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.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Does Writing Openings Paralyze You?

My Book Review [aka Comments]:
Okay, I know about the importance of a book's opening sentence, paragraph and chapters.  They perform the important hooking function of luring the reader deeper into the book, but oh, is it sweatful.  That and the cover and book blurb are major selling points when you look at a book on the rack.  Yeah, Nora Roberts' The Search hooked me with the first chapter and the  blurb about rescue dogs.  I picked it up because rescue dogs interest me even though I'm a cat person. In short, Roberts lured me out of my reading zone.

Then, reality set in.  The book's almost 500 words long, long enough to be a pain in the butt if you try to read it in less than a week.  But, that wasn't the reason I found myself skimming the book half-way through.  I felt the thriller [suspense novel ?] got bogged down in the detail.  

Still, there's a lot to like, especially if you're a romance reader. [I'm not.]  Still, I liked Roberts lip-lock scenes in this book.  They weren't all sugary and weak-kneed but kept a fair amount of heat between two interesting adults.  If you want to read a book about a survivor,  The Search will give you a good read ... provided you are trying to kill lots of free time.  I'll even grant that you might like to read romances.

Bonus Review:
Sins Out of School  [a Dorothy Martin mystery] by Jeanne M. Dams ... starts with the premise: what can go wrong when a teacher takes on a substitute assignment. [We'll pause while teachers shudder.]  In this case, it's a murder. The book is a nice, if somewhat predictable, cozy mystery about an sleuth who's an American living in Britain.  Again, I guess my definition of fantasy stretches to this book since I can't quite accept that such places ever existed except in never-never Britain.

Lessons in My Reading:
Slow but sure does it.  Still haven't done much on the book review front, but I did discover a blog about the Five Best Ebook Stores at Lifehacker. In short, the places where your ebook should be.  They list these ebook stores: Google ebooks, Project Gutenberg, Kobo, B&N Nook, and Amazon Kindle.  WolfSinger Press took care of the Kobo, B&N, and Amazon for Taking Vengeance

Ugh.  I have more research to do for Cavern Between Worlds since I self-published it.  It's up on Smashwords which includes Kobo.  The rest will have to wait until I start charging for the book in August.  [Just like that, there's another item added to my to-do list.] --  One bit of information for self-publishers:  you can set your book up for Pub It [B&N] and Kindle [Amazon] on Smashwords.

Yeah, the book review requests keep going to the back burner, mostly because I'm really concentrating on writing new stuff so I can publish something else, maybe.  I'm trying write more pointed scenes in the draft rather have my characters drift around in an interesting situation. Found Kathryn Craft's blog about Critique Speak at the Blood Red Pencil quite pertinent.  The goal is to present sharp, crisp scenes that intrigue my critiquers the first time around.

There's another reason for the slowness in the review process -- time.  Finding places to submit your review means you have to read several possibilities to make sure they review your genre.  Then, there's no guarantee you'll get reviewed once you get added to their queue.  Still, I image much of my not-so-free time on the web will be spent going through my lists.  The two best lists I've found stress indie books:  Simon Royke's the Indie Book Reviewer and the Reviewer List.  I'm hoping for two reviews from 100 cold calls.

Okay, in spite of complaining about how busy I am, we're going to see the last Harry Potter.  I expect a grand spectacle after a nice lunch.  No, I'm not all sad that Harry Potter's ending.  I enjoyed reading the books, but often the movies did a better job telling a story.  

My recommendation:  all writers should read to marvel at the world J. K. Rowling created.  Her writing would make an anthropologist proud.
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