Thursday, December 7, 2017

Review for The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

3.75 Stars. Like the Boardgame "Clue" on the Ocean. 

I don't read a lot of murder mysteries, and I have read better ones, but this was good. It opens with a suspenseful scene and I really liked the ending. I just wish I'd connected with the main character, Lo, more.

Lo is a very independent woman with a bit of a drinking problem. She writes for a magazine and ends up on a yacht with plans to write about its maiden voyage when she thinks she hears a murder in the cabin next to hers. Lo's on medication for depression and after a traumatic experience at the beginning of the novel, the other characters have a hard time believing her. Her situation at the beginning of the book sets up her state of mind so I understood why she reacted to things the way she did later in the story, but I had a hard time actually liking her. She seemed a little cold at times, treated her boyfriend pretty crappy, and was a little moody. I did like her character growth and who she becomes by the end of the novel.

The other characters were colorful and interesting. This whole book reminded me a little of Clue. It has that classic dinner-murder-mystery feel, which was fun. I definitely spent a lot of time thinking about each character and whether or not they could be the murderer, and when I finally got to the end it was a total surprise. I did not see that coming. The ending felt satisfying. There are plenty of red herrings that leave you wondering how this is going to turn out for everyone along the way.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

November Reading and Writing Wrap Up

I just want to wish everyone a belated Happy Thanksgiving. I have some fun things planned for the rest of the holiday season. Unearthed will be going on sale soon, so keep your eyes out for a post about that, and I have something really cool planned for the New Year.




READING:

Books Reviewed in November:

I finally posted my review of The Gunslinger by Stephen King. I was a little dissappointed with the book, and probaby won't continue with the series right now, but I've heard it gets a lot better after book one. So, I'm not going to rule out returning to it later.

Books Read in November:

My review of The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware will be up soon. This was a nice murder mystery, but won't be getting added to my favorites anytime soon.

I'm also finishing up Mind Hunter by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, so I'll be posting that review soon as well. Being non-fiction this is a really different read for me, but I'm liking it so far.

Books to read in December:

I really want to read an indie book once I finish Mind Hunter and I've downloaded a few samples of different books onto my kindle, but haven't picked one yet.



WRITING:

I've taken a break from book #2 in the Cereus Vampire Chronicles to poke at some short stories and other WIP's. My fantasy novel is also on the back burner right now. I'll be honest I've had a bit of writer's block lately so, I'm trying to get creative with some other projects until my muse returns.



BLOGGING:

I finished a few fun posts last month that I had a good time writing. I really enjoyed posting about the differences in publishing through IngramSpark compared to Amazon. I've also been working to grow my mailing list and am still giving away FREE copies of Into the Deep to anyone that joins. Finally, I have plans for a really fun post I have for the New Year. I don't want to give away too much about it, but it will be something that everyone can get involved in.


My Favorite Blog Posts in November:

Favorite Post Written: Writing Dual POV's with Distinctive Voices: When I was writing Unearthed I researched this quite a bit and had trouble finding posts that were really helpful. So, this is a post about all the tips I applied to get Archer and Caroline's chapters to sound distinctive in Unearthed.

Favorite Post Read: Abuse is being Romanticised at A Magical World of Words: I'm a fan of writing complicated relationships and I love a good bad-boy story arc, but there have been a lot of books that take this arc and go in an unhealthy direction with it, which in itself can be fine depending on how a writer addresses it. But, if a book then says that unhealthy relationship with that abusive bad-boy is normal and okay, then we have a problem. I really appreciated Amy posting about this issue.



PERSONAL:

Things have been a little crazy in my personal life. My day job has been more stressful than usual. Right now, I'm just working to get through and hopefully have more time for writing in the future.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Tips for Writing Dual POVs with Distinctive Voices

When writing a novel that flips between two (or more) character's POVs one of the biggest mistakes writers make is having the characters sound too much alike. In Unearthed After Sunset, the story alternates between two POV's, Greg and Caroline. When I was writing the book it was really important to me to make sure that Greg's chapters sounded different from Caroline's. Below are five tips for giving your characters distinctive voices.



1. Think about your character's interests and passions: The things your character cares about will shape how they see and describe the world. For example, an artist will use different words to describe a sunset than an athlete. An artist might describe the colors and beauty of the sunset. An athlete may take more notice of how the world around them darkens rather than the sunset itself, or maybe they notice the drop in temperature that sunset brings. In Unearthed Greg is a fan of horror movies, and in his chapters, he makes a number of references and comparisons to different horror movies. Caroline, however, is not a fan of scary movies so in her references and comparisons are more likely to be related to music.

2. Think about HOW your characters think: Does your character find themselves deep in thought often, or is there more brevity to their thoughts? Are they full of wonder, do they question things, or are they accepting of the world around them? In both Greg and Caroline's chapters, there are some beautiful descriptions, but Caroline's chapters are definitely flowier while Greg's are more to the point. Caroline notices more details than Greg does.

3. Consider your character's word choice: Does your character say soda or pop? Water fountain or bubbler? Do they refer to that piece of furniture in their living room as a couch or a sofa? Caroline is far more likely to be more specific and detailed in her descriptions. For example, if she points out the color of something she's more likely to say maroon or burgundy, where Greg is more likely to just say red. They also each have specific words they use that the other doesn't. When writing Unearthed I actually made a chart to remind me of their different phrases.

4. Edit your chapters out of order: If your chapters for each character alternate, do a read through where you read only character #1's chapters, then do a read through where you read only character #2's chapters. This can help you pay attention to their voice and character growth. With Unearthed, I would edit all of Caroline's chapters, skipping over Greg's, then go back and edit all of Greg's, skipping over Caroline's. This way I could focus on the voice of that character across the span of the book.

5. Take your character's gender into consideration: This is only really useful if the two characters you're alternating between are different genders, and it's important not to make your characters stereotypical. But, some gender stereotypes hold true and can help you form your characters. Maybe your female character shows more emotion. Maybe she's more social. Your male character might notice the physical attributes of your female character more than she notices his. Like I said, be careful of getting swept up in stereotypes, but remembering that men and women do sometimes see the world differently may help you differentiate your character's voices.