Tag Archives: Delirium

Website Wonders

29 Aug

Announcements:

Before we get into August’s Website Wonders, I wanted to thank two lovely reviewers for sharing their thoughts on Take Me Tomorrow and Seconds Before Sunrise, book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy.

Bookish Lover Reviews started us off by reviewing Take Me Tomorrow, “If you liked Delirium series and Divergent, this is something in between. It has great action with lot of twists and a little bit of romance but enough to fall in love with story even more. I recommend it to everyone. Please pick it up, because this book deserves bigger audience.” The full review gets into detail about romance and action.

Tranquil Dreams posted their thoughts on the paranormal romance, Seconds Before Sunrise, “There is nothing better than a novel that delivers a believable story with an alternate reality/fantasy world intertwined and while giving us a love story also gets us to wonder what happens next. Thats what Seconds Before Sunrise is.” But she gets more into detail about the personal struggles Eric and Jessica have to face in her full review.

If you’re interested in reading either of these novels, here are the Amazon links to Take Me Tomorrow and Seconds Before Sunrise, book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy. Be sure to let me know about your review. If you want me to share it, I would be more than happy to. Comment here or send me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com.

Website Wonders:

Every month, I share all of the websites I come across that I find helpful, humorous, or just awesome. Below, you’ll find all of August’s Website Wonders categorized as so: Reading, Writing, Inspiration Art and Life, and For Fun. Between each category is a photo. If you enjoy these websites, be sure to like my Facebook page because I share even more websites and photos like this there.

Enjoy!

Reading:

What Classic Novel Describes Your Life? My life is described by J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. How about yours?

J.K. Rowling Releases New “Harry Potter” Story, Characters, and Song (Video)

4 Ways “The Giver” Turns A Beloved Novel into Just Another Dystopian Teen Movie: So sad. Just so sad.

10 Novels You Need to Read and Why – For Dummies: The neat part about this list is how different it is. It isn’t the “best” or “for moms” or “to enrich your life.” It’s just a list that changes constantly.

Kurt Vonnegut Quotes to Start Your Week: “Live by the harmless untruths that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.”

Vintage Books and Anchor Books

Vintage Books and Anchor Books

Writing:

These Writing Tips from George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb are just Epic

29 Words That Mean Something Totally Different When You’re a Writer: “Writing” means doing literally anything else.

Synonyms for the 96 Most Commonly Used Words in English: Maybe a list writers can use?

French Phrases: I found it sad that she called it pretentious, but I think this is a good list to go on if you’re looking to incorporate the French language into a story or character.

Title Wave

Title Wave

Inspirational Art and Life:

12 Amazing Tree Tunnels You Should Definitely Take a Walk Through: What would be a Website Wonders post without my obsession with trees?

16 of the Most Magnificent Trees in the World: You know… because I’m obsessed with tress.

She Creates Miniature Paintings on EyeLids…THAT is Talent: There are a lot of fiction references, too.

10615372_725272647519919_532344378038299779_n

For Fun:

10 Uplifting Stories that will Warm Your Heart.

2048 Game: It’s addicting. I warned you.

25 Awesome Furniture Design Ideas for Cat Lovers

Rescue Me Ohio

Rescue Me Ohio

Hope you loved these as much as I did! I’m looking forward to sharing August’s Ketchup during my next post. September, here we come!

~SAT

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Fiction Complaints I’m Complaining About

26 Jul

Announcements:

We had a very exciting day yesterday! Take Me Tomorrow hit the top 100 in dystopian novels! It was even next to two of my favorite novels, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, and Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi so my little heart was filled with overwhelming joy.

65 in dystopian!

65 in dystopian!

Thank you for your support! Whether or not the sequel is released is entirely up to you, the readers and fans, so I hope you continue to check out my latest novel. (Because I really want to release the sequel!) Be sure to let me know if you post a review on your blog, so I can share it with everyone. Just email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

To celebrate, I finally uploaded the soundtrack of Take Me Tomorrow to my favorite music station, 8tracks, so you can check it out by clicking here.

In other news, I was interviewed by Diary of an Eager Reader, and you can read it by clicking here. We talk about my biggest challenges as a writer, but we also discussed Take Me Tomorrow if you want to read more about it! And if you want to interview me, again, I’m available at shannonathompson@aol.com. I love speaking with you! So please don’t hesitate to message me.

Fiction Complaints I’m Complaining About

We’ve all dealt with this. You’re interested in a novel, and you tiptoe over to Amazon to check it out. Once you read the synopsis, you scroll a little further (hesitantly, of course) to see what other readers are saying. That’s when you read “Best Book Ever!” and “I hate this piece of crap” right next to one another. Confusing? Yes. But even worse are the ones that don’t explain.

Today, I wanted to talk about my top fiction complaints that have left me staring at my screen a little too hard. I only hesitated to write about this because I’m an author, too, and I don’t want any reviewer to think I’m complaining about them. In fact – this might seem strange – but I don’t mind these complaints as an author. If I saw any of these on my books, it doesn’t bother me. After all, readers are allowed to say whatever they want. But it does bother me as a reader when I’m looking for book suggestions because the reviews suddenly become very difficult to sift through. That being said, I normally don’t buy books based on reviews. Generally, I read the synopsis, take a look at the first three chapters, and go from there, but I do find myself reading the reviews after I’m done reading, and these are the top complaints I see that I truly don’t understand:

I hate this genre

So…why did you pick it up? No. Seriously. I want to know. Did you think this would be an exception? Why did you think it would be an exception? Why did it not turn out to be an exception? I don’t necessarily mind this complaint if they answer these questions, but I hardly ever see that. I just see one or two stars and this single statement. This doesn’t help me decide if this book is good or bad or in-between or anything. It just tells me about your preference, which can get really confusing since genres can describe a wide range of stories. In fact, genres are normally only picked for marketing reasons.

I bought this book for are friends, and there not happy with it, so don’t waist you’re money.

Sigh. Seriously. ::facepalm:: This kind of review blows my mind – especially if they complain that the book wasn’t professionally edited.

Parent/s and/or sibling/s are dead (or absent)

Warning: longest rant to come:

I realize that there is an abundance of these instances, but of course there are. Someone is going to be dead or absent or mean or have some kind of conflicting problem. If a character’s family were perfect, how annoying would that be? (Not to mention that it would be entirely unrealistic.) I don’t know about you guys, but every person I’ve met isn’t perfect, including parents, and “imperfections” is generally why someone is interesting because it’s make them…you know…human.

When it comes to the young adult genre, I think it’s also important to remember that teen readers are in a time in their life where they are striving to be independent, so they probably don’t want to read a novel full of parental influence. Not that parental influence is a bad thing, but a teen might even look at a perfectly good parent as a bad parent just because they are teens. I know I was that way at one point, so if the book is told from their perspective that could be another reason this trend happens.

But I want to add this to the conversation: As a kid who went through the loss of a parent, gaining a stepfamily, and watching my dad get a divorce from said stepfamily, I am not special. I met dozens of teens that were also going through many of the same shifts I was going through. The divorce rate is currently 50%, and 1/7 people will lose a parent or a sibling before the age of 20, not to mention other issues families can have. But you still feel rather alone when you’re young, and seeing teens in books going through the same kind of struggles helps. That being said, I would like to see more books with both parents actively involved, but I wouldn’t complain about a book where a parent or sibling is absent whether it is physical or emotional because it happens often in real life.

Factually wrong information in general

We’ve all seen it. That one review that says something like, “This book is told in third person, and it’s really weird.” But when you open the sample novel up, it’s told in first person, and you’re sitting there, scratching your head as you seriously consider whether you forgot the definition of first and third person until you realize – nope, you’re not crazy. The reviewer put the review on the wrong book. Or – worse – they didn’t read the book at all.

There are too many boys/girls in the book

Why does their gender matter? As long as the characters are round – complicated and they are there for a reason – I could care less if they are boys or girls. I understand this complaint if it follows up with “every girl was falling in love with him for no reason” but I have seen someone mention exact numbers like, “there were 10 boys and 4 girls” without elaborating on WHY this was annoying…especially when the book takes place in an all-boys school or in some other instance where the extreme numbers make sense. Without mentioning a specific book, I did read a book about a boy character who had a lot of friends that were girls in which someone complained about it, but I didn’t understand, because the boy was raised by his mother and sister, so he was more comfortable around girls, and it made sense. I can relate to this. As a girl raised by my father and brother, I mainly had guy friends growing up. That doesn’t mean every single one of them felt romantic toward me. In fact, I was as attractive to them as a lamp would be – meaning, not at all – but I don’t see anything wrong with a boy having girls around him or a girl having guys around them as long as it makes sense to the story and isn’t an excuse to have an empty array of love interests.

(Insert controversial political or religious topic here)

Keep your politics out of fiction reviews unless the book is specifically about discussing them. I’m looking at you, anti-reviewers of erotica. (At least, this is where I see it the most.) I have nothing wrong with someone having specific beliefs about when a man or a woman or anyone has sex with someone, but don’t shove it down others’ throats by filling up erotica book reviews with “I only read romance novels when they’re married like you should be” when you haven’t read a single page of their book. It doesn’t help potential buyers, and it will probably only hurt your review ranking, especially if you’re – in fact – wrong because I have seen this on a book where the characters were married, but (I’m assuming) the reviewer was mass reviewing erotica novels because it was against their personal beliefs. Amazon should not be your political or religious platform UNLESS the book is slated toward that discussion. Then again – on the contrary – I see nothing wrong with someone reading and reviewing a novel and stating something along the lines like “this book will not appeal to readers who are uncomfortable with premarital sex.” Just don’t go mass searching for these novels just to put them down.

And finally –

Complaining about another’s complaint

Haha. Yes, I just did it to myself. I’m just as guilty as everyone else. I am here, talking about the types I hate, but here’s the truth – readers are allowed to review a book for whatever reason they want to review it as. There is no rule that states your review has to be detailed or helpful to someone else, but I do believe Amazon asks reviewers to be helpful (and definitely not spiteful.) But I am amazed sometimes by the amount of drama I’ve seen unfold on someone’s review by other reviewers. If you think it’s spiteful, please report it to Amazon or Goodreads, but yelling at one another is getting us nowhere. We all have different opinions. I’m sure I’ve written a 5-star review on a novel that another reader thought was so bad it was insane. For all I know, someone is writing on their blog right now and using my review as an example as what not to do. But that’s okay because we’re all allowed our own opinions. That’s the beauty of it all! Just try to back up your opinion with sincere criticism and encouragement.

So those are my top types of reviews that I cannot stand as a reader. What can I say? I meant to do five, but I kept typing. Have you ever seen a review complaint that you couldn’t believe? As a reader, do they ever sway you one way or another?

Feel free to share below!

~SAT

Is that Novel REALLY Dystopian? How Market Trends Affect Incorrect Labeling

14 Mar

yDhftSBDesirable Purity asked me about my inner life, including what my secrets are. If that isn’t enough to intrigue you into reading my latest interview, I also shared a verse of poetry I have never released and shared a message to those  who see me as an inspiration. Desirable Purity also made the lovely banner you see on the left, so check out the full interview by clicking here.

With the Divergent movie releasing in a week, my television commercials are filled with dystopian images – a broken society, a dramatic tension, a fight against suppression. We’ve seen these images before, especially with the recent popularity of The Hunger Games sending this genre into the “What is Hot” category on numerous entertainment websites.

This happens all of the time.

The popularity of one novel is the catalyst for a growing infatuation with that genre. While dystopian has been around for ages, there has definitely been an increase in the recent market – but is the market ACTUALLY filled with dystopian novels or just novels claiming to be dystopian when they are, in fact, something else entirely?

I believe a mixture of both has happened, but I will get into why I think that is later. First, I want to take this moment to clarify that I am not against dystopian novels at all. In fact, my first novel, November Snow, is definitely dystopian, and that was published in 2007, one year before The Hunger Games. So I’ve always been a HUGE fan of dystopian. This piece is more along the lines of how to understand the industry and how we shift popularities by blending genres over time.

So let’s tackle this genre where I believe it gets confused:

There are many novels out there claiming to be dystopian when they probably aren’t. Not really anyway. Instead, they fall into sub-categories, like science-fiction and post-apocalyptic. And not every novel in those categories are dystopian.

What’s the difference? Let’s break it down: (Definitions provided by The Oxford Dictionary)

  • Post-apocalyptic: “Denoting or relating to the time following a nuclear war or other catastrophic event…Denoting or relating to the time following the biblical Apocalypse”
  • Dystopian: “An imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.”

And just for clarification reasons:

  • Utopia: “An imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect.”

Here is the main difference for me: Post-apocalyptic is more about an event’s effect on the world, while dystopian is more about a setting’s effect on the world (like government.) Aliens fighting humans to the death is post-apocalyptic. Aliens setting up a new, controlling government where fights take place is dystopian. Both are science-fiction.

So, why all the confusion?

Actually, I don’t believe there’s confusion at all. Instead, this is generally a marketing strategy, and a successful one at that. When novels are labeled by category, there are many options to consider, but the market often chooses to take advantage of that blurry line in order to gain more readers by convincing them that it is just like the last book they loved. And you know what? Readers might actually love it. (So, yes, I’m not saying this is always a bad thing. I’m just pointing out why I think this happens.)

Personally, I LOVED this article: Dystopian Fiction: What is it Really? 

It explains why Lauren Oliver’s Delirium trilogy and Lauren DeStafano’s The Chemical Garden trilogy are NOT in the same genre despite both of them being labeled as dystopian. As a lover of both of those trilogies, I found myself nodding my head at every sentence of this article. (Also, the writer’s name is Shannon, too. Small world full of Shannon’s. Beware.) It’s definitely worth the read if you want to know more about the differences between the genres.

But because of the blending of these genres, I wanted to add one more thing:

If I had to guess where the market is headed, I would say that this exact blending of genres will cause science-fiction to be the next “big” thing, but who knows what will take over next? My bet is on aliens.

What do you think? Have you seen genres blend during popularity spikes? Do you think the blending affects where the market takes off next?

Join me on FB, and your responses might be used next!

Join me on FB, and your responses might be used next!

On my Facebook author page, I asked what makes a novel dystopian, and here were a few answers:

Alexis Danielle Allinson: Dystopian to me means a darker, non-conformity ending whether it is death, hum drum life goes on, the “bad-guy” takes over or the end of everything. (continued on FB page.)

Dan Thompson: My current WIP ‘Here Lies Love’ touches on dystopian themes. In my story, the sun has disappeared, leaving existence and life futile and mundane. More of subsistence really. My book isn’t about the dystopian setting however, more about how my main character deals with the obstacles thrown at her and how she tries to create a life for herself.

Tell us your thoughts below!

~SAT

Why I Am Most Nervous About the Second Book of a Trilogy

4 Mar

icyyy3Before I start today, I wanted to thank Press Pause, Fast Forward for reading and reviewing Seconds Before Sunrise, which you can read by clicking here. We’re getting closer – only 23 days left – which, by the way, The Timely Death Trilogy broke a new record last month, hence the photo on the right. The photo was taken in the front yard of the house I was living in the time of writing the trilogy, and the quote at the bottom right is also a reader’s favorite. 

Also, I will be combining February’s websites into March’s Website Wonders near the end of the month, so it’s coming. I promise.

I think the second novel has a bad rep – it’s mainly known for being the book to transition the awesome beginning into the epic climax of the ending. The second book, more or less, is the “take a break” book compared to the other two. And you know what? I find it to be true. Most of the time. Mainly because it’s REALLY hard to compete with a new world (the first novel) and the ultimate climax (the last novel.) Even if you add a crazy amount of drama, the first and third books are more likely to be remembered. It’s the reader’s nature, and I’m no exception.

I remember more of Delirium and Requiem than… Pandemonium, right? I even read Twilight at one point, but I can mainly recall the first and the last book – not the middle ones. Fifty Shades of Grey is probably the same way. Wait. Let me think. Yes, it is.

As a reader, this isn’t really a big deal. It happens. But as a writer, it’s a lot more nerve-racking. We want our second book to be as entertaining as the other two. We want the second book to be remembered, not overshadowed by the beginning and end. We want you to mention it in that book club you’re in after you all decided to read the trilogy. We really strive for the entire series to be great – not just one or two of the books to be.

But it’s hard because it seems inevitable.

Believe it or not, there is actually something called “Middle Book Syndrome” and “Second Novel Syndrome. While they are a little different, I would like to use the “middle child syndrome” as a metaphor because people are familiar with it. The older sibling gets a HUGE amount of attention, including careful parenting and a gigantic, never-ending photo album (that includes the child as a baby wearing a hat, a baby in a hat, a baby wearing a hat in a hat, and so on). The youngest sibling stereotypically gets spoiled – often getting relaxed rules and a lot more toys than the others. But the middle child? Eh. I’m not sure what the middle child exactly gets until I looked it up – which is this by the way:

1. “Middle kids bemoan their fate as being ignored and often grow resentful of all the parental attention given to the oldest and the baby of the family, and feel short-shifted.” – Today.com

2. “Middles are considered the most envious, least bold and least talkative of all the birth orders.” – Psychology Today 

Trilogies have the same problem as the middle child.

This would mean Seconds Before Sunrise is that middle child.

As the author, I love all three books equally, but I had to face this issue at one point. I had to ask myself how to make the second book memorable and how I was going to challenge the belief that the second book is a transitional book.

So I made decisions.

Yes, the second book revolves around humans in a paranormal world, but there is still plenty of action and struggling romance. In fact, the book takes place from August to December, and if you read Minutes Before Sunset, then you know what that means – Eric’s 18th birthday is in this book. And not everyone is going to survive. There will be sacrifices, challenges, and more questionable circumstances revealed. You will get to know more of the characters on a deeper level, especially some that I’ve noticed readers mentioned in reviews. You will also notice one more thing – the life lessons get more controversial the longer the series holds out. While book one deals with teenage issues, book two will challenge more adult-like issues, and book three will top those. This was done on purpose to represent how “coming of age” works. That same reasoning went into the overall focus of each book, so that means you can expect this:

book 1 = the Dark (preteen issues, not very controversial)

book 2 = being human (teenage issues, mild controversy)

book 3 = the Light, so you will learn a lot more about them. (adult issues, very controversial, and yes, I’m nervous about this controversy.)

It is in my hopes that these two ranges will allow each novel to stand out as an important part of the trilogy.  Someone has to be the middle child, but we don’t have to follow the stereotypes by neglecting them. We can build them up in order to demand an importance. If you’re a writer, we might even have to give it some extra attention to let it know it is not forgotten. If you’re a reader, don’t automatically give into the stereotype of the second book being a transition.

The second book deserves the same amount of attention as the first and last book. Love it like the others.

If you would like to help me, I am accepting reviewers of the second book – Seconds Before Sunrise. I would be very grateful to hear from you via email at shannonathompson@aol.com. I can even supply you with the first novel if you haven’t read that one yet. Or you are more than welcome to buy it by clicking the photo below. I share all reviews on my all of my websites. I am also open for interviews.

Thank you.

~SAT

Minutes Before Sunset is on sale until book 2 releases March 27!

Minutes Before Sunset is on sale until book 2 releases March 27!

February’s Entertainment Reviews

26 Feb

When The Eye-Dancers interviewed me one year ago, I didn’t even have a publishing contract for The Timely Death Trilogy. Now, they have emailed again, and you can see how much my life has changed in just 365 days. Read the full interview here to find out how I define myself as a writer and person.

I know. I know. On my last post, I said this would be February’s Website Wonders, but I am switching it up mainly because it would conflict with the Oscars. (What?) Yes, the Oscars. Since I posted about the Oscars last year, I decided I will post about it again this year. So, the next few posts will be a lot of fun!

Here’s the schedule:

2/28: February Ketchup (or Catch-Up – haven’t decided yet) This will be dedicated to showing everyone a list of February’s postings as well as the most popular post according to my stats.

3/2: The Oscars: Who I Want to Win – I think the title is pretty obvious as to what this post will be.

3/4: Website Wonders – See? I told you I would share them. They will just be shared a few days late.

Thanks for understanding!

Onto the entertainment reviews:

Movies – I’m starting out with these, because I watched so many of these that I couldn’t decide which ones to share…so I’m sharing pretty much all of them. It’s safe to say that I really, REALLY enjoy watching movies.

  • The Wolf of Wall Street: I hope Leonardo gets an Oscar. Seriously. Other than the fact that he already deserves one, he shows some crazy acting skills in this movie. From drugs to sex to sociopathic Wallstreeters – he covers a wide range of emotion in this movie.
  • 12 Years a Slave – It might win film of the year. But it was really depressing for me, which is the point, so it’s successful. That being said, I thought some of the long pauses were overdone and actually took me out of it instead of the intended effect, which – I’m assuming – is to give the viewer a moment to breathe and/or seriously think about what is happening. I still enjoyed this film.
  • The Lego Movie – I can admit I was laughing. If I wasn’t so tired, I probably would’ve enjoyed the flick a lot more.
  • I, Frankenstein: cheese graphics, definitely not the traditional tale (which I wasn’t expecting anyway.) If you’re okay with predictable action, go for it. I did think the gargoyles were cool, but that’s because I grew up watching Gargoyles, so I have a soft heart for them.
  • Last Vegas: This movie is definitely not directed for my age group, but I watched it with my father, and I was laughing along with him. He was laughing harder, but this cast was amazing. The storyline is predictable, but – come on – we’re talking about a comedy, so I had no problem with that. It was a great laugh.
  •  My Neighbor Totoro: As much as this is debatably the most popular and influential anime movie, I was slightly disappointed. Not saying I didn’t like it. I enjoyed it. But I would definitely put Grave of the Fireflies, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Spirited Away above this one. (P.S. anyone else hoping Hayao Miyazaki isn’t actually retiring? If he truly does, I am heartbroken.)
  • 24 Short Films of Famous Directors You Can Watch on Youtube: very interesting! Tim Burton’s was my favorite, but he’s also one of my favorite directors so this wasn’t a surprise to me. (I also loved Guillermo del Toro’s.)

1796519_2251975777559_1704430684_nCooking: Because I have to share this recipe. I made it for Valentine’s Day – because I needed an excuse to make something with this much chocolate in it – and I will probably make it again.

  • Oreo Lasagna: Yep. I made it, and – no shame – it was beyond delicious.

Books: Since February is the month of love, I wanted to share love books that I love.

  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver: Love is a disease. Do you need to know anymore? It’s an amazing trilogy – one of my favorites.
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: I couldn’t do this blog post without mentioning this tale. You must read it, especially if you’re going to see the movie in theaters this year.
  • One Day: This is probably one of my favorite novels. The tale takes place on one day over forty years. It shows how love can grow and die over a lifetime.
  • The Sad Love Story: For manga fans, this might be my favorite. I don’t want to spoil the story by describing it, but the title isn’t lying.
  • The World’s Greatest Love Letters: “for evil nor good shall never make me go from it.” This collection is beautiful and heartbreaking and everything in-between.

Music: One is technology, but the last three are playlists from 8tracks.com.

cat

My “Party Animal”

  • Party Animals: it’s a dancing cat. What could be better than that? I hook it up to my iPod or computer, and my cat dances to the music. I love it. Not going to lie.
  • Violin and Cie: a violin playlist
  • As One: if you like foreign music – in this case, Korean – then check this out.
  • Something Else: This is described as chill step, but I thought it was just mellow and wonderful.

Hope you check some of these things out! If you have already, be sure to let me know what you think below in the comments. If you have any suggestions, I’m always open, too.

~SAT

Dual Perspectives: Should Characters Have Equal Time to Speak?

2 Feb

A few announcements before I talk about today’s topic:

February started off with a bang! The Amazon rankings of Minutes Before Sunset skyrocketed to #980 in Fantasy and #628 in Romance-Paranormal. To celebrate, my Author Facebook Page had a little sunset party. Thank you to all of those readers! I hope you’re enjoying the romantically dark tale. If you’re thinking about checking it out before book 2 releases next month, here’s the Amazon link. (Only $3.89 right now.)

After that, I was delighted again when The Fussy Librarian emailed me that Minutes Before Sunset has been added to their shelf. The website is totally free, and it is dedicated to emailing you with the ebooks matching your unique interests and content preferences.so check it out here.

I also did two interviews this week – one with Paris Carter, a fifteen year-old-boy from Georgia dedicated to book reviews ranging from genre and age group, and another with Ariesgrl, a blogger who brings children and adults happiness through good books. Click the links to check out the interviews. They both have fantastic websites that I recommend.

Now, today’s topic:

As many of you know, my published novels – November Snow and Minutes Before Sunset – are told from two perspectives, one boy and one girl. To make this discussion simpler, I am going to be concentrating on The Timely Death Trilogy, including Minutes Before Sunset and Seconds Before Sunrise, but I will be referring to them as “MBS” and “SBS” as we continue forward.

Telling a story from different perspectives isn’t a new style. There are many novels written this way, one of my favorites being the Guardians of Time by Marianne Curley, but this style does seem to spark a debate – should chapters rotate from one character to the next? Should each speaker get equal time to speak? Should you show the same scene from two perspectives or never repeat a scene? These are a few of the many questions writers and readers have asked and answered. I am going to share my decisions in the hopes of clarifying why some writers choose what they do in dual perspectives:

MBS – as well as the entire trilogy – is told by Eric Welborn and Jessica Taylor. Believe it or not, they do not get to tell every other chapter (ex. Chapter one is Jessica’s, chapter two is Eric’s, chapter three is Jessica’s, and so on and so forth) and they definitely didn’t get equal speaking time. But this was done with a purpose in mind, and it does change in SBS.

Below is a page count chart for MBS. Blue is for Eric, and red is for Jessica. (We will get the change in SBS in a minute.)

Page count

MBS page count

As you can tell, Jessica only told about 40% of the first novel, while Eric told more. This was because of what the first novel is focused on – the Dark. Since Eric has more experience in the Dark, his voice came out more. He needed to say more, and I listened to him. This also brings up my main point: When the character wants to speak, I let them. They are in charge, not me, and that is the singular reason as to why my chapters do not rotate on and off. Jessica might have to tell three chapters in a row before Eric remembers he has a turn to speak up. This is the same reason that my second novel will not be told in the same way as the first.

Below you will see the page count for SBS. Purple is for Jessica, while green is for Eric.

SBS

As you can see, it’s a lot more equal, but Jessica tells more this time around. (Yay for Jessica!) This happened for many reasons that I can’t quite explain yet, but it mainly happened because SBS revolves around being human, and Jessica has more experience in the human world than Eric. (The third novel is focused on the Light, if you’re curious, but I’ll have to show that perspective later!)

Many writers and readers ask whether or not to show the SAME scene from both perspectives. Many say “no” for the simple fact that no one wants to reread the same scene, but I have gone against this. I had a repeating scene in MBS, and this is why:

The scene is first told by Jessica. She finds Eric sleeping in school, and he wakes up, and they make plans. At one point, she thinks he doesn’t care what she’s saying because he isn’t responding to her. Later, when the scene is shown from Eric’s perspective, we learn that he is talking to someone telepathically. So, he isn’t responding because he’s distracted – not because he doesn’t care. There are a few other things shown that explain how the two view one another, but I only want to concentrate on one. Telling the same scene from two perspectives can be confusing, but if done correctly, it can show a lot about how the characters think. If you’re going to do this, I recommend only doing it once or twice for effect reasons. (Plus, we don’t want to be too redundant.)

The other question I hear is, “Should each novel be told by the same characters?” I would suggest using the same speakers, only because your readers are probably attached to their voices and inserting a new one might be hard on everyone – writer and reader – but if it’s right for the story, go for it! Delirium by Lauren Oliver is a good example. Two novels of the trilogy are told by one character, but the last novel gives Hana a voice. At first, as a reader, I was thrown off, but I ended up loving it, and it was completely necessary for the story. I believe the fourth novel in the Twilight Saga did this as well.

Basically, if you’re considering writing in dual perspectives (or omniscient third) I would trust your characters to show up and speak when they need to. Don’t force one character to show up just because the other has been taking control for a while. Let them handle the flow. They’ll come through for you. They might even wait until you’re editing to come through, but they will. I, personally, think the characters normally know more than the writer, but that’s probably why I listen to them so much. It’s their story, after all.

What do you think? Have you ever written (or read) in dual perspectives? How did you handle it?

I do have to take a moment to express how excited I am for the release of Seconds Before Sunrise! I am glad Jessica gets more time in the spotlight, and I’m looking forward to other characters getting more attention – like Camille, Pierce, Luthicer, and Eu.

Again, thank you for your growing support! 

~SAT

Get your copy before Seconds Before Sunrise releases next month!

Get your copy before Seconds Before Sunrise releases next month!

Relax & Read: Dystopian Novels on Election Day

6 Nov

Happy Election Day !

I know you probably are getting enough election propaganda shoved down your throat, so I won’t dwell on the topic. However, I woke up this morning wondering what causes me to want to vote and what causes me to encourage others to vote (no matter which candidate they are voting for).

I realized it’s essentially because people die for the right to vote while others in the world are STILL dying for the right to vote. Sometimes, I truly think we forget how truly lucky we are, but, granted, I know voting is a RIGHT, which means you don’t HAVE to do it, so today, I racked my brain, trying to figure out how to link writing and reading to voting–and not just writing and reading, because we could pick up any newspaper today and read about the election–I wanted to  connect entertainment with the desire to vote.

SO…

I encourage everyone to read or think about a dystopian world in a novel they have read recently. For example, The Hunger Games, Matched, Delirium, The Maze Runner, and Wither. All of these novels are YA, yet they are set in a dystopian world where the citizens may not have rights. As a reader, you will be transferred there, and you will read what having no control over a leader may be like (even if it is fantasy). Like I said, I’m trying to link every day entertainment with the desire to vote, and reading a dystopian novel may remind you how wonderful living with rights may be.

Hopefully, these novels will not only remind you of your world full of rights, but they will also entertain you as they did for me. In fact, I will surely post reviews on all of them on here in the future, especially Delirium (because that’s one of my favorites).

So go out and read! (But don’t forget to vote!)

WATCH ELECTION DAY RESULTS LIVE HERE

Election Day 2012
This is ME–with my voting sticker after I voted!

~SAT

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