February 3, 2013 by Kiersi
When everything goes to hell in a handbasket in Star Wars: A New Hope
Most authors I know agree with one thing about writing a novel:
Middles are the worst.
It’s true. They are. Middles are like the sagging back of an old horse, the rope suspension bridge between Beginning and End that is slowly unraveling, and probably not safe for more than one person to cross at a time.
I totally get that. Somewhere after the inciting incident (about 10,000 words in) and before the build up to the climax (about 15,000 words from the end) you have to, you know–make stuff happen. Fill all that empty, soggy space between Point A and Point B. And it can be really hard to make that middle stuff not feel slow and muddy to the reader.
As I’m revising my middle-grade manuscript, Gryphon, I’ve discovered a few tricks for making middles not only not suck, but possibly become the best part of your novel.
1. Raise the stakes. This “tip” gets thrown around a lot, and for a long time I wasn’t really sure how one could implement such broad-sided advice. (more…)
Category: How-to | Tags: comedy, conflict, how-to, improving your novel, middles, revising, stakes, tension, writing | 11 Comments
January 9, 2012 by Kiersi
Glow, by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Glow, by Amy Kathleen Ryan – The first in a trilogy called The Sky Chasers, Glow is a sci-fi novel for the young adult audience. I’m absolutely delighted by the idea of it: true, honest-to-god space adventure, replete with spaceships, artificial gravity, and interstellar colonization, all in a neatly-wrapped package. Unfortunately, the prose, characterization, and treatment of the reader leaves something to be desired.
Our heroes are Waverly and Kieran, two sixteen-somethings aboard an intergalactic spaceship headed for New Earth. The colonists were split between two ships, the Empyrean and the New Horizon; one contains a secular group of colonists, and the other, a religious group. Like many sci-fi writers before her, Ryan examines the role of God in space travel and interstellar imperialism, and shows us where blind belief can lead humankind astray. (more…)
Category: Book Reviews | Tags: book review, characterization, endings, middle-grade, middles, prose, YA | No Comments
November 22, 2011 by Kiersi
Crossed, by Ally Condie
Today’s review: Crossed, Ally Condie – The second book in a dystopian YA series that began with Matched, one of my all-time favorite YA novels. I remember shivering with anticipation when Amazon.com emailed to let me know my pre-ordered copy of Crossed was only a few days away. I tore open the cardboard box and dove in. (more…)
Category: Book Reviews | Tags: Ally Condie, book review, Matched, middles, prose, YA | No Comments
November 21, 2011 by Kiersi
View all chapters
The city basks in the glow of sunset. Merchants lock up and retreat to their wagons for dinner. Mothers herd children indoors. The tent roofs of fruit stalls and trinket shops radiate a brilliant, fiery orange.
“The castle looks dark tonight,” says Kren. He protects his eyes from the sun with one hand and peers up at a castle turret. It is a great white pillar of light. “I’d best be off.”
Calean’s eyes widen, as if he can’t tell whether to be blessed by his good fortune, or cursed by the loss of a companion.
“You were right about that horse,” Calean says to the old man. He is rewarded with a wide smile but has no inkling of it. “She’ll get me as far as I need to go.”
“And where is that, dare I ask?”
“The end of the world.” (more…)
Category: Writing/Free Reads | Tags: middles, short-shorts, The Mirror, the plot thickens | 2 Comments
October 11, 2011 by Kiersi
Oct. 9, 2011 – After one successful day finished and done, Wordstockers return to the Oregon Convention Center on Sunday with a vengeance. It’s only 9am and all the bike racks are full; bikes are chained to railings and stairways and bus stop signs.
Workshop 3 – Building an Online Audience: How to Connect with Readers & the People Who Can Get You in Front of Readers Online (Elge Premeau)
I won’t reveal all the secrets Elge (emarketingstrategist.com) bequeathed to us, but I will tell you one thing: If she’s right, the way to find readers and sell books is to do your homework. (more…)
Category: Commentary, How-to | Tags: beginnings, blogging, endings, middles, storytelling, Wordstock | 2 Comments