Lessons from My Reading

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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Friday, July 2, 2010

A Scary book for Summer

The Reading for Today ...
Actually the "reading" was from the first part of the week.  I finished reading the young adult book Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender before the NYC son showed up to escape the humidity.  Imagine an atypical town where people live in the same spot for generations.  Next imagine a revengeful ghost seeking to punish townspeople (children) for past slights ... oh okay, for bullying and manslaughter.  Add some good writing and you have one scary book filled with tension as the characters try to solve the mystery of why the main character's sister is acting so strangely.

While every parent is "absentee" to some degree [One can never know everything your kid gets into, and I'm not sure it's healthy to be glued to every part of your child's life.] -- this is another example of casual parenting. The mother is concerned with a promotion at work, and the father is laid up in the hospital by the first "accident" cause by the possessing ghost.  This leaves the high school daughter, Alexis, having to cope with her middle grade sister's increasing strangeness (Kasey).  To make it even more interesting, the two girls live in the house where the first murder/manslaughter took place.

I liked the minimalist rendition of the story arc.  No gore, but plenty strangeness.  The most telling was the changing of Kasey's eyes from blue to green as well as the change in her vocabulary.  There's also the standard stuff like doors opening and slamming on their own.  Water boiling on an unlit stove.  Eerier, was a twelve-year-old's ability to make adults do her bidding.  Alexis manages to put the pieces of the puzzle together, with a little help from unexpected high school allies, in time to save the day.  To say more would be a spoiler.

Perhaps the lack of a firm opening hook was the most surprising here.  The opening page set an eerie atmosphere, and the next page shattered it by explaining that Alexis was into art photography -- in this case taking pictures of a misty moon breaking through a tattered veil.  Later on in the book, Alexis' photography skills become a crucial factor in solving the mystery.

Progress ????
Okay, I sort of tacked an ending on Voices of Ghost Creek.  My first through tenth? ending always stink.  For some reason I just rush at a "power" walk when I should sort of meander a bit to take the time to explain what's going on.  We're talking a few sentences scattered here and there. 

Another problem:  I'm just not an emotional person, and it yells loud and clear in my writing.

So, I need to print the piece today and get it ready for revision when we come back from the family trek.

The other last thing I need to do is send a critique to a critique partner, but I'm having problems explaining why his drunk scenes aren't working even though the premise of his short story is good -- getting caught in conflicting time loops.  I'll worry about that this afternoon.

Trivia ...
We're off to the west coast to visit family ... only problem we couldn't fit a visit to the ocean within the constraints imposed by the garden.  At least, we've been picking a few raspberries as they ripen.

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