Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Game: Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild

Rated: E for Everyone

Status: Worth Playing

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You can see more about it here.

Overview

Zelda’s been around since I was a kid, so it was fun to share it with my almost-kindergartner. She loves the game.

I’ve heard it called Skyrim for Zelda, and that’s not an inaccurate description.

 

Pros

  • It’s E for everyone, so the violence is cartoon in nature (think Road Runner or Bugs Bunny).

 

  • Bad Guys – Anything Link kills looks like a monster. These monsters come back alive at the next Blood Moon, so they don’t truly stay dead.

 

  • Not Scary – My daughter can be scared by My Little Pony. There was nothing in this game that truly scared her until we got to Gannon at the end. She would occasionally get frustrated with the puzzles in the game, but that’s okay.

 

  • Puzzles – The puzzles are challenging and thoughtful. Not something DD1 could solve on her own, but it challenged her to come up with ideas as even DH and I weren’t able to solve all of them easily.

 

  • Memories – We all enjoyed collecting “memories” (Link has lost his) and seeing what happened that led up to the post-apocalyptic world you start in. It let us get to see the way Zelda and Link went from an adversarial relationship, to friends, to something much deeper.

 

  • Environment – Environment becomes a factor to consider rather than just a backdrop: skeleton monsters come out of the ground at night, rain makes climbing more difficult, the sun rises and sets, the moon rises and sets, there are phases of the moon, etc. Many of these things actually feature in the gameplay, such as being properly equipped for the freezing mountain temperatures.

 

  • Load Screens– The load screens reasonable in length. Bethesda could learn a few things about this.

 

  • Armor Sets – DD1 loved the fact that Link could change his clothes, and she was very mindful that he didn’t overheat or freeze. These outfits were all upgradable, and really needed to be upgraded as you faced tougher monsters.

 

  • Rewards Worth the Challenge – Some things were always a challenge. Lynells and guardians, for example, are never a cake walk even at end game. You are rewarded for the effort with amazing weapons.

 

Cons

  • Gender Roles – It reinforces traditional gender roles. Zelda is the one who can’t master her power. Zelda is the one who falls crying to the ground. Zelda is the one yelled at by her father. Link is the one that has to save her. Blah. I almost didn’t buy the game because of this. Little girls get enough of this garbage without stuff like this reinforcing it. The game was originally going to feature the ability to choose whether you played Zelda or Link as the hero. I hope they release DLC that allows this. It wouldn’t be that difficult of a change. Not really. And it would let little girls see a girl kicking Bokoblin butt. I’ve tried to convince DD1 to think of Link as a girl, but she’s having none of it. Already. This is why not giving girls the option to play a girl is so awful.

 

  • Graphics – Enough said.
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Frankly, the graphics from 2006 Twilight Princess were better.
  • Ending – I won’t spoil the ending, but we were disappointed. Not with the game play, per se, but I wanted the traditional cathartic release you expect at the end of a game. Especially a game this long. I didn’t get it, and I didn’t get to keep playing to finish up all those armor upgrades. Once you defeat Gannon, the whole thing is over even if you haven’t finished exploring. Hoping for a DLC on this where you can have Zelda as a companion and keep investigating the world. Seems wrong to leave the princess in the tower holding Gannon at bay while I explore the expansive world.

 

  • Controls – Unlike Mario Kart that my almost-kindergartener can not only play by herself, but give her father a run for first place, the controls for BOTW (Breath of the Wild) are complex. Even my husband had some issues at times. This was not a game DD1 could play on her own.

 

  • Tedious Upgrades – Some of the clothing upgrades grew tedious. How many times do I really need to camp the dragons to shoot some part of them?

 

  • No Real Story – There main story is pretty sparse, though the memories help. It’s really just: defeat Big Bad or else he will unleash total devastation. No explanation as to why, no character development, not even for Link or Zelda. And there’s clearly a huge opportunity with this with all Zelda has to do to unlock her power. Not even any really good side stories for Link to get involved in as he tries to regain enough strength to defeat Gannon. I suppose this is par for video games, which is really sad. They have the opportunity to do so much more.

 

All in, if you aren’t worried about the gender stereotypes, it’s well worth a play through.

Where Did You Come From?

A bit of a story snippet that came to me when I was on my way to work. I didn’t stop to write it down, but I did remember it all the way home where I did write it down. Wondering if this is the beginning of a new story.

 

Alex rocked back in his expensive leather chair, the scatter of papers across his desk not enough to hold his attention. Numbers scrawled across the sheets, thousands of them, but Alex knew what they said. Already knew how to turn a profit for himself and his investors on this venture.

Boredom nipped the edges of his thoughts.

He pushed himself out of his chair and stomped toward the door. He knew where boredom led, had followed it there before, and it never brought anything good.

Who is Alex? What are his hopes and fears? More importantly, what trouble has boredom gotten him into in the past? How is he going to escape it?

Is he the hero or the antagonist?

So many more questions than answers!

If this inspires a story for you, please drop me a link to it in the comments.

This popped into my head while I was in the car, and it had enough importance to my brain that I actually remembered it all the way home so I could write it down. Car time and shower time are the two places my brain does most of its thinking. Helping me resolve plot holes in a story, giving me new ideas, or helping me solve world hunger.

Most of them I forget by the time I get to a place that I could write them down.

Looks like this story really wants to be written. Or at least considered.

Have you ever had thoughts come to you in the car? Or maybe the shower? Maybe they were the solutions to problems at work or home? New characters? A new story? Maybe you’re reading something and you suddenly solve the central mystery?

Book Review: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie
Rating: 5/5
Author: Jennifer Ashley

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This story was a pleasant surprise. The hero, Ian, appears to be autistic in Victorian England. While the son of a Duke, his upbringing was marred by violence and a lack of understanding or compassion.

I know little about autism, but the author seems to have done her research, and she never deviates from the character she creates for Ian. He is not magically healed or suddenly “made right”. He does learn how to love, and the foundation is laid that he’s always had emotions but he struggles with names for them.

His father sends Ian to a private asylum at the age of 12 for reasons that are divulged later in the book. The author does satisfy this curiosity, and I appreciate that.

As a matter of fact, this romance is a combination romance and murder mystery. The author does an artful job of leaving clues throughout the book that culminate in the ending. She handles the fact the heroine is a widow extremely well, not glossing over her first marriage but also leaving room for the heroine to fall in love again.

Ian, after being freed by his eldest brother upon their father’s death, uses his amazing memory and skill with numbers to significantly increase the family’s already massive wealth, helps his brother with treaties and laws, and collects Ming bowls.

In the process of acquiring a Ming bowl, he learns of Beth Ackerly. He decides she’s worthy of saving, like the Ming bowl, and proceeds to tell her truths about her fiancée and propose to her himself.

Beth investigates his claims, finds them to be true, and dumps her fiancée. She goes to Paris and Ian follows her.

This is where the murder mystery really begins, both a current one and one from years before.

I liked the hero a lot. He’s vulnerable and yet can be very much the alpha male. This, in the hands of a lesser author, is a recipe for disaster. I thought Jennifer Ashley handled it very well.

The heroine I also liked, but a bit less so. She was feisty and beautiful. While she came from the gutters, she’s cconfident, smart and now very rich. She is actually the one that solves the murder mystery.

I also appreciate that while there was love-at-first-sight, the heroine also considers the issue of lust. Rather than giving in, she takes some time away. Of course more hijinks ensue, but I liked that she didn’t just fall into the hero’s arms.

All in, I was engaged throughout the story. I liked the mystery elements. They kept things going and kept the romance interesting.

The characters all stayed true to themselves throughout the book, and I appreciate that most of all

Book Review: I Spy a Duke

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Rating: 2/5
Title: I Spy a Duke
Author: Erica Monroe

 

I was super excited by the premise of this book. It’s something I haven’t read before. Action. Romance. Spies. Sadly, the execution didn’t live up to the premise.

The Duke of Abermont, James, is a spymaster for the English Crown. The book opens with his sister dying after being tortured when she was caught by another spy. Gruesome opening to a romance novel. Would’ve probably been better to learn about that through the story itself so I cared more about the sister. Would’ve been easy to do as the next scene is James drinking on the anniversary of his sister’s death.

James is recently Duke as his father has just died. James is your typical brooding, powerful hero. Physically perfect and a deadly spy in his own right. Spymaster and Duke, oh my.

Vivien Loren’s brother was murdered, and the bow street runners didn’t bother with finding who killed him. She wants revenge and is willing to do anything to get it. Even bury logic and rationality.

For some reason, she believes a mysterious stranger who says he’ll tell her who murdered her brother. All she has to do is help him prove James is financing a revolution in France. She agrees. *eye roll*

Why would Sauveterre, clearly a French name, choose to appear French? Especially when he really is. Why would Vivien go along with it? Vengeance may be a powerful motive, but it’s clearly paired with blindness and stupidity. Not the traits that make a heroine particularly appealing.

The position of governess to James’s five-year-old brother has recently opened and it’s one of the first open positions in James’ household in years. Why would Sauveterre risk this with an unknown asset? Why not a French spy? Or at least a known quantity?

Vivien takes the position as governess, and lo and behold, is unable to find anything. Shocking! You sent an untrained innocent after someone you suspected was a spymaster. *eye roll*

So after 6 months in their employ, she finds James drinking to his sister’s death. Vivien joins him and drinks to her brother’s.

And just like that, James is in love with her and suddenly does a complete character reversal. For a man who’s promised to do everything in his power to serve crown and country, he is amazingly ready to throw it all away for a woman he barely knows. Especially as he’s vowed to never lose another agent after his sister.

And he fell in love with her after knowing her all of 10 minutes.

And James still loves her even after she reveals she was working for Sauveterre when Sauveterre threatens her life after she’s been unable to find anything.

He doesn’t kill her or turn her in. Because he loves her.

There is almost no interaction between them after drinking to dead loved ones to her revelation that she’s been working for the French. But our born and raised spymaster still loves her. After one drink…

Not only does James not deal with her as you’d expect from a spymaster, but he then proposes marriage to her. What?!? A shared glass of brandy, her bandaging his hand and talking about their dead siblings for 10 minutes and he’s in love…with someone that was spying on him.?!? Albeit she was spying badly, but still she was spying for the French.

He overcomes his sisters’ reticence to this highly scandalous marriage (she’s his brother’s governess). We have some narrative filler, they get married.

Then he tells her the truth about him as they head out to a safe house so he can train her to be a spy. Except, maybe she won’t want to be…more fluff and filler. There is no real tension between them, there is no real romance, and there are no real obstacles.

She just has to wrap her brain around his being a spy. Governess to duchess and now to being a spy herself…

We see him work with her, train with her, teach her self defense.

Somehow Sauveterre finds the safe house. How is never revealed. This was supposed to be the super safest of safe houses…Never did figure out why Sauveterre knew James would take her there, either. Sauveterre makes some comments about it all being part of his plan… Apparently, he knew James was stupid enough to marry her, wait, no he didn’t, because he admits that too…

Battle scene and then happily ever after ending with Vivian becoming a spy in 3 months. Um, yeah. Sure.

 

How to make it 5 stars
The author needs to be true to James. How he can forgive the heroine and risk his entire organization for her, I don’t understand. I also don’t see him falling in love so quickly.

Might have been better to give Vivian some knowledge from her dead brother she doesn’t know she has. That’s why the French spy wants her. Except he wants her alive to torture the information from her.

Now we fall back on James wanting to protect her, keep an innocent safe (rather than a woman who ignored reason and worked for a French spy) while he tries to figure out what she knows that’s useful to the French. Gives a reason to keep the characters together and gives them time to fall in love.

We need more romantic tension. The love between them needs to grow rather than just poof into existence.

Also, the villain needs more. Why would he be so foolish one moment by bringing in an outsider to a difficult and sensitive job, then the next moment be able to find the safest of English safe houses?

Author also needs to tidy up things. Such as in one scene James telling Vivien not to leave the house for fear of Sauveterre, then the next sending her into town so James can talk to his sisters.

Hero Analysis: Flaws

Mariah Avix again posed a great question. What hero flaws are generally “okay” and don’t turn me off as a reader.

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Hi. I’m superman. I’m perfect except when exposed to Kryptonite.

 

Thinking through this made me realize that in many, many novels I’ve read, the heroes don’t have too many flaws. As I think through these books, and the heroes I’ve liked, here are some of the flaws I’ve seen that worked for the character without making me dislike the character:

Demanding. Setting extremely high standards for themselves and those around them, sometimes too high.

  • In Finders Keepers, the Captain was known for being extremely difficult and held his crew up to the same high standards he held himself to.
  • I’ve seen this is several other books, such as the The Bride. He takes responsibility for his entire Clan, keeping peace, etc.

 

Bucking Society. This one usually works when something perceived as appropriate by  historical society differs with today’s views. For example:

  • A hero that spends most of his time with his wife and family rather than away from them. (Most Regency)
  • A hero that accepts being considered crazy because he married for love and still loves his wife. (Accidentally Compromising the Duke)
  • A hero that dances with his wife to the exclusion of all others.(Accidentally Compromising the Duke)
  • A society that forces a woman who was raped to be shunned and viewed as a “soiled dove” (The Study of Seduction).

Interestingly, I recently read Loving a Lost Lord and the Madness of Ian Mackenzie (book reviews are coming, I promise!). I rated both of these books very high. The first dealt with a duke whose father was English and whose mother was Indian. This was a central issue of the book although it was mostly glossed over. This was treated as a “flaw” for the historical time frame, with the heroine loving him without regard to his heritage. The second had an autistic hero. The author did an amazing job with the hero, keeping him powerful, brilliant and in control. Yet, he clearly had flaws. Such as being unable to meet people’s eyes, shunning large groups, and being unable to lie.

 

Ruthless. Granted, this tends to be a trait the hero has to put aside for the heroine. It always makes me a little uneasy as I am not a fan of the “being saved by a good woman’s love” trope. But ruthlessness can really work. I am in the middle of reading Marrying Winterbourne, and he is most assuredly ruthless. You see ruthless heroes in Stephanie Laurens’ work as well.

 

Selfishness. No great examples of this in recent fiction I’ve read, but Han Solo always comes to mind.  Granted, he overcomes it by Return of the Jedi. Character arc?

 

Arrogant. Thinking of Darcy here in Pride and Prejudice.  Again, he gets over himself somewhat by the end, but that’s the point of a character arc, right?

 

I’m sure there are more. What do you all think? What character flaws can a character have or grow out of that you can still find them a good hero?

Heroine Analysis: Part 3

After going through and thinking about what I like and dislike about heroines, I decided to take a look at the ones I’m writing. Trying to turn thoughts into action. But more than that, trying to be honest with myself.

If I’m going to put other authors’ work under my microscope, I should do the same to my own.

I don’t know why it’s so much easier to write passive heroines. I have done it numerous times in the past, and even as I wrote Knight of Valor, I had to constantly keep in my mind that the hero couldn’t just make everything better all by himself (like he did in the first draft).

Perhaps this is my upbringing in our current culture. Falling back on so much of what I’ve seen all my life. So I’ll have to fight doubly hard to exercise the damsels. But it’s a fight worth having.

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Knight of Valor

This book is complete and I’ve been working on trying to publish it. The heroine in it is a sorceress trying to stop a necromancer from sacrificing her soul.

  • Is she passive? –  She escapes from her master and actively works to get to safety. Even when her magic is weak at the beginning of the story, she always joins the fights to help the hero. She never mucks up the fights, either.
  • Do I tell one thing and show another? – This is harder for an author to fairly judge in their own work. I try very hard not to tell the reader anything. I try to focus on them liking the heroine through her actions – being a bit sassy with the hero when he deserves it, rescuing a dog, playing with children. I don’t see anywhere that I tell you she’s kind or strong willed.
  • Does she do stupid things? – I worked very hard on this and forced myself not to give in to the temptation to “make” things happen by the heroine foolishly leaving the hero no matter how insufferable he could be at times. The only action I could see actually being a bit foolish was when she frees some souls trapped by a powerful spell. It’s a risk, but a calculated one.

So, I think the heroine passes the: I won’t hate her if she’s someone else’s heroine test.

Now, would I like her?

  • Is she actively involved in solving her problem? – She fights for her soul and her freedom, up to and including making the deal to get a Knight to help her travel to safety. In the climactic showdown at the end of the story, it’s her actions that save both her and the hero.
  • Can you identify with her? – This is harder, I think. She’s a sorceress in a fantasy world. But perhaps you can identify with her not being strong enough and needing a bit of help but still being proud. Perhaps you can identify with her helping a stray dog. Or falling in love with someone she thinks she can never have. Or maybe that she can’t ride a horse well and hates camping. Those last bits might be a little reflection of the author . . .
  • No Damsels – I don’t think she ever comes across as a damsel in the story. Does she need the hero’s help? Yes. But is she also working hard and fighting alongside of him? Yes.  And, she even comes to his aide a time or three

So maybe I could actually like her even if she was someone else’s character.

At least, I’ve tried to craft that.

 

 

Book Review: Finder's Keepers

Rating: 6/5 stars

Title: Finger’s Keepers

Author: Linnea Sinclair

 

It’s been a long time since I have come across a book this good.

Best I have read all year. So yes, I am giving it six stars.

If you like science fiction and a good romance, this book is for you.  The romance is good as is the plot. The two are perfectly intertwined, and I feel like the book would’ve been flat without either. Really the first book I have read in ages where both the plot and romance are so well crafted.

For the story itself, imagine Han Solo is a woman and Darth Vader isn’t really evil and isn’t more machine than man. And there you have an amazing set-up for the story.

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The story starts out with Trilby Elliot seeing a spacecraft crash near her own dilapidated ship. Nothing quite works right on her ship, she has no money to repair it, and even those things that work have a few faults, including her droid co-pilot. Sounds like the Millennium Falcon and C3PO, right?

She goes to the crash site to salvage it and instead of finding a ‘Sco enemy, she finds an Imperial officer who was escaping from the ‘Sco. She takes him back to patch him up.

When Tivahr wakes up in sick bay, he’s determined to get back to the Empire and tell them what he learned in ‘Sco territory. He thinks it’s important enough that the Empire itself is at risk. Rather than telling her he’s the High Captain of the Enterprise, err, Razalka (the fastest, best armed Hunter ship around and the height of Imperial technology), he lies and says he’s a lieutenant.

Eventually the two start working together to get her ship flight worthy. She’s had trouble with men and recently broke up with a man that was rich, wealthy and powerful. She is very happy “Rhys” is only a lieutenant. He “gets” what it’s like to have to take orders even if he does do it aboard a cushy top-of-the-line Imperial ship.

Things get steamy between them, and I love the fact that she jumps him.

They finally get her ship up and working. Rhys is a hacker extraordinaire, even better than Trilby. And that’s saying something.

On their way out, they get attacked by the ‘Sco.  They survive because Rhys is awesome, and he uses the opportunity to convince her to go back to Imperial space and rendezvous with his ship.

There are some hijinks as they meet up with his ship, but this was the only part of the book I wanted to hurry up. I was annoyed how long it took her to stop hating Tivahr because he lied and said he was lieutenant. Of course he lied. Who would make themselves out to be a better hostage?

It doesn’t take them too long to figure out that it was the data banks on her ship the ‘Sco were after. Why? Because her ship is old, and the data banks on it are even older. And there are some forgotten back doors into empire territory that the ‘Sco want, especially as they are making a deal with the Conclave. This could mean war all over again, and this time, the Empire will be at a severe disadvantage.

 

Pros

  1. The story has a plot. A good one.
  2. I loved Trillby. She’s strong willed, a skilled hacker, and a good pilot. She’s also compassionate, loves her friends, and does her best to keep herself fed.
  3. I loved “Rhys” or Tivahr the Terrible. Yes, he’s a demanding jerk when he gets back to his ship. In control. Powerful. But he still loves Trilby, and it makes him human and you can identify with him. He also did laundry for her and got the towels fluffy.
  4. I loved that Rhys changed by the end of the book. Still arrogant. But not loathsome.
  5. Their romance was earned. It wasn’t love at first sight. As a matter-of-fact, he had to overcome the fact he took her hostage at first sight.
  6. And he fixes her droid for her. True love, that.
  7. The romance is sweet and tender. A true romance.
  8. The steamy scenes are steamy, but also tender and passionate. Not something you’ll go back to reread, but fit very well in the story.
  9. The world building is spectacular. I don’t know what a mizzet is, but I know their farts are foul. Lots of colloquialisms unique to the world, and even snippets of an Imperial language. Never overdone, never bossy or in your face. Very well done, in fact.
  10. Easy to hate the ‘Sco and Trillby’s ex without either being over-the-top.

 

 

Cons

  1. The only con to the story was when Trilby was being irrational about Rhys lying, and the whole thing didn’t feel in character for her. I get that the author didn’t want to get them together too soon, but with all the other tension of the plot going on in the book, it would’ve been fine for this to be less of an issue than it was.

 

Okay, so yeah, only one con in the whole book. It was fabulous. I devoured it in less than 24 hours and had to force myself to put it down to go to bed Saturday night. So glad I started reading it on a weekend as I finished it Sunday morning! I am definitely going to check out this author’s other books.

 

Book Review: Two for the Show

Title: Two for the Show

Author: Janet Evanovich

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Two for the Show is the second book in the Stephanie Plum series. It was very similar to the first one, but with a different mystery to solve. Same characters, same world, same story of Stephanie being sent after a criminal she has no right to try to apprehend based on her skills and experience.

The one thing I really appreciated about this book was while it was a little richer if you already knew the characters in it, you didn’t have to read the first book to thoroughly enjoy and understand the second. I really like this in a series, especially a series I may only casually follow.

While the mystery was still intense in this one, it was also a lot funnier. I actually laughed out loud at a couple parts.

I am getting better at the mysteries as I was able to guess at least part of this one. I am learning the author, her writing style, and the how she organizes her plot. I have always been very good at figuring out patterns (sometimes to my own detriment).

I am not sure what I think of the series, exactly. Still processing it, and I still have 3 more books in the series sitting in my “to read” pile. Not sure how long the series actually is, but it looks like the author started writing it back in the mid-nineties.

I like the characters. They are fun caricatures of people I have known in my life. The mysteries are compelling, but some of the stupid stuff Stephanie does from time to time makes me roll my eyes. I still like her, but…

I think this might be a me thing. I prefer reading about competent characters doing cool stuff. One of my first book loves as a child was Sherlock Holmes. Perhaps Stephanie will grow into her role of bounty hunter. I sometimes wonder if she’d make a better police detective.

The one thing I will say is the author is spectacular at letting you see and feel places with minimal description. She also has a way of describing characters that makes them feel real. If she has ever “told” me something about them instead of showing me, I haven’t noticed. And, it has always been consistent. This is definitely a departure from the romance novels I have read lately. Frankly, I like this author’s way better.

Still not sure what I am hoping to learn from this series that I can apply to my own writing. The description difference is interesting, although I am not sure how well it would be received in the romance genre. Perhaps I need more time to let it percolate, or perhaps I just need to read the next book in the series . . .

5 Things I Have Learned from Writing Book Reviews

At the end of this week-long book review fest, and all of the other reviews I have posted over the last few months, I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned for my own work from writing them.

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  1. Characters, characters, characters – I can forgive A LOT in a story if I am in love with the characters.
  2. Plots can be simple – I write and read a lot of romance novels. The romance comes first in the story, but there is usually a plot holding it all together. This can be as simple as: find the murderer. Find the thief. Free the hero from a curse.
  3. But there needs to be a clear plot – simple is fine. Preferable, even. But there needs to be one. And it needs to be believable.
  4. Adverbs aren’t all bad – One of my favorite books was filled with “ly” words. Overflowing with them. I still loved it. I am not entirely sure how the author pulled it off, but her work was sensuous and was one of the best seductions I have read.
  5. Show, Don’t Tell is Real – Most of the stories I disliked the most were ones where what I was told about a character contradicted what the character did. Brave characters who then cower over mean words said to them. Witty characters who never say a funny or insightful word. Kind characters who hang out in ballrooms the whole story. Perhaps it is the cognitive dissonance this creates that makes me dislike them so much. Interesting, as I am sure the author was telling me these amazing things about the characters to get me to love them.

Three Things I’ve Learned Revising My Second Book

I have been revising my second novel while procrastinating on writing a query for my first. Yeah, I know. But this whole query thing sucks. As does the rejection that goes with it. But here are three things I have learned revising so far.

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I Fall Apart at the End

I had been clipping along with my revisions pretty well through the first half of the book. It was better written than the first draft of my first book, which I chalked up to the experience of writing and revising a whole book. Of course, I’d thought this was going to continue throughout the novel. Boy was I wrong. Once I got to the middle of the story, the writing got more . . . well, it needed work. A lot more work.

Revision progress slowed.

Then I got about 2/3 of the way through, and the writing went from rough to bad. Very bad. More like a glorified outline. There’s still dialogue and the like, but the transitions (which I struggle with normally) are beyond bad. Description seems to have been tossed out the window, the villain is poorly developed, and the heroine seems to be regressing rather than coming into her own.

I have my work cut out for me, but that’s what revision is all about. This is why it takes me so much longer to revise than to write.

 

Character Arcs

As I have been revising this piece, I learned something about how I have been writing character arcs in my first two books.

My heroines both have external conflicts to resolve: escape from a necromancer to save her soul; escape slavery so her children will be born free.

Both of my heroes have internal conflicts: let himself find happiness beyond duty even after all he’s seen and done for a righteous cause;  learn the humility, compassion and sacrifice it takes to be a good king.

I’m still not sure if it’s good characterization or not. I want my female characters to be perceived as strong, even if they need the hero’s help. These are romance novels. I need to find a reason to keep the hero and heroine together even if they aren’t two people that would normally be together. I also need to make larger than life heroes feel more human.

As I think through the many romance novels I’ve read, this seems to be a somewhat common theme.

I need to think more on this, but for the moment, I’m not sure I have a better solution.

 

Motivation

My motivation has been flagging during these revisions. Some of that is due to a sick child. But more of it is due to the draining process of revision. It’s more fun to create, to let the characters come to life and see what’s going to happen next. It’s less fun to deal with character arcs and plot pacing. It’s even less fun to work through transitions, descriptions, and the like.

All are important. And the work isn’t ready for external feedback until all have been dealt with.

Time to pull myself up by the bootstraps and get to it.