Thursday, January 26, 2017

New Years Resolution Book Tag

I read an awesome post on BOOKS, BOXES, & BAUBLES the other day about a New Years reading challenge. It sounded like fun so I thought I'd give it a go. Below are my challenge choices to complete in 2017.

An author you’d like to read (that you’ve never read before).

Gillian Flynn - I really want to read Gone Girl before I watch the movie!

A book you’d like to read.

A Million Little Pieces by James J. Frey - This is a little outside my normal genre, but I think I'll really like it.

A classic you’d like to read.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll - Seriously, the fact that I haven't read this yet is a shame.

A book you’d like to re-read.

Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout - One of my all-time favorites. Read my review.

A book you’ve had for ages and want to read.

Don't Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout

A big book you’d like to read.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty - This is another one that's different from my usual picks.

An author you’ve previously read and want to read more of.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - I loved Delirium, and honestly have no idea how I haven't read this yet.

A book you got for Christmas and would like to read.

I didn't get any books for Christmas. :( But, I downloaded some awesome indies over the holidays that I'll be working my way through.

A series you want to read (start and finish)

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling - Yes, gasp, I haven't read all of Harry Potter. I started the first book and never finished. What can I say, I was young and the movies came out.

A series you want to finish (that you’ve already started)

The Sweet Evil series by Wendy Higgins - I've already read the trilogy, but I haven't read Sweet Temptation, which is told from Kaidan's eyes.

Do you set reading goals? If so, how many books do you want to read in 2017?

Yes! But after returning from hiatus my goal for the year is rather pathetic. I'm setting it super low at 15 books. That's a little over a book a month and should be easy-peasy and I'll be close to hitting that with this list alone. But, I do also work 50+ hours a week at my day job and I really want to publish Unearthed After Sunset this year!

Now, I'm supposed to tag a fellow blogger to post their own resolutions, but I can't pick just one. So, if anyone wants to post their New Years Reading Resolutions, please share a link in the comments below.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Goddess Interrupted (The Goddess Test #2) by Aimee Carter

2.5 Stars. The ending of this book ruined it. After reading The Goddess Test I was eager to see Kate learn to be a goddess. I wanted to see her take on new responsibilities and for her relationship with Henry to develop. But, I didn’t get any of that in this book. Kate and the other Gods are attacked by Cronus pretty early on in the story, Kate doesn’t get a single lesson on what her responsibilities as Queen of the Underworld will be, and Henry is captured separating him from Kate and keeping them from growing as a couple. That said, this story did take me on a fun journey and Kate does discover some of her powers on her own. I liked that we got to meet Persephone and there was an interesting dynamic with her and Kate, as they are sisters. Plus she and Henry do work through some things at the end and Henry is able to resolve some things with Persephone which I think needed to happen for him to move on.

I think what disappointed me most about this book was that Kate started out as a really strong character in the first book, and even in this one she returns to the Underworld after spending her Summer in Greece. She seemed independent and capable. But the second she returned to the Underworld that all went away. She got back and turned into this girl who defined herself by her feelings for Henry. At one point she said, “without Henry, I didn’t know who I was anymore,” and it really bothered me. Then, during the fight with Cronus, she basically just got in the way and then <spoiler> got captured </spoiler> in what felt like a really stupid way. Since Kate was the main character and we see this story through her eye I really wanted to see her be the hero of her own story a little more.

She and Henry did have some time together at the end of the book, but then he went on to deal with more god-business that Kate was again left out of, and seeing her character become so dependent on him was really disappointing.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Why You Should KILL Your Word Count

Many writers, myself included, get hung up on the word count of their stories. A full length novel is described as being around 80,000 words. So, that becomes the goal - putting 80,000 words on a page. But if you don't write 80,000 words of QUALITY CONTENT, then what you've really got is 60,000 words with 20,000 words of filler.

No one wants filler. Filler is the mystery meat in a hot dog. Filler is episode 14 of your favorite TV show where nothing from episode 13 is even mentioned. Filler is the vanilla in a Neapolitan ice cream when all you want is the chocolate and strawberry. Filler is bad. All it does is take up space.

A novel that is 60,000 words, without the filler is better than one that's 80,000 and jam-packed with mystery meat and useless vanilla ice cream. So how can you cut the fat?

1. Cut Dead Words: Words like very, just, then, up, down, really, very, ect... - If the sentence makes sense without it, then it doesn't need to be there. Cutting out dead words makes your writing more concise and allows your sentences to be more powerful. Aim for short, meaningful sentences.

2. Don't Filter Actions through Your Characters: This is common in third person narratives, but happens in first person stories as well. Don't say "Anita heard the loud boom of the fireworks," Say "The fireworks boomed in the sky." Not only will you use less words, but your scenes will be more powerful. Filtering should only be used when the author wants to shift POV to another character.

3. Stay Away from Purple Prose: Don't over-describe things, and don't describe unnecessary things. Descriptions that get too detailed can pull a reader out of the story. I don't want to read ten lines describing your character's outfit. Unless Sally's red dress is important to the plot you don't need to describe it at all.

4. Cut Your First Chapter: Maybe even the second one as well. It's common when starting a novel to write a lot of backstory - even unintentionally, at the very beginning. Does your book start with something mundane, like your character walking down the street or driving to work? Do you spend a few chapters introducing characters? Then slice and dice. Kill your darlings, forget your word count and be honest with yourself about where your novel really begins. You can sprinkle any important information throughout your story later on.

5. Cut Unnecessary Scenes: When you read over your novel think about each scene as you read it. Is that scene necessary for the story? Does it progress the plot or reveal something about one of your characters? If your story makes sense without it, then it has to go. Some scenes may be able to be combined together, while others should just be cut completely.

Indie Book Goal 2018