Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Characters are people too

What am I reading now?  Broken (A.E. Rought)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  Creepy. Macabre. Chilling. Sinister. Psychopathic retelling of Frankenstein for the contemporary YA market.

You interested? I was! (Oh, it's not out yet. Yes, I'm in ARC heaven, reading several right now. Put this title on your calendar for January 3rd.)

Beautiful writing and raw emotional description make this a great read. Titled by the theme, the idea of broken twists and turns with new revelations in each chapter. The characters are intriguing, mysterious. Emma's life was crushed by the death of her boyfriend and she is haunted by his memory. Alex enrolls in her high school a few months later and immediately they are drawn to each other. But they both battle ghosts.

The book is dark and tense. Emotions and fears take center stage most of the time, but there is just enough humor (thanks to Emma's quick wit and Josh's ignorance and to Bree, Emma's best friend) to pull you through to the next tragedy.

Creating Great Characters

 What do you think makes a character come to life?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Potholes in the Plot

What am I reading now?  The Essence (Kimberly Derting)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  (Ooh, I got an ARC for this book! *Happy dancing*)
          I had such high hopes for this book (could be part of the problem) since I loved LOVED the first in the series, so it was hard to keep reading when it started out so slowly. But when you are invested in the characters you can't leave them when they are having a dull day. However--The plot picked up and it was hard to put the book down--in fact, I don't think I did.
          I would have liked to see more of what was going on in the other character's lives, but I understand that the battle in this book was Charlie's.
Yes, I liked this book. Yes, I'll read the next one too. This one comes out January 1st!!

Charlie is the queen but the old queen lives within her. She tries to resist Sabara's voice, but it's more than she can bear. When she had to make life and death decisions, she wonders who's voice will be stronger.

Looking for Potholes!

I can give a lot of excuses for why I haven't been writing enough lately.
•I spent a week at a convention
•Prepared Thanksgiving dinner for 60 people (everyone brought something--wasn't so bad.)
•Moved
•Dang busy at work (the day job)
•Planning a daughters wedding at the end of the month
•Got sick
Blah--blah--blah!
The truth is, we have plot-holes (big, gaping, rim bending, probably pop a tire if it were a pothole) and need to figure out our next step.
          So here's what Deanna and I do to get a grip on it...Ever read Save the Cat (Blake Snyder)? He uses this method to plot out stories; we use it to locate holes after writing.
          We like the fun of discovery writing and "pants it" in the first draft, but sooner or later we all have to pay a toll at the story structure bridge, so we do it in the next draft.

We create a large chart of story structure and character arc for our main character's plot line, then we make similar columns for the subplots. Then we read through the first draft and fill in the scenes we have in the right slots.
Here's what it looks like before we start:

Sometimes we have to move scenes. Sometimes we've have to make a subplot into the main plot. Sometimes we have to toss scenes out completely. But always--ALWAYS--we have holes we have to fill.
Here's what it looks like after mapping it out:

By the end of revising we have to deal with all the scenes and notes, one by one, and pull them off the chart to pronounce it finished. Then we can send it out to Beta Readers.

And that my friends is the real reason why I haven't been writing as much as I should--I have to find the plot-holes.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Leviathan (Scott Westerfeld) Winner

And the winner is 
Lynne 
Harter

WAIT, there's more. 
I have 2 of them.
So the winner is also
Renae W.
Mackley

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Giving away a signed copy of Leviathan!

What am I reading now?  Leviathan (Scott Westerfeld)
Annnd . . . what do I think so far? Steampunk heaven for Middle Grade and YA! (and a few more than a few adults too)
This story is fast paced and the language is rich, making the reading experience one of those no-I'm-not-puting-this-down-to-eat-or-sleep books. Drop that kind of writing within WWI's intriguing historical background to create a page turning addiction.

What if...
•Darwin discovered DNA and learned to manipulate it?
•The murder of your parents started a global war?
•The boundaries between countries, and between allies and enemies were blurred?
•You could have your dream of being a soldier on an airship?
•Your secret could end in swinging from the gallows?
P.S. All three books in this series are out now--and a fourth book about the aeronautics of the world Westerfeld built in these stories.

Just because you love steampunk!
Just because you are here now!
Just because I have one. . . 
 signed copy of Leviathan to give away!

Leave a comment for me with your name, email address (in case you win) and either 1) a reason why you love steampunk too or 2) a suggested title for another steampunk to read, to be entered for the drawing for this book! (Sorry only shipping to USA)