This is the first book I’ve ever read by this author. It is an older book that I got at a discount store, and it sounded interesting.
It is the story of Eve Duncan, a forensic sculptor who reluctantly agrees to help a powerful arms dealer who lives in a compound in the Columbian jungle. Her husband, Quinn, does not want her to go. After he goes to work, with the help of the CIA, she departs for Columbia. When Quinn finds out she has left he is furious and goes after her. He thinks the situation is too dangerous and seeks to take her home one way or another. Unfortunately, he is injured in the process.
The story is good, but I did not find it thrilling. I found Quinn to be over the top. I understand the character is supposed to be a macho tough guy, but I also saw him as overbearing, arrogant and perhaps somewhat psychotic. His fear of not being seen as an alpha male made me think he was a very insecure person. If Eve should ever leave him, I could envision him as a stalker.
I rate this as a four. The story was not hard to read but I never felt that excitement to turn the page is see what happened next.
This author is a best seller with millions of copies of her books in print, nearly twice as much as I have, so my opinion may not count as much.
Okay, I may have insinuated that I’ve got more books in print than I actually have, so sue me. You wouldn’t get much.
I just finished on writing by Stephen King. I have wanted to read it for some time but never got around to it. Until someone bought it for me.
It you’re not familiar with the book, Mr. King wrote it in 1999 and it was published in the year 2000.
The first part of the book is a memoir. It speaks about his early years and what led him to where he is today. Like many people he had to struggle to finally make it up the ladder. He got plenty of rejection slips and made mistakes along the way. But he kept his focus moving from short story to novelist. I found this section interesting, but I liked the second section of the book better.
Like the name of the book, the second part of the book was titled on writing. In this section he talked about the craft of writing. He spoke plainly, going into detail about what he thought worked and didn’t work. He told of other successful authors, of how their styles differed. He disagreed with some of the writer’s norms, but I don’t want to reveal too much of the good stuff. I think you should read it for yourself.
Overall, I thought it was a great book and not as stuffy as some of the other“how to” books.
Patience is required both when writing a book and when one is attempting to get it traditionally published. From the first contact with a literary agent, it takes weeks, even months before you hear back from the agent or agency. The exception is the person with plenty of money and/or great connections. Most celebrities who write books don't have to go through all the stress and hard work that the average person must go through to get a publishing contract.
Rejection slips are part of most writer's lives. People like Stephen King and J. K. Rowling received plenty of them before they were published. For most aspiring writers this is a part of life.
I have queried several literary agencies in search of an agent to represent my manuscript/novel "The Awakening". I have gotten several rejections and I am still waiting to hear back from a couple of others. I have learned a few things along the way.
I bought a book titled "Guide to literary agents". It not only lists agents and agencies, but it offers a lot of helpful hints. I recommend it but don't use it exclusively.
I began on the first page of the list of literary agents. I checked under the heading of each agency to see if they were accepting manuscripts for the genre that I am writing in. In this case I looked for those who accepted science fiction stories. Then I look up the agency on the internet. Sometimes you will find differences between the book and the website but it's usually pretty close. Definitely go by the website. It should be the most up to date.
The book tells you how to submit to these agencies, but it is a general recommendation. All the agencies I have come across tell you what they want and how to submit your material. Very rarely will an agency accept snail mail. They want it electronically. And I can't imagine sending it any other way.
A few agencies want you to send your material through their email often requesting that it be incorporated in the body of the email. That's fairly easy. It's just a matter of copying and pasting. Then there's the other way which it seems that more agencies are gravitating to. They have a portal. You simply fill in the spaces with the information requested and hit "submit". I wish all of them were like that.
What the agencies are requesting are pretty much the same. This refers mostly to fiction. To start with they want your name, the title of your book, and the word count. They require a query letter. This is to introduce yourself. Some of them ask for specific information, such as experience. A synopsis is often required. It usually consists of one or two pages but go with what they specifically ask for. Sample pages are also required. They can range from a few pages to several chapters. Some will ask you to name a book that's similar to yours and how your book is different.
My advice is to follow their directions as close as possible. These agents get a ton of submissions, and you wouldn't want to get turned down on a simple technicality.
I am still seeking a literary agent for my science fiction novel. It has been a couple of months now and I have had three rejections. One letter, a personal response, was encouraging. The agent said she loved the concept and there were some good qualities in the story but unfortunately it wasn't quite right for them. It's depressing to get turned down, but most successful authors have racked up quite a bit of rejection slips before finally making it. Also, agencies ask for only a few sample pages along with a synopsis and your bio to make a decision. I can understand that, though. Most agencies get hundreds to thousands of queries every month. They don't have time to read entire novels unless they feel strongly that one has merits.
Currently I have two queries out to literary agents. One I submitted a month ago. The other was just a couple of weeks ago. It may be days or weeks before I hear from either one of them.
Something else has come up. I submitted my manuscript directly to ANGRY ROBOT PUBLISHING COMPANY. It is a publishing company located in the UK but accepts authors worldwide. They accept mostly science fiction. Normally you have to have an agent, but once a year they accept manuscripts without an agent. I was lucky, or blessed, to find them right at the time that they were open to new authors. I sent them the first three chapters. If they like what they read, they will request the rest of the manuscript. Here's hoping!
On September 30 I submitted a request for representation from The Knight Literary Agency.
I first found out about this agency from a Facebook ad. They seemed to be what I was looking for. They appeared professional and listed several clients who went on to become bestselling authors. Though I hadn't finished my novel it was nice to have a target to shoot for. And even though their website sold me I still searched for information on them to be certain they were legitimate. I found information on them in a book titled Guide to Literary Agents. This book was endorsed by the senior editor of Writer's Digest. I was convinced. I decided this would be my first, and hopefully last stop in finding an agent for my book.
This act of acquiring an agent tends to be a long process and is by no means a given. First of all, the agency receives over 1,000 submissions a month and only a handful are accepted. This is fairly normal for all the legitimate agencies. It is also just the first step.
This agency has a portal where you submit all the required information. Each agent has their own portal so there may be some differences, especially regarding fiction and non-fiction works. Here are the items I had to submit: Personal information such as name, email, website (though not required), blog (though not required), and Twitter handle (again not required). Required items are word count, query letter, synopsis, bio, and first 10 pages. Now I have to wait to see if there will be a next step. For this agent it can take up to 8 weeks to hear back. If the agent is interested they will ask for the entire manuscript. Then it's another long wait. Tick tock.
I have downloaded my first chapter on my site. The novel is science fiction. See if you think I have a chance.
Moving forward I have decided to seek traditional publication for my next book. I realize that as an unknown and someone who has some age on them this will most likely be a difficult task to achieve. But I think it's the right move. I seek a larger audience and a feeling of legitimacy that I can't get with self-publishing.
As I go I will document my ups and downs. I don't expect a smooth ride. In fact there may be a lot more downs than ups. In the end though I expect success. Either way It is sure to be a learning experience.
I can't rightfully call this day one because the book is not finished. I have finished my first draft but I still have a long way to go. I am starting again on page one. I am looking for misspelled words and grammatical errors with the help of an app called Grammarly. At this time I will also be seeking to improve on my characters and the plot. The manuscript may get larger or smaller depending on what I find. Like other authors sometimes I think I made something perfectly clear to the reader but on second look I realized that I didn't. I hope to improve on the book quite a bit on this second draft. A third draft will be necessary to make sure I didn't miss anything.
Currently the manuscript is right at 70,000 words. I see that as a reasonable length for a novel. I've read that publishers don't generally like big manuscripts from new authors.
I plan to pass on what I learn to other aspiring authors. Something that I can pass on right now is that whatever story your writing has to be great and it has to be unique. It can't be adequate or simply good. There is way too much competition out there. If you're already well known then ignore what I just said. Even if you can't write you can always hire yourself a ghost writer. Or if you're financially well-off maybe "Ghost Rider". Though I don't know how good of a writer he is.
I do plan to continue marketing my books and writing others that may be self-published. The truth is I don't know for sure what I'll be doing in the future. It just depends on what's happening at the time. So, I'll just see where this road takes me.
I've been gone for a while but I'm back.
I am a writer. I write in different genres. I can't help it. My mind is always wandering. I think about what would have been and what could have been. I sometimes tell wild tales and ask that you believe me. I try to add interesting and believable characters to support my claims. My stories are generally serious but sometimes I seek to add a little humor to them.
I don't like tooting my own horn. I am somewhat biased. I would rather you look at the reviews of my book and see what you think. If you like one of my books try another.
My most popular book is a Christian fiction book. It has a lot of good reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads.
Title: The old man and the girl.
Now for a quick commercial and back to the story.
The Entity is another one of my books that has done well. It is more of a horror/thriller/occult type of story. It has a lot of characters. It involves a wild dog, possessions, and other dimensions.
I won't go through all my stories. That would be tooting my own horn.
I am almost finished another book. I say almost because this is my first draft. I have to go through the book at least one more time. After that I hope to get a couple of readers to give an opinion of it.
I am considering seeking traditional publishing for this one. If I do it may be a couple of years before it's out in print. Since I'm a nobody I don't expect to have publishers knocking at my door.
I guess that's all I can bore you with today.
This novel jumps right into the action. A thunderstorm is brewing but nothing like Molly had ever seen. When she looked out her window, she noticed that the rain was faintly luminescent. Within the falling rain, she witnessed wolves gathering on her front porch. A strange calmness washed over her, and she sensed that they would not harm her. She stepped out onto her front porch. The wolves, with their tails tucked, neither growled nor barred their teeth at her.
Molly and her husband leave their house to find the world suddenly changed. It has become dark and sinister. Many are dead. Even so, the dead talk as if they weren’t. Amid this great chaos, she is befriended by a dog who leads her to believe that she needs to gather up all the children.
This book reminds me a lot of another one of his books: 77 Shadow Street. Both present a world that is overcome with evil things. The difference is that 77 Shadow Street centers around a hotel.
I find that Dean Koontz relies a lot on his descriptions. For the most part, I think they add a lot to the story. In regard to this book, however, I found some of them a little awkward. My opinion is that in some instances a simpler description would have been better.
The story felt monotonous to me as well. There were little surprises and the ending was a little anticlimactic.
I give this book a 4. It was a decent book but not his best.
Most days I'm sane but occasionally I drift off into a fantasy world where up is down and down is up and nothing makes a lot of sense. It's on one of those days that I wrote the story below.
I was sitting in my recliner the other day watching television when I felt a tickling on my arm. I looked and at once saw a black spider about the size of a dime. In that instant, it seemed to be shimmering like a half-dead firefly. But I cannot be sure because I instantly swept it away with my hand. I jumped out of my seat and looked for the small critter. It should have been on the carpet but I did not see it. I moved my chair thinking it might have crawled underneath it. There was no sign of it. I shifted the coffee table which was a few feet in front of the chair. Nothing, nada. That was disappointing. I would not feel safe until I had killed it.
I checked my arm to be certain that it had not already bitten me and for some reason, I hadn’t felt it. I could see no indication that the arachnid had punctured my skin. That was good. Though the chance that this spider was like the one that had bitten Peter Parker was astronomical, it was not impossible.
I live outside a small town, not a big city. This was not the type of environment that a spider person could thrive.
I ran a scenario in my head of what it would be like if I should become another spider man. It was not good. To fight crime in the city I would have to drive myself to town. There are no big buildings from here to there that I could shoot my web to and swing myself forward. The best I could do would be to try to hit a few trees and hope the branches held. And probably for half the time, I would even have to walk. That would be a little embarrassing and it would be hard to hide my identity.
It wouldn’t be much easier once I reached town. The courthouse is the largest building in the town, and it is only three stories high. Furthermore, it sets on a large plot of land that is separated from the retail shops, businesses, and restaurants. It is too far away for me to swing between the courthouse and the other establishments.
Swinging through the rest of downtown wouldn’t be much easier. The buildings down Main street are either single or two-story. If I tried swinging through town on a web I would likely run into pedestrians or skim across the sidewalks. Even if I were successfully staying high enough off the ground my journey would only be a matter of minutes. I would run out of buildings and be out of town.
It was unlikely that I would find any high-profile criminals around here anyway. My biggest fights would likely be with small-time drug dealers or shoplifters. I do not think it would even be worth making the costume. Besides,I couldn’t make the costume like the one in the comic books and the movies anyway. I am sure Marvel or Disney has a trademark or a patent on the suit.
I can’t sew. That would be a problem if I needed a suit. I guess I would have to hire someone and hope they wouldn’t reveal my identity.
It was after that thought that I checked myself again. No bite marks. I searched the area again for the spider. It seems the creature had disappeared.
Hopefully, the spider won’t return. I don’t want to have to move to the big city and fight crime. I’ve gotten comfortable living in a small town. Besides, it sounds like too much work.
The first Stephen King book I read was “The Stand”. Undeniably it was a great story. But what drew me into this story more than anything else were the characters. He painted them so magnificently that I felt like I knew them. And this was not a story of three or four characters. There were plenty of them. Yet, none of them were the same. This was not simply a matter of changing their hair styles, or the color of their eyes. He displayed their inner being that distinguished one personality from another. These were not simply cardboard people. I could see them in my mind’s eye.
Some would disagree with me but to me the characters are the main heart of a story. Though the storyline might be ingeniously written, but if the characters seem phony then it is not going to seem believable.
Here are a few steps to create real, believable characters.
1) You must become the character that you write about. Any serious actor will spend a great deal of time getting to know the person he is to portray. In some ways the writer must do the same. You must first believe in this character you are creating before you can expect others to believe. It is a good idea to know more about your character than you actually put on the page.
2) Find the voice of the character. If you know your character, then you should have some idea of how he speaks. Is he loud and boisterous, is he timid, is his voice soft or harsh, does his words exude confidence, is he negative, impatient, does he have a draw, does he use words incorrectly, does he repeat himself, etcetera.
3) Match the mood of the story. If the story becomes tense the dialogue should go with it. If done right it will intensify the mood, making the story richer and will serve to move and/or deepen the plot.
4) Pacing. Dialogue in a story can speed up or slow down the speed of the story. To speed it up you should use short, quick remarks, often words that displays an urgency to the scene. To slow down the pace you would want to expand the dialogue making it seem less of an urgency.
5) Create realistic dialogue as the conflict rises. Not every dialogue is the same. Some should be avoided. Some should be embraced.
1) Avoid a dialogue that goes nowhere. If the dialogue does not advance the scene by adding some type of insight, then it should be avoided.
2) Avoid leaping. Don’t jump directly from problem to solution. There should be some steps in between. If not, the reader is likely to feel cheated and mentally dizzy from the jump.
3) Embrace a gradual rise. Move the story along in slow steps, increasing the level of suspense and should help lead the story to a satisfactory ending.
6) Dialogue is a necessary part of any story, but don’t let it overwhelm the narrative. Like the adage goes; actions often speak louder than words.
7) Avoid dialogue that repeats what the reader has already been told through action or previous dialogue. This is a rather obvious note but sometimes we forget what we created earlier in the story.
8) Read the dialogue aloud. Make sure it sounds natural to the character. A professional businessperson would not normally speak the same as a blue-collar-worker. The same with people from the north compared with people from the south. Like anything in life there are exceptions to these statements. But if there is no reason for these deviations it can make the character seem unreal. Having a famed surgeon speak like a mob boss will likely cause the reader to lose interest in the story.
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I consider myself a writer. Not the best, but I'm working on it.