Friday, November 11, 2005

Feedback is a Good Thing

Major thanks to all of you who commented about the first line for Coral Moon. You folks are terrific! I never would have thought about the “Live and Let Die” song—yet so many of you did. That left me in a quandary. Song issue aside, I liked the rhythm and repitition in the sentence. And it’s punchy, yet a little mysterious, which is just what I wanted. But how to change it to avoid that “oops, now a song’s runnin’ through my head” problem?

This is why collective minds work so well. I was looking over all the comments, wondering what to do, and then another came in—Becky, with her idea of using punctuation to remove the sentence a bit from sounding like the song. Becky suggested using a comma. Then it hit me. No, a comma’s not strong enough. But a dash would work great.

Kill and live. Let live—and die.

I think the dash actually makes the second sentence stronger. Does this remove those lyrics from your heads enough? (Problem is, this is like telling you not to think of little red monkeys. Suddenly, that’s all you’ll think about.)

By the way, I had a good laugh at some of y’all’s use of lyrics in your comments.

On another note: the “Free Stuff” page is now up on my Web site. Remember, this is in response to some of your suggestions. Go to the home page and click on “Free Stuff” at the bottom right, under the small Web of Lies cover. I’m still open to ideas from you as to stuff I could offer on this page. Just remember it has to be practical and affordable, in case I get a rush of requests.

In other news: I have a new agent. Press releases have gone out, so I’m free to tell you now. I’ve signed with Don Pape at Alive Communications. Don was formerly Publisher at Waterbrook (division of Random House), and before that put in many years of experience in selling/marketing books. He joined Alive Communications last spring. Don is a man who’s big on networking and relationships, and is popping with energy and ideas pertaining to the marketing of my work. I’m excited about this new partnership.

Finally, we have not had a BG check in since . . . well, I don’t know when. I know from feedback that this blog is read by readers as well as folks in the industry—editors, agents, and writers. I’d love to hear some news from those of you willing to comment. Choose some of these questions and answer succinctly. (1) What is your work in progress? (2) How long have you been writing fiction? (3) What are you reading now? (4) What would you like to see more of in Christian suspense? (5) What topic would you like to see covered here (that ain’t been already)?

Here’s to stayin’ alive this weekend, BGs.


C.J. Darlington said...

(1) What is your work in progress?
I am currently revising my contemporary novel Thicker Than Blood to make it longer. It originally came in at 67K, and I'm lengthening it to 80K. It's the story of two estranged sisters, among other things. I've also written the first draft of a second novel (Innocent Blood) and will be getting back to it as soon as I'm done with the re-write.

(2) How long have you been writing fiction?
I've been writing fiction seriously for eight years.

(3) What are you reading now?
The Novelist by Angela Hunt (Westbow) to review for Infuze magazine.

(4) What would you like to see more of in Christian suspense?
Good question. I love it when a suspense author doesn't neglect character development. It's one thing to take us on a ride. But a book that's constant non-stop action will become boring. I also enjoy reading a straight suspense story that doesn't have a romance sub-plot.

(5) What topic would you like to see covered here (that ain’t been already)?
Oh, boy. You've covered so much. I'm enjoying hearing the day-to-day stuff about your writing. And your stories are great. I suppose maybe some of your thoughts about the state of Christian fiction and where you'd like to see it go would be interesting.

Jackie Layton said...

1. I am beginning a mystery set in a small town. I am currently outlining and looking for assumptions like you suggested that can be twisted. That's actually pretty fun.
2. I've been writing all of my life, but keep getting interrupted by things like babies and moves and being a mom. The last year has been my most productive.
3. I am now reading Last Light by Terri Blackstock.
4. I enjoy romance or moments of humor thrown into suspense books.
5. I appreciate what you are doing with this blog, and it helps to be able to go back and review some topics. Thanks!

Cara Putman said...

(1) What is your work in progress? Double Image: a murder/suspense set in Lincoln, NE. I've been heavily revising the first 150 pages based on what I learned at ACFW and am looking forward to getting back to writing "new" material. (2) How long have you been writing fiction? Since May. (3) What are you reading now? Just finished Betrayal of Trust by Tracey Bateman and Intimidation by Wanda Dyson. Also Victory Club by Robin Lee Hatcher. (4) What would you like to see more of in Christian suspense? I love it when I get to know the characters and setting. So intense action, but without neglecting fully-fleshed characters. (5) What topic would you like to see covered here (that ain’t been already)? I'll have to think about this one :-)

Tracy Ruckman said...

Brandilyn - I like the dash. It eliminates the "pop-up" song.

1) WIP - Next week I'll finish my first novel, Mystery at Alligator Point, due Dec 1.
2) My first idea for a novel appeared in the late 90s, and I've been developing ideas and procrastinating since then.
3) I just finished one of the Sister Circle books by Vonette Bright and Nancy Moser.
4) I'd like to see more quantity in Christian suspense - I run out of great books to read, because I read so fast.

Stuart said...

Yep I think the dash works. :)

(1) What is your work in progress?
My current WiP is a wild & crazy space opera titled SPF: 0 - Zeon Star. It follows the adventures of the misfit crew of the S.P.F.S Superfluous; a giant slug, a bubble, and a stickman, as they seek to retrieve the Zeon Star from the insidious Lord Scarab.

(2) How long have you been writing fiction?
Off and on since high school. More seriously for about six years.

(3) What are you reading now?
Daughter of Prophecy by Miles Owens. One of the Realms launch titles. A fun fantasy read.

(4) What would you like to see more of in Christian suspense?
Serial killers in rubber monster suits! Just curious, how many female villains are there in Christian suspense?

(5) What topic would you like to see covered here (that ain’t been already)?
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..............*brain shorts out & explodes, taking 1/2 of the solar system with it (thankfully not earth's solar system)*

I can't think of anything, but I'm sure whatever you talk about it will be stellar!

Lynetta said...

I love the em dash. It definitely works to strengthen the sentence and eliminate the song.

1) Right now I'm working on the first draft of a novel I'm calling Keeping Faith.

2) I can't remember ever *not* writing stories, but never as consistently as I do now. The last couple of years I have worked hard to learn about the craft of writing. I've moved up from "wanna-be" to "serious" novelist. :-)

3)I'm reading Bette Nordberg's Detours and Jack Bickam's Scene and Structure.

4)I'm going to sound like an editor here. I don't know what I'm looking for in Christian suspense, but I'll know it when I see it. In other words, I like to be totally surprised—some plot twist or concept that totally blows me out of the water.

5) Do you have a favorite book on the craft of plotting? So far I've only read JSB's Plot and Structure and the one mentioned above in #3.

C.J. Darlington said...

Stuart - just wanted to comment on the female villain part. I think it would be very interesting to see more female villains. In fact, I decided to write one in my second novel. It's definitely something that hasn't been done as much in CBA. In Eric Wilson's Dark to Mortal Eyes & Expiration Date, some of the "villains" are female.

Unknown said...

BC, Congrats on signing with Don. He's an awesome guy!! You're in good hands. I think the dash helps get rid of the song, but I can't be sure since it's still in my head. You'll need fresh eyes to know for sure.

I'm working on a supernatural thriller. Been writing 8 years and this is my second novel. I plan on staying in the thriller genre.

What I'd like to see more of is what I'm currently working on. More humor through pain. Thanks BC!

Anonymous said...

1) Current WIP Battle for Re-vin, third in The Chronicles of Efrathah trilogy.
2) I've been writing fiction for 16 years, 12 as a lark and a hobby. Only the last 4 seriously.
3) I too am reading Miles Owens' Daughter of Prophecy. Very enjoyable.
4) Well, I shouldn't even answer this question since I'm not really a suspense reader. I want less gore, not so much victimization. Hahah--all the stuff hardcore fans love! I do have to say, I enjoyed the characterization in DoN--a lot. And the theme worked seamlessly into the story. I think across genre we Christian writers need to do that more--not preach a message, but craft a theme.
5) How about beautiful writing as a topic. What makes writing beautiful. What place does it have in different genres. Why is it important (if it is). What steps can a writer take to move toward artistic writing.

Thanks for making the free stuff available, Brandilyn.


Domino said...

The dash was a good change.

1. WIP: I've "finished" and now reworking a few details on romantic suspense book #2 of my Forgiven series. I'm up to chapter 8 on book #1. I've done a lot of thinking/preparation for book #3. All three are stand alones. One character's life can be seen in all three books (in different stages).
2. I've been simmering for a long time, but now I'm cooking. I'll start my third year of serious writing soon.
3. I'm currently finishing Stein on Writing and about to re-read Donald Maass's Breakout Novel.
4. Christian Suspense question - A complete blank-out here. All I can say is I'd like to read Christian novels "similar" to The Third Man starring Orson Welles or even Hitchcock's North by Northwest or To Catch a Thief.
5. New topic: tough question since you've covered so much so well. Covering industry questions sounds good to me.

Camy Tang said...

(1) What is your work in progress?
A Chicklit/suspense set in Hawaii with a plausible bioterrorist weapon I made up myself.

(2) How long have you been writing fiction?
As a serious writer, 2 years. But I always liked writing.

(3) What are you reading now?
Just finished a Momlit, "SAHM I Am" by Meredith Efken. Next--too many choices. Kristin Billerbeck? Kathryn Mackel? Donna Fleisher? Cyndy Salzmann?

(4) What would you like to see more of in Christian suspense?
Crime and mystery. I am hooked on the TV shows CSI and Bones.

(5) What topic would you like to see covered here (that ain’t been already)?
Gosh, I dunno. I just like reading the posts.


Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

The dash was great-it took away the song!

(1)WIP is NanoTech Virus. I'm working it as a NaNoWriMo project. Hackers use a nanotech virus to break into the Federal Reserve to steal a billion dollars, but cause country wide chaos.

(2)Since Left Behind came out. I thought I could do it better. By the time the series was over, I never wanted to hear about the Rapture again, but I was hooked on writing.

(3)I'm reading Clive Cussler's Polar Shift.

(4)Larger quantity of suspense-we run out too fast, and I agree with Becky, more crafting of a theme rather than preaching a message.

(5)I'd like to know how you go about crafting verbs the way you do. It's amazing how many different action verbs you can get into just one chapter, without repeating.

Anonymous said...

Just catching up on this week's posts....

I like Crimson Dusk, too. Amost suggested it untill I scrolled to the bottom and saw it had already been mentioned. You probably don't need any more suggestions, but here's some good colours: charcoal, aqua, silver, khaki, and olive. I couldn't get much more creative with one syllable times of day than the obvious: day, light, star, sun, noon, eve.

FREE STUFF suggestion: how about fridge magnets? I'd go for bookmarks, but lose them all the time, so I know others probably do, too. A magnet can be a definite conversation starter if a guest sees it on one's fridge. Don't know how cheap they'd be to make, though.

1) A chic lit (not sure what genre it fits in yet): A young man shows up on a blossoming artist's beloved family farm claiming his grandfather built the farm and left him treasure.
(2) Since I was 11, with an 8 yr break; seriously for the last 2 years.
3) God's Gift To Women by Erid Ludy, Waking The Dead by John Eldridge; just finished Cast a Road Before Me by Brandilyn Collins & Secrets by K. Heitzmann
4) I sentiments with the majority -- well-developed characters and setting.
(5) I enjoying seeing your writing process in action amid whatever else you touch on.

Emily Arseneau

Lynette Sowell said...

(1) What is your work in progress?
Home Before Dark; a suspense with a touch of romance
(2) How long have you been writing fiction?
Seriously, since 1998
(3) What are you reading now?
"How to Write Killer Fiction"
(4) What would you like to see more of in Christian suspense?
unique settings