Saturday, August 14, 2010

Up to My Neck In Compliments

And man does it feel awesome.

I've gotten some general feedback from my beta readers and the consensus seems to be:

I DIDN'T WASTE THEIR TIME!

Imagine yours truly dancing in her squeaky black office chair while typing those words. All feedback has been overwhelming positive. My head and heart are a little bigger than they were two weeks ago. ^_^

That's not to say that I don't have a lot of work ahead of me... because I do. I have so many things to take into consideration. I have to figure out how much of it I want to cut out. I also have to figure out how to implement the important parts (which aren't that numerous, honestly) of my first couple of chapters in the previously-third-now-first-chapter.

I also received a piece of advice that I'm trying to figure out what to do with. In my very first rough drafts, back before I had done enough research and editing, I had two point of views alternating back and forth between chapters. Not confident enough in my story, the first time I heard "that sucks, take it out!" - I did just that. I cut it all down to one POV and left it there. Now, I'm being told (as she has told me before) to put it back.

My story has changed drastically from what I set out to write. The person who was supposed to be the hero just didn't fit. I created another character to fit the mold, and I could easily see myself throwing in maybe 6-7 chapters from his point of view throughout. That would cause a MAJOR rewriting procedure, which could honestly not be received once I try to market the book.

There are stories that have alternated first person POVs throughout the novel. I know, overall, it's usually done all as third person if you want to incorporate another person... but I don't think it has to be that way. Personally, I don't care for third person novels, and don't see myself ever picking this book back up if I decided to try my hand at it.

So, where I'm left is completing the edits I have now... beefing up key parts and taking out the filler. Then, after that is done, I'll reanalyze and figure out what I want to do.

Also... I've decided to edit my climax... and make it a little more original. Maybe not EVERYONE has to die. Though they deserve to. I'll rethink it. Smiles.

<3, Bethany

P.S. Does anyone have that ONE word that they can't ever seem to spell correctly? Receive. That's my word. I can never spell it right.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Book Review

Today I just finished this book.

Cormac McCarthy - The Road

Now, I'm a sucker for a good zombie or post-apocalyptic book, and this one is one of the best I've ever read. It's no The Stand, but honestly nothing ever is.

The book follows "the man" and "the boy", a father and son team traveling from an unknown northern location of the US, to an unknown southern location to survive the winter. The cause of the end of the world is never stated, nor is the exact amount of time that has passed. The details are honestly really scarce, but you can draw the picture in your mind. There is no electricity, all the world is covered with ash and the sun never shows through the ash clouds. It has been enough years in the past that they scavenge like crazy to (sometimes) find enough food to eat every few days.

It's a ridiculously touching story, that leaves you feeling not at all hopeful for the end fate of these two men. Especially since the father is constantly carrying around a pistol with only one bullet left, and constantly refers to it's use for both defense and suicide. The son knows to put the gun in his mouth and aim up towards the brain if he is ever captured.

Some of the things that really touched me about this book was the overwhelming differences in between "the good guys" (as the call themselves) and "the bad guys." The bad guys are torturous, looting, murdering, cannibalistic freaks that carry homemade bludgeons and keep slaves that they slowly harvest for food. At one point during their journey down The Road (an unnamed  state highway), they come across a man and a pregnant woman traveling alone. They follow them, and when they finally try to introduce themselves the couple has already fled, leaving behind a campfire and something cooking. Upon investigating the site, they find a newborn baby on a spit over the fire.

The boy, who was born in this new world, is the showman of goodness. He wants to help anyone they find along the road, and gives food to anyone his father will let him. The book follows them through their trek, as they carry only their backpacks and a grocery cart full of blankets and food where they can find it. It's dark, bleak and the mood is impeccable.

The ending is, admittedly, all the sudden and kind of makes you want to throw you hands in the air and blurt out tons of questions, but the rest of the book is a 4/5. A must read for anyone akin to any genre.

I've just found out a movie was made, and it stars the incredibly talented (not to mention gorgeous) Viggo Mortinson. I'll have to check it out and get back to you.



Much <3, Bethany

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Best Advice I Have Ever Recieved

One of my beta readers has given back the entire book, and one of my readers have given me back the chapters I felt were the weakest, the initial ones.

They've given me so much to consider and rework that I feel almost as if I have an entire other novel to write. Which is good. Ebyss (check her out at http://ebysswriter.blogspot.com/ ) gave me the advice to go back through, line by line, and edit every sentence, every word choice and every plot grouping to make sure I have it right. I can't exactly start that process yet... because I have a lot of big picture work I need to do. But as I do rewrites, I'm using that advice to minimize later editing. It's taking me much, much longer to get through paragraphs, but it will be well worth it.

Dialogue is DEFINITELY the hardest. When there are so many ways to say things... there are millions more ways to actually "say things". It has to fit the characters, which sometimes means allowing them to say things I would shoot myself in the eye for saying in actual conversation. Kimmy has honestly been the hardest to write, and I'm modeling her kind of after one of my teenage sisters. It's better than modeling her after another teenager (believe me I tried) because I find myself immensely hating the upcoming generation... and Kimmy. Better to remember her as silly, cheesy and lovable.

I'll keep you all updated as I move forward with my editing. I've got a ton of it to do, and I'm so very excited!

<3, Bethany

Sunday, August 1, 2010

My WIP Is Still Just That

Editor's advice over the last few days:

The first two chapter that I have hated so much for months... well, they're getting deleted. Which is a-okay with me. My editors gave me the idea of starting at chapter 3, and just weaving in some of the other details later. Sometimes, the best advice is that simple. I'm working on meshing all three together now.. and not much of my first chapters are getting put in there.

I have also been fretting about how to introduce how my characters looks. I've been doing some "research" (i.e. novel reading) to figure out how other authors have done it. There seems to be only a few formulas.

1) The "just come out and say it method" which sometimes seems a little contrived. There a few instances in life where we take stock of ourselves and how we look... and most of the time that's negative stock.
2) The "slowly come out with it method". Some authors take an entire novel or even a few chapters to go over all the basics. I've always hated this method personally because the reader develops images in their mind of what someone looks like, and if the author contradicts that it can take away from the story line.
3) The "have someone else do it method". This usually requires someone of the opposite sex swooping in and declaring how much they love every little thing about the protagonist. Usually annoying, and highly contrived.

The thing about my novel... is that I had the perfect outlet the entire time and it never dawned on me. My chick is telepathic. There's my in right there. One of the first things we notice about someone is how they look. We make judgments based on how they look, what they're wearing, how they talk, what they say. She has to deal with that on a daily basis... surely she's developed a few opinions on herself by now. Duh, why didn't I see it before?

I also have a few details that I need to weave into the story and figure out how to beef it up a little bit.

My beta readers/editors are amazing. Absolutely amazing!

More to come!

<3, Bethany