Thursday, May 23, 2013

Karina Fabian: From Dashiell to Dragons

My guest today is Karina Fabian, whose new novel, Greater Treasures, is a fantasy that takes its inspiration from a noir classic. She discusses how she fit these two genres together in her DragonEye world.

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Stories are like Sonnets
By Karina Fabian

One of my favorite metaphors comes from Madeleine L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time Trilogy.  She describes life as a sonnet: we are all given a strict structure and rules, yet have complete freedom within those rules to create ourselves into unique individuals. 

Fiction writing is like that:  There are rules to follow on grammar and story structure, yet we have incredible freedom of imagination.  No matter how strict the rules, no two people will create the same thing.  My story, Greater Treasures, is a good example of this.  I wrote this story while watching The MalteseFalcon, so while I watched the movie, I took careful note of the plot progression and iconic scenes, like the confrontation between Sam Spade and the police chief.  So I had the structure and basic character set: detective, partner, police chief, damsel in distress with a dark secret, even the competing treasure hunter and his henchman.  Then, I exercised my creativity by placing this structure into my DragonEye universe and let my characters in that world play out their parts.

The result is a very different story from the one written by Dashiell Hammet.  The stakes are higher:  the life of Vern’s best friend (Sister Grace) vs. the fate of an entire world (one that has not treated Vern very well).  

The femme fatal, of course, would not be able to use her feminine wiles on Vern, who’s a dragon.  She needed a different pull.  In addition, Vern is a little more savvy than Sam Spade (Sorry, Sam); plus, he’s seen The Maltese Falcon.  If you’ve seen or read The Maltese Falcon, then you might recognize some of the events and catch a couple of in-jokes; however, there’s no mistaking Greater Treasures for the noir classic—if it becomes a classic itself, it will do so on its own terms.

There’s a saying that there are only 10 original ideas (or 4 or 42 or…)  The number does not really matter, because it’s not the idea or the structure that define the story.  It’s what you do within that structure that makes it yours.

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Learn more about Karina Fabian on her website.

You can purchase Greater Treasures on Amazon.


  1. Replies
    1. It's my pleasure, Karina. I just noticed that your website link isn't live, so I'll pop in and fix that now!

  2. I love the fact that there are only a certain number of ideas in the entire world that writers can write about, but it's not the ideas that make the story. It's the imagination of the writer, and their take on the idea. So cool! :)