Friday, August 14, 2009
Today was a good editing day. With NSAM, I figured out a problem I had with an early chapter. This was the one where I cheated in the early drafts and made my critters roll their eyes back in murderous disbelief and nonvisualness. I expanded a travel scene out, threw in a really long ladder, and chopped the top of a mountain off - and I think it is a lot more believable. Or something. :)
I also had time to read through 3 chapters of Marbles. This would be the first 3 chapters. I can happily say they are ready for 'other eyes'. If I finish up the book sometime soon, I'll put it up for crit. I'm being very careful about this novel, because it is one of those where I feel like I got the voice right on the first go. Who knows, I might change my mind in a year after growing up a bit more writing-wise.
Book Suggestion of Week
How about the Immortals? Simply because I'm planning to run out and buy the second book of the series. Here's the plots taken from the author (Alyson Noel)'s website:
Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, Ever can see auras, hear people's thoughts, and know a person's entire life story by touch. Going out of her way to avoid human contact and suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen.
Damen Auguste is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy. He's the only one who can silence the noise and random energy in her head—wielding a magic so intense, it's as though he can see straight into her soul. As Ever is drawn deeper into his enticing world of secrets and mystery, she's left with more questions than answers. She has no idea just who he really is—or what he is. The only thing she knows to be true is she's falling deeply and helplessly in love with him.
The first book had just about everything you would want to see in a book about
Just as Ever is learning everything she can about her new abilities as an immortal, initiated into the dark, seductive world by her beloved Damen, something terrible is happening to him. As Ever's powers are increasing, Damen's are fading—stricken by a mysterious illness that threatens his memory, his identity, his life.
Desperate to save him, Ever travels to the mystical dimension of Summerland, uncovering not only the secrets of Damen's past—the brutal, tortured history he hoped to keep hidden—but also an ancient text revealing the workings of time. With the approaching blue moon heralding her only window for travel, Ever is forced to decide between turning back the clock and saving her family from the accident that claimed them—or staying in the present and saving Damen, who grows weaker each day...
At the end of the first book, I was wondering a little bit what the selling point of the second book would be. I mean, Ever had her powers, knew how to use them. She had the guy, they had their smooch and connection and all that. It wasn't like the Twilight series (which I refuse to read, btw) where readers were strung along with the hope that the main characters would get to have sex finally, or at least be together.
Damien losing his mind though. It might be one of those cliche type things - like from Ghost Whisperer where her hubby did the body snatching thing and lost his memory. She had to woo the guy he had become and hope he remembered her and everything at some point. On that subject, I was a little disapointed with how that turned out. Not that I was among the "KILL THE UGLY MAN" crowd. I just wished there was something of the other guy left. The "I'm completely me again" thing just seemed like a sudden cop-out or cheat.
Random Editing Notes
*Be ready to kill your darlings if need be. I mean those extra words or lines that you thought were so fine and dandy when you first wrote them. They're not. Kill them dead.
*If doing multiple projects, I'm sure you've run into the same problem, but ugh! I keep forgetting my main character's name, or writing the wrong name down. Rose is the MC from NSAM. Anne is the MC from Swapped. They keep showing up in the wrong novel as I edit. So irritating to have to edit what I just edited to make sure I didn't screw up the names.
*Don't be afraid of change. If a scene isn't leaping off the page and filling you with gloating pleasure, don't be afraid to try something new to enliven the piece. See what I wrote above about sawed off mountain tops.
*Check your spelling - I'm having mind-blots and using UK spelling in spots. I blame my UK friends at the critting group. Their spelling is starting to rub off on me.
This came up at the critting group, and I thought it was important to put somewhere. Genre is a dirty word thrown around my mainstream eds. It means anything with fantasy, romance, horror, and scifi in it. My initial opinion is mainstream is a genre too, but that's just me. Very rarily do books with fantasy elements get slotted as mainstream lit.
If you are writing a novel, it's kindofa good idea to line up all the elements covered in your novel - like romance, horror, fantasy, etc - and rate them. Whatever element is the strongest part of the central theme of your book - that's what genre your book is.
The Time Traveler's Wife, for example, has several main elements that I can think of which would almost make it invalid in most mainstream eds eyes, were it not an excellent book that appeals to mainstream lit readers. It has time travel and a man with a weird disease - very definitely science fiction. The book is about his bittersweet romance with the lady whom he has to keep abandoning for long stretches of time. That's romance. The plot itself though - it kinda falls under the same category as one of those mainstream novels about a woman whose husband vanishes time and again, and what she does to deal with the problematic relationship. The book was written as a metaphor for failed relationships. So yeah. That's a mainstream lit thing if I ever saw one.
Before anybody jumps on the cross-genre parade, btw - the author of TTW had a lot of problems getting published the traditional way. Agents didn't want to touch the book. I'm wondering a little bit if the reason why is because she was reluctant to view her work as scifi. Maybe she did not approach scifi type agents.