I don’t read much fantasy – which is odd, since as a kid I lived in Narnia and Middle Earth. But somehow, as an adult, my preferences have shifted to realistic fiction. So if Kiki Hamilton weren’t a friend and colleague, I probably wouldn’t have picked up her debut novel, THE FAERIE RING.
But boy, am I glad I did! Not only is it an engaging story, full of pickpockets and malicious faeries and royalty, but it’s incredibly well written. And since my goal is to read like a writer, here are some of the things I’ve learned from reading this book that I plan to apply to my own work.
1. Choose your verbs wisely. Here are some interesting verbs I found on the book’s first page: pickin’, loomed, shadowing, illuminated, bubbled, dissipated, jingled, taunt, clutched, forced, tugged, disguised. I love these verbs because they’re not only unusual and active, but they evoke the feel of the story’s 1871 London setting.
2. Make your main character a hero. Or, in this case, a heroine. Tiki, the pickpocket who dresses as a boy who is at the center of THE FAERIE RING, is a heroine not only because she’s brave and adventurous, but because she acts as a guardian for a group young urchins. The depth of her caring about these children is what makes me admire and root for her.
3. Sow the seeds of mistrust. Reiker, another pickpocket character, is handsome and, in some ways, sympathetic. But doggone it, I just don’t trust him, and I cringe every time Kiki does – which in turn intensifies my desire to see her reach goals and overcome obstacles before he can screw things up.
After reading THE FAERIE RING, I might just become a fan of fantasy again. I know I won’t want to miss the sequel, THE TORN WING, which releases this October!
Have you read anything like a writer lately? What did you learn that you can apply to your own work?