously borrowing from anyone else. Ack! I never had this problem with my dystopias.

Have you ever caught yourself beginning to sound like someone else?


Wendy Roberts said...

Okay, I'll admit this only to you ;) I was reading a book by Brenda Novak while writing Remains of the Dead. My heroine's name is Sadie Novak. I guess I stole Brenda's last name, without even noticing! The kicker? Brenda gave a quote for the book and she never mentioned it. Either she's flattered or just thinks I'm crazy LOL. I think as a writer, we tend to channel the strangest things and sometimes it can't be helped.

Erica Ridley said...

Wendy: LOL!!!

B.E.: Heeey, you changed your photo! (Or maybe you did it a long time ago, and I just finally opened my eyeballs wide enough to notice...)

B.E. Sanderson said...

LOL Wendy. I morph names all the time. =o) I'm surprised she never said anything to you about the last name coincidence.

Heh. I just did it yesterday, so you're fine, Erica. =oD