M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

An Easier Contest

See Contest Information Below:

My Book Review ...   

Found Glass Houses by  Rachel Caine, the first book in the Morganville vampire series, in a used book store, it's face pointed out to entice potential buyers.  Since I'd seen it on the New York Times best seller lists ... and I've been exploring series, I thought I'd pick it up.  The Morganville vampire series is up to 9 volumes if I remember right ... I may misremember sin I got caught up reading the sample chapters on the Rachel Caine site.  [It's almost midnight, and I'm not going back to the site to check.]   

At first, I thought the writing was somewhat unfocused and wishie-washie ... but after a chapter, I decided the tentative narrative style fit the viewpoint character.  Even with an unsure MC, Caine lays on the action until the tension's tight. Lots happens in each chapter, and the information is parceled out so you hardly realize it's being given to you.  In case you missed it, no info dumps or tons of back story.

The book starts off with nasty college hazing/bullying scenes and the danger tightens for the first third of the book until the main character (MC) learns the town is run by vampires.  The second third gives more character and danger details plus the info the vampires are searching for a book which the MC, then, searches for and finds.  The last third starts off with the underage MC parent's giving her an ultimatum to return home -- but the real conflict comes from a vampire attack to retrieve the book.  The ending comes in true series form by posing more questions than it answers.

Verdict:  Still debating on whether to put it on the trade pile or read more in the series.

Web Comments ...    
Kevin Hearne talks about alpha readers, beta readers, and editors -- both agent and publishers -- on his blog.  He presents the process his books take, a process that underlines that writing isn't the isolated activity of the garret artist stereotype.

In his words:  "Nobody writes perfect, golden prose on their first draft. Or even their second or third. I could be wrong...but I doubt it."  His position:  they get help, lots of it.

Progress ...  
I don't think Voices wants an ending, aka none. 

I keep revising Britt ... Worse thing I've been finding is redundancies ... where I say the same thing twice.  You know the bit, first a tell the reader "it" ... and then, show "it".  Or, vice versa.  --  And, yes, I do make other goof-ups.  Just talk to my critiquer.

Queries:  I think I'm revving up and sending queries for Emma again.  The three queries that are still outstanding come "due" in June.  Since I'll be gone a good share of July, I better get some queries out ... in case any agents reject me fast. ... How's that for a positive attitude?

Choosing agents to query is always a major research project.  Trying to find an agent who's inclinations fit the territory you like to write in is the problem.  At the moment, I'm researching agents who represent ... adult, young adult, and middle grade (though Emma is basically a tween).  While the list is shorter than for YA and/or MG, there are quite a few of them.  [Believe it or not.]

Why all three?  Well, now that I'm revising Britt ... I think I'll go back and see what Mariah looks like when I'm finished. ...  Then, there are the other 2 plus 2-halves-possible- novels drafted, a total of five books if I could whip them into shape.  Guess most writers would lock them in a trunk and throw away the key.  My reading on series ... with more in line ... is making me rethink.

Hey, I spent months of my life writing the pieces and I like the characters.  Even more, I like the world I created where I explore the issues of genetic drift and technological change.  It's a challenge to try to turn them into books -- even unpublished ones.

I'm sure I'll be looking at Emma again if she gets rejected enough.

No, I don't know what I'd do if an agent actually offered me a contract ... beside go into shock. 

The New Contest:

Went to three bookstores over the weekend.  Traded away about four feet of paperbacks.  Brought back about a foot of new stuff ... including a vampire series of all things.  [Not the Morganville vampires.]  How long will it take me to read them at a rate of two books a week?   

Prize:  Will draw from the best quess-timents for a boxed set of Philip Pullman's Compass series -- His Dark Materials. (lightly used)  Would make a nice gift even if you aren't interested in reading it.  Think of summer reading programs for kids interested in fantasy.

Only three requirements for entrants:
1)  Have to live in US.
2)  Have to mention on your blog that I'm running the contest.  (Tweeting would be nice but not required.)
3)  Leave a comment here with your guess on how long it'd take me to read the foot high pile of books I just bought ... and have sitting on my dining room table.

I'll draw from the closest mathematical guesses on June 1st for the prize..

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