Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Book's Theme In One Sentence

As she finds herself unemployed, relocated and playing caretaker, Ellie Rossman seeks new happiness.

I don't think I've posted this before. (But even if so, it's a bit altered - made better - from what it used to be.) So as I sat at my computer, looking at the strip of paper on which my theme is typed (it's taped to my monitor), I decided I could put it in writing here.

Thoughts? Comments?

...It's been said you should be able to put your book's theme into mere words. Hence my sentence. What's yours?

Monday, April 28, 2008

POV Is A Tricky Thing

I thought I had it planned out well from the beginning. And I told myself I wouldn't change it. But now, after having written my entire manuscript in first person point of view (POV), I've decided it needs to be third person POV (past tense, more than likely limited).

I'd started pondering the possibility of such a change a week or so ago, and by Saturday I was convinced it's what needs to happen.

Going through the ms for this change, much of which I've already edited, both daunts and excites me. It will be a mundane, time-consuming task to convert all the Is and mines to shes and hers. But I think it'll give way to a better story, and prove helpful for my job of showing vs. telling.

Has anyone else made a similar change so late in the process?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Another Meme

Just for fun, I'm participating in the meme found over at Melanie Avila's blog What Am I Doing In Mexico?. The idea is to list 6 things about you that are unique or unknown. Typically I have a hard time with things of this nature, but I'll try to think outside the box...

1) I was forced to watch the movie Psycho as a child (that, or watch a little black-and-white tv in a dark room, all by myself), one day at summer camp when it was too rainy to ride horses. My big sister covered my eyes during the scariest parts, but to this day I still shower facing the back of the stall.

2) I religiously moisturize my face with pure Vitamin E cream. It costs a whole lot less than fancy moisturizers, makes my skin smooth and soft and has, over the years, eliminated the redness/scarring from the problematic skin I had as a youth.

3) If it had been at all possible, I'd have done anything to star in High School Musical 2. Love, love, love it!

4) I'd eat tortilla chips and dips and/or salsa for every meal if I could.

5) I'm a very serious bargain shopper. If it's not clearance (with the acception of food), I'm rarely interested.

6) I have more books than bookshelves. I hope to one day remedy that.

What about you? Do you have 6 facts you'll share?

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Fiction Class - A Book Review

To begin, here's the passage from the back of the book The Fiction Class by Susan Breen:

"On paper, Arabella Hicks is more than qualified to teach a weekly fiction class on New York's Upper West Side: She's an author herself; she's passionate about books; she's even named after the herione in a Georgette Heyer novel.

So why do her students seem so difficult? And why can't she find an ending to the novel she has been working on for seven years? Arabella's beginning to suspect that it's because her mother, Vera Hicks, is driving her insane. After each class, she goes to see Vera in a nursing home outside the city. Every visit turns into an argument. Arabella can't figure out how to make peace, until one day she discovers something surprising: Her mother wants to be a writer.

Slowly, cautiously, Arabella begins to teach her, and as the lessons progress along with her class, Arabella discovers that it is she who has a lot to learn about writing, and about love."

And now for my review:

As The Fiction Class, the story of Arabella Hicks, began, I was seemingly unaffected. Susan Breen's protagonist was dull, dissatisfied. Her affect as the teacher of an uninspired class, and the friction between she and her mother, Vera, didn't create a character I was readily able to connect with.

Formatting of the novel, which jumped from writing class to visit with Vera back to writing class, felt jarring to me. And the flow of Breen's more formal prose seemed stuffy, surreal.

But then, before I knew it, I realized with surprise that Arabella had grown on me. Through Breen's turns of phrase, which eventually came to resound so poignantly within me, I'd become used to Arabella's eccentricity. She was a more relatable character than I'd expected, and I found myself invested in her story. I felt sympathy as she faced her class and visits with Vera, and just as she began to see once-hidden layers in her students, and in her mother, I saw the same in her.

All said and done, The Fiction Class was a satisfying novel. The dynamics between Arabella and the supporting characters - particularly a love interest - made for an entertaining read. And the closure reached by book's end, made the discomfort between Arabella and Vera strangely worthwhile.

Susan Breen is one whose books, should she write more, will grace my nightstand.

You can view other reviews for The Fiction Class, by visiting Blog Stop Book Tours.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Teaser

On April 14th I'll be posting a book review here at Something She Wrote. The book in question? It's The Fiction Class by Susan Breen.

Did I like it? Will I deem it a great new classic all voracious readers should pore over? Or did I find it unsatisfactory, tossing the paperback from the window of a moving vehicle? Somewhere in between?

Come back this Monday and find out!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Edits Abound!

I'm one of those goobs who actually enjoys doing edits. I really like diggin' in to polish things up, and find great satisfaction in doing so.

It's going pretty well with edits on my manuscript, if I do say so myself. But I'd have never figured so many edits were needed! I know that sounds presumptuous; that's not how I mean it. It's just that I've always been the kind to edit as I go, as much as I can, and I'd been pretty happy with the first several chapters at each one's completion. I assumed it'd be quick to breeze through 'em. But, man, was I mistaken.

I've been surprised at how much needs tweaking - or just plain deleting. Having been away from those early chapters for so long, it was with completely fresh eyes that my official edits began. And I've been seeing so many ways to make everything better. I only hope it continues to go well, with a smooth flow to the end!