Different peas in a pod

Great news! My forthcoming writing book, Writer to Writer, has a subtitle, and it comes from you wonderful blog writers, who galloped in with your excellent ideas when I appealed for help. The powers that be at HarperCollins loved (and I love it too) one of Eliza’s suggestions. The subtitle will be–imagine a drum roll–From Think to Ink. Thank you, everyone, and special thanks to Eliza!

Eliza, if you’d like the acknowledgment in the book to include your last name, please write to the guestbook on my website with that information. Your email address would also be helpful. I won’t display anything you send. Unlike the blog, I see comments on the website and approve them before they’re posted.

On December 4, 2013, Bug wrote, I am worried that all my characters are too similar, and I have tried adding quirks, but I still feel like they are still really really close to each other. Does anyone have any way to help? Maybe my quirks aren’t quirky enough…

An assessment of the traits we usually give our characters may help. We can make a list. For example, suppose our characters’ virtues tend to be friendliness, an easy-going nature, and a sense of humor. We put these on our list. Their flaws seem always to include difficulty trusting, sarcasm, and laziness. We list these too. As soon as we look at our list we see possibilities for variation.

We can make add other personality traits, like this: shyness, too much energy, seriousness, a trusting nature, quick anger, hesitancy, impulsiveness, nervousness, sweetness, optimism, pessimism. That’s eleven. Go for eleven more. Return to this list and add to it when you think of additions, and keep the list handy as you develop your characters.

Of course it’s not enough to have a list. We have to show the traits in action, dialogue, thoughts, and feelings. Suppose our MC Jenna is waiting at a bus stop along with three strangers. It’s winter; snow is falling lightly; the bus is late. One stranger is so wrapped up against the weather that Jenna can see only his or her amber-colored eyes. Let’s call him or her WU, for wrapped up. The other stranger, whose name will turn out to be Ivan, is approximately Jenna’s age (fifteen), and, like Jenna, he’s wearing just a light jacket over a hoodie sweatshirt, no gloves, and sneakers rather than boots. Ignoring the swathed person, he starts a conversation with her. What does he say?

We cast an eye over our list of characteristics. Since Ivan started the conversation, let’s imagine that he’s not shy. And let’s pick impulsive and too trusting from our list. What might such a person say to Jenna? We write three possible lines for him. If all of them look like the sort of dialogue we always write, we write three more. When we get something that feels unfamiliar, we give it to him. Once he speaks, we know him a little.

Now we have to decide what Jenna does or says. Again we go to our list, then write down possible responses. Since she’s our POV character, we can tell the reader what she’s thinking and feeling, too, so our possible response list may be longer.

It will help if we have an idea of the kind of story we’re writing, so we can stop now to decide. If this is going to be a romance, we’ll go in one direction, probably, and WU may even turn out to be one of Ivan’s parents. If we’re writing an adventure story, we may have the dialogue go another way, and the missing bus and WU may take on more significance. If we’re writing horror, we may start to suspect Ivan as well as WU. Science fiction or fantasy may lead us in another direction.

The roles our characters are going to play in our story will help us make each unique. Let’s take one of my favorite novels when I was little, the classic Bambi by Felix Salten as an example. We’ll probably be writing a more complex story than this one, but its simplicity helps to show what I mean, because the characters aren’t much more than their roles. If you read the book when you were much younger, or never read it at all, you can go to Wikipedia for a plot summary, as I just did to refresh my memory. If you go to Wikipedia, make sure the page you’re on is for the book and not the movie.

Let’s look at just a few of the characters:

Bambi is our MC, brave, intelligent, inexperienced but promising at the beginning, thoughtful.

His mother is motherly, solicitous, expert in the ways of raising a fawn.

Faline, the love interest, is alluring and charming.

The old Prince is solemn, wise.

Gobo is weak and gullible.

The tale spans the life of a deer in a forest where hunters hunt. Man is the main villain, but carnivores in general don’t come off very well. Gobo, for example, is the way he is so that a point can be made about the danger of trusting humans. There are other turns in the story, but his undoing affects everything that follows. When Salten wrote Gobo, he must have known the role he would play in his plot.

Of course, we want major characters with more depth than a couple of salient characteristics. If our character is weak and gullible, we need to ask ourselves, Weak how? Physically? Is he ill or out of shape or exhausted? Emotionally weak? Is he unable to resist the slightest temptation? Gullible how? What else can we give him? Maybe he’s physically weak and also embarrassed to ask for help. As a result he often gets along without. Maybe he’s gullible because he always believes the best of people.

So we differentiate our characters by first thinking about their parts in our story and then by dreaming up ways to complicate their personalities without derailing our plot.

We can also see if we can eliminate characters we don’t need. For instance, if I had been around when “Cinderella” was first concocted, I would have argued against two stepsisters. We don’t need two! In the fairy tale they’re indistinguishable. And why seven dwarfs? They clump together into a formless mass of short characters. At least Disney had the good sense to name each one after a distinguishing characteristic. I couldn’t remember all the names, so I looked them up in Wikipedia, where the dwarfs’ monikers in various “Snow White” productions are listed. Here’s the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_names_of_the_Seven_Dwarfs. The strange names they’re given from production to production are funny.

In our story, if we have a group of friends who all seem to be running together, we can practice character economy and drop a few.

But we may need them all. My novel The Wish is about popularity, and I had to have a bunch of teenagers. It was hard work to make each one stand out! In a mystery we need enough suspects to confuse the poor reader, and we must differentiate between them so the reader can follow the plot.

Here are four prompts:

• Write the romantic version of the Jenna and Ivan story.

• Write a version of the story in which WU is the villain. Ivan knows him or her and is terrified.

• Have the bus come. Inside are five passengers and the driver. Jenna, Ivan, and WU get on. Turns out WU has been waiting for this particular driver to come along. You make up the reason. Write the bus ride and make the driver, each of the passengers, WU, Jenna, and Ivan distinct. Give each a role to play in the plot.

• Rewrite “Cinderella,” changing the plot so that the second stepsister has a real part to play for good or for ill. You can bring the story to its usual conclusion or change it entirely.

Have fun, and save what you write!

  1. I love the subtitle, and that list of dwarf names is great!

    ( I have a version where the (8) dwarves are named Orrery, Astrolabe, Ratchet, Kerf, Mortise, Tenon, Bevel, and Chris. And the magic Mirror is named Fred. :))

    Sometimes I think it's possible to have a multi-person "character" where the dwarves, for example, can serve a purpose as a small army at your MC's back, or a Greek chorus, or a threat that comes from multiple directions at once.

    • I love your story idea! it sounds so cool! (Side question: All the other dwarves have odd names, is Chris, therefore one of the main-er dwarves, or is he different from the other dwarves, maybe like Dopey was, or just in his own way? Just curious. Oh, and I love the mirror being named Fred!) And I never really thought of the dwarves that way. Come to think of it, YOU"RE SO RIGHT! They are totally enough to be a small army. (Or Greek Chorus or when-a-threat-comes-from-multiple-directions-at-once…)

  2. Yay fo a subtitle! I like Think to Ink. Memorable. I am a fan of ensemble, hence I often end up cutting a few characters. Different peas is extra super important to me. Thanks for sharing your thought process, Gail.

  3. The subtitle sounds great! And I can't wait for the book to come out!

    Recently, I have been thinking of writing a fairy tale retelling series. For the first book, I wanted to start out with the 12 Dancing Princesses, with the eldest narrating the novel. Then for the 2nd book, I wanted to retell another fairy tale in the POV of the next oldest princess. Do you think having a series with 12 books would seem too long, or unusual?

  4. Several questions have come in to the website, this one from Alyssa:

    Okay, so I finally remembered my other question. I'm writing my story on my school Google Drive so that I can share it with my friends and they could read and comment as I was still writing. I started realizing that my friends were becoming a major influence on my writing. They all expect me to write my story depressing and violent, even if I don't want it to be violent or depressing. I feel like I have to write it in a way that they will like. It seems like I am writing more for my friends than I am for me, even though I started writing as a way to express myself and say all the stuff I was too scared/shy to say out loud. Any advice?

    • Alyssa-
      I'm in charge of typing up submissions for my school's literary magazine. More than half the stories are about suicide, death, and violence. I think there's plenty of doom and gloom in the world already. There's nothing wrong with writing a happy story. Try letting your friends read it after you're done. You can't satisfy other people if you haven't satisfied yourself first.

  5. This one from Mirta in Finland:

    Do you know if there are any channels on the internet for young adults to practice their writing, getting comments and develop their skills? (Or have you ever thought of setting up one your self? If you ever decide to have something like a writer´s club for young adults on the internet, I´ll sign.)

    Thank you for your work and best of luck from here on. 🙂

  6. And this from Mikayla:

    Thank you for everything you have done to help me. I've finished my retold fairy-tale's prologue, and have started on the first chapter, but I cannot get through it. How can I best write my main character's description into the story without it being such an information dump or too subtle?

    • Oh, my name is Mikayla, and when I first glanced at this, I thought you were talking about me! Very confusing for a second.

      Mikayla (seriously, I have never talked to anyone with my name and spelling. It feels strange), I think that you could add your descriptions in a few different ways. Maybe, if she doesn't like her appearance, she is looking in a mirror and pointing out what's wrong with her face. I have a friend who wrote a story where two siblings hate each other, and pretend that they aren't related. She added the description of each sibling to point out the differences of the two (to show that it was easy for them to pretend this.) Maybe someone says, "Oh, you look just like your mother…her brown hair and eyes. Lucky for you. Your Mother was beautiful." And then your MC could add, "Maybe, but my nose is huge like my dad's, and I'm as short as he is, too."

      Anyway, I don't really know what your story's like, but I hope I gave you some ideas.
      And if you can't figure out how to do it, I'd just move on. YOu can get back to it. Don't let it stop your story. 🙂
      Good luck!

    • I have a lot of trouble with character descriptions too. Some of the things I like are a.) having the character look in a mirror, b.) have another character compliment or put-down the character in dialogue, or c.) if the story is first-person have the character compare himself/herself to another character. Also, I think it's better to do descriptions when the character is first introduced because when I read I tend to picture the character at the beginning of the story and then I can't fit my image with the one the author offers. I hope this helps!

    • What about their appearance is important to your character? In one of my stories, family is important to the MC, so she compares herself to her brother. In another, I had her try to do her hair like her role model's but get frustrated when she realizes they'll never look alike. Another MC felt self conscious about her height and compares herself to her taller friends. One story had two MCs and I had them notice the others' appearance.
      If you need to describe size, you can have them squeeze between two objects or stand on their tiptoes to reach a shelf.

    • Sometimes you don't even need it. Does JRR Tolkien ever say what Frodo Baggins looks like, aside from general hobbit-ness? I don't think C.S Lewis describes the kids in Narnia. (Lucy gets called "golden-haired" once, but in the original illustrations she has dark hair and it doesn't change anything.)

    • Carpelibris makes a good point – in a lot of books, there isn’t much description. Honestly, readers already know what a human looks like – two legs, two arms, one nose, two eyes, one mouth, about six heads tall. Often the only things worth including are the characteristics that 1. Are important to the story (like Aza’s appearance in Fairest), 2. Make your character different from almost anyone else (like her fiery red hair and milk white skin) or 3. Show you something about the character’s personality or state, such as chewed off nails (anxiety) or expensive clothing (wealthy). Any other bits of description, like the fact that she is average height or “not too thin and not too heavy” usually only detract from the action of the story.
      Just my thoughts.

    • I kinda like knowing what they look like…. But do do it early on. Then my imagination will have some starting point to work off of. Since it is a fairytale retelling, couldn't she be looking in a mirror before a big ball or something. Or the hero could compliment her… I don't know if she's vain or not, but if she is (or he) then that is also a great opportunity for description. Anyway, good luck!!! You'll have to tell us if you get it published.

    • I also like knowing what a character looks like, but you needn't go into HUGE amounts of details if it don't fit with the scene or story. I think one way to do it, is, when describing, a character, add in little bis over the beginning of your book. Such as, the MC will say that she is a pretty girl with blue eyes and black hair, and her friend could mention later that she herself wouldn't be able to fit through a hole in a fence, but that MC could, because "You're thin as a twig". Later another character could say, "Clara, you're too tall", and another could remark that she has feet so small that they could fit into a five year old's
      shoes. And if you want your character to describe herself (Or himself) then you can say "I'm pretty, bordering on gorgeous, with ling black hair that is the color of water on a dark night and shiny enough to reflect any light and throw it away, practically a light itself, my eyes are ice-blue, with rings of deep indigo circling the irises. I have a light dusting of fawn colored freckles on my slightly sharp (But only sharp enough to add character) nose and my rosy cheeks. I'm slim as any model and tall as a man, but in a graceful way, and have feet so dainty I wear shoes that are small enough for a five year old, though they are MUCH more classy,". Or if you want her to seem plain, you can describe the same same girl, but in a less flattering way. "I'm a terrible plain girl, with hair the color of an iron skillet, and so shiny that is looks like it's oily and that I never wash it, even though I do all the time. My eyes are a dull light blue color with ugly darker blue rings circling the irises. I have rust colored freckles sploched sparingly of my too sharp nose, and my sunburned cheeks. I'm so skinny I'm practically invisible. I'm taller than anyone I know, (Even my dad, who is fairly tall). And if all that weren't bad enough, my feet are annoyingly small. I could wear shoes meant for a five year old!" By changing the similes a bit, you are essentially describing the same person, just making one pretty and the other not, by using more (Or less) flattering descriptive terms.

  7. And this one from Writer at Heart:

    I am having difficulty with my plots. I don't have a plot for my story that I working on right now. And if I do try to create a plot, nothing goes anywhere, no matter what I try. Do you have any suggestions?

    Also, how do you know when to listen friend's or family's suggestion or criticizing? Sometimes it feels like they're being to sarcastic to they are aren't really listen or paying attention. What am I supposed to listen to?

    • Have you considered borrowing a plot from a classic fairy tale? Rewriting fairy tales is really popular these days. Actually, Shakespeare based a lot of his plays on Greek myths, so I suppose it was popular back then as well! Myths and fairy tales usually have lots of loose ends and gaps in logic, which leave lots of room for rewrites!

      As for advice, Gail has four previous blog posts under the category "receiving criticism" at the right of the blog page. You may have known that, but I just reread them, and they are extremely helpful! You might want to take a look.

  8. This is unrelated but I feel like celebrating. My latest project just passed the 10,000 word mark! Now I can move it from 'story seedling' to 'work in progress'.

  9. Okay, question/advice time. I've been working on a fantasy series for several years now. (And book one has undergone massive changes and rewrites, which means that the following books will need the same once I get back to them!) The majority of the series takes place in another world.
    Anyway, I've been wondering about whether my main "good guy" nation is unique enough… vivid enough… real enough. This would be an easier problem to fix if I was in the beginning stages of writing about it — but I'm not. Does anyone have any tips for really making an otherworldly culture and geography really pop? And how to make those alterations after the entire book has been written (and edited repeatedly, I might add)?

    • OOOOO!!!!! What is it like?!?!?! I mean, you HAVE to tell us!!! I am really excited about this, I LOVE LOVE LOVE fantasy!!!!!!! Okay, calming down now. Umm, what really does make a world unique? I mean, all worlds have some characteristics in common. I think the main thing is to write a detailed description of your world, then compare it to other fantasy worlds that you have read about and stuff. That way, at least you can check to make sure that you aren't borrowing too heavily from your faves!!!! But seriously, not that that wasn't serious advice, you MUST describe it for us!!!! I can't wait to hear all about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Wow, thanks for the excitement, Bibliophile! 😀 I love fantasy too (which is why I'm writing in that genre). Thanks for the advice… I think writing out a detailed description would be more helpful than it might seem to be at first. I find that just sitting down and writing — putting my pen to paper or my fingers to the keyboard — gets the ideas flowing. So thanks, I'll try that!
    Just to clarify, were you asking me to describe the plot or the world in which the books take place? Either way, I'd love to give you a description. 🙂

  11. Nope, I don't mind.

    Here's a little description of the otherworldly nation I mentioned. It's called Demetria (and I'm trusting that all my fellow writers out there won't steal the name!). It has a medieval society ruled by a lord. The population consists of humans, speaking animals, and mighty dragons. Mountain ranges, sweeping valleys, great rivers, and lush forests make up most of the landscape. In general, the Demetrians are a noble and peace-loving people, but they will not hesitate to fight when their homes and freedom are in danger.
    Besides Demetria, there are a myriad of other countries in this world, but only two others get introduced in book one. Both border Demetria, and one in particular has instigated a war — one that Demetria has little hope of winning. The second of the two neighboring nations is something of a mystery, and for the sake of not spoiling my plot, I won't say anymore about it. 🙂

    Okay, here's the plot of book one, THE PROPHET'S QUEST, or its beginnings, anyway. (Like I said, can't give out spoilers!)
    Visions of indescribable suffering…an ancient prophecy…a mysterious white orb called the Prophet — these are the things that propel teenagers Aileen and Josiah into an adventure they never saw coming. When they start probing for answers, they discover that a terrible evil is threatening the people of another world, and possibly Earth as well. Aileen and Josiah have been chosen to turn the tide, but before they can decide to accept their calling, they are kidnapped. The only way of escape lies in the initiation of a terrifying transformation…into dragons. With a nation poised on the brink of destruction and the fate of thousands in their hands, Aileen and Josiah embark on the Prophet's quest. Neither of them could've imagined the peril that awaits.

    Well, this is pretty long, but there ya go!

    • That sounds really cool! I hope you are able to someday get it published, because I would love to read it.

      About your original question, it reminded me of Gail's book "Writing Magic," specifically a chapter called "Where am I." If you don't own the book, you might see if you can borrow it from the library and read the chapter (actually, read the whole book if you haven't – it's great). It's got some advice about creating worlds.

      Before you try to totally change your world, you might want to reevaluate it to make sure that it needs changing. I've read lots of fairy tales that are basically medieval Europe with the addition of magic. There really isn't a whole lot that's super unique, and readers apparently don't mine (at least I don't). If you are certain that you do need to change it, it may help if you made a list of qualities that you want to add to your world, then write a short summary of each of your books and look for places in that short summary where those changes would fit. That way you don't have to read through your entire book to figure out where to add those changes.

      I hope this might help, and good luck with your story – sounds great!

    • Thank you, writeforfun! I do actually own that book, although I haven't read it in awhile. I'll have to go reread that chapter you mentioned… As for getting it published, I'm actually partway through that journey, but the process has been put on hold due to the huge edits I'm doing. I'm looking forward to the day when I can say, "Guess what, everybody! My first book is published!" It'll happen someday…
      By the way, it's encouraging to hear that lots of readers don't mind a basic medieval Europe kind of world! Sometimes it's hard to know if your story actually has a problem or if you're being paranoid. 🙂
      Thanks for the advice!

  12. I have a question for y'all: How do you deal with sibling relationships? I have five brothers and sisters, and nearly fifty cousins (My mum had eight siblings and dad had three, and THEY all had lots of children) and I love my siblings and cousins to bits, but I find it really hard to write about familial relationships. It's just HARD! Does anyone have any ideas to help with this problem? Thanks!

    • fiction, but some of it is a little bit (Not a lot, but a bit) based off of my own family.
      Mrs. Levine, Mostly just portraying how the families act together, mostly the siblings though, I base the parents off of my own parents or other folks I know mostly, or at least I understand them more than I do the kids, which is weird, because I'm a sibling, not a parent. However, maybe that's because I'm the oldest of so many (well, five isn't actually THAT much), I helped my mum take care of the little ones so much, that mum says that I am more of a mother than a sister. I'm also something of a loner, and I prize my time to myself, I love being in my room and reading with the door closed so that the chaos of my family playing hide-and-seek/tag/squash the little brother and sisters or MONSTER!!! or Monkey-in-the-Middle that ends up being a pillow fight (Hey, four kids under ten IS rather noisy, messy and generally speaking, a muddle) is down to a dull roar. So, though I love my siblings, I have a hard time writing about sibling/cousin relationships.

    • Oh, and did I mention the various little pranks known under the title of "Scaring-the-Littlest-Brother-Senseless"? These mostly consist of putting a various younger sibling in the totally, completely, one-hundred-percent dark closet to whisper "My precious" in a soft, warbley whisper after you lock the youngest child in and shout "Evan, Smeagol's in there!" Does anyone else have a younger brother or sister who was completely TERRIFIED of Gollum/Smeagol from The LOTR movies?

  13. Elisa, it sounds like you actually have a lot to work with! All those games your siblings play show a little bit of their characteristics and their relationships with one another. How does each individual sibling act and react to those games? When whispering "my precious" (which is quite possibly the funniest thing I have ever heard, by the way), does one sibling start out having fun, but after the brother in the closet starts to cry, do they try to stop the others and let him out? Does another sibling want to keep going? Or does the sibling in the closet perhaps not cry at all? Do the others follow one sibling’s decision because they simply always believe that sibling is right no matter what? I have five younger siblings too, and I totally know what you mean when you say you grew up more as a mom! Now I don't know if it's the same for you, but because of my more motherly relationship with my brothers and sisters, I am incredibly protective. When there were bullies in school, I took care of it (not violently lol). I helped kids with homework; when someone was misbehaving, they came and tattled to me, even though I had no authority to tell the misbehaving child to stop! Siblings know each other on a deeper level than anyone else does–possibly including our parents. They know each other's deepest fears and the things that make them tick; my second-youngest brother specifically likes to trigger these ticks just to see how angry and annoyed he can make us. Based on the characteristics you give the siblings in your story helps show how they interact and treat one another. I have a brother (lol sorry, I keep using my siblings as examples!!) who is very anti-social, due to intense bullying growing up. He used to be warm and friendly to his younger siblings, but after being bullied so much became hard and angry. He and I have always been close, so he will open up to me more than he will to our parents. If I was just as hard and angry, we probably wouldn't get along at all. I guess what I'm trying to get at is that our siblings watch us, they notice things we are trying to hide, they can tell when something is wrong. They know what buttons to push to make us feel better, or worse. They are each other's best friends as well as mortal enemies. Their reactions to each other and situations are based on the characteristics you give them. Are your characters more social? If so, they may prefer to be around each other more often, playing games or driving each other to the brink of insanity. Are they not very close? Do they not know much about each other because they have drifted apart? Is there one sibling whose characteristics differ so much from the other siblings that he/she is the odd man out? Or because they are so different, do the siblings ALWAYS want to be around them? Their place in the sibling “line up” can affect their relationships, too. You’ve already mentioned being the oldest makes you more of the mom. I mentioned that this makes me protective. Psychologically, middle children are characterized by the fact that because they have older and younger siblings who take the attention, they will try to act out for more attention. Younger siblings tend to usually be the “spoiled baby” of the family, and can be a little jealous of attention if a new baby comes along. None of these is always 100% accurate, but it may help you to characterize their relationships with each other. Wow, this is so incredibly long! I hope this could help a little—if not, I guess I just posted a really long rant…sorry! Good luck on your story!!

    • Thanks Kenzi Anne, you gave me some things to think on. And, boy do I know how it is to be complained too, however, in my family, the older you are the more power you wield, and I am third oldest of eight (Mom, then Dad, then me) therefor, I have enough authority to deal with squabbles. Hah hah, life is good for we privileged, no?

    • Sorry about that last comment – I made a serious typo:)

      Kenzi Anne – I love it! I'm not the only one who writes long comments! Seriously though, good advice:)

      Elisa – Kenzi Anne may have covered everything, so this may not be worth mentioning, but here it is anyway. My observation is that siblings act a lot like regular friends, except that they don't mind teasing each other, making each other angry, and speaking their minds around one another. Perhaps this is because while friends may come and go, siblings are stuck with each other. There's no danger of losing them – even when we want to:) I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you can write about friends and classmates, it may not be too much harder to write about siblings.

      Good luck with your story!

    • I myself have no classmates (except for…wait, my SIBLINGS, huh, you hit the nail on the head right there). And it seems to me, that they do not, in fact, act just like friends. They are so much more. My family sticks together. We are close in a way plain friends will never be. We stand up for one another and help one another and do each others' chores and help with each others' school…well, it's just a lot different, to me. I can't really explain it.

  14. Here's a question to consider: Should books in the public domain be free? I'm not sure I know the answer. Is there value in a publisher bringing an old work to the attention of the public, creating a new cover, maybe an introduction that sheds new light on the work? Maybe my opinion is that such a book should be cheaper than a new book, where the author needs to be compensated and the publisher has more expenses. If the public domain book is made available as a digital download by an organization that adds little value to the original content and has almost no costs or another source of funding, maybe that should be free. What do you think?

  15. Oh…I don't know. I guess I've never thought of it. I think I'll delete the comment, just in case. I would hate to endorse something that may possibly be unethical. Perhaps it's just best to stick with libraries:)

  16. Yeah, I think that out of copyright books should be free. And if volunteers who are not compensated record the books then those should be free too. Like the Libirivox Podcasts. I love those!!!! Here is a a link to the site.


    You can volunteer with them as well. I was thinking about doing that when I have some free time.

  17. Oh, sorry – I guess I misunderstood!

    I've always thought they should be free since the author is no longer alive to benefit from the profits (that's how it works, right? It's in the public domain sometime after the author is dead?), but that's mostly for the selfish reason that I am a BARGAIN HUNTER and I would like everything to be free:) Seriously, though, to me it kind of seems like if the author isn't receiving profit from his work, than no one should. But I've never thought about publishers and the expenses they incur in revitalizing old books, so there certainly may be more to the issue than I've thought about. I'd love to hear others' thoughts as well.

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