LC’s Fan Review Model 2

surrender-to-love

Mostly positive review because if I’ve bought your story it’s because I’ve purchased it based on your blurb (and not because of other reviews).

I will comment on:-

  1. Engagement, e.g. this story kept me engaged because of the natural sounding dialogue
  2. Story “believability”, e.g. even with the flying monkeys the author was able to …
  3. Story consistency, e.g. Jane, the main character, was developed throughout the story and it was as a result of showing, with some telling, but it was a natural progressive development
  4. Character/s Chat, e.g. Max, the antagonist, was so likable it increased tension as I wanted him to just do some good, even just once
  5. General story structure, e.g. great “story idea” with good climax
  6. Favourite part of the story, e.g. when Jane and Max came face to face and had to fight off the flying monkeys together
  7. Something (not based on writing style) that made me laugh, sigh, cry, cringe, think etc., e.g. I cringed when Jane embarrassed herself in public – I could really relate

To earn five stars you’ll need to meet 5 of the stuff above.

The least you’ll get is three stars – why? See below (similar to my LC’s Model 1)

*The first star is for the effort you have made to write and share your work – you deserve it.

**The second star is because your story is readable and has a reasonable plot. But notice I have said “story” so there must be evidence of a start, middle, and finish. There must be a decent story idea in there. If I’ve bought your book it’s because the blurb has already revealed this anyway.

***The three stars must show evidence of some character development and scene building. I’m expecting some fresh ideas. I’d also be seeing evidence of pace control, dialogue, and POV decisions with good execution relevant to scenes and story. The most important aspect for a three-star rating is that I’d expect to see showing and with a little telling, and conflict = tension.

Review Model One – LC’s Review

illustration-old-business-scratch-back-arial

Hi All,

Many of you know that I’ve been working on a model for reviewing books – just to be clear, “I’m not a professional reviewer”. Right, with that out the way why have I bothered to create a model to review if I’m not a professional reviewer?

  1. I’m nuts
  2. I have qualifications in writing which I may as well use
  3. I dislike how subjective and destructive reviews can get
  4. I prefer standardization with positive feedback and critiques

I will be putting this model on Amazon – it will be interesting to see if they accept it in my profile.

If my styles for reviews are rejected I will create a separate review section in my own website – actually, I might double up and save myself the extra work! So, if I’ve read your book, I’ll put it on twitter with links to my review page (along with the Amazon link).

Notice I said “styles of reviews”? That’s because I’m also creating an easy to use standardized FAN review model – yep, it’s all happening here.

And guess what? You can use it too if you want or modify it to suit you.

Stay tuned and happy reading and writing.

LC – gimme paw

 

Review Model 1 – The LC Review Model

For places that have star ratings and comments sections

I’ll never give less than three stars because the books I buy are ones that interest me for some reason, so:

*The first star is for the effort you have made to write and share your work – you deserve it.

**The second star is because your story is readable and has a reasonable plot. But notice I have said “story” so there must be evidence of a start, middle, and finish. There must be a decent story idea in there. If I’ve bought your book it’s because the blurb has already revealed this anyway.

***The three stars must show evidence of some character development and scene building. I’m expecting some fresh ideas. I’d also be seeing evidence of pace control, dialogue, and POV decisions with good execution relevant to scenes and story. The most important aspect for a three-star rating is that I’d expect to see showing and with a little telling, and conflict = tension.

****The addition of a fourth star will be because I’ll be looking at: Character complexity and character engagement; great dialogue; clear plot lines; engaging scenes; stories that are well-rounded with good resolution (either good or bad or in between); pace control – steady, rising, and/or falling; good conflict in plot and with/between characters; protagonist and/or antagonist developed, engaging, and with imperfections. I’d expect some genre/sub-genre specifics (so, if a science fiction mystery I expect science fiction stuff with a mystery flavour and if a mystery science fiction I’d expect a mystery with science fiction flavour). Finally, I’d expect that were will be around 5% that I skim because I’ve never read any book from published or self-published authors where I’ve read absolutely everything.

*****The last star is largely subjective and given purely for a page turning and/or nail biting and/or can’t put the book down and/or a character stays with me and/or the story stays with me and/or I think about things in the story. And finally, I will expect plot and character turning points – events that make the plot twist and turn, or events where the character/s review and maybe change what they are doing.

As you can see, the four star is pretty tough. My five star is far more subjective.

I’ll ignore most spelling and grammar issues but will make a general statement that these exist in the work – I’m not a grammar queen so I won’t be pointing out specific areas.

Word docx below – if you don’t like what I’ve done then don’t use it! Make ya own :p

Review Model 1

Happy 2016

Books-stack

Image by Hiking Artist http://hikingartist.com/

Eek, it’s been some time since I updated this site.

I’ve been busy writing but that is no excuse! So, a quick update for this year.

I will be putting up two free stories to this website, this year, and one of those is a full novel. All science fiction goes to my “other site”.

I’ll be writing up some stuff (that I started on Twitter) as I was a bit slack last year – the most recent thing being about reviews. I’m not an expert on reviewing but think it’s an important part of a reader and writers life.

I’m working on a more robust method to review and to promote…ah, I have good intentions anyway.

Hope this year will be kind to you,

Cheers, LC

Drabble 101 Part 3

Hello Drabblers!

Right – so normally a drabble doesn’t take this long to write but here’s some more tips and stuff:

Will a drabble have pace? Yes!

What of a plot? Yes, but no sub-plots, that’s just silly (but happy if you want to prove me wrong)

What about POV? – remember the old limbo saying – how low can you go? So, how deep can you go?

And what about the climactic event? A little mini one will do.

So, where am I?

  • Attachment not to space station
  • Seeing planet through porthole
  • We will be going to Earth.
  • Vigil is over
  • Upset over having to leave
  • Others are happy to leave

Characters – Maxine (blond, blue eyes, 5ft2, thin) and Jake brown haired and eyed, freckles, 5ft3, wiry)

I’ve decided ‘shortness’ and low weight are requirements, writing character descriptions has given me some ideas for my ‘twist’ and YES, drabbles work well with mini twists.

Setting in the Space Station – environment, hydroponics bay (I’m thinking they have fresh food while going home to Earth means back to rations – dunno)

Scene – packing up the station

Checks – first person, future tense, gloomy, unreliable narrator or character thoughts

I rarely write in future tense so I’ll do a quick test run – I’m going to take a fiction piece from an Indie Author and convert it.

Past – It was a nice day. ‘I’m going to ride to the shops,’ she said. He hit that button to let me out.

Present – It is a nice day. ‘I’m going to ride to the shops,’ she says. He hits that button to let me out.

Future – It’s going to be a nice day. ‘I’m going to ride to the shops,’ she says. He will hit that button to let me out.

POV – I’ll go for mid-range, some thoughts but no deep thoughts, it might give my plot away, or I could use ‘deep’ POV to add to the twist, after all, I’m going for ‘unreliable’ and this can be done best with a deep POV – revealing a person’s inner thoughts and their perceptions on things, or even using knowledge they think is right but it isn’t.

Drabble Rough 1

(I’m already highlighting things I want to change or remove)

Everyone thought that migrating to Earth was wonderful.

I just thought it was an illusion, and waited for that illusion to shatter. For years a small team greeted the visitors to our galaxy. I was part of that team. We were small physically because the space station was cramped and made to last, and it took a long time to get supplies to us. We were genetically modified to use less oxygen.

‘Maxine,’ Jake waved me over to the console. His freckled face was lit by the data flowing over the screen. ‘Last spaceship coming through.’

‘And then we go.’ My voice was as flat as my feelings.

‘Don’t be like that. We’ll be welcomed like hero’s of old.’ He checked the crew for the usual diseases. ‘All clear.’

They made it to Earth, and Maxine stepped out hearing a crack. ‘Oops, I stepped on a human.’ 147 words

Drabble Rough 2

Everyone thought that migrating to Earth was wonderful.

I waited for that illusion to shatter. I was part of a small team that greeted visitors to our galaxy. We were small physically because the space station was cramped and made to last, and it took a long time to get supplies to us. We were genetically modified to use less oxygen.

‘Maxine,’ Jake’s freckled face was lit by the data flowing over the screen. ‘Last spaceship coming through.’

‘And then we go.’ My voice was as flat.

We’ll be welcomed like hero’s of old.’ He checked the crew for the usual diseases. ‘All clear.’

They made it to Earth, and Maxine stepped out hearing a crack. ‘Oops, I stepped on a human.’ 122 words

Drabble Rough 3

(You can see I’m keeping a check on word count – remember 100 words only)

Everyone thought that migrating to Earth was wonderful.

I waited for that illusion to shatter. I was part of a team that greeted aliens to our galaxy. We were small physically to suit the dimensions of the space station. We were genetically modified to use less oxygen.

‘Maxine,’ Jake’s freckled face was lit by the data flowing over the screen. ‘Last spaceship coming through.’

‘And then we go.’ My voice was as flat.

We’ll be welcomed like hero’s of old.’ He checked the crew for the usual diseases. ‘All clear.’

They made it to Earth, and Maxine stepped out hearing a crack. ‘Oops, I stepped on a human.’ 108 words

Drabble Rough 4

Everyone thought that migrating to Earth was wonderful.

I waited for that illusion to shatter. I was part of a team that greeted aliens to our galaxy. We were small physically to suit the dimensions of the space station. We were genetically modified to use less oxygen.

‘Maxine,’ Jake’s freckled face was lit by the data flowing over the screen. ‘Last spaceship coming through.’

‘And then we go.’ My voice was as flat.

We’ll be welcomed like hero’s of old.’ He checked the crew for the usual diseases. ‘All clear.’

They made it to Earth, and Maxine stepped out hearing a crack. ‘Oops, I stepped on a human.’

Drabble Rough 5

The illusion of ‘Earth’ would shatter.

‘Maxine,’ Jake’s freckled face was lit by the data flowing over the screen. ‘Last spaceship.’

‘And then we leave,’ I snapped.

We’ll be next.’ He yawned but said cheerfully, ‘All clear for the usual diseases.’

I studied his small body, made to suit the tiny dimensions of the space station that sat at the end of the Perseus Arm. We were genetically modified to use less oxygen which was handy for Earth’s eggshell atmosphere.

They made it to Earth, and Maxine stepped out hearing a crack. ‘Oops, I stepped on a human.’ 98 words

Drabble Rough 6 – convert to future tense and modify to suit

The illusion of ‘Earth’ will shatter.

‘Maxine,’ Jake’s freckled face will be lit by the data flowing across the screen. ‘Last spaceship.’

I say, snapping, ‘Last two.’

Genetic modifications mean we will use less oxygen which is handy for Earth’s eggshell atmosphere. He yawns but will say cheerfully, ‘All clear for the usual diseases.’

I study his small body, made to suit the tiny dimensions of the space station that sits on the tip of the Perseus Arm, and know I know him too well.

We will arrive on Earth.

Jake will step out laughing, ‘Crack’.

‘Oops, minus one human.’

Right, I have six roughs for one drabble so far – can you see where the crafting comes in yet? The fine tuning? Writing takes hard word! I’ve highlighted words I’m using to prime the end. Future tense is hard – I need to work on this.

Drabble 101 Part 2

You don’t have to write drabbles this way, but I’m using them to hone my skills…sometimes I just have an idea and will scribble my words on the page, or type madly, and then fit that mishmash into a drabble.

I won’t include any extra challenges because I haven’t written a drabble for some time. Challenges might include not repeating a word, not having any word over five letters, that sort of thing.

To date and some more stuff I’m working on

Step 1 – some general starters I’ve covered

Genre #scifi, POV 1st person distant, Setting: Space Station, Tense: future, Narrator: I might try for ‘unreliable’, Tone: gloom

Step 2 – Some other stuff

I know drabbles are better with few characters, so I’ll pick a single protagonist and a minor character. I’ll use some character descriptors but again, I’ll use few of these too. Keep general adjectives (describer words i.e. red) and adverbs (modifiers i.e. gently) to a minimum. I like to keep my verbs plentiful (action, state, or occurrence).

BUT, I already see a problem.

I want the tone to be gloomy so may have to use a few more adjectives to achieve this depending on where the story goes and how I get there.

Step 3 – Structure

Even drabbles can have a start, middle, and end.

So, I might look at around 10-20 words for start and end. I’ll include dialogue as well.

Setting – where and when, I’ll pick the Milky Way, at the end of the Perseus Arm the year is 2035

As I’m thinking of these a story is beginning to develop. The key here is to start jotting it down. It’s a first draft so I’m not fuss about anything that I will pick up in the 2+ drafts and editing stages.

Drabble Development – some ideas to start

Space station, seeing planet through porthole (I don’t like these in space but a monitor seems unromantic), people will be going home to Earth (maybe the last two since I only want two characters), their vigil is over, they could be upset over having to leave or what they are returning to – they failed in something perhaps, others are happy to leave.

Okay, that’s it for now!

Drabble 101 Part 1

I’m going to work on my drabble here, with a few tweets in-between. I like drabbles because if you are writing a novel, editing, or just need a change, you can have some fun with this tiny story type and it’s great for discipline. For instance, once you have a drabble, which forces you to tighten your writing, you can then expand your story to say, a flash fiction of 1000 words. Or, if you have a flash fiction, try reversing the process and write a drabble from it – great for practicing writing a synopsis or your book blurbs!

This is my challenge:

LC’s 1st Drabble

Genre

POV 1st person distant

Setting: Space Station

Tense: future

Narrator: I might try for ‘unreliable’ Tone: gloom

Type of Being – human, alien

Connected to Character/s page

My site tends to focus on creative fiction writing – of any length – but if you are writing shorter works than full novels, then the rules may need to be adapted to produce punchier pieces.

Anyway – Type of Being

Most of you may be using humans as your templates or points of origin. Most will only be writing about humans. I’m not going to say this is easier than writing about aliens or fantasy creatures because I would say that the effort you put into your human, human-type, robot, cyborg, AI, alien, or fantasy creature will be revealed in your story.

So, my question is – has your character got a good base from which they emerge and develop?

I’m going to use the word emerge because you don’t want to clout your reader with an encyclopedic account of your character/s. You want them to emerge in parallel with the plot, or even dovetailed into your story as it itself evolves.

Remember the old journey accounts – you want to take your reader on a journey.

Putting into Practice

Work Studied – Anne McCaffrey, The Ship Who Sang‘ 

Type of Being – Sentient beings that live on Beta Corviki, a gas giant

More…soon

Anne of Cleves and I

An icy wind invades my bleak room caressing my flushed skin. As I stare into a mirror I wonder if King Henry’s rejected wife, Anne of Cleves, asked herself the same?

Who am I?

This is an age-old question that resonates within all of us at some point in our lives. And it is a question that both attracts and repels me, for how can I know or find the answer? As warm as my skin feels my interior is as icy as the wind. I find no comfort in the stormy walls and sagging ceiling with floors that seem in a constant state of flux. And I must ask myself again.

Who am I?

I am slightly hesitant to compare myself to Anne of Cleves who at first overview appears innocent and untouchable. But as I delve deeper into understanding the woman behind the mask I see that her mask is perhaps a mask of masques learned from years of ducal court in Dusseldorf. And then I ask myself, do I not also have a mask of masques?

And what do I mean by mask of masques? As I have journeyed through life I found that I protected myself in the only way possible, creating and wearing a mask. Some might say it results from social mores along with conditioning, standards and expectations, and behavioural tempering. I call it social programming and subjugation that forces me to exist in a world I am perhaps not suited for. And so, as I peer through the eyes of the mask I am able to present to the world what they want to see, but it doesn’t always work. I liken it to shaking a soda bottle that should even the tiniest crack appear, the fluids ooze and then gush out, sometimes exploding.

Of course, there are many that would say I am presenting a fake to the world and I should be myself. Sound advice perhaps if you are socially conditioned and come with tempered behaviours. Might you ask yourself if in fact you are imprisoned, and that you do not wear a mask but are a mask, permanent and rigid? I might then argue that you, for all your sound advice, also change your behaviours depending on where you are, who you are with, and what situation you find yourself in. In reality, in my reality at least, we all wear masks that we switch around. The mask of masques is the one that actually reflects our inner selves, but is so cleverly devised with our ‘shrewd’ selves, which are firmly wedged in the middle, the public assumes we are only what they see. So, if I am gentle inside and vulnerable to the world, I may show that to the world. But in the middle is a buffer of sarcasm to ward of hurtful comments so that I recognize them but don’t respond in kind, thereby perhaps appearing weak. But I may argue that in wearing the mask of masques that I uphold my dignity while still protecting myself.

Most people will not delve further than that. And who has time to unveil such masks?

Who am I? Who was Anne of Cleves really?

When Anne of Cleves stood for the first time upon English soil, perhaps icy wind caressing her own flushed face, her world from that moment on changed. Perhaps she wore a fine thick gown, furs with soft hood, and was ushered by her guards and companions to sit within a warm carriage. She may have been taken to a castle with open crackling fires, where a fine meal awaited for her set out upon an oak table. As I stood for the first time upon Tasmania’s earth I felt a prevailing peace and strangeness of it all. Not strangeness that things had changed but that somehow I was coming home. There I was dressed in thin tracksuit, old worn jacket, shivering as we lined up to buy a pie with tomato sauce at the truck shop. Of course Anne and I are separated by over four hundred years. But what did Anne see as her foot stepped upon England’s soil? Did she dread what was to come because of rumours of Henry’s previous wives and their fates? Did she see the painting Holbein painted in 1539 and see herself as she truly was, as clearly as I stare at myself in the mirror now?

But wait!

I must remove my mask, and then I must ask if I am really seeing me? I must bear truth for just the other month I was left to my own devices. My husband went away on a business trip, my son had left home, my dog was quieter than usual and each time something was stripped away. A mask was lowered until I found that I was tripping over clothes on the floor. The dog was being fed sporadically and while his big brown eyes condemned me for this sacrilegious act, he spent more time on my bed, snoring. Meanwhile I tapped away on my computer, in bed, with unwashed dishes in the sink, and knotted hair. Is this who I am? I doubt Anne of Cleves walked around Hever Castle in her daggy tracksuit 1500s equivalent, and munched on toast with Promite for dinner with a trail of crumbs leading back to her bedroom.

Is this who I am?

Anne was said to be merry so I’m sure she’d appreciate the humour of the situation. Is this who Anne was? And who was she as she learned about the King’s disfavor and request to end the marriage? Anne may have presented her mask of masques to the court and world. She was good, gentle, and noble, her true qualities as told by many in England who met her. And yet, wedged between the inner self and her public self lay the heart and mind of a clever woman. Releasing Henry not only gained her favour with the King, who named her sister, but allowed her to live with relative freedom and comfort for the rest of her life. But for a time her mask would have been dropped. What did she see at that time? Was she stripped away of her dreams and hopes? Did fear worm into her mind, heart, and body? Fear of return to her family in Dusseldorf? Fear of death?

I cannot even imagine what she went through.

And yet…I will lower my own.

I lower the mask.

I peer at the reflection.

Anger. Vulnerability. Molestation. Violence. Despair. Relocation. Change of names. Secrecy. Betrayal. Secret world. Escape. Fog. Disparagement. Burden. Blame. Rage. Fear. Guns. Run. Terror. Abandonment. Loneliness. Anger. Fear. Accusations. Death. Numbness. Survive. Habit. Ice. Foot stepping onto new soil.

I replace the mask.

Like Anne arriving to England, and making it her home, I too arrived in Tasmania and made it my new home. Walls became less stormy, ceilings solidified, and floors stabilised. I found new friends and new games to play. Like Anne I feared for my life, for her the worry of losing her head and for me dying of flowers (severe anaphylaxis). I would like to say that I no longer needed my masks but I doubt even Anne relaxed enough to remove hers. As she took on the role as Henry’s sister she would only have portrayed her gentle and kind nature, thus pleasing the King, the one she was reliant on. I feel I do Anne an injustice for she may have been truly innocent, kind, and guileless. On the other hand, if Anne did wear the mask of masques, her cleverness wedged between her inner true self and the self she projected, I doubt anyone blames her.

While dependent upon King Henry’s approval she chose to remain in England as a woman independent developing a fondness for ale and gambling. I decide to nurse my ale in beaded pewter mug, and foaming head, and move to dig through my messy drawers and pull out a pack of cards. But I am unable to draw upon companion servants to enjoy an evening of gambling as Anne did in the 1500s. I’m beginning to think Anne had it easier than I for my dog is a poor conversationalist and prefers to lick the cards, or himself, rather than deal. But I see that a woman independent, as being dependent upon Henry’s wishes, is truly a thing to be compared to my own life. For I too am a free woman within this society as long as I sit within the restraints of civilization, and am dependent upon my own husband dear.

But now as I come to the end of my tale I see that who I am, is not comparable to who Anne was. She may have worn the mask of masques, or no mask at all, while I just wear a mask. If my experiences are not who I am, then am I the person with wild hair, messy home, crumbs in my bed, dishes in the sink, Promite smudge on my face, and happy smile? Yes, that is who I am but I can hardly project that to the world, can I?

Are you brave and expose yourself naked to the world?

Or, are you more like Anne, or more like me?

Who are you?

Bibliography

Hanson, Marilee. “Anne of Cleves: Facts, Information, Biography & Portraits.” English History, 31 Jan. 2015. Web. 5 May 2015.

Lawrence-Young, David. “Anne of Cleves: Henry’s Luckiest Wife.” NC: Celestial Press, 2013. Kindle pdf file.

Licence, Amy. The Six Wives & Many Mistresses of Henry VIII the Women’s Stories. Gloucestershire: Amberly Publishing, 2014. Kindle file.

Nunn, Hillary. “It lak’th but life”: Redford’s Wit and Science, Anne of Cleves, and the Politics of Interpretation.” Comparative Drama 33.2 Summer (1999): 270-291. Web. 8 May 2015.

Warnicke, Retha M. The Marrying of Anne of Cleves: Royal Protocol in Tudor England. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Print.

Weir, Alison. The Six Wives of Henry VIII. London: Vintage, 2007. Kindle file.

Writers – are you looking for some help?

I’ve tried the following:-

Rayne Hall – Twitter and a few different books

https://twitter.com/RayneHall

https://sites.google.com/site/raynehallsdarkfantasyfiction/

I haven’t read Rayne’s fiction but the ‘Writer’s Craft’ books are great, and tweets helpful

Marcy Kennedy –  Books

http://marcykennedy.com/

Here’s some more that I found helpful:-

Sherry Soule – Writer’s Guide to Character Emotion

http://fictionwritingtools.blogspot.com.au/

http://sherrysoule.blogspot.com.au/

Jill Elizabeth Nelson – Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View

http://www.jillelizabethnelson.com/

Randy Ingermanson – range

http://ingermanson.com/

Rory Miller – Violence, A Writer’s Guide

http://www.chirontraining.com/Site/Writing.html

K.M. Weiland – Structuring Your Novel

http://www.kmweiland.com/

There’s lots out there but this list might just give you some starters and some ideas to begin researching the sort of help available for your story writing…many of these are self-published.

PS

Michael Jecks is published and self-published and he has some great videos

https://twitter.com/MichaelJecks

https://about.me/Michael.Jecks

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtD9U9jSDEjaJsfz7meEK9Q