Tag Archives: book reviews

Turning Someone Else’s Diary Into A New Story

This should be an eye-opener for those who like to write in the first person singular point of view.

Of the novels I’ve encountered which take the form of a diary (having chapters or scene breaks labeled with dates), most are disappointing because they’re too detailed, especially because the dated “entries” usually include vast amounts of dialogue. While a strong, sustained suspension of disbelief is required by any novel written in the first person, no diarist’s memory of conversations can plausibly be very lengthy or detailed, and a niggling background awareness of that truth can make it difficult to stay engaged with such stories.

However otherwise unrealistic a work of fiction may be, plausibility is the key to its effective delivery to the imagination of the reader. A writer could better achieve suspension of disbelief (as well as create greater suspense) by paring down the contents of purported diary entries to the minimum necessary to support character development and the movement of the story through their arcs.

Chicago Review of Books

There are some sentences, some images, some artifacts, that stick with us over time. These are different for every person, but something imperceptible causes them to lodge themselves in our minds, draws us to think those words over and over, recall the feelings that go with them. Still to this day, when I sit down to write something I think to myself, “Hunter ready to write,” a reference to Hunter S. Thompson’s infamous schedule. When my girlfriend and I are walking and see a flock of birds, we might say to each other, “They could be starlings,” a reference to Shane Carruth’s film Upstream Color.

With Aug 9 – Fog, Kathryn Scanlan has created something truly unique. As explained in a note preceding the text, the book is an arrangement of sentences pulled from a five-year diary Scanlan found at an estate sale. Unlike the title, the diary…

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From “In Other Words…” Column: by Bradley Babendir, Chicago Review of Books.

“Something I think about frequently is the large amount of factors that lead to a book being covered or not. Most exclusion comes down to how much money there is, in one way or another. If a publisher can afford to get more advanced copies into the hands of more critics, it’s more likely that the book will receive coverage. On the other side, publications that have enough money and space to pay more reviewers will cover more books. Time, as they say, is money also, and I think time is an underrated factor.”

Source: 3 New Books in Translation – Chicago Review of Books

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Indie Authors: Do You Need a Test Reader or Book Reviewer?

I’ve beta-read for several authors. I provide comprehensive beta-reader reports on all aspects of the writing.

I’m interested in multi-genre novels (three have included a faith-oriented adventure/thriller; a faith-oriented time-travel romance; a sci-fi romance); and I’ve done a Sherlock Holmes spin-off mystery. I’ll be especially pleased to see historical fiction, Boomer-Lit and other novels centered on mature protagonists, and fiction that features characters with physical or psychological disabilities.

I’ve also done medical topic consulting for the author of a murder mystery/thriller. My Registered Nurse education, experience and extensive textbook library can provide factual, consistency and continuity evaluation for any physical or mental health issue.

In addition, I’m a scholar of the First World War (restricted to the British and German aspects), and of everything Irish: history, culture, geography, wildlife, weather, agriculture, politics, psychology, religion and whatever you’re having yourself. I’ll also double-check miscellaneous facts from any period for historical novels.

For Beta Reading ONLY: I can accommodate digital manuscripts in formats supported by the Balabolka Text-to-Speech reader: AZW, AZW3, CHM, DjVu (DjVu+OCR), DOC, DOCX, EML, EPUB, FB2 (FB2.ZIP, FBZ), HTML, LIT, MOBI, ODS, ODT, PDB, PDF, PRC, RTF, TCR, WPD, XLS, XLSX. Be sure to send your manuscript with plenty of lead time before a response is needed, because when I Beta read, I double-check irregularities I hear during an audible text reading by doing a screen reading of that passage, and I can screen-read only for short time periods, due to a visual disability that makes screen reading difficult and uncomfortable over long periods of time.

I’ll provide reviews of published books, too. My reading taste is generally eclectic, with favorites in literary fiction, historical fiction, and faith-oriented fiction (primarily Roman Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim, Judaic, and Latter-day Saint). I’d like to see more multi-genre/fusion fiction works, and I’m willing to take a chance on a genre I don’t usually read if the blurb and a sample chapter are intriguing.

For Book Reviews: Bound, printed books preferred. This is because the above-mentioned visual disability, and when I’m reading for a book review that will be published worldwide, I need to be able to both relax and concentrate on the story for long periods. I will provide a mailing address for you to order and ship a copy of your book. If I choose not to retain the book in my personal library, I will donate it to my public library.

You can suggest your manuscript or book in this response form:

 

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