Monday, February 24, 2014

Off the Bookshelf: RIVET YOUR READERS WITH DEEP POINT OF VIEW by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

Short and sweet and hard to beat.

Point of View -- POV for those of us trying to write fiction -- is one of the big tripping points for a lot of people. I'm not talking about head-hopping in the middle of a paragraph, or even forgetting who the POV character is and switching from third person to first person in the middle of a scene (although such people should be SHOT!).

What the hey-yah is DEEP POV?

In this nicely lucid, clear, concise and readable little book, Nelson gives examples and exercises with each chapter. (Yeah, I know -- I thought we got away from homework when we got out of Senior English!) The hard and ugly truth is that we learn best through application, through DOING.

Nelson shows the subtle differences that take a sentence into deep POV, how to identify and eliminate the little authorial intrusions that mean the difference between "telling" and "showing," and help your readers really get inside the POV character's head instead of just sitting on her or his shoulder and watching what's going on.

I think when I picked it up, RIVET YOUR READERS WITH DEEP POINT OF VIEW was a free Kindle download. Might still be -- don't quote me on it. Look for it. It's well worth the short time you'll spend reading it -- and you'll want to refer to it regularly, just to brush up on your technique.


TODAY! Cyber Launch Party for KATHRYN, Quarry Hall Book 3.
Want to chat, ask questions, learn some inside information ... maybe win a prize?
Come on over to today, Monday, February 24. The fun is going on NOW and will last most of the day.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Off the Bookshelf: WONDROUS STRANGE, by Lesley Livingston

This was the most recent "Free book Fridays" book from Nook/B&N. I was just in a fantasy mood, so with all the hundreds of books waiting to be read, I opened this one right away.

I was not disappointed. Clever, easy to read, with engaging characters. WONDROUS STRANGE is labeled as #1 in the Wondrous Strange series ... so when I get this to-be-read heap down to size, here is yet another series to follow.

What's it about? Well, not to ruin it too much for you ... the Faerie have been cut off from the Human world for more than a century, after Auberon's daughter was stolen by a Human woman. Well, it was only fair -- he stole her son! Once a year, at Samhain/Halloween, the doorway between realms opens up and the Janus Guards are tasked with keeping the mischievous, nasty, dangerous, rebellious Faerie creatures from escaping into our world. The Janus Guards are Changelings -- Human children stolen to be raised by the Faerie -- and they're kind of ... unpopular now, because their job is to kill Faerie. Not fun.

This year is worse, as the Gate inches open a little more every night for nine days before Halloween. Sonny, our hero, notices a young hopeful actress, Kelly, who doesn't seem to be entirely Human ... and as he gets to know her and more Faerie creatures sneak through into our world, his life and Kelly's life change completely.

And that's all I'm gonna tell you, because if you like magic, and magical creatures interacting with our world, and starcrossed lovers, and dabs of Shakespeare mixed into the story, READ this one.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Off the Bookshelf: TELLING DETAILS, by Kat Duncan

Details are important -- otherwise, you get blank-faced, naked characters acting on a white stage. Kind of boring, huh?

Duncan does a great job, exploring all the ways to handle details, painting a picture, setting the scene, creating background, and building the characters themselves. Use your senses -- smell, taste, sound, motion, heat, texture, etc. She discusses telling versus showing, which is always a battle for writers. When exactly is it better to just TELL readers what's going on, versus SHOWING them? When does the pace demand quick imagery, and when can readers spend many long, leisurely minutes exploring the environment where the story takes place?

When is enough enough? When are your lovingly created details too much? That's something that depends on the type of story being told, the pace, the attitude, the genre -- and has to be learned through practice. But this kind of book is a great starting place, helping writers skip a lot of trial and error and wasted time. Another book worth reading regularly, to brush up on things maybe you forgot you need to do.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Of the Bookshelf: FIRSTS IN FICTION by Aaron D. Gansky

The sub-title for this book says it all "First line hooks, hints & help."

Anyone who has studied writing and who has written for any length of time will tell you that the opening of a book, especially a novel, is a crucial part of the process. You have to hook the reader's attention and get him interested long enough to keep reading, and reading, and reading.

Gansky deals with many different questions and considerations when fashioning your opening line, opening paragraphs, opening scenes -- the all-important HOOK. Conflict, character, setting and tone, voice, action. Depending on your book, the genre and storyline and approach will all determine the kind of hook you need to craft. This book is a great teacher that anyone serious about writing should read at least once -- and it might just be a good idea to read it on a regular basis, as a refresher course.