Draft 12 – will this ever be finished?

I’ve put my agent searching on hold.

About a month ago, I got a request for a full, which was ultimately past on. Instead of making me all sad, it made me frustrated with myself. My story still had flaws that I need to work out. (Chiefly my weakling of a protagonist – I had been spending all my time figuring out the other characters, and making sure of the story, I forgot about her). The request gave me hope and motivation though, and so (once again) I am rewriting the first half.

I am on chapter 21 now, of about 50, and I’m starting to worry – am I making this even worse? Am I cutting all the good parts? I know I’ve made it stronger by adding scenes from the guy’s perspective. And that’s helped in the girl’s POV too, as I know how he will react. I’ve been cutting parts I did not like to begin with, and I think it’s better because of it. That said, I will probably read it back through, and discover I’ve ruined the story/characters or something.

Anyway, I have until 10th April to finish this edit, then it’s a read-through, before passing it to my sister. She hasn’t read it since about draft 2 (it’s draft 12 now), so I’m kind of worried. Hopefully, it will be agent-presentable by the end of the month.

In other news, it was my birthday at the weekend, and I got nothing. I wanted nothing, which is rather sad. I spent hours on amazon and goodreads, trying to find a new book, but nothing stood out. I have a Waterstones giftcard, and spent half an hour in there amongst the awesomeness of YA books, but… nothing. All the books I want come out later in the year.

I’ve since ordered Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (in paperback), and just got an email saying it’s been dispatched. Yay! In the meantime, I’m rereading Prodigy by Marie Lu, because it’s awesome.

Anyone got any cool books recently? Having trouble with your WIP? Querying? I’d love to hear.

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Stacking the Shelves [3]

From the library

Of Poseidon Anna Banks
Angelfire Courtney Allison Moulton
Seraphina Rachel Hartman My review
The Goddess Test Aimee Carter
Slated Teri Terry
Pandemonium Lauren Oliver
Wentworth Hall Abbey Grahame Finished
The Queen’s Lady Eve Edwards
The Kill Order James Dashner
Breath Sarah Crossen
Anna dressed in blood Kendare Blake
Everneath Brodi Ashton

Also

The Lost Symbol Dan Brown

From Netgalley

A Conspiracy of Alchemists Liesel Schwarz My review

In other words, I had an awesome week for getting books.

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

I can’t tell whether I liked this book or not. It was different, and Seraphina was one of the best protagonists I’ve read for a while; stubborn, strong, and generally sure of herself. It’s a fully realised world, with the main city similar (in my mind anyway) to medieval London. There were more sides to this story than many YA/fantasy books I’ve read recently. I expected it to be a simpler read than it was.

In regards to the plot, I wasn’t always sure what it was. There were aspects of it I didn’t like (though that’s personal preference), and I did get confused at some points. My pet peeve was in attendance – a girl who’s not normal, who can’t tell anyone about it, and therefore lies to everyone about it. This, of course, created the tension between her and Prince Kiggs. He was an interesting character nonetheless, and the love story was not the most prominent feature – rather refreshing in a YA book.

I heard and read from other reviews that people enjoyed this book, but couldn’t seem to get into it. That’s exactly how I felt about it. But if I see the sequel in the library sometime, I’ll probably pick it up to see where it goes next.

A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz

I have to say I was disappointed by this. It wasn’t awful, not by a long way, but it wasn’t perfect either. There were some aspects I liked, and I’ll talk about those before getting into the rest.

First off, I loved the settings. The story travelled through Paris, Oxford, Venice, Budapest, and on to Constantinople. I could imagine all of these, and they were described well. It was fun to go on an early twentieth century tour of Europe.

Elle was a strong character, though this strength tailed off a little by the end. Her feelings jumped all over the place sometimes, but I liked that she didn’t just wait for the guy to make a move, and she didn’t always listen to what he said.

On to the bad, and I’m going to have to make a list.

1. Elle is advertised (is that the right word?) as a pilot. A dirigible pilot. She takes one short flight, then a brief one a little later, but most of the time she is on the ground.

2. There was no pace or tension. Her father had been kidnapped, but she was happy to stop off for a picnic, or have a nice dinner in Venice.

3. Marsh (the guy) is not that interesting. He seems to order Elle around quite a bit, and I didn’t really see where the love came from. Perhaps a little Insta-love here?

4. It tried to do and include a lot of things (Vampires, fairies, airships, magic, Oracles), and it felt like some of them were just novelties, with no real meaning to their presence.

5. STOP EATING AND DRINKING TEA! How are you going to fit into your corset if you keep eating? And yes, the British do like tea, but it doesn’t mean you have to mention it all the time! At one point, Marsh was drinking tea, someone stopped by and said ‘meet me later at this tea house’, and so to pass the time, Marsh goes to another tea house.

The thing is, I didn’t hate this book. If I forgot the flaws, it was quite enjoyable. And maybe most of those came from my editor mindset anyway. If I saw the sequel in the library, I would pick it up to see where it goes next, and which countries. It’s clear this was setting up for grander things to come, as it’s the first of a trilogy, so it’s probably going to fix my fourth point above. If you like adventure and the Orient Express, pick this one up.

One last point – try to read the end without thinking of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and the Kali death chant. It kept making me giggle.

Thanks to Netgalley for a review copy.

Awesomeness gets in the way of writing

So I’d planned to start my new story the other day – a fantasy one I’ve been thinking of for a while – but several things got in the way. For starters, it’s been a long time since I wrote a first draft, and I keep having to yell at myself (in my head) to just get the darn thing down – the bare bones! – and I can make it better later.

Then I went to the library yesterday (one I haven’t been to before), and got 12 books. It was awesome. I was just grabbing books from the YA section, crying ‘oh my gosh!’, ‘wow, they have this one’, and ‘arghh!’ (to my sister of course, who was snatching books from the shelf next to me). Then we giggled all the way home, and I keep grinning whenever I catch sight of the pile on the living room floor. (I’ll post a picture of them later). I love books.

THEN I went on my laptop to get some darn writing done, and I found out they’ve cast more people in Divergent. And one of them is Maggie Q as Tori. As in MAGGIE Q! My favourite TV show in the world at the moment is Nikita, where Maggie Q plays the lead role. She’s amazing, and Nikita is amazing. Go watch it. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to Divergent now.

The Disgrace of Kitty Grey by Mary Hooper

Mary Hooper is one of the best historical childrens/MG book writers there is. It’s always clear she’s researched her chosen historical era well, and this is no exception. Kitty Grey is a likeable, relatable girl who isn’t some strong, untouchable heroine. She gets scared and unsure in the dark heart of London, and you really feel for her when everything seems to be going downhill.

It was an easy, fun read but I couldn’t help feeling a little annoyed by the coincidences (especially at the end), and the niceness of some people. The ending seemed rushed, and to be honest I can’t see how her adventures affected her that much by the end. I can’t go into much detail in case I spoil it, but I think it would have been more interesting if she went with the second of the two possible endings.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy it, and loved being sucked into the early 1800s for a time.

Thanks to Netgalley for the advance copy.

Out UK 9 May

Stacking the Shelves [2]

From Netgalley

The Disgrace of Kitty Grey Mary Hooper

I think this is rather a pretty cover, though I’m guessing it won’t reflect the darker tone of the book (I’ve read Mary Hooper books before, and they’re not all sunshine and daisies). I’m looking forward to reading it though, Hooper’s books are always so historically detailed.

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel

Be warned; this is a horror story. I didn’t realise that – the first one, This Dark Endeavour, was fine – but I was reading this at one in the morning, and it was not fun (I don’t like horror stories). I might still have enjoyed this book but I hated every single one of the characters. They were so annoying! They kept arguing, and not listening to each other – even when they were meddling with life and death, which I’m guessing is rather a tricky business. I just wanted to yell at them myself. Their behaviour is explained a little at the end, but that couldn’t make up for it.

On top of that, was an addition to the love triangle. Another person loves Elizabeth. I’m beginning to wonder if these boys have ever seen another girl before.

I did not enjoy this at all, and will not be reading the sequel.