Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Sunday, February 28, 2010

More Please Don't Do This in Your Book

by Sariah S. Wilson

I am really starting to understand why readers are loathe to give new authors a try.

Because holy cow - I am trying out all kinds of new authors recently as I'm gearing up for my next book (I find lots of reading very inspiring). I didn't want to stay just with the tried and true - I was a new author once and I wanted people to buy my book.

So I don't know if I'm just not picking them right or what the deal is with my rotten luck, but with the books I've read the last two days:

*The "hero" (and I should probably use the word protagonist because there was absolutely nothing heroic about this idiot) did something so heinous to the heroine in the first ten pages of the book that I never got over it. I thought he was a Grade A jerk from beginning to end (I could've cared less what his motivations were) and then I thought the heroine was the epitome of stupid because despite how foully he treated her (and continued to treat her) she just couldn't help but fall in love with him. Lameness all around.

*The next book I read, while it had a fairly interesting premise/characters, had a completely unnecessary prologue (and I for once found myself in agreeance with Jeff Savage that this prologue should have been left out. The events in the prologue could have been referred to in conversations or internal thoughts later on in the book (and would have actually increased the suspense as you wondered what had happened between the two to make them so upset with each other)), but this wasn't the worst offense. This book made liberal use of head hopping.

Now, I don't mind a point of view shift mid-scene (but my editor doesn't let me do it unless I do some kind of break so you know that things have changed), but this author literally changed point of view from the hero to the heroine every other paragraph.

And it wasn't constant where I could keep track - him, now her, now him, now her - instead it might be one or two paragraphs from the heroine's point of view, then one from him, then one from her, then three from him, etc. Your reader should not be reading and wondering which character's head they're in with this paragraph. Sometimes I couldn't tell until after several sentences! And this wasn't some literary rule-breaker type book - just a typical genre book. It actually gave me a headache trying to keep track of whose thoughts I was being privy to.

I want to find new authors, because my favorites have this habit of taking a long time to write their next book. I need to find new favorites - but so far I'm just not picking things out well. So, have you read a new author recently that you really enjoyed? Any books by someone not well known that you'd recommend?


At 2/28/2010 11:14 PM, Blogger Stephanie Humphreys said...

I always wonder how things like head hopping make it past an editor. Everything I've read or heard at conferences warns against this. There are so many things I see in books that we are told not to do, it makes me wonder how much worse all the other books in the slush pile are.

At 3/01/2010 9:49 AM, Blogger Traci Hunter Abramson said...

One book that is being released soon that I really enjoyed was Between the Lines by Erin Klingler. I think this is her second book, but I was impressed with it when I read the advance copy.

At 3/01/2010 11:33 AM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

I'm reading Band of Sisters by Annette Lyon right now. Great story (but she's not a new author). I'm also reading "In the Company of Angels" by David Farland--not a new author, but a new genre for him. So far I'm really enjoying the book.

Other than that, my goodreads list shows all my favorites.

At 3/01/2010 3:08 PM, Blogger Melanie Goldmund said...

Servant of a Dark God by new author John Brown is amazing!

Also amazing I am NOT a Serial Killer by Dan Wells. In a way, it's also got a bit of a love story in it ... sort of. But I loved the suspense!

A new author, or rather, an author whom I recently discovered is Jane Finnis, who writes mysteries set in Roman Britain, such as A Bitter Chill or Buried Too Deep. They're all written in first person, and there's definitely no head-hopping there!

At 3/01/2010 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved Being Sixteen by Allyson B. Condie. So well written and interesting about an LDS girl struggling with missed expectations about her junior year of high school and her sister's eating disorder. Enjoyed reading it and was glad to see the author not offer a quick fix to anything!

At 3/01/2010 7:54 PM, Blogger Karlene said...

Ditto Melanie Goldmund. Loved both Dark God and Serial Killer.

If you like lightweight mystery (cozies) I recently discovered Murder Takes the Cake by Gayle Trent. She's not a new author but her book was a fun, fast and clean read.

At 3/01/2010 9:11 PM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

I think I know exactly which book you're referring to as your first example. I had a lot of those same feelings. And nothing makes me crazier than head-hopping. =P

Everyone's offered some good reads and I'm trying to find a few myself. I've been kind of let down with the few I've read lately.

At 3/02/2010 12:41 AM, Blogger Tauhid said...

Hmm..Ever heard of Keith Ferrazzi? He's one of my uncle's good friends. Came out with a book called Who's Got Your Back I think last year...Check him out!

At 3/02/2010 5:51 PM, Blogger UTMomof4 said...

Great post, now I want to check out all the books recommended in the comments. I am totally in love with the "Miss Julia" series by Ann B. Ross. They are not new, but they are a fabulous, light-hearted, funny series about a grand old southern belle. They are way fun.


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