Thursday, September 16, 2010

RetroReview: The Indie Spotlight





BLOG DESCRIPTION: A blog dedicated to showcasing Independent and Self Published authors for readers looking for fresh, new content.

MY REVIEW: Before I get into my complaints - which are more on the website than on the blog, let me say that I heartily recommend this blog to anyone who is a writer, wants to be a writer, or wants to know what the writing life is like.

Having said that...I found the title of the blog/website confusing, because to me, "Indies" are independent movies, whereas self-published books are...well, self-published books. "Selfies" maybe?

The website has more content then appears in the blog. For example there's an interview with Mark Jeffrey, author of the Max Quick series, that I never would have gotten to read if I hadn't visited the website as well as taken a look at the blog on Kindle. It appears that what gets fed to the Kindle is their "Features" section, and perhaps their "articles" section...

Truth to tell, I found the website poorly designed and confusing... although that just may be me. ; )

But, this is definitely another blog I'd prefer to read on the Kindle rather than at the website home, because it is just so much easier to take a look at the list of titles and decide which one you want to read, then to gaze at a bland and confusingly laid out website.

Each entry consists of a brief bio of an author, then an interview, and then an excerpt from the book in question. If you're interested in the writing process, and how writer's work, you'll enjoy this blog.

Here are a few paragraphs from the one article that fed through into my Kindle:
Logic vs Illogic – Hanging the Lanterns
by Edward C. Patterson

So you’ve finished your draft and have all your ducks in a row. You’re ready for the revision and, as you do your read-through, you begin to second-guess the logic of specific elements in your work. These logic flaws sometimes sneak up and stymie when you least expect them. Some are easy, continuity problems and relatively routine to fix. However, others are like quicksand. The more you try to resolve them, the more damage control you need to apply.

To my mind, there are four categories of logic lapses:

1. Continuity
2. Poor Research
3. Counter-active
4. Global

Continuity and Poor Research are the easiest to fix. They are also the elements most evident to editors, long before readers get their mitts on your book. Continuity is a lapse in memory. Simply put:

Paragraph one:

Tom inherited his wonderfully green eyes from his mother.

Paragraph two-hundred and eighty:

Suddenly, Tom’s eyes changed from blue to gold signifying the presence of Sydney’s spirit.

You might laugh, but I have in one of my novels a possession sequence, which has a blue-eyed character possessed by a green-eyed character. The effect was perfect, except I had the eye coloring wrong at two ends of the novel. Now because the continuity error was separated by nearly 200 pages, the reader may never had noticed, but never underestimate the reader.

The simpler paragraph-to-paragraph continuity lapses scarcely need mention. We all know that things that are pocketed are suddenly out in the open or pocketed twice. Characters leave twice, or never enter. However, in my opinion, the worse logic lapse is ignorance – the lack of proper research. Many times, we will make it up as we go along, and many times, we can get away with it. However, even if it is for short stretches, we, as authors, owe our readers a proper look and feel.

For example:

Sergeant O’Hara finished relieving himself in the muddy ditch, and then zipped up his fly.

Considering the above sentence is extracted from a Civil War novel, and the zipper wasn’t invented yet, it is anachronistic slop, which could have been avoided if the writer had taken some time to research Civil War uniforms in all their richness.

-Gail Smith - The Cattle on a Thousand Hills
-Kristen J. Tsetsi - Homefront
-K. Raven Rozier - Last Door
-J. Dean - The Summoning of Clade Josso
-Logoc vs Illogic - Hanging the Lanterns
-Dana E. Donovan - Abandoned

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