Sep 13, 2014

Those two words a writer strives to reach...

I did it, I did it, I did it! Look!

See those last two words? Let me zoom in:

I finished one of my novels! "Unexpected Inspiration: Colorweaver" is officially done! I am so excited that I want to scream this fact from the rooftops. I'll admit that my body was all jittery and my heart was pounding as I typed those last two words on my laptop. After ten months of working on this novel, it was such a surreal feeling to finally reach the end.

The final count for the main story file is 253 pages and 149,767 words. I wanted so much to hit an even 150k, which was my goal, but didn't want to add padding to get the extra 233 words. This is probably close enough. ;) I have a few more files of extra writing, but I'm not going to include those in the final word count since they're scenes I've already changed or that I decided against using in the book.

I have about a month and a half before the next NaNoWriMo starts and I'm going to spend that time outlining my ideas for the second book in this series ("Spellbinder") and fixing up the outline for the novel I started in '12 ("In the Cards"), as well as coming up with more world-building ideas and starting the second draft of "Colorweaver".

As I neared the end, I learned a few things about the novel that are going to be adjusted and changed in the rewrite:
-The main female character's gender will be revealed later in the story.
-I'm removing the secondary antagonist and replacing him with an entirely different character in that role. So long, Dolph- don't let the door hit ya on the way out.
-I'm adding in a clandestine sister as a minor character to set her up for a reveal and her role in book 2.
-The beginning (how the title character gets his quest) is going to play out differently.
-Scrivener tells me that I only used the word "pie" 17 times. That is clearly not often enough. (It's a running joke that my title character is obsessed with pies.)
-Not everyone is as human as they appear.

And the big one:
-I'm taking one of the protagonists out of the story and moving her to a later book (likely along with the above antagonist, probably into book 3). This is the change that I thought long and hard about, weighing both sides back and forth. I hated to remove a character I enjoyed writing and who was one of only two female MCs (the other is disguised as male for a good portion of the story) in a huge cast of males, but I didn't think that the story was doing Chantrell enough justice. She deserves more page-time and development, which she can get later in the series. I'll be keeping her and her music-magic on standby.

For the first time I truly feel like an author and it's an amazing feeling. This is still a terrible, messy first draft, but it's setting me up to have something wonderful later. (Hoping for "wonderful", but I'll take "better" if I have to.) Maybe someday my comedic series about artists and carnival performers can make it into the big scary world of published novels. Until then...

Bring on the next draft and the sequel! :)

~Meri (and her ragtag crew of goofy carnies)

Sep 2, 2014

Book Review - A Touch of Poison

Time for another book review! I received A Touch of Poison by Aaron Kite from the LibraryThing Early Reviewer's program. (This review had previously been posted here.)

Here's the summary from Amazon:
Gwenwyn is the most miserable princess ever, and for good reason. Merely brushing up against her or touching her exposed skin is enough to cause painful burns, or worse. And if that wasn't enough, she's just discovered the singular reason for her existence - to act as the king's secret assassin, murdering neighboring princes with nothing more than a simple kiss.


I'm finding myself sort of on the fence about what I thought about this book. On the one hand there wasn't anything I truly disliked about it. On the other it wasn't something that was able to really catch my interest. I'm sitting somewhere in the middle, I guess, thinking that it was okay. It's not something I'll likely read a second time, but it wasn't a bad book, either.

I think the problem is that the book never really found its plot. There was so much potential for this to be interesting- I found the idea of a poisonous protagonist to be novel and intriguing, but the book never really panned out and reached what it could have been. If this becomes a series with later books, then the framework that the author built for the main character and her love interest could be enough to expand upon. Here, though, it just felt too simplistic.

The story became repetitive rather quickly, which was my biggest problem with this book. The two antagonists continuously foiled the protagonist's plans, which works in theory and can create good conflict, but... it just didn't work here. It felt like the same thing over and over and I'll admit to skimming paragraphs to get past this. This was kind of a shame because the author's writing style and descriptions are good and the story itself is pretty well written. (Well, I wrinkled my nose a little at the instances of the word "anyways" in the narrative, but other than that the writing style was fine.) Unfortunately I found myself repeatedly losing interest whenever the protagonist was interacting with her father and his lackey.

That was another thing that left me wanting more: the lack of characterization. The antagonists were very flat. The main character had a little more personality, but I don't think she was enough to carry the rest of the characters who didn't. There was potential for the love interest, but by the time he entered the story it was too late to really help. There was also potential to have more characterization with the protagonist's best friend, but she didn't really get enough page time to grow as a character, either.

I did enjoy the last quarter or so of the story. Once the love interest arrived and the plot involving the protagonist's best friend kicked in, the story started moving along at a much better pace. It was unfortunate that this was as the story was resolving because it meant the more interesting part was rather rushed. I'm thinking this book could have been improved if some of the repetitiveness of the beginning had been trimmed down and this action moved earlier into the book and expanded upon, but the end did resolve itself nicely.

I'm going to give this book three stars. It's not bad by any means, but it doesn't stand out, either. I did like the author's style of writing and the general ideas behind the story, so I'll likely read more by Kite in the future.