Thursday, February 17, 2005

Misused Retrospect

Few things are as irritating as losing a blog entry into cyberspace. The book I was writing about on the lost entry is. Nearly every important scene was relayed in flashback. I could understand the flashbacks from the narrator's childhood. Though they came at odd places (the novel was similar to a printout of the character's thought patterns), there was a significant reason they were flashbacks and not the first chapters of the book. The narrator was viewing her childhood through the eyes of adulthood.

The other flashbacks seemed to placed only to trick the reader into reading further. As soon as the narrative began to get interesting (and trust me, the overwhelming detail made many parts uninteresting), the author would skip ahead to the next day or week, only revealing what had happened several pages later. And in a sketchy, unsatisfying way.

I've read a lot of novels (I've read at least one book by all of the authors on the sidebar, and dozens by several). I've even read novels with lots of unnecessary details. But this novel made Ivanhoe seem like a pleasure read. Even the climax was skipped. The two main characters meet at a restaurant, the guy asks one insightful question, and the narrative moves ahead to months later. I felt like throwing the book across the room, but restrained myself for Amazon saleability. I only finished the book (which took twice as long as usual) because I needed to review it.

I'm not going to reveal the author (though they're not listed to the right), though if you get Church Libraries you might see my review in several months. And it may be more unbiased now that I've got this rant over with. Twice. But this novel makes me question some writing advice: never take the reader where he wants to go. I don't remember which writing book I read that in, but it was a recognized expert. I can see how that works with multiple POVs, but not with one. Maybe you could squeeze it in once or twice, but frequent usage would frustrate the reader.

I'm still adding to my links, so if you know of a good one, feel free to let me know. And if I've linked to your blog or website, I'd appreciate if you could do the same for mine. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Back into Things

Today was filled with many things - babysitting, watching movies, online browsing, a nap, but nothing was as fulfilling as the hour I spent writing. I freely admit I'm a procrastinator. Solitaire and freecell are so much more attractive than that next sentence I can't figure out quite right. But once I get past that sentence and get moving, I wonder why I waited so long to write it. What exactly was so difficult that it kept me from writing? Nothing. Just my own laziness. Which I am resolved never to let happen again (or until the next difficult spot - which is why I usually have two reviews in progress at the same time).

I'm finally getting used to when most people are online, so the need to stick to this computer has faded. I have enjoyed the browsing, which should translate into more links for the sidebar. I'm going to be gathering the blogs I visit frequently along with some new review links and fiction/writing sites. I'm open to suggestions - won't make any promises, but if I find myself visiting a site more than once a week, it'll definitely earn a spot.

Today I got a little written on my short story. It's so hard to keep it down to the bare bones, but I know that it will easily exceed the length requirements. Novel writing will not let me go. Anything beyond a one- or two-scene story evolves into a book. Hmm. Maybe they'll me submit it as a serial.

Saturday a check arrived with two complimentary copies of the March Christian Communicator. My article title (Maximize the Market Guide) was on the front cover, and the article itself was second in the magazine, right after Sally Stuart's. My toes curl at the thought of all the authors I love who read that magazine and may read my article! Monday I heard that an author liked my review of his novel, and today I received a wonderful endorsement for my first novel.

Still pondering the genre decision, but have pushed it away to allow it to simmer on low. I know what I need to do now - submit Freedom's Decision, edit Winter, finish my short story, write reviews, and look for other magazine writing opportunities. That's plenty to handle for the moment, and I'll see how God directs for the future.