Inspiration

Inspiration is a tricky beast. It always shows up when you least expect it. If you are looking for it or prepared it’s nowhere to be found.

Inspiration usually find me as I am in the middle of a shift at work and completely unable to do anything with it.

Still there is nothing better than that feeling of excitement as you sit down at the computer or easel or microphone or whatever, and you know you are about to create something amazing.

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Book Review: Hidden by Kendra Elliot

Brief synopsis: Forensic Odontologist, Lacey Campbell ends up in a serial killers cross hairs (again) after IDing her best friends skeletal remains. The romantic interest, Jack Harper (Love the name), is an ex cop turned real estate tycoon who gets dragged into this mess by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then it pretty much goes where you think a romantic book involving a serial killer would go.

Rating this book is complicated, so I am going to break it down into categories.

The Writing

I’m going to start with the bad. The actual writing was not very good. It seemed like a first draft. Well not quite a first draft but not a polished draft. I was able to finish the book so I would say for the actual writing this book deserves two out of five stars. (I do have nice things to say! Please keep reading)

The Plot

The was good I think. I really liked the idea and she executed it well. I would give the plot three and a half stars.

The Characters

This was why I was able to finish the book. I loved the characters. This is also why I quickly looked up a later book in the series. While I was not sure I could suffer through writing like this one again I was praying that someone else had read it, seen the potential and worked with her on polishing her writing… and guess what?!?!? They did!

So I highly suggest you read this book if you like crime/mystery/scary books because I believe this author now has down to an art and her books will be well worth it! OH yeah back to the characters. They were believable and I found myself caring about what happened to them (as you should when reading a book, cause why bother if you don’t). The serial killer was less believable but that’s only because I studied them for a time (I wanted to work for the FBI stop looking at me like that). Anyway, I give the characters in this book four stars.

I will be reading the next few books in the future though I have to wait as I already have a waiting list three and half books long.

Heres the link to the book on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Secrets-Novel-Kendra-Elliot-ebook/dp/B007BSFWIY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390354199&sr=8-1&keywords=hidden+by+kendra+elliot

I suggest going to the authors site as well 🙂

http://www.kendraelliot.com

My next read is for my book club it’s The Cove by Ron Rash. A review to follow, ya know after the book club discussion 🙂  What are you reading?

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epublishing: Revisited

I wrote an article on epublishing a while ago with the overall impression that it was a good thing. After reading a few books published in this manner, I now fully understand why people have reservations about it.

The first book I couldn’t even read. I technically read the first six chapters (of course each chapter was about a page and a half long). I stopped reading when the lack of editing was so atrocious that I literally wanted to throw my ereader across the room. The story could have been amazing but it was, as far as I could tell, a first draft. The word “draft” came about when some brilliant soul discovered how much better a story could get the more you wrote it. As in at least three times.

The next was not quite as bad as the first though I did end up putting it down for a different book. I may still pick it back up.

The most recent, I am nearly through. I have about seven percent left. The only reason I made it through, however, was the story and the fact that even though it was clearly an early draft, I cared about the characters and wanted to know how they got through the obstacles clearly laid before them. The issue was more the author giving us the same information too many times than anything else. If I were in her writing group I also would have made a few suggestions about progression. If we saw an event through one characters eyes and another was present, we know they saw it. Also if one character is going to hazard a guess as to how that other one felt about a given situation, you don’t need to say it the exact same way from said characters POV two paragraphs later…

Reading these books I literally want to contact the author and say “Hey, I will help you edit your book, please let me!” Because these are good, even great, stories and ideas but they are not yet developed enough. I wish I could remember where I read it, probably a Writer’s Digest article, but they said when you have finished your novel edit, edit and re edit. They were so right!

So if you have a novel and are querying agents who are telling you it needs work. Sit down, re-read and change it, and for the love of literature PLEASE print it out and have someone who you trust to be brutally honest attack it with a red pen.

My manuscript is currently bleeding out because of my writing buddy and that was only the first chapter. Sometimes you are too close to it to see the problems. Make sure they tell you what works well, in addition to what does not, so you don’t feel like giving up as soon you get it back.

In the end, your manuscript will be better for it and you will be even more proud of the end result.

Happy Editing!

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The Collection- NaNoWriMo 2013

Anyone looking for NaNo buddies I am MCFrosch 🙂 I know it is a little late in the game but there is always next year!

Synopsis

Shannon McCade moves to a small New England town after tragedy tears her small world apart.

Shortly after moving in, strange things begin to happen. The house is old and while she tries to reassure her children the noises and shadows are just something they need to get used to, she is plagued by horrific nightmares. Just when she thinks things cannot get much worse, a strange man refuses to leave her and her family alone.

It would seem that the death of her husband was only the beginning.

Excerpt

Shannon could feel the heat of the flames even through the glass that surrounded her. The air was so hot it burned her lungs. She squinted against the heat and the fiery landscape. Trees engulfed in flames surrounded the field. Where the grass should have been there was only charred earth. There was a man in the distance, seemingly unaffected by the flames.
A dark figure appeared immediately in front of her making her jump back. A hard surface stopped her. The figure was formless except for bright red eyes and sharp teeth. It slammed into the glass repeatedly, screeching in anger when the glass held strong.
She turned to see another man, standing next to her. He was struggling to hold the glass up as the beast tried to smash it. Sweat poured down his brow with the effort. Fear choked her as she scrambled to her feet and tried to help. Her attention was drawn once again to the figure in the distance. It was her husband, James. He was yelling something but by the time the sound reached her the words were distorted. He was as desperate to reach her as she was to hear him.
The beast crashed through the glass and lunged at her. The last thing she saw was, its razor sharp teeth coming at her face.

Shannon woke with a scream. She sat up and slapped the touch lamp on her bedside table nearly sending it to the floor. Tears flowed uncontrollably. She looked to where James, would have been and more tears began to fall. When they subsided she looked around the bedroom they had shared, her black dress and vale were still hanging on the closet door from the funeral six months earlier. The clock on the nightstand read 2:56am. She woke at the same time every night.
The door burst open and her two boys flew in both crying out and clearly upset. They leapt into bed and she wrapped them in her arms, trying to calm them. She knew why they were upset.
“I want Daddy!” Dean wailed. It was the first complaint she could make out and it brought more tears to her eyes. Dean the smaller of the two was only five.
“Shh, Baby,” She said rocking them. “Daddy is in heaven with the angels. We can’t see him but he can see us.”
They quieted some but through their ragged breaths and sniffling she could tell they were still upset.
“Mom,” James Junior, JJ as they called him, asked finally. “What does heaven look like?”
“I don’t know buddy,” She said kissing the ten year olds forehead. “Beautiful, and light. Some people think that the ground is made of clouds.”
“I don’t think Dad’s in heaven,” He said bitterly.
“Why would you say that?” She asked, appalled.
“Because whenever I see him, he is surrounded by fire.”

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What To Do When You Stumble Upon A Plothole

What is a Plothole, you ask? I am going to give credit to my BFF Sara for coining the phrase she will have to correct me if she got it from someone else. Anyway, a plothole is exactly what it sounds like. A hole in your plot. They can form at pretty much anytime during the writing process, though they usually occur when you are making changes. If you get rid of a scene and then realize you needed some part of it so every thing makes sense later, would be a good example. Or if you decide to kill off a character in book one and then realize his spawn is the main character of book ten but he had not impregnated anyone yet, that would be a rather large plot hole.

Sometimes the fix is easy. Simply allude to the act at some point before you kill the poor guy. Devoted readers will either remember or when they reread that first book will put the pieces together. If book one is already published you may consider a flashback. Whatever method you choose, plothole filled. You could also change that character completely so he dies in a different book after falling in love. You can do whatever you need to really.

I strongly suggest before you do anything to talk to someone in your writing group or whoever your critique buddy may be. I am currently awaiting a response so I can move forward and fill a plothole. I had no idea it was there until I started loosely outlining book two. Sometimes you wont notice, so I strongly suggest, if you are writing a trilogy or series to figure out the plot from book one through the rest just so you can make sure everything fits when you look at the final product. A great example is Professor Snape in the Harry Potter series. I do not actually know that J.K Rowling did or did not plan this character from book one, (SPOILER ALERT!!) Once you know Snape was in fact one of the good guys you can go back and see why he did everything he did. He is one of Favorite character of all time BTWs. However, from the moment J.K. Rowling did know Snape’s path she was sure to drop subtle hints so when you found out the truth it was plausible. If she had made the ultimate villain because that is what he was to her, you would have been able to tell and when she flipped it on the readers they would not have been pleased.  That would have been a pretty big plothole.

So to fill a plothole, converse with a trusted friend hopefully the same person you are talking about your novel with. You need someone to help you bounce ideas and keep your story well-rounded. Sara is always reminding me that not all the love birds can end up together and in the kinds of stories I write people have to die. You cannot get through these dangerous situations with everyone in tact it’s just not realistic… at all.

You really need a critique buddy. Preferably another writer. Other writers know how attached you are to your creation and how hard it can be to hear things are not as perfect as you imagined.

This has turned more into a writing over all kind of post than a plothole one but hopefully you found it helpful on both counts! Find a critique buddy!! If you take nothing else from this at least do that. Your novel will not suffer for it. I will say that just because your critique buddy or even editor says jump you can question it and think it over before committing to the leap. It is your novel so you do have veto power. If you can though come to a compromise if nothing else. There have been several times Sara has suggested changes to which I was hesitant or out right against, that after trying and trying to make it work my way I ended up doing somewhat if not completely. So make sure it is still yours at the end of the day but be open to revision. 🙂

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Are You Outlining Wrong?

Is it even possible to outline wrong? I did not think so but I was wrong. As I have been going through the painstaking outlining process in the 90 Day Challenge I have discovered the reason my outlines were not helping when it came down to actually writing. My outlines looked like this:

  • Prologue
  • dude dies it’s awful
  • Chapter 1
  • new dude wakes up

  • BATTLE, BATTLE, BATTLE
  • The End!

Ok it wasn’t that bad the “Dude’s” had names! Really though there was no depth. They could not be shallower. That “Battle, battle, battle” bit was actually part of one of them. Actual, helpful, outlines are more than just  the sequence of events. They are a map with pictures. Each and every scene laid out with as much detail as possible without actually writing the scenes. The setting, the characters, large and small, that take part and what key plot elements take place.

It seems that a lot of people hate outlines and I used to be one of them. I really did not see the point. Until a few minutes ago when the rough outline came together on my wall and I was able to see where I needed more personal bits, where I needed to plant clues and, where I was forgetting a key player. My story is ten times better because I wrote it all out and threw it up on the wall. That does not mean you need to take over an entire wall in your house. It can be a simple word document, an excel spread sheet or even a power point. I put mine on the wall because I needed the visual. I also had the space.

Give it a try to see if an outline helps your novel as much as it helped mine.

Here is the link to the book I am using, 90 Days To Your Novel by Sarah Domet

http://www.amazon.com/Days-Your-Novel-Day—Day/dp/1582979979/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1375996800&sr=8-1&keywords=90+days+to+your+novel

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Internship

I just got an email for a possible position in an agency! It’s a reader position but anything to get my foot in the door! I don’t know exactly what this entails but I can assume I will be reading haha. Just kidding, kind of, I don’t know exactly what it is but I know the gist of it. What I don’t know is how this agency works. I will most likely be reading and doing reports. I don’t know if I will be exposed to the slush pile or given assignments. Either way I cannot wait.

If I get this position I will have a very, full plate but honestly I cannot wait! I will be taking my class, writing my 90 day novel, planning parties for my two beautiful babies and my husband (they all have birthday’s coming up) and just generally taking care of the kids.

I am so excited! I hope they email me back soon so I can get going on whatever it is I have to do. In the mean time I’m going to go study so I can take my second test, I got 100% on the first one! I also have to whip up the rest of my synopsis and start my outline.

It will be really sad if I don’t get it now haha. I will keep you updated!

 

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