Jan 13 2013

Giving Your Own Book A Five Star Rating Is Just Outlandish

Posted by Mathias

Some people have no shame.  I see it all the time with authors who give their own book a “5 star” rating on Goodreads and other, similar sites.

And the worst part about it is that they aren’t even shy about it.  They plop it up there and are almost so proud that they are beaming with joy over their actions.

Does any author really not like their own work?  If they don’t, they why are they publishing it?  It is sort of implied that, when an author publishes a book, they think it is a great story that other people should read.  But to advertise this by giving it a rating in such a bold manner is, frankly, outlandish behaviour that to me borders on narcissism.   Especially when you consider how willing other people are to give even average works five stars whether for free, for a little quid pro quo, or even for money. (more…)

Oct 29 2012

Why I Am Still, A Year Later, Editing My Novel

Posted by Mathias

Every day I get asked the same question, “Why are you still editing that novel of yours?”

I don’t think the answer is that complicated.  I simply want to produce a quality story in the end.  And, while I and others who have read Under the Darkened Moon think that the story is good, I personally don’t think it is good enough quite yet.  Although, I do think it is quickly getting there.

For me, there is no rush.  I’ve been writing off and on for over twenty years.  My very first novel, which I started back in high school, had three years invested into it and never got even half way done.  For Under the Darkened Moon, I opened the file (started writing the story) on June 18th of last year.  It is now October, nearly November a year later.  I could have pushed this work out there six months ago, at least according to some opinions, but certainly not my own.   As one person in my review group said, “It’s already better than 95% of what is self-published on Amazon and other sites like that.” (more…)

Jul 16 2012

Are You One Of THOSE Authors?

Posted by Mathias

Face it. There are certain authors that are THOSE kind of authors. The question is, are you one of THOSE kinds of authors.

In case you are wonder what I mean when I say THOSE kind of authors are, I’ll explain. THOSE kind of authors are authors who fawn over every kind bit of praise they get. They blog, tweet, and facebook every glowing “5 Star Review”. But THOSE kind of authors also do something else. They feel the need to attack anyone who doesn’t like their work, even if it is a legitimate opinion. Just like they blog, tweet, and facebook with pride about how much people loved what they wrote, THOSE kinds of authors also blog, tweet, and facebook attacks on people who don’t like their work and dare to not give it glowing praise.

(more…)

Jul 10 2012

The Value Of Multiple Opinions

Posted by Mathias

Lots of writers make a very deadly decision in that they do not get multiple opinions on their work. Instead, they write something and have one trusted source review their work. If they even do that at all. Many authors never seek opinions on what they have written.

The “trusted” source many authors turn to is usually a spouse, girl/boy friend, close friends or some other such person they feel comfortable with. Usually, the result of such forays is a comment like, “It’s great! Don’t change anything!”

If you are one of the lucky ones that actually do get good quality feedback from your single, trusted confidant, you are still short changing yourself. Even if you get comments that point out problems with your prose, plot, character development, etc., getting other opinions doesn’t hurt. (more…)

Jul 02 2012

A Million Ways To Write A Single Thought – And How To Go CRAZY Over It!

Posted by Mathias

If you are a writer, you have no doubt stared down a sentence or two while trying to wrangle out the perfect way to say what you want to say.  And, no doubt, you have engaged in pitched battle with said sentence, at times feeling like you would loose to it.

Sadly, we authors are a fickle lot.  Most of us strive for what we perceive as perfection rather than just what works.  That’s not always a bad thing, except when good enough is already staring us straight in the face and we just won’t accept it.  Then we spend hours, perhaps even days trying to improve on what is already good.

I recently had this experience while editing my novel, Under the Darkened Moon.  In once scene, the main character, Kyel, is in pitched combat of his own and I just didn’t like this one sentence: (more…)

Jun 09 2012

If Someone Asks For Honesty …

Posted by Mathias

Realize this, I beg you.  When someone asks you for your “honest opinion” about something, odds are they don’t really want your “honest opinion” unless it means you agree with them and are willing to stroke their ego.  If not?  Well, then what they really want is you to lie and make them feel good by doing so.

Authors are notorious for this sort of thing.  If you are not willing to tell them that their latest manuscript, or even published book, is “five-star” quality, hold your tongue unless you are willing to be cursed at and argued with until the cows come home.

Jun 04 2012

Comma Rules Are Like The Pirate’s Code

Posted by Mathias

I know there are rules for using commas. I know there are people out there who jump down your throat it you don’t use one where you “should”. But the more I read, the more more I realize that published authors break these rules all the time.

In essence, the rules for using commas are like the Pirate’s Code in that, “They’re more like guidelines anyway.”

Apr 11 2012

Writers Say Change But Most Readers Say Stand Pat

Posted by Mathias

It is funny. Or maybe it is sad. Several people are reviewing my recent draft of Under the Darkened Moon and it is easy to tell who is a writer and who is a reader based on their comments.

Everyone who is a “writer” has a plethora of suggestions. Not all of them are bad suggestions. But a lot of them I consider petty and nothing more than being along the lines of “I wouldn’t do [insert item here] that way”. Is it wrong I ask? Of course they say it is not but stress how they would change said item if it were their story. Ok, so I am basically chalking such things up as style conflicts between myself and them.

Now flip to the group who are “readers” of fantasy novels. Being my target audience I care more about their opinions. Those petty discussion points of not doing something a “certain way” almost never come up. The reader group has actually caught a few minor contradictions in the plot that I had missed but that the authors group completely missed while they were busy trying to make my writing more like their own. And the reviews have been more positive from those that are readers compared to authors. The group of readers of fiction are more apt to suggest not changing anything except the obvious errors.

Moving forward the story’s edits are coming along well. I hate to cut out the “authors” from the editing process but I am seriously finding that their comments are far less helpful than those who consume such stories for pleasure.

Mar 25 2012

Book Review: The Alchemist And The Executioness

Posted by Mathias

Warning! May Contain Spoilers!

The Alchemist And The Executioness is two stories by two authors which share the same world. As such, I have reviewed the two portions of this story separately.

The Alchemist by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Alchemist is a story which follows a beleaguered Alchemist who, after years of failure and financial ruin, discovers a way to destroy the menacing bramble that is plaguing the world and closing in around Khaim.  Magic, forbidden except by those approved of by the local mayor brings bramble, a dangerous plant which poisons those who become entangled by it.  Instead he learns that his invention is going to be used to discover who is violating the ban on magic use using the same principles by which it destroys the terrible plant.

This story is told from a first person perspective and normally I do not like such stories.  However The Alchemist is a delightful read and a surprisingly compelling story with good plot twists which, even though half-expected, are still well incorporated.  The Alchemist is one of those stories that shows you do not need to have action after action after yet more action to have a compelling story.  This story is mostly low key but still well told.

I give The Alchemist four out of five stars and highly recommend it.  The thing I did not like about this story is that I felt it was incomplete and when you read it you will know what I mean.

   

The Executioness By: Tobias S. Buckell

No mincing of words from me on this one. For as much as I loved The Alchemist portion of this story, I absolutely hated The Executioness.   Again, told from a first person point of view, The Executioness exemplifies everything I normally hate about the way these types of stories are told.  The text is droning, like a journal told as it is being written and never gets started while skipping and hoping through the story of Tana as she tries to avenge her boys who are kidnapped by raiders.  The story was just not believable and it was a struggle to complete.

It seemed like there was so little story to tell that the author was compelled to skip forward in leaps and bounds to simply get to the end, and that was anti-climatic to say the least.

I do not recommend The Executioness at all and give it just two out of five stars

Mar 06 2012

Adding Heft And Garbage To Stories At Publisher’s Insistence

Posted by Mathias

Almost every novel I read seems to have segments where bulk has been added needlessly. Whether it is myriads of little details getting heaped on top of other, little details that will never be played out beyond their introduction, or sidetracks from the main story that seem to have little significance to what is going on an that painfully drag on, I used to think that these sorts of things were authors just babbling and trying to maintain a rigid, dictatorial grip over ever aspect of every leaf on every tree in “their story”.

But, in talking to authors it has lead me to realize that many times, not all however, these sorts of things are put in to appeal to publishers who demand a story be of a certain length or a certain concept within the book be further explored. One friend of mine, currently going through the process of getting his first book published, is adding nearly 30,000 words to his novel because the publisher demanded a longer book after accepting to publish said book. Last night he told me of the horror he was going through to stretch out his story. In some places he gripped about having to “over describe” scenes to the point where reading them nauseated him. He has also added an entire chapter early in the book to included some “action” where the publisher said the book was dragging. But now, with the addition of that chapter, he is finding all sorts of contradictions that need cleaned up elsewhere and changing other aspects of the story. He wants published so he is doing all this grudgingly.

To an extent, we all hope that anyone putting the time and effort in to publishing a book for us as authors knows what they are doing. Sometimes though, based on experience as a reader I do have to wonder. When it comes to a choice between publication or trash bin I think we all, with a few exceptions, choose publication. But in the back of my mind I do have to wonder how much of the things that I find distasteful about so many books I read were not by the author’s hand but rather from the publisher’s ardent insistence.