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Friday, January 30, 2015

Book Review: The Noru; Blue Rose (The Noru Series, Book 1) by Lola StVil

Tribble Rating:   2 (out of 5)  Tribbles  I used to do book reviews for my Star Trek Fan Clubs Newsletter, this was my rating system; I think it is time to bring it back!


Fellow writer friends of mine told me about this book, and how bad it was.   I was intrigued in seeing why they thought it was so bad.   I thought, “It really can’t be that bad…”    But after reading, I was forced to agree with my fellow writers.    Here are some of the reasons I had to agree with them:

Continuity:
 In the first scene, our main characters Pryor Cains’ parents use their powers to stop all the humans in the area.  They do so without attracting the attention of the demons.  However, later in the novel, we are told that whenever one of them uses their powers, then the demons attack.   The author further tells us there is a potion that renders them invisible to the demons, but the invisibility is broken if they use their powers.  So where was the attack of demons in that first scene?
The other big continuity error was after the blow up of the path that was between the earth and the “Light.” We are told that Pryor’s parents (as well as the others parents), were now cut off from the Earth.  Pryor is on Earth side, her parents were on the “Light” side.  However here was her mother, who could not have known about her youngest child’s death (as he was also on earth); crying, and creating a storm on earth after finding out about his death.      Nowhere does she tell us that the bridge/pathway is repaired or a new one built.

“Data dumping,” or “Info Dumping”
The second problem I found was the constant “Data dumping,” or “Info Dumping,” that the author committed in this novel.    Data really should be revealed in the action/dialogue of the story, not exposition (or used very sparingly).  Especially when there is an action scene, there should be no extra info.  There are numerous times the author does this, but I’ll give you this example:


The scene is set in a warehouse, and the main character Pryor’s best friend is about to fall to his death…

                “Randy, no!” Key and I shout almost at the same time.  
Key gets to him before I do. In his hysteria, he shoves her, hard.  This is definitely not Randy’s day because Key’s boyfriend pops up on a Port just in time to see him shove her. 
                Aw crap, Bex’s gonna kill Randy.
Even if Bex wasn’t a Para and didn’t have massive wings, he would frighten most guys because of his sheer size.  Bex has broad shoulders, ripping muscles, and large hands.  Bex’s power is an all-consuming power that ball of light that drains evil.  In addition to the expert flying skills.
Bex doesn’t need his powers to hurt Randy.  His hands alone are enough.  He wraps them around Randy’s throat.  Randy can’t breathe much less talk.  His feet dangle helplessly in the air.  Key and I race up to them.
                “Bex, put him down,” Key says sternly. 
                “He attacked you,” the Para says, holding Randy’s life in his hands.
Bex pays her no attention.  Instead he tightens his grip on Randy.  Bex has always been protective, even to a fault.  He and Key have been going out ever since I can remember.  Bex isn’t just brawny and hot; he’s down right impossible to resist. 
He’s tall with spiky dark brown hair that somehow always stays in place.  He has these dreamy green eyes that pull you in so deep, you may never find your way back…. 


And while poor Randy is hanging in Bexs grasp, the author goes on to talk about Bexs’ smile, then Bex’s background; what kind of being he is, what his special powers are etc. Which has now interrupted the flow of the story.  It gets the reader out of the action, and that is something that a writer can’t afford to do.  
Also, she had already mentioned about Bexs’ sheer size, she really didn’t need the extra wording about his physical description.  Though it would have been better just to go with those details, showing why he was intimidating…maybe even describing the look that Randy gives Bex. 
The rest of the book has many such “Data Dumps.”    The way it could have been done is through showing.  The important information could have been done through action or dialogue.   She could have also put the info on each of the Angel “Species,” in a glossary.   

The Adult only Chapter

Lastly, about the “Adult Only” chapter.   There is a disclaimer on this chapter.  It says “Mature Content.  Younger readers please skip to chapter 12B.    This should never have been put in a “Young Adult,” novel.    Even with the disclaimer…what kid is not going to WANT to read it?    The disclaimer only makes it more attractive to read.   It really has no place in this novel, period. 




Summary:


Seriously, I think that everyone should read this as an example of how not to write a novel.  I have no idea if the author had any what we call Beta Readers go over this book.  Or even if it was edited much.   The continuity problems, and data dumps spoiled what was a promising plot.  I enjoyed some of the parts though, not all of it was bad.  But with the above problems, and the fact that there was a disclaimer section; well, let’s just say I was happy I got the book free.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Art of the Divine

"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets. For it, and knowledge can raise men to the divine."
- Ludwig Von Beethoven

            This is the best quote I’ve ever seen about craft.  I’ve been doing this writing gig for almost 12 years (though I wrote before, I just took long hiatus’ and not seriously pursuing publication).   I now look back on my earlier attempts at writing, and ask myself “WTF were you thinking Lisa!  This is the worst crap ever!”
            It’s a journey, forcing your way into “…arts secrets.”   Art comes in after the edit/rewrite phase; it’s where the manuscript comes alive, the story vivid and crisp.  The first draft is called “rough” for a reason, it is the basis where art springs from, but by itself is not “art.”
            The “knowledge” part comes in using plot, flow, setting, character, voice and structure.  Like instruments in an orchestra that issue the notes on the page, the finished project is what the art is.  Early attempts are just part of the process.  You learn and grow as you find your voice.  That unique part of writing that tells the stories you need to tell, the way you need to tell them.
            Yet the “Divine,” eludes me.  It is almost in my grasp; uncatchable, unobtainable to my still novice hand.  I know what I want the final version to look like, but what I write/edit doesn’t match my vision of that divine.  Sure I have been able to finish poems and short stories….the novel is what eludes me.

            Perhaps this is the reason I find it hard to complete a novel?  Find it hard to start-finish, because I’m afraid it won’t reach its divine potential?   I am missing the spark of the divine, too tired to choose it, to find it within my grasping fingers.  I am too much of a perfectionist, when it comes to my writing.  I can’t just let it go.  Though ironically, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Searching the Haystack! And First Blog of 2015....Happy New Year!

     My friend and I were talking this morning about how he could be a “bad guy” to make himself more attractive to the ladies.  Note, this was a very tongue in cheek, not for real, joking around etc. conversation.   I was saying that short of kicking puppies/kitties/children, not getting put in jail, requiring bail sort of idea, then it was basically fair game.    Got to love conversations with writers.   

     So we were trying to come up with ways to be naughty, but not too naughty.  So I went to Google to look it up.  This was the exact phrase I used to search:

What are some things that you can do to get into trouble, without requiring bail?”  

     So here is what Google pulled up:






 Figure 1



     Yea, not what I expected either. 

    What you have to do with any search engine, is to be as specific as you can.   Be the “needle” in other words…or you will always just get the “haystack! “ 

     So, for instance, today I researched “Query Letters vs. Cover Letters”   (there will be a blog follow up on this topic later).  This is the result:






Figure 2

     See the difference?    Much better, and the top results were exactly what I needed.   


     Now, let’s try to get the original search for what I was looking for narrowed down, and see what happens.


     The original (so you don’t have to scroll up)
           

             “What are some things that you can do to get into trouble, without requiring bail?


     Maybe key words like “Trouble,” or just “Getting into trouble.”  


Trouble:

·  Taylor Swift - I Knew You Were Trouble - YouTube

www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNoKguSdy4Y
·          
Dec 14, 2012 - Uploaded by TaylorSwiftVEVO
Buy Now: iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/red/id571445253 Music video by Taylor Swift performing I ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trouble_(board_game)
·          
·          
Wikipedia
Trouble is a board game in which players compete to be the first to send four pieces all the way around a board. Pieces are moved according to the roll of a die.
dictionary.reference.com/browse/trouble
·          
·          
Dictionary.com
to disturb the mental calm and contentment of; worry; distress; agitate. 2. to put to inconvenience, exertion, pains, or the like: May I trouble you to shut the door?
www.amazon.com › Toys & Games › Play Vehicles
·          
·          
Amazon.com, Inc.
But don't you get bumped back, or you're in TroubleTrouble is a perfect travel game--car or boat motion won't upset the game's progress; It is indeed satisfying ...
www.newtrouble.com/
·          
·          
Trouble
Jul 16, 2013 - The Distortion Field' makes history in the TROUBLE camp through the band's acquisition of a new lead vocalist, Kyle Thomas of Exorder and ...
www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/trouble
·          
·          
Merriam‑Webster
to make (someone) feel worried or upset. : to disturb or bother (someone). : to cause (someone) to feel pain. SCRABBLE fan? Try our new word finder! ».

Figure 3



     Nope.   Scratch that one. 

     “Getting Into Trouble.”   Definitely an improvement.






Figure 4

     But you see how narrowing it down, gave you more targeted results, and not just anything that mentioned the word?   Narrowing the field down, you spend less time and find what you need.  You may also not even find what you were looking for with the haystack approach.


     Comments and feedback are appreciated.    Happy hunting!