Thursday, January 19, 2012

Making mistakes to LEARN!

Today I will "kindly" make an example out of Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow ONLY so that we can learn from the writing mistakes! What you can get from this? NOT TO MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES!

Alright I'll walk you through the beginning of the book (conveniently this is book 1). The story starts out introducing the life of Dru Anderson, a girl living differently from other teens with her father killing creatures that go bump in the night, they move every three months, she goes to school...sometimes, and to top the cake: she understands how the real world is different than the normal world and likes to show off in her head (to us readers) that she has everything all figured out.
Do you see something the author is trying to achieve? Crow is, as a YA (Young Adult) author, trying to connect to teens as a way to get more readers. But as a teen myself I can tell you that this teen view, besides the fact that this girl does not live a "normal" life style because of her supernatural involvement, isn't connecting to it's readers because the psychology is all wrong (this is a reason you should learn about psychology!) Teens don't all skip school, think their better than everyone else (unless they have a HUGE ego), or are all living the same way where this particular girl is different IN EVERY HUMAN-LIKE WAY!

Than you have to think: well if I am connecting to my readers, they are teenagers but book readers aren't the bad type and are usually more mature and don't really care about the losers at school. I shouldn't make my main character someone these people can't relate to! IT JUST ISN'T GOING TO WORK! Also keep in mind that what Mrs. Crow's "achieving" here is a good reason for a teen to not read your book and a majority of the readers will will unknowingly agree to this. :D

Also I've noticed the book just keeps talking and talking (read one page of the first chapter and you'll get what I mean) AND NONE OF IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT! Please don't do this either! You are giving your readers more of a reason to drop your book because you're working hard to "connect" with your readers. But what gets a book SELLING LIKE CRAZY is to give them a reason to not stop and put down your book because your book is so good that they literally have to stop themselves so they can go to bed!

A beautiful way to keep your readers flipping through those pages is chapter endings (literally already discussed is a previous blog post!) because that's where most book readers want to stop and take a break. Reminder: your chapter endings should be at a part where something traumatic/ unthinkable happens. The reader will go crazy and have to keep reading! This is a sure-fire-way to be a successful author.

In Strange Angels I can tell Mrs. Crow is trying her very best to achieve this but it's not really happening. The fact that she tried gives her points when publishing though!

At the end of the prologue, she ends with: "I never saw Dad alive again."
THIS IS A GOOD ENDING! The only problem is that Crow pretty much bores you with how Dru Anderson's life got so messed up. But Crow is just throwing out there all this information that has somewhat of importance for later but 80% is just "FLUFF." We don't really need to hear all this fluff because IT ISN'T IMPORTANT! Importance means everything to teens (hey you chose to be a YA author). This fluff is only in the book so it can connect to teens the "readers" and we have already pointed out that this is NOT connecting to the readers so it's just all wrong O.o

At the end of chapter 1, Crow ends with: "Maybe if I embarrass the kid he'll leave me alone." This is NOT working the "sure-fire" way of chapter endings because the book STILL hasn't picked up speed, has a bunch of fluff, and is continuously giving the reader a main character with a BIG ego and a bad example! I can see why Crow ends with this only because the chapter was 13 pages and it just "feels" like a good ending. Keep in mind that these type of chapters are acceptable in books so you can give the reader sometimes a break so they don't read your book in one day. Except in cases such as this one. The book is STILL in it's beginning and isn't really getting anywhere except Dru's constant worrying for her father blah blah blah. YOU CAN'T USE THIS METHOD IN THE BEGINNING! This book is just moving too slowly and isn't written in a way to gather up some readers!

Get your book rolling QUICKLY! It's also more fun for you to write and it makes your readers antsy for more and selling your books off the shelves like crazy! Just be careful with the planning of your book so that you can throw out all surprises at the end of your chapters so that you can have a super sweet and rolling book. OUTLINES ARE YOUR FRIENDS!!!

At the end of the 2nd chapter, Crow ends with: "When I woke up in the morning, Dad still wasn't there." CONGRATULATIONS Mrs. Crow, you have finally accomplished the chapter ending theory with our conformation that Dru's worrying wasn't something totally useless! Then she transitions into an Intermezzo, a brief diversion from Dru Anderson. YOU'VE ACCOMPLISHED your readers to stick to your book (if they are still even giving you a chance after 2 chapters and a prologue with a total of 28 pages of FLUFF) to actually give them a reason to buy/ finish the book!!!

Remember guys that you need to have a good story line of awesomeness lining up for those chapter endings, a quick beginning so your readers will buy the book, and a good main character to connect to your REAL readers.

For example we could have gone through the beginning in a much cooler, simpler, and more interesting way: start the book off with a tragic reason in Dru Anderson's point of when her grandmother died and how the things she taught you you must keep strong as she dies in your arms (Crow tries this but isn't using her 1st point of view to her advantage). This is much more dramatic and simpler way to add in fluff so you can get to know your main character and a quick way to start; including a VERY good reason for your readers to buy the book.

For the fluff transitions into your book, just slip them in but don't load your beginning with it. HUGE TURN OFF. As pre-teen author, Susan Selfors, once said: give your readers to kill for that info by slipping the fluff every once in a while. This gives the readers a hunger for it (instead of piles of it- like homework) so they can connect the dots to your book's problem/ plot.

A cool example of that would be like in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy books, the first book starts out a year (or two) after Rose an Lissa escaped the academy for unknown reasons and are now being dragged back. Through out that book, they try to figure out how they can stay at the academy by fighting/ learning what they are afraid of. Mead gives the reader flashbacks of right before they left the academy (the reasons why they left). This gives the reader fluff in doses so you can learn with the main characters the solution to the problem.

Another example would be in Silence, the Hush Hush book 3 by Becca Fitzpatrick, where it's all of a sudden 3 months later from the end of the previous novel and the main character has lost her memory of it all. The author gives, the readers in Silence, doses of information of those three months through out the book while the main character learns what really happened.
Hope this helps in your books!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Cassandra Clare must know some Psychology

After reading her #1 New York Times Bestseller: Clockwork Prince, Cassandra Clare never disappointed me with her master piece of a Victorian era with Shadowhunters and the unbelievable connection to her Mortal Instruments series. Yet I couldn't help but notice something truly remarkable about Clare's characters and how she can come up with beautiful complications for her plots.

You see, in both Mortal Instruments series and the prequel series: The Infernal Devices, Clare comes up with these characters and these truly dramatic conflicts that somehow fit together in both series but anyone can get a kick out of it.

In the Mortal Instruments, you can't help but find it like a soap opera that's 100% not corny! I'll tell you what really gathers the fan base of this series together: the conflict Clare brings in is the strange affection between two characters (Jace and Clary) who struggle with the fact that they are brother and sister. Or are they?

Clare also brings in a new set of characters to the prequel series, The Infernal Devices, where the story revolves around 2 boys that are best friends (practically brothers) falling in love with the same girl. One boy dieing from an illness and the other who (mysteriously) can't have anyone fall in love with him.

Cassandra Clare comes up with these conflicts between people and throws them into an urban fantasy world of Shadowhunters, warlocks, werewolves, demons, and even vampires.

That's the trick, my beautiful writers! Psychology, the study of people, is the key to a beautiful spiderweb conflict and plot to create a story worth getting published! My older step sister took a couple classes on psychology and she told me, a girl studying to be an author, that when reading books she can't but notice the psychology of the characters.

For those of you who plan to get as much out of college as possible and plan to keep in mind writing books, TAKE SOME PSYCHOLOGY CLASSES!!!

Cassandra Clare has created an amazing artwork of books with beautifully crafted characters, plots, and a creative world that she has become quite successful. From my study of Cassandra Clare's writing and her breathtaking surprises that she could only have created from psychology research, I really think you should seriously consider taking psychology classes in college and use this knowledge to your advantage to come up with some amazing stories that will wow anyone who comes across them.