Friday, August 21, 2009

Gunsmoke, A Character Study

Gunsmoke - 50th Anniversary Collection, Volumes 1 & 2

My stepfather never missed Gunsmoke on TV. I suspect my mother watched it for a different reason. Matt Dillon does have a nice behind. In my opinion now, his rates with Tom Selleck's.

I appreciate the lead view of Matt's behind, but as a writer, I appreciate the reruns for the wealth of characters and how they revolve around each other. I'm seeing more aspects of their relationships in each show.

I've written a few western romances under the Cait Logan pseudonym, and I still love them. A native westerner of Washington State's inland sage and sand, I already had some background, but I loved researching my novels on site and drove many of the NW trails, visiting the forts. I went on to write contemporary romances and romantic suspense, usually with a small town western flavor.

There's the setting, a character in itself. Then the cast, specifically in Gunsmoke, Doc, Festus, Kitty and their underlying stories, i.e. the segment when Festus gambles a race with his mule and then finds the terrain too daunting. Kitty, faced with an old boyfriend, who is now on the wrong side of the law, which means her allegiance to Matt is challenged. Doc, faced with his professional ethics against a wealth of burdens.

Matt is a constant, the characters revolving around him. Subcharacters, and many actors got their start in Gunsmoke, have various romances, struggles, crimes.

Emotional conflicts abound, but one of the characters that is almost overlooked, but yet plays an important part in how the others treat him, is the town gossip. Cannot place his character name, but this person is always amid everything, running to Festus and Matt, carrying tales. He's usually excitable, ready to lay some great problem on them.

How they handle this gossip speaks of their character.

If you're looking for good character studies in a specific setting, the characters each with a part to play within the whole, study Gunsmoke.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Novel Interuptus

Unable to do much live conferencing/networking this year, I've compensated by using the Net and phone.

Twitter and Blogs are my favorite scrounging fields for industry news and there are some good ones out there.

Luckily, I've collected quite a good batch of friends, agents and editors through the years and those kinships are serving me well now.

There are just times in a writer's life, when nose-to-grindstone suits the need. Sometimes that need is family and life. I label the times I absolutely cannot write as Novel Interuptus. In NI, I just try to hug the story and keep it warm. That Nesting thing, you know.

Usually summer is prime Novel Interruptus time and this one was. I managed to continue keeping two stories warm, write half a book and develop proposals for my Toy Box's backburner. PageFour Outliner is super for writing up those story nuggets that might be developed later.

As for Networking on the quick and easy, Facebook is great. With various mailboxes and filters to sort friends/family, business, etc. communication and networking on that level is also serving.

So I'm set for a day of networking, and while doing so, one heroine's occupation slid onto the pages :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fan of the Fae


Where have I been? I wondered as I listened to Karen Marie Moning's podcast novel, Darkfever.

I'm a fan of iPod/iTunes or MP3 players, but especially my trusty iPod, small and old, but familiar to the touch, in its red case. I've been listening to writerly podcasts, interviews from Pen on Fire and other stuff, dismissing music.

But recently, while hunting for some suitable YA-boy travel podcasts, I found Karen's great podcast novel, Darkfever. Listening to "Mac's" urban fantasy, set in Dublin was addictive. The female voice actor soaked southern accent into the story....

Sometimes I listen from the sound dock and finished Moning's podcast/novel at home. But I purchased book 2, Bloodfever and found it just as good. With a long trip and by myself this time, I attached my iPod into the car's stereo. Mac and Moning did not disappoint, but instead led me to Faefever, book 3.
Faefever I ordered it as soon as I returned home and am listening to it on my sound dock.

Okay, I'm behind. Bloodfever and Faefever are my first purchased audio books.

The point here, writers, is that podcast novels, such as Moning's first are great PR. But more than anything, the voice actor was excellent, the sound great. Can't wait for book 4, out next.