CSFF Blog Tour—Trackers, Day 2

Day two of our tour featuringTrackers by Kathryn Mackel (WestBow), and we have a couple real treats. As I mentioned yesterday, Beth Goddard at Writing with Fire is posting an interview with Mackel, and you can read part 1 today.

Over at Mirathon Mirtika Schultz is holding a contest. Stop by to learn what to do in order to be eligible to win a copy of Trackers.

At Speculative Faith Stuart Stockton, Tuesday’s blogger, is posting the first chapter ofTrackers, so if you haven’t read the book yet, stop by Spec Faith to see a sample of Mackel’s writing and get a flavor of the story.

Speaking of “story,” I thought it might be good to comment on what makes a book work, especially in light of the fact that I am planning to reviewTrackers tomorrow. It’s always good to have an idea what the standards are, so if I say X about the characters, it has a base of comparison.

Some of these ideas I’ve touched on in previous series. Others I have yet to discuss. I’ll mention the former first.

Characters. A book that works has good characters—realistic, engaging, developing. From the beginning I have someone I’m pulling for, someone I hope will succeed. And I know and can identify in some way with what it is they want to achieve—their motivation is discernable. They are not static. I can see them mature or fall away from maturity.

Theme. There is a point to the story. It goes somewhere, has meaning, but without any heavy-handed explanation of what that meaning is. The reader is allowed to discover the meaning along with the characters.

Setting. There is a well-established place and time, especially important in speculative fiction where the world-building is critical to the story. However, the introduction to the world cannot intrude or disrupt the story. Like theme, it is better when it is inobtrusive in the delivery and only afterward as the reader thinks back is he truly aware of the elements that went into building the world.

Plot. A strong central conflict and believable complications that emerge to make solving this story problem difficult for the protagonist. The plot is ignited by conflict and fueled by suspense, but it also resolves satisfactorily. Not, perhaps, happily, but certainly satisfactorily.

Tomorrow I’ll be looking at these elements inTrackers, and perhaps mention a thing or two about the use of language as well. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I invite you to take a look at what others on the tour have to say about Mackel’s work. We have some new folks on the tour, so I recommend stopping by their sites, if nothing else than to welcome them to CSFF:

  • Jim Black
  • Jackie Castle
  • Valerie Comer
  • Frank Creed
  • Gene Curtis
  • Chris Deanne
  • Janey DeMeo
  • April Erwin
  • Beth Goddard
  • Todd Michael Greene
  • Karen Hancock
  • Elliot Hanowski
  • Katie Hart
  • Sherrie Hibbs
  • Sharon Hinck
  • Joleen Howell
  • Jason Joyner
  • Karen and at Karen’s myspace
  • Oliver King
  • Tina Kulesa
  • Lost Genre Guild
  • Kevin Lucia and The Bookshelf Reviews 2.0 – The Compendium
  • Terri Main
  • Rachel Marks
  • Shannon McNear
  • Rebecca LuElla Miller
  • Caleb Newell
  • Eve Nielsen
  • John Otte
  • Cheryl Russel
  • Hannah Sandvig
  • Mirtika Schultz
  • James Somers
  • Stuart Stockton
  • Steve Trower
  • Speculative Faith
  • Chris Walley
  • Daniel I. Weaver
  • Timothy Wise
  • Published in: on December 12, 2006 at 11:32 am  Comments (3)  
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