Sometimes, when I’m not writing, I get the best ideas…

So, let’s face it, Christmas is a busy time of the year.  I also had a family funeral a few days later.  Consequently, I haven’t hardly done any writing in about a month.  It was probably good.  I was at a point where there were a few things about the book that were bothering me, but that I didn’t quite know how to fix.  And so the title for this post.  Sometimes, when I don’t know what to do, it’s better if I do nothing at all and let the problem sit in my brain for a bit.  I usually think about it as I’m falling asleep at night, and more often than not, the problem sorts itself out. 

In my current case, I think I know exactly what I’m going to do, and I think it will make it better.  It just kind of came to me one night.  I had a scene in the very first chapter where I needed certain things to happen, but the way they were happening just seemed a little forced to me.  I knew I couldn’t really cut something, I had to present it differently.  And now I know what to do.  The second section that was bothering me was  a scene where essential information was presented in dialog, but it seemed to drag.  Again, everything that was there needs to be there, it just isn’t presented right.  And now I think it will be.  So…long story short.  Although I haven’t gotten a lot of writing done, I have solved two problems that have been bothering me for months.

Anyone else ever feel the same?

Character motivation

I was reading over at Diane Gallant’s blog about the frustrations of character motivation.  It seems that others have the same problem I have:  the characters do things that totally make sense to me and I assume everyone else will totally get it, when in reality, there needs to be a little more explanation.  This has been pointed out to me quite a few times by one of my beta readers, who is always telling me to show what my characters are feeling, to get into their heads.  I have to admit, it has made the book a lot better to show my readers what my characters are doing, instead of just watching them do it.  I think it provides a lot more character development, and it lets the reader identify more with the character — because they can feel with them, instead of just watching.  And as an additional bonus, I’ve added quite a few “showing” scenes that weren’t in any of the first drafts.  Some of those scenes are actually now included in my favorite scenes catory (if there is such a thing).


I know, I know, I haven’t posted for a while.  I’ve been sending out queries — so far no good news, but I haven’t heard back from over half of the agents I’ve sent to.  I’m going to continue sending and hopefully one of those will love it.

I’m getting ready to work hard on my second book again.  I have some great scene ideas in mind that need to get on paper before I forget them.

Other than that, there isn’t much new going on.  Just keep your fingers crossed for me on the query front.

The great search for an agent…

Yesterday I started seriously sending out queries.  Scary.  It’s not even that I’m devastated when I get a rejection.  I’m not, really.  It’s more worry that all I’ll get is rejections.  You only need one yes, but what if it doesn’t come?

I have quite an extensive list of agents who represent young adult authors, and who don’t specifically state they won’t accept fantasy.  My question to all of you is:  What names do you have of agents in this category.  I’ve looked at all the websites and data bases.  I’ve checked books I like and found who their agents are, and yet I still find names I’ve never heard of before.  I’d love anyone’s input.  Even smaller agents or newer agents would be fine.  (Sometimes they’re the best because they’re still building a client list.)

And thanks in advance to anyone who replies.

Book Review: “Brisingr” by Christopher Paolini

I finished “Brisingr” yesterday and thought I’d give my review — just in case anyone out there wants to know whether it’s worth it or not.  There will be a few spoilers, so read at your own risk.

I liked the book a lot.  I liked where Paolini took his characters and I liked how he shaped the events that will lead to the last book (which I hope doesn’t take as long to come out, but have a feeling it will).  I had three things about the book I especially liked.  First, when Arya was in the book, I liked the interaction between her and Eragon better.  There wasn’t that “are we friends, or not” stuff that kept going through “Eldest.”  In my opinion I think she should just admit she’s in love with him and get it over with.  But, I’m not the one writing the story.  Second, I predicted after “Eldest” that Brom was going to be Eragon’s father, not Morzan.  And I was right!!  (I so love being right.)  It just always seemed that it made more sense for Brom to be his father.  And third, I loved the whole search for a sword thing.  I was a little disappointed with how the “find the weapon under the Menoa tree” went (it seemed a little anticlimactic), but then when they made the sword, I liked how it all worked out.  And the name of the sword and what it  does are awesome.

One thing I liked and didn’t like at the same time was the interaction between Nasadua and Roran.  I can kind of see how she handled things (and it does seem in her character and it does make Roran stronger), but I think there would have been other ways of dealing with the siutation.

In conclusion, I really liked the book.  However, as with his other books, sometimes the paragraphs and paragraphs of descriptions (i.e. what it looks like for Saphira and Eragon to stare down at the Jiet river — again, and again, and … well you get the idea), just get monotonous for me.  I want something to happen.  I want a little more action here and there.  In the acknowledgement section at the end, Paolini says that his editor had him cut 200 pages.  I think there might have been a little more to cut,  but that’s just my opinion.  I like to get a feel for the scene, but when I start skimming because there’s just too much description, well…you get the idea.

I really like this series and would recommend it, especially to people who like fantasy.  The story is great and original and the characters are interesting.  It’s definitely worth the read.

“Brisingr” — Christopher Paolini

I don’t know how many of you have read Christopher Paolini’s books, but I personally like them.  Sometimes I think he gets a little long-winded (and I seriously wonder why his editor didn’t cut more material), but the story is great!!  I read “Eragon” after it had been out for about a year and “Eldest” right after it’s release.  I’m excited to get “Brisingr” tomorrow.  I hope it is as good as I want it to be.

Anyone who follows this series probably already knows that this third book was originally supposed to be the last in the series.  Not any more.  Paolini decided he had too much story left to tell and he added a book.  So…there’s still one more to come.  I sincerely hope he doesn’t wait another three or more years to release the fourth book.  I honestly think that because it’s been so long since the release of “Eldest” that some of the hype has died down and that people aren’t as interested.  I may be wrong, but I just don’t know very many people (besides those I’ve give the books to) that have read this series.  Maybe I just know the wrong people, though, because it’s been a New York Times Bestseller.

So everyone go to your local bookstore tomorrow (or Wal Mart, in my case) and pick up a copy of “Brisingr.”  Hopefully it will meet expectations.

OK, OK, I love Chapter 8, and the revisions were definitely worth it.

Because I’d worked so hard on chapters 7 and 8 I was feeling a little edgy on whether or not they were good.  I mean, did I really fix the problems my betas had pointed out?  Would they still have concerns?  Trying to get a clearer answer, I sent the two chapters (fully edited) back to one of my betas and asked her to skim through and see what she thought.  It was great news.  She really liked the changes, thought the scene and characters were a lot better developed, and even pointed out a few particular details she really liked.  So now I’m happy again and confident that things are going well.

A few thoughts on my writing…

The process of writing a novel is interesting.  The first thing I do is write a rough draft.  I have so many ideas swirling around in my head that I want to get them all written down, even if the writing is terrible and the story isn’t quite smoothed out yet.

With my first book, I took that rough draft and fixed punctuation and the sentences that weren’t good and I had a few friends read it and like it.  I figured it was good.  The story might have been.  The writing needed work.

After having a few beta readers go through, I realize it’s the same.  The story is good.  The writing, although much better than before, still needs work.  However, I have leanred to notice what needs to be fixed, and things I don’t notice, the readers generally do.

The prologue I have posted is a lot better than the original.  Chapter One, which I will be posting tomorrow or the next day is a lot better than what I have up there now.

What makes them better?  Imagery, for one.  When I first wrote the book, I was so interested in the characters and the story that I kind of forgot about their world:  what it looked like, smelled like, sounded like, etc.  I have gone back and added that.  I don’t think it has to be much.  Books with paragraphs of descriptions aren’t my favorite.  A lot of time I find myself skimming over all the words.  Another thing I’ve tried to change is something anyone who’s ever written fiction will know:  SDT (show don’t tell).  A third thing I’ve discovered I really like is to get inside the characters head.  Instead of just telling the reader what they’re thinking, show their thought process.  I’ve liked the changes where I’ve done this.

I know there are a number of other things I’m forgetting to mention, but as I’m going through chapter one, these are the ones I’ve really focused on, and hopefully, the ones that will make it better.