Saturday, April 23, 2011

Some Mistakes Are Blessings in Disguise

This week I have been very busy revising a novel for the umpteenth time. Have you ever revised a novel, several times, and tightened it up to the point where the word count wound up too low?

Well, that's what happened to me in a project completed the summer before last. I thought it was a big mistake on my part, not the revising, but with all the fluff and unnecesary stuff gone, the whole story seemed too weak. I figured at the time there was no "fire" in it like Donald Maass pointed out in The Fire in Fiction. Disgusted with myself as a writer, I shoved it in a drawer to forget about it.

This week I ran across it cleaning out old paper files. I decided to sit down and read it all the way through. Gosh, I thought, as I read. It has good characters, it has depth, it has a smoldering fire or two, it is definitely fast paced with cliff hangers, but it is just too darn short.

Then I noticed the carefully woven back story. I had worked really hard on that and had done a good job. What would happen if I turned the back story into a chapter? Not a prologue, but an actual new first chapter. I shrugged, it was worth a try.

To my utter surprise and delight, the back story took off with a life of its own. I  not only have a brand new and more exciting first chapter, but also a new chapter two which leads into the former first chapter. Granted I have a lot more to do because these changes cause a domino effect, but it's working--it's growing--and I love the novel all over again! The best thing about the whole experience is the novel is getting so much better. Some mistakes are blessings in disguise.

Happy Easter to all of you!

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Little Springtime Excitement

Just had to post a link to this blog by a writing shepherd. Those of us who have followed Acorn's story at Mud on the Tracks were thrilled she finally gave birth to triplets!
http://maggiesfarmicelandics.blogspot.com/

Friday, April 8, 2011

Paris Pan Takes The Dare by Cynthea Liu Helped this MG Writer

 Paris Pan Takes The Dare by Cynthea Liu was available for my Kindle so I downloaded it. Oh, how I wish I had bought it when it first came out. I'm sending hard copies to a couple of kids who are going to love this book! It is a wonderful, character driven story with  a couple of subplots woven in among a spooky larger plot. I could not put this book down! I added a link to Amazon so, if you haven't already, you can read the School Library Journal review .

Ms. Liu taught the writer part of me something with this book. Even though the characters were in seventh grade, this is definitely a middle grade book, and her treatment of this age confirmed for me why some twelve year old character stories are considered YA and others are MG.

This became a head scratching problem last spring when an editor of a publishing house told me one of my twelve year old character novels was young adult and not middle grade. She based her opinion on the age of my main character who was twelve. Because she considered it YA, I needed to add six thousand words before re-submitting. I didn't, instinctively I knew it wasn't YA, no high school student would want to read it, but......? Nice to know my instincts were right.

Cynthea Liu's Paris Pan Takes The Dare is a really, really good book!