Saturday, August 8, 2009

Dog Days of Summer: Elaine Corvidae's Advice to Writers

This week we've been lucky to host Elaine Corvidae, author of the Shadow Fae series. Elaine's newest in the series, Daughter of Snow, comes out in May 2010.

I asked each author in our Dog Days of Summer BlogTour what they think their strengths are as writers. Here's what Elaine said:

Characterization. I strive to not just give my characters compelling back stories or interesting motivations, but to make them as real as possible. They’re conflicted; they make mistakes (and their mistakes have real consequences); they don’t always get along with one another. I want the reader so deep in their heads that even when the characters screw up, the reader understands why. And when the characters stand up at the end and do the right thing, again the reader should feel that this is the only choice that character could make, that it isn’t just some artificial requirement of the plot thrust on the hero from the outside.

I asked Elaine about the things that make her characters different (aspiring authors, consider these points).

"I’ve always been fascinated with the Slavic fae such as the rusalka, bannik, domovoi, and others... I have a tendency to take characters, who anyone else would probably use as the colorful secondary characters, and promote them to the status of main character."

(So consider using less common mythologies and traditions--they are still amazingly rich but have the advantage of still feeling beautifully foreign; and realize that characters support each other better in different ways and perhaps in different positions.)

For those aspiring authors and readers wondering about how much research goes into a book like Elaine's, Elaine pointed out:

"I do enormous amounts of research for every book I write. In the case of Daughter of Snow, I had to hit the library and read up on everything I could find, not only about Slavic faery lore, but about things like Russian bathhouses and insane asylums in the 1800s. Fortunately I live near a university, so I spend a lot of time in the library there during the planning phase of any book."

So, Elaine's advice?
  1. explore different mythologies and all options
  2. research all aspects of you book
  3. let characters find their proper spot/voice in your story
  4. work on achieving logical characterization
Elaine will be picking one lucky commenter to send one of her backlist books to for this week's prize. She will contact the winner and make arrangements (and I'm sure one of you will absolutely love your prize--direct from author Elaine Corvidae!

Thank you, Elaine, for being with us and sharing such neat information with us about your writing!

Don't forget Elaine's links:
Daughter of Snow (and the previous novels in the series: Winter’s Orphans, Prince of Ash, and The Sundered Stone) will be available in hardcover, trade paperback, and ebook from any of the major online bookstores, or direct from the publisher at



Kristen howe said...

Great information over here my friend. Nice work with Q&A. Good to visit your blog again.

Saoirse Redgrave said...


Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you found some of what Elaine shared to be useful--she's great. :-)


Sheila Deeth said...

Thank you. Characters certainly make the tale, and it's good to read this advice on how to let them make the tale even better.

RKCharron said...

Hi :)
Thanks for having the terrific writer Elaine Corvidae on here and thanks to Elaine for sharing.
I took the wisdom here to heart.
All the best,

Elaine Corvidae said...

And the winner of the random drawing is Kristen Howe! Kristen, I've sent you a private message via Livejournal - let me know which book you would like. :-)

Saoirse Redgrave said...

Congrats, Kristen!

Thanks, Elaine!