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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Monday, June 1, 2015

Designing a Puzzling Who-Dun-It? Use Multiple Viewpoints to Solve Your Mystery

    Sometimes I find surprising reads in my dusty to-read piles. Mostly, I just shift an old book to the trade pile after a glance at the blurb, knowing it'll probably end up at Goodwill or Arc. Last week I discovered Neggers' The Widow, a romantic suspense novel with police procedural vibes in an isolated stack I eliminated. The opening of Neggers book hooked me enough to interrupt my reading of another book, adding a nice sub-plot.

   Is there such a thing as a sensible romance? Well, The Widow depicts one, making the book a nice cross-genre romance/who-dun-it. Maybe, this happened because the locale was in Maine where "blood" runs colder? Maybe, because the lovers were adults? Maybe, the author considered the mystery more important than the romance. Whatever, the romance offers its own suspense element in addition to the mystery.

   What I liked most about The Widow was the differing viewpoints on two related murders that happened near the same sea cliffs years apart by the cast of characters. While there were a diverse set of suspects and friends, I found their characterization a little flat. Oh, they all stood out as individuals, but they all seemed too consistent, even Abigail, who was trying to solve her husband's cold case murder. None of them do anything unexpected, not even the perp. While they weren't stick figures, the characters plowed their straight and narrow paths through the plot.

   Recommended because the books gives the reader lots of plausible suspects in two different murders. At the same time, Neggers tells a smooth flowing story that keeps a reader guessing as Abigail confronts the locals without any official authority to investigate. Read a plot summary and more reviews on
Amazon     and      Barnes & Noble.

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   Ever wondered about the online book review process? Anne R. Allen has written an interesting blog about book reviews -- Paid Reviews: Why Writers Should Never Buy Amazon Reviews -- which even readers will find interesting. It sorta underlines how important reviews are to writers, and what a favor you do for them when your review their books--even if it's only two sentences.

    Found another blog about bookstores on Mashable that made me smile. Actually, a couple of the clips made me laugh out loud. If you like bookstores, take a look I even pinned one of the videos. Did any of them intrigue you enough to share or pin it?

How about a contest?
   Guess which one of the book videos on Mashable I pinned at Pinterest, and I'll send you a free PDF The Ghostcrow. All you have to do is email me your guess to mkkaytheod at yahoo. I'll send you a PDF of the estory if you guess right. That way you don't have your email in my comments section.



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My Writing Rut

   Don't think I'm really in a rut, but I'm not progressing very fast with On the Run. This last week I wrote two new chapters ... only they were "back fill". Did a new first chapter from a demon's point of view. Actually think Neggers influenced me here. My Half-Elven stories/drafts have multiple viewpoints. But my self-published Andor stories are all single viewpoint stories, if I remember right.

   Then, I added anothing chapter where Pillar is given a choice to stay or go to the Bittermounts. Of course, she chooses to go to the Bittermounts in spite of the dangers from stalkers, which is now more real with the new first chapter rather than just hear-say.

   Too bad I'm such a messy writer. If I get editing done on the chapters, I may be posting an excerpt from the new first chapter at my website.

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