Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review: Air Keep

Air Keep
Air Keep by J. Scott Savage

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Far World series continues!

The long awaited sequel to Water Keep & Land Keep, Air Keep, proved to live up to the Far World saga. J. Scott Savage has a true talent for fantasy. His style makes him easily one of the best YA authors out there. The series keeps readers guessing without being hard to follow. The characters are engaging and unique. And the magic and creatures are different enough from normal fantasy to make it a true experience.

If you're a YA or Mid-Grade fan, and love series like Fablehaven or Harry Potter, you'll love Far World and it's latest installment: Air Keep!

Check out the Far World website.

[bc:Water Keep|3223890|Water Keep (Farworld, #1)|J. Scott Savage||3257983]
[bc:Land Keep|6553209|Land Keep (Farworld, #2)|J. Scott Savage||6745783]

View all my reviews

Monday, May 20, 2013

Miscommunication: Bad For Characters, Awesome For Authors

I had a discussion with a coworker recently about a common theme in books: miscommunication. It's one of the many sneaky tools writers use to add plot complications. Is it limited to a specific genre? Heck no! Name any genre you can think of, any author, and at some point they've used miscommunication.

So why is using this tool so common?

Simple. All of us miscommunicate on a daily basis.

It's such a strong part of the human condition that you can even find it way back in the Bible and the earliest recorded stories. Basically it comes down to one thing: someone is altering or concealing the truth for any reason. Shy/embarrassed/guilty/lying... none of that matters. It's all one big miscommunication stew-pot and we all brew it.

But for authors, miscommunication has an added bonus: it can create never ending plot twists, ratcheting up tension in your story.

Here's a quick sample of miscommunications
  • The character falsifies facts to make them self look better
  • Someone hides an embarrassing detail of a youthful indiscretion
  • A husband doesn't tell his wife about his new secretary because he knows she'll be jealous
  • The boss hears the tail end of a conversation and thinks someone wants his job
  • A character convinces themselves their memories are false to protect their world view
  • A teenager finds $20 blowing in the wind and buys something causing her parents to be suspicious
  • Someone doesn't trust anyone with personal information
But that's not all! There are dozens of ways you can tweak miscommunication in a story--and you should. Miscommunication resonates with your readers because every single one of them has experienced it before. While they may not have experienced the exact kind of miscommunication you're writing about, they will have experienced something similar.

Sound Off
So how have you used miscommunication in a story? What are some of your favorite ways you've seen it used? How can you use it in your current work in progress?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Returning to the Well

I love writing conferences. But what is it about them that inspire those of us who labor with words? Why do we pay any price, travel any distance, to spend days on end in nondescript conference centers?

Like visceral fanatics returning to the temple of our muses, we cluster in rooms that are either too hot or too cold, hoping to glom on to the tiniest bit of training or wisdom to advance our craft. Pressing our sleep deprived minds into unwilling service after nights of literary abandon in quiet hotel rooms. Only to awake with a song of joy in our hearts for being in the company of lonely souls with tired eyes.

Perhaps that is all it really is: a passion for prose that transcends countries and creeds. One that turns complete strangers into lifelong friends through the magic of plot and characterization. A shuffling horde, supporting each other through rejection after rejection. Laughing through the pain until the golden day, one of us, finds acceptance in the form of paper and glue.

We are writers.

We love what we do.

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