Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Let the 'Whole Wide World' Inspire you!

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

'A Dark Lure': Read and Read Again!

One of the best measures of a good book is the tried and tested 'Second Read Test'. (Patent pending of course;).

Can I scroll back through my Kindle history, open the book, drag the percentage read bar back to '0' and dive in again with as much pleasure as the first time read?

(For those of you who are disgusted by my love for the e-format, I guess you could just open the book back at page one.)

Now, while I don't want to confuse you with complicated mathematical equations, (all tested of course in the 'Little Miss Kindle' research facility) I will say this:

The better the book, the sooner a successful 'reread' can be achieved.

From this equation it can be assumed, that the very best book would stand being reread immediately after the last word on the last page has been scanned.

I have yet to find this holy grail of great books (no... poems don't count), though I have found many that can stand a same year or even same month read.

'A Dark Lure' by Loreth Anne White is one such book that has successfully passed the reread test, slotting in with a very respectable reread at month seven!

What is it about 'A Dark Lure' that enabled this success? 

Is it the menacing tone, underpinned by the ever present grey and foreboding onset of winter (Think deep snow and frost bitten toes)?
Is it the heroine, Sarah Baker, who is attempting to hide from her past as the 'one that lived' after escaping from the brutal 'Watt Lake Serial Killer'?
Perhaps it is the handsome, capable and equally conflicted hero who is realizing that family and love might save him after all? (I do love a hero who is as capable as he is cute!)
Surely it's not the animalistic perversity of the Watt Lake Killer himself that makes this novel a definite reread winner?

If you were to ask me, I would say it is all of the above, wrapped in a chilling and tense thriller that makes 'A Dark Lure' so appealing as a novel to read again.

If you like scary page turners then this one is for you! Read it now, you'll thank me in seven months (or less).

As always, Happy Reading!

Monday, 30 May 2016

The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Editing for Success

I am in the toddler phase of writing, you know, the stage where you write a line and then holler to the world....

'Hey guys, check out what I did!!!'

I am clearly in desperate need for someone to introduce me to the process that exists between writing and 'being read'.
The author's version of an instagram filter that smooths out the edges and turns the metaphorical double chin into a strong jawline.

I believe (though I have not experienced it myself) that this stage is called 'editing' and that this is the step that separates the gold from the mud.

Although I am writing with my tongue firmly in my cheek, I will say this:

For a long time I believed if the writing was not great when it first hit the page, then I had failed and that there was no hope for improvement.

This belief left me feeling saddened and drained of enthusiasm, so it was with a great sense of relief that I discovered that great works of writing were in fact crafted and coaxed into being, and did not (as per my previous thoughts) spring fully formed and perfect from the mind of the author and onto the page.

This is where 'The First Five Pages' by Noah Lukeman enters the story with this firm advice:

All great writing is in fact, great re-writing.

As an editing newby, I was looking for a guide to editing that was practical and workman like. A book with specific steps and advice for writers who were looking to improve the quality of their work over the longer term and remove the 'clangers', such as changes in tense and awkward dialogue, in the short term.

'The First Five Pages' provides exactly this advice to authors, being written from the perspective of a literary agent who is desperately looking for reasons to NOT continue reading your book.
Seeking to find cliches, formatting errors, excess adjectives, flabby descriptions and awful alliteration the agent is on a mission to reject each book, if only to save himself the time that would have to be invested to read them through to the end.

Noah, himself one of these nasty 'book avoiding' literary agents, is perfectly positioned to guide authors, experienced and greenhorn alike, through the potential plot, pacing and presentation pitfalls (did you see what I did there with alliteration, did you?) that will doom their manuscripts to the rejection letter pile and keep them from the Amazon conquering success that they so clearly deserve.

I liked this book for its no nonsense approach and practical editing process, though I have to admit at times I found the delivery a little too scholarly in tone.
Despite feeling like a naughty school child, I did find 'The First Five Pages' extremely motivating and more importantly, useful. I am optimistic my future writing and more importantly 're-writing', will be all the better for having read it.

A great read for all those who are facing the editing task for the first or fifty-first time!

Happy reading and writing to all:)