Monday, April 16, 2012

Delirium by Lauren Oliver | Review

So I sat down and started reading "Delirium" by Lauren Oliver a few days ago. Desperate for something to replace "The Hunger Games" I thought I would give it a shot. It definitely had some pros, but also a few cons that left me sort of reading it because I had to more than I actually wanted to.

The Story Line
Girl living in a Dystopian society where love was considered a disease that could destroy the world. At a specific age there was a procedure done to remove the ability to love from these teenager's heads and the main character goes on an epic struggle to find out love is a good thing and escape from this oppressed way of living.

...typical sorta.

I give Oliver props for having "love" as a disease, but it was quite cliche to me. You knew from the second you read that it was about love the girl would obviously be falling in love. I found myself kind of annoyed through the whole book and kept reading, but the cliches were endless.

That being said, I give Oliver props for having a book that was extremely well-written. Her descriptions were beautiful, dialogue was engaging and though the plot was so-so, I wasn't disappointed. The next book is "Pandemonium", which I will most likely read.

Scale of 1-10?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Validity: Draft #2 Under Heavy Revision

More editing was done today. I took chunks from the middle, beginning, end all at random and started reconstructing an entirely new draft. I'm about almost 20k words into it and up to Chapter Seven. This will easily be 90,000 words if not longer. It is a trilogy though, so I dont want to drag out the story to the point where someone is like "Whats the point of Book #2?" 

It is flowing much better. I don't find myself staring at this thing going "what am I going to do here?" Instead I have a clear picture. It's like a train on the tracks, only this train is a 400mph bullet train that is whizzing through each station.

I plan on having this done by the end of the month and then it will be edited, fluffed where needed and May 1st I plan to send it out to agencies and a few publishers. 

The only hint I can give so far is it is a Dystopian. Before you go all "Oooh Hunger Games" on me, listen here: 
Dystopians have been around far much longer than Hunger Games. I'm talking since the days of Orson W. They are essentially sci-fi's, though some people don't realize this much. Fahrenheit 451...yeah that was a Dystopian.

From my vast knowledge of reading Sci-Fi and Dystopian-based novels, I'm pleased that this one is turning out to be quite unique. Funny thing is I cannot decide on the ending I would prefer to use. Sure I can go cliche, which I'm afraid a publisher would want or I can totally throw it for a loop. That has yet to be decided.  I think I will let the story flow the way it flows and the ending I will come to decide when I reach Part III of the book. Until's as just as much of a mystery to me as it is to you.

"Validity": First Draft Done...Now Where?

My first draft is complete. 

Actually, it has been complete for the past two days. I stare at this pile of papers and think "Nice", but then I shiver with fear thinking about how I have to go through it all and spruce it up for Draft #2. Part of me is in fear, the other in awe, the other just downright brain dead. Churning out a novel in five days really takes something out of your brain -- or perhaps my brain fell out. Not really sure there.

I have read through and know there are some inconsistencies that will need fluffing and repair. As I read it I decided there was one part of the plot I wanted to change out entirely, which means about 20,000 words will be replaced. 

Some would say that is because I didn't outline. Nah...It's because I am a writer. Our minds, our creativities, everything that drives behind that novel production changes with the wind, the time and the temperature outside. 

This is my first novel. I want to wow, inspire and scare those who read it all at once. Is it fine as it is? Honestly yes. I just don't feel this is how I want to debut into the novel writing world. I'm a perfectionist for sure, but a realist too. I want my first novel to come out of the gates grabbing, biting and smacking those in the similar industry down to the dust. I want to run for the finish line and say "Yes! I did it!" and now I won with the best foot I put forward -- not just the OK version.

So that being said, I sit here with a stack of papers staring at them and highlighting portions that will transfer over into the revamped version and crossing out anything useless for the new plot idea. It will be interesting for sure, but the idea I have brewing within my mind is one that I think will take my idea that much further.

What is the idea? Hmmm...can't say. Unfortunately with the rise in Dystopian novels it seems as though I might get lost in the flood; therefore, I'm making something a little more outrageous. I'm also taking a risk by breaking some novel-writing do's and dont's, but hey...if you want to go big, you can't exactly follow someone's pristine template. 

For now, my book, who I have taken and cultivated under my wing like a child has been named "Validity". Will that change? Probably so. 

More updates to come on my first novel soon.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Do I Need a Plot for My Novel?

Oh the plot. If there isn't one bigger thing to knock a writer off their feet, it is that stupid plot. You sit, you ponder and you think "Gosh I have a great idea!", but yet there is no real plot. Writers will spend weeks, months or even over a year plotting, outlining, characterization planning -- the list is honestly endless. I have seen writers with pages upon pages of notes (honestly, they could make a novel from that). Where do they get though? They put so much thought into it that now they have every step of their novel put together. That seems great right? Just fill in the blanks and you are done!

It's not that simple. A plot is important, yes, but planning each and every detail and outlining to the T almost suffocates your plot. You are stuck to follow this rigid guideline, this Dystopian-ruled way of life for your novel. You cannot move away, you cannot let creativity reign, you are destined to only write what you have plotted and outlined. 

I am a firm believer that if you are going to write a novel that is creative, witty and well...readable, you need to skip the over-planning. You are digging yourself a hole essentially. Writing a novel should come with ease. As you write and go on into your novel the plot will thicken and sometimes even present itself naturally (happens for me). Creativity, after all, is what drove you to write the darn thing to begin with. 

Not everyone can fly by the seat of their pants and write. I understand this. These type of people need structure, need that planning and that is okay -- AS LONG AS THEY FINISH IT. I have author friends who have dozens of book ideas they spent over a year planning out to perfection, but they never wrote it. They blame it on a "plot hiccup" or "plot error", but in reality, the problem is is that the idea is suffocated. The idea no longer inspires the author because he or she just spent a year of their life planning it down to the grain.

The current novel I am working on, I wrote all 300+ pages in five days. Yes, five days. Did I plan? Plot? Outline? Create character bios? 


I sat down on Easter Sunday and started writing. The ideas flowed into the page, the words spilled out and the deeper I dove into my novel, the more that freely came out. At first I had NO CLUE how my story would end what-so-ever, but as I wrote the ideas kept coming, plots and twists developed themselves and suddenly the ending came to me while in the shower. Five days....that's all it took for my first draft.

Now yes, I will have a lot more work on the second draft than those meticulous planners, but how many planners drop down a novel in five days? Hmmm..I would have to say none. Most spent over five days planning it all out most likely. 

So, do you need a plot or an outline for planning your novel? 

The answer in my opinion is no, but that being said, some people need that rigid way of working to keep on task and hey, that is okay too. What matters is not how you go to the end, but that you GOT TO THE END.