Monday, January 23, 2012

So you've written a book... Now what?

Yeah, I know I know, you sell it. Or publish it. Or so on.

But really, what do you do once you've written the final words and tagged on "THE END". Well, just because you wrote those final two words, it doesn't mean you are done. You have to go over it and over it and then over it one more time.

Once you've corrected every single little error you can find, then you give it to someone else to read to tell you whats wrong with it. And though family and friends are great at giving you positive feedback, or at least neutral feedback, you need someone who will tear it apart for you and tell you what is wrong. And not only what is wrong, but WHY it is wrong. Is there a problem with your plot? Is your character pretty boring, or irritating, or not likable enough to keep the reader engaged? Then you also hope this reader will tell you what is RIGHT about it. Every writer wants to hear praise, but it's the best when you can get praise for what you did well, along with suggestions on how to fix what is wrong with it.

My most recent manuscript was finished toward the end of July (just before my baby was born) I let it sit for about a month while I enjoyed my newborn. Then got back at it in September and worked on fixing what I could find wrong with it. I sent it out to about 5 readers who took the time to look through it and tell me what they liked and didn't like. Then I spent another month applying those edits. I sent it out again to 4 other readers and back to 1 of the first 5 to have another look. Now I'm in the process of fixing it again. And can I tell you this version will be so much better than the first one I had finished in July. Critique groups are so so so so so important.

Another thing to work on once you get the story written is to work on a query letter, and also a synopsis so when you start sending it out to agents or publishers they can get a quick look to see if it's something they want to see more of.

So I've written a book. And now I'm fixing it up. Writing a summary/synopsis of it. Writing a query. Daydreaming about how wonderful it is and how quickly it will sell and make me untold amounts of money. Feeling completely inadequate about the whole process and enjoying it all at the same time.

One more thing. If you've ever wanted to write a book. GO FOR IT! It's hard work, but it sure is fun. And the writing community is so wonderful.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Book Review: Two Souls are Better than One by Karen E. Hoover

This was a fun read.

It's quick and easy and entertaining. It's geared to younger teens and I think they'd love it. Those who like Harry Potter, the Percy Jackson stories, Fable Haven series and the Far World or 13th Realities would probably like this too.

Here's what the book says about itself:

Barely thirteen, Jeremy James Johansen has had more than his share of trouble. His father disappeared without a trace and the police believe he murdered his lab assistant, though his son knows it isn’t true. His dad can’t even handle a knife, let alone a bow and arrow.
A year later Jeremy stumbles across a portal to another world and gets pulled through—but not as himself. Somehow he swaps bodies with the man on the other side before the portal disappears.
Captured by a dragon and a man in black who insists on calling him father, he tries to escape, only to plummet to his death. He awakens in his own bed, believing it was all a bad dream. The problem is there are holes in his memory he can’t fill.
In time, he discovers that the portal holds the answers not only to his forgotten memories, but most importantly, points him down the path to finding his father.

Here's what I have to say about it.

Jeremy was a fun and believable character. He has hopes and dreams, but lots of flaws and problems too. When he ends up going to the other world and swaps bodies with a magician there, the description of a boy's soul or consciousness inside an old man's body really made sense. He couldn't run like he used to 'cause things hurt. Karen really did a good job making me believe Jeremy was really experiencing something completely foreign to him but possible nonetheless.
Then since he plummets to his death in that old body he returns to his own, but the soul of the magician (who was in Jeremy's body) has no place to return so he stays with Jeremy's body. I loved how Karen had the two struggle to come to terms with this yet it didn't ever get over the top or strange.

I loved the magic in this story. Magic in the other world is completely normal, and science is top order in our/Jeremy's world, but Jeremy begins to use magic in our world since the magician sharing his consciousness teaches him about the possibilities out there. It was fun to have two worlds to go back and forth between and Karen did a good job keeping me guessing on what was going on while still giving me enough information I could piece things together to understand what would come next. Besides dragons, there were shapeshifters, Pegasus, and other mythical creatures.

I'm looking forward to the next in the series since she left it off in such a way that Jeremy is still in some trouble, but I have hopes things will work out well for him.

Karen's website is HERE

Amazon link HERE

Barns and Noble link HERE

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Book Review I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

Holy smokes this book was WOW.

I hadn't really heard a lot of this book other than it was really good. So I was listening to the podcasts Writing Excuses (you should totally go listen to them if you are interested in writing at all, great stuff) and Dan Wells is one of the authors involved on that podcast. I had to make a run to the library and I decided to see if this book was available. Miracle of miracles, it was (Though I had to get on the waiting list for the next 2 books)

I started reading it right there in the library while my kids browsed their section and played with the toys in the children's area. It started out so gripping, I didn't want to pack up my kids to go home. I would have stayed right there in the library reading it if my kids hadn't started to get a little bit noisy.

Here's a brief summary of it. John Wayne Cleaver lives in a small town in a small apartment above the towns mortuary. His mother and her twin sister are morticians and John has an obsession with dead bodies. He's also what you'd call a sociopath. He doesn't connect with living people at all, and is very aware of his faults and strangeness. He has another obsession with Serial killers, knowing the details of many cases throughout history. He worries he might become one so he sets up rigid rules for himself to avoid it. He studies people in order to try to blend in, but the way Dan Wells creates this kid and gets him involved in the strange murders that happen in his town make you at once disturbed and delighted in his evolution.

I don't want to give any spoilers, but I have to say that I was relieved when something about the bad guy made him less evil in a way and I even found myself caring for him. It's a gripping read and I'm not one to like horror novels. I stay away from things I worry will give me nightmares, but this book worked for me.

Pick it up today.

Dan Wells website HERE

Amazon HERE

Barnes and Noble HERE

or find it at your local bookstore