Showing posts from February, 2013

Book Review: Guardians & The Lost Paradise: The Journey

Last month, I read Guardians & The Lost Paradise: The Journey, by Michael Abayomi. Here is my review:

Danny is a young boy who has recently moved to Canada with his parents after the death of his older brother, Kevin. His parents are trying to move on from the death of their older son, but it still haunts the family. One day they are all in a terrible car accident, and when Danny awakes he finds himself in the Eden - the Lost Paradise; a world between worlds, where the dead go before moving on to the next stage of the Afterlife. Dragons, evil Reapers, and flying unicorns populate this world.

Danny is introduced to the Guardians, a group of people tasked with escorting lost souls through Eden into whatever world awaits them, and - surprise - Danny’s older brother is one of them. Together they set off on a journey across the Lost Paradise that sends them through forests full of lost souls, a valley of shadows and halls of haunted mirrors.

The Lost Paradise is the first in a five part series. It is a novella length story and suffers for it. Abayomi creates a vivid world full of possibilities, and each new obstacle in Danny’s journey has so much potential, but everything happens so quickly that I was left wishing for more. The only part that I felt any sort of tension was during their trek through the valley of shadows, and if the rest of the story was written like that it would have been great. The author is obviously a good writer, but perhaps because his protaganist is a child, and the series seems to be geared towards a YA audience he didn’t think he needed to (or should) create much suspense or round out his characters. When the story starts out, he describes how the death of Kevin has affected Danny and his parents, and you get a sense of the sadness that hovers over this family, but once Danny is reunited with Kevin there is very little that attracts you to the character. The world - yes; the people in it - not so much. There is a hint of potential for character growth in the last chapter, so perhaps that comes later in the series.

Final verdict: I give it three out of five pineapples. It could easily have been a four even a four and a half if the story and characters were more rounded out.

I haven’t decided what I’m going to review for next month, so I guess it will be a surprise for all of us.

More Book Covers

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a site that posts pictures of Lousy Book Covers. Today, I want to point you in the direction of a Pinterest thingy (I don't do Pinterest. Are the boards? Like cork boards you might pin a favorite picture too?) devoted to some less brain searing book covers.
Obviously there is a huge difference in quality between the covers on these two sites. I’m guessing the good book covers are professional, or at least created by a writer whose day job is in graphic design, whereas the Lousy Book Covers were created by people who are hopefully better writers than they are designers.

No point to this at all, just wanted to give some balance.

Anyway, all this talk of book covers sent me on a mission to create my own covers. I have seen a few
people around creating their own covers not for actual distribution, but for inspiration. So I spent way
too much time putting these together:

This is the cover I made for Weaver. Much like the actual manuscript, it leaves much to be desired, but it has me pointed in the right direction.

This one is for a story – probably a novella – that I’m working on at this time. The title is just a
working title, something to put on the page, but I really like the image. Getting lots of inspiration from this one.

IWSG: February

I know I’m late. I wasn’t thinking, and totally didn’t notice that IWSG had come and gone.

But it’s kind of typical of how I’ve been feeling for the past few weeks. I don’t know if it’s the winter blahs, or if I was just burned out, but I haven’t done any writing since the second week of January. What have I been doing the last 3 weeks? Well, I tore through the first 7 seasons of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia on Netflix, and I slept a lot.

I did try to write a couple of days, but this new story I was working on wasn’t coming out. I had the perfect image in my head of what it was about, and how I was going to get there, and it was going to be AWESOME – but when it came down to writing it felt like a dead weight that I couldn’t lift.

I think it might have been because I was trying to type the first draft instead of handwriting it. I think I’m one of those people who just has to handwrite the first draft. For me handwriting stories just flows better. I’m not so hung up on editing as I go. If I see a mistake on the screen I have to stop and fix it. If I’m handwriting it, I just move on. It’s going to get typed up and edited later anyway. I can handwrite for an hour non-stop, but I get bored typing for that amount of time.

Also, the siren call of the internet is a major distraction when trying to write on my laptop.

So what does this have to do with anything? Well, it’s a late start, but I’m going to set a goal of 500 words a day for the rest of the month. So that gets me to 11,000 words for the remainder of the month. I even put up a little counter over there to guilt me into doing it. Check back with me next month. Maybe for the next IWSG post I’ll have some good things to say.

Inspiration Monday

This whole post is going to be about the only thing I really took away from Stephen King's On Writing:

"...while it is impossible to make a competent writer out of a bad writer, and while it is equally impossible to make a great writer out of a good one, it is possible, with lots of hard work, dedication, and timely help, to make a good writer out of a merely competent one."

Somehow I feel like King is talking directly to me with this quote.

I'm going to be honest here and place myself in the "merely competent" category of writer. I can string three words together into a sentence. I can usually get my point across. Sometimes it takes a couple of paragraphs to get there, but the point is it gets across.

I don't really want to be a great writer. Heck, I don't think I have the ability to be "great" (for many, many reasons I don't really have time for right now), but good? I can do good.