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Monday, October 5, 2015

Thoughts About Writing and Hats Off Corner Welcomes Susan McCarthy

Some Thoughts About Writing

  • I hate not knowing who the main characters are and where they're headed, early in a story. If I read more than a third of a book and still don't have the players firmly in mind, I'm more than annoyed. I may even close my eyes and pretend the book's not there. 


  • I love adverbs, just not in novels. Oh, once in a while, but when I'm overwhelmed with the "he looked at her longingly/adoringly/angrily" I go a little mad. Write me something steamy instead. "He looked at her and longed to rip off that cashmere." Now that's more like it. 

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Hats Off Corner Welcomes Susan McCarthy

I loved reading Circling the Sun and The Aviator's Wife, so when BantamDell asked me to host this author with such a high recommendation from those other authors, I said, "Yes."

Hope you'll enter to win a copy of this book. I am!






If you loved Circling the Sun by Paula McLain, then I have a treat for you! Susan McCarthy, author of the award-winning Lay That Trumpet in Our Hands, is back with a new historical novel, A PLACE WE KNEW WELL, set against the backdrop of Cold War panic. 


For the Avery family, the dark days of the Cuban Missile Crisis mark a turning point in their lives which will shape and forever change them. McCarthy captures pitch-perfectly the panic, tension, insanity and innocence of the time. The Avery family forms the emotional center of the novel, as their world starts to unravel during the heart-stopping buildup to the Cuban Missile Crisis.


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The Great Time Lock Disaster has been entered in the Cover Wars Contest over at Masquerade Crew this month. If you like the cover, it would be great to have your VOTE. There are others there as well that are very exciting. 

Amazon

Quote of the Week: "The reader is the writer's only unrelenting, genuine enemy. He has everything on his side; all he has to do, after all, is shut his eyes, and any work of fiction becomes meaningless." Shirley Jackson, novelist

57 comments:

  1. I try not to overdo the adverbs.
    And will vote for your cover.

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  2. Just voted for your cover! :)

    And wow, I don't think I've ever come across a book where I didn't have a good sense of who the main characters are early on. Not knowing would be beyond annoying, for sure!

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    1. Thank you thank you thank you for your vote and you probably read good books.

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  3. If I can't get into a book by about 50-75 pages, I put it down. I know we're not supposed to use adverbs, but they can be useful sometimes. Congrats on your cover!

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    1. Some adverbs are needed and perfect! Too many turn me off.

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  4. I voted. McCarthy's novel sounds good. A very scary time in history.

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    1. Thanks, Catherine. It was a scary time, but I'm beginning to think it's always scary!

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  5. When I read older kids stories, like the Oz books, there is always a delightful smattering of adverbs, she said coyly.

    I used to feel obligated to finish a book once I started it. But as I've gotten older -- particularly being a slow reader -- I just don't feel the need to waste my time on a story I'm not getting into.

    Voted!

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    1. I understand that slow readers retain more than those who read fast. Or should that be fastly?

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  6. As writers, we would like to limit our adverbs, but as a reader a book absent of these makes it awkward to me. Too many is awkward, too.

    Now I'm off to vote.

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    1. It's just a question of style sometimes. An adverb is good in places and I enjoy their immediate image. Thanks for the vote.

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  7. Yeah, I try to keep the adverbs at bay and no main character sense? Geez, that is rather sad.

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    1. Right. Must have those MC out there and after something darned quick.

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  8. Hi Lee - I wouldn't keep cashmere on - you wouldn't have to ask .. mind you a man might be a better choice - can't wear wool ... gives me freaks thinking about it! I think the blurb should highlight who's who .. and if the book starts off without its main characters - that's crazy ... I'll be good and keep my luverly cashmere on! Cheers Hilary

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    1. I'd fight for my cashmere, too! And, yes, those blurbs should set things up for you before you open the cover.

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  9. Not only do I need to know what the main characters are working toward early in the story -- I need them to be believable and unique. I abandoned two bestselling (for some reason I cannot fathom) books recently. The first because the characters were so cliched: new boy at school noticed on first day by the hot girl who just broke up with the football star who now is going to bully the new boy. Yawn. Didn't even care that the new boy was actually from an alien planet, 'cause he insisted on telling us this in repeated info dumps. Yup. Best seller. And a movie. Don't know why. The second one I abandoned because the main characters didn't seem to have any reason for what they were doing in the opening chapters -- and I didn't much like any of them.

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    1. When those characters grab you, you know you're in for a great reading experience. Then there are those you just don't like. I agree.

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  10. Not all adverbs can be avoided but I try to use as few as possible. I feel like I'm being lazy if I use them.

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    1. My first drafts often are laden with adverbs, then I try to figure out more creative ways to describe what I want my readers to see or hear etc,.

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  11. Susan's book sounds intriguing. I'm off to vote for your cover. Best of luck.

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    1. It does, indeed. Thanks for the support, Mason.

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  12. I'm not sure how my adverb use is. I try to use the sparingly, but maybe I should do a search and see just how many pop up.

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    1. I find I can slip into a rut with a grammar pattern if I'm not careful. So glad I don't have to show anyone what I write before I can rewrite it.

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  13. I, too, can enjoy a work of fiction that's got a lot to say, but if I can't get anchored in the story because there's way too much vague happening, then it's time to move on to another book.

    Congrats to Susan for her newest release and to you for your cover award nomination!!!

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    Replies
    1. Vague is a good word choice. I want vivid and exciting.

      Delete
  14. I will vote for your cover.
    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I try to avoid adverbs, or at least edit out the ones I think are unnecessary, which is usually most of them! Good luck with the cover contest!

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    1. That's kind of what I find, too! I didn't need to use those "vague" words.

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  16. Characters are often what I enjoy most about a book so if I can't really grasp them early on, that's a problem!

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  17. Susan's book sounds great!
    Off to vote :)

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  18. I admit it, I'm an adverb junkie, my editor hates me. :)
    Voted, and would love to win!!!!1

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    Replies
    1. Put 'em. Take 'em out. Do what works in the end. Thanks, Yolanda.

      Delete
  19. I get really bored reading all those adverbs too. Yes please, rip off that bodice . .
    I haven't read any of those books, but this one sounds intriguing. Thanks for the suggestion; good luck Susan.

    Your cover does look awesome Lee.

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    1. I love more action, too! Get to it, I say. Thanks re: my cover.

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  20. I like your great example of what to say instead of using adverbs. :)
    Historical fiction is one of my favorite topics to read. Congratulations, Susan. Your novel sounds interesting.

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    1. I'm with you on historical fiction. What an interesting way to learn something about the past.

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  21. agreed on adverbs and I also hate it when bad writers make the sentence behind the comma and direct speech longer than the sentence in front of the comma.
    Off to vote!

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    1. I have to be able to understand what they mean. Frankly, I often find myself editing books. Terrible! I should just read and let it be. Old English teacher remnants.

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  22. Love the title, A Place We Knew Well.
    Good quote this week!

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    Replies
    1. Someday I'm going create one of my own quotable quotes.

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  23. Adverbs drive me crazy when they're overused. Actually, just about anything drives me crazy when it's overused.

    All things in moderation, especially in writing.

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    Replies
    1. So right. Variety and balance is so much a part of making a book exciting and engaging.

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  24. Great cover. I don't even know what the book is about and it grabs my attention.

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  25. I do have a problem with using adverbs. I try to cut them out and write more vivid descriptions but having a good beat reader to point out my over usage helps a lot.

    Good luck with the contest! I am off to vote for you. :)

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  26. Your cover is amazing, Lee. Good luck.

    I love grammar, but when it comes to books I hate adverbs.

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  27. I don't mind the occasional adverb--not too many, but every once in a while I'd rather one than meandering around the point too much :) And the spotlight book looks amazing!

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  28. Adverb overload can get maddening. Are you allowed to rip off cashmere. I might be hesitant if I have to pay to replace it :)

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  29. Voted for you. Intriguing quote. If I shut my eyes can I make myself irrelevant?

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  30. This looks like a great read and I entered the contest.

    I already voted for your book.

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