Friday, August 26, 2011

I'll never see my book on the shelves in a book store.

I have dreamt many times of the day when I would stroll into my local bookstore and lay my eyes upon my very own creation sitting on the shelves. Propped on a pedestal, all shiny and new in all her glory for the world to behold. I would be armed and ready with a ball point pen and secretly sign random copies for an unsuspecting reader to find.

I realized that dream will most likely never come true. The sad truth is by the time my book would be ready to publish there will not be any book stores left to put it in. In my immediate area there are were three bookstores. One Borders *searches for tissue, RIP Borders* and two Barnes and Noble's. One of which is set to be demolished and a new Target will stand in its place. 

As much as I would like to be mad at Amazon for bringing death and destruction to my most beloved, I must admit something. I saw a blog post about "The Iron King" late one night and got really excited to read it. So I picked up my Kindle and downloaded it and began reading within two minutes. I said to my husband "This is so cool, I didn't even have to wait till the store opened. I bought it instantly." 

Then in dawned on me, I contributed to the destruction of my dream. What can I say? What are we suppose to do? Sit back and get upset or join in? (can we do both?)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The sympathetic character.

You never know when they will strike. Those "ah ha" moments. When something you have learned and been told a hundred times finally sinks in.

I have been coming across the phrase "sympathetic character" lately. One such place is the book "Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. The author discusses five basic plot elements and lists this as number one. It is followed by conflict, complications, climax and resolution. But without the sympathetic character nothing else that follows is going to matter as much. If we don't care about the character will we care about the story?

Cheryl Klein, senior editor at Arthur L. Levine Books worked on the U.S. editions of Harry Potter. She posted on her blog a very informative speech titled "A Few Things Writers Can Learn from Harry Potter".  One of the top things on her list is how readers sympathize with Harry. (read the speech, it's a good one)

That brings us to the moment it finally set in. I have been telling myself all along to make my characters likable and that is what it takes to make readers care about my story. But it is not just about being likable, it is about being drawn to a character and sympathizing is the way to do that.

I saw the new movie trailer for Real Steel. The first trailer didn't do much for me, it was mostly fighting robots and cool special effects. Of course I was planning on seeing it anyway because Hugh Jackman is one of the hottest men on the planet is a very talented actor and usually makes a quality film. But the second trailer really sucked me in. It shows a down on his luck, out of work athlete who befriends a child and takes on the task of teaching an old worn out robot to box, and all these characters seem to be the under dog. This trailer took me from a "Ya, that looks like it will be a good movie", to a "I will definitely be seeing that movie". Now depending on your movie preference this may not appeal to you; but for me after seeing what kind of journey our hero's have to face sucked me in and opened my eyes to the sympathetic character.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Book Review.....Hemlock Lake by Carolyn J. Rose

Description from Amazon

For generations only a few families held title to land in the isolated Catskill Mountain community of Hemlock Lake. But with the turning of the century one man, lured by easy money, sells his inheritance to a developer of luxury homes. As the contractor bulldozes farmland and forest, neighbors cry environmental rape, and someone threatens to burn what is built.

Hoping to stop the arsonist, but tormented by personal demons, Sergeant Dan Stone reluctantly returns to his family home on the shores of the lake. The previous autumn his wife died in its dark waters and his brother put a bullet in his brain. That tragedy sent Dan's father drifting toward death.

Isolated by his pain, Dan is thrust into the no man's land between newcomers and longtime residents who stonewall his investigation into threats, graffiti, theft, and a blaze that nearly kills the construction foreman. Townspeople blame outsiders, eco-terrorists, a ragged tramp haunting the woods and the mysterious creator of rock cairns that often mark the sites of crimes to come. But as summer sizzles on, the arsonist turns killer, and Dan suspects it's someone he knows well: a firefighter, a friend, or a woman with a killing in her past.

Hemlock Lake

Now for those of you that know me or follow my blog on a regular basis this book review may come as a surprise. For one, I have yet again read a "grown up" book and it's my third one this year. *Stands up, speaking to support group, My name is Kriston and I'm  addicted to young adult and children's novels* Second, this is not a fantasy, supernatural or paranormal story. Scouts honor... not a faerie, vamp or any member of the walking dead community to be found.

So let me start by saying I really like this novel, in fact I more than like it. This story follows a mans life after he loses his brother and true love to a tragic accident. While coming to terms with his inner demons, his old hometown treats him like an outcast while he is trying to protect them from a crazed arsonist.

The characters we get to know make a great team, their wit and banter will make you laugh and they love disrupting Dan's life every chance they get...and these are his friends.

Carolyn is a talented writer and this book was fun to read. The writing is superb, the setting believable  and the story moves along at a good pace. If you are looking for a good mystery this book is worth checking out.
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