Wednesday, 27 April 2011

More Book Reviews

I just thought I would give you a quick run down on the rest of the books I read whilst on holiday and some more since. This is me guilt tripping myself because I have been meaning to do this for ages and as I've just booked my holiday for the May half term I thought I needed to stop putting this off!

The first one is Calling Romeo by Alexandra Potter.

The first book of hers I read was Be Careful What You Wish For. A romantic comedy whereby a girl buys some lucky heather and then things that she always dreamed of starting coming true. But things didn’t always work out quite as she’d hoped which leads us neatly back to the title of the book. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read – nothing too strenuous but certainly high on the feel good factor. So when I saw this next book I just couldn’t resist buying it.

This book is about Juliet – a thirty something, living with a man who she once hoped would become her husband. But the romance seems to have disappeared and Juliet is left thinking that there must be more to life than this. Cue the sexy rival colleague who seems intent on whisking her off her feet and suddenly life is all about romance. But is it real? Juliet needs to work out what matters to her most.

Again this was an enjoyable feed good read. Perhaps not quite as absorbing as Be Careful What You Wish For but satisfying all the same.

The next is Sister by Rosamund Lupton

This is a debut novel which was selected by the Richard and Judy book club.
It is the story of Beatrice and her younger sister Tess. Although at the beginning of the story Tess is missing, the story is very much about her life while Beatrice desperately tries to uncover the mystery behind her disappearence.

In uncovering her sister's past, Beatrice also learns things about herself, things which she has previvously chosen to ignore and therefore travels on her own journey throughout the book.

Initially I found this story a little difficult to follow as it constantly flipped between the present and the recent past. Once into the main story thhough, this tense thriller had me totally gripped and the pages just kept on turning.

There were many twists and turns throughout the novel and without revealing too much, one in particular left me feeling particularly disappointed. The author, however, did have one further twist up her sleeve which redeemed the story somewhat. Despite that though, I did find the book an enjoyable read.

The final two books I would just like to mention are both by Maureen Lee.

This author was born in Bootle during the second world war. She now writes family sagas through the ages, based on the area she knows so well.

The first book I ever read by Maureen Lee is called Dancing In The Dark. The story is about Millie who is a character in the present day. She is asked to sort through the belongings of her Aunt Flo who has recently died. Gradually Milliee gets drawn into discovering her aunt's past and through her explorations we are taken back to the 1930's and slowly lead back to the present. Maureen Lee weaved the two stories so beautifully toghether and really brought to life the connections between all the characaters. Her storytelling is so vivid that Liverpool almost becomes a character in itself.

If you enjoy historical family sagas then anything by Maureen Lee is a must read.

I knew instantly that her books would be a hit with my Mum and so I introduced them to her. The two books I erad on holiday were actually passed on to me by her.

The first was Lime Street Blues

Street Blues is set in sixties Liverpool and is about three different families all bound by music. Whilst they are all successful, this comes at a price and the book expertly exmaines the resulting relationships.

.And finally, Nothing Lasts Forever

This is the story of Brodie Logan who has recently sepearted from her husband. Living alone in a big house she decides to let out the spare rooms. The novel is about the women who come to live with her.

What can I say? Maureen Lee never fails to disappoint.

And here endeth my book reviews for the time being. I've read quite a few other books since what now seems a distant holiday, some of which I will tell you about in the future, as this blogpost is already long enough!


Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Second Draft Dilemmas

I have been a bad blogger this month - I keep meaning to blog but never quite find the time - slap on wrists.

My only saving grace is that I have been writing - or should I say editing. 

My 80,000 word novel wot I wrote in November and December last year has come under scrutiny because I want to send it to  to the New Writer's Scheme at the RNA this year.

In January the months until August stretched languidly ahead of me but as the first draft is only a very very rough first draft I have quickly realised that I really need to put the hours in if I'm going to lick it into some kind of shape in time for submission.

So how do you redraft?

Well I've started by a quick read through to remind myself of the whole story.

I know alot of people do a a scene by scene breakdown on index cards to give them a better handle of the structure of the plot.  I've done this too but now that I have I'm not really sure what to do with this.  So for now I've put the cards to one side and am going through my script line by line and chapter by chapter.

This seems to be working well.  I'm tightening text and adding info and looking at whether I think the plot is realistic and the characters' motives believeble. I still have quite a bit of description to add - ie locations and intricate details but I'm highlighting these to deal with on the next draft and am concentrating of the flow of the story.

Once I have reached the end of this, I'm going to print this off again and then add the description and then I'm going to look at it again and see if I've got it right.  And then I'm probably going to panic because how will I know?

The answer is I won't - at least I don't think I will. Which is, I suppose the reason why I'm entering this for the New Writer's Scheme.  I just want to get it as good as I can before sending it of for  professional input.  I've part written novels before - even completed a first draft and half of a second draft but I've never got to the stage where I think it is as good as it can be. 

So that's my aim I suppose - to get it as good as I can and then see where I'm up to.  And then, when it comes back from the RNA, I'll probably have to start again.

But then I guess that's what this writing lark is all about. Learning from your mistakes until one day, one day - well maybe - who knows.

How do you edit?