Friday, April 29, 2011

Story Engineering Is A Must!

Author Larry Brook asks the question "does the world need another book about writing?" After reading this one my answer is definitely ... yes!

-Story Engineering "shows the storyteller what to write, where to put it, and why it works there without any of it being remotely formulaic." And any writer (beginner or seasoned) should know and practice the adage - show, do not tell.

-Using 6 core competencies (think concept, character, theme, structure, scene execution, writing voice) Mr Brooks takes the would-be novelist by the hand and guides them through the entire process ... "Step by excruciating step." Using well-known novels, popular TV shows and movies as examples the writer is taught what works and what doesn't. Working as a community writing instructor for fifteen years I know what writers need to write their first or next novel and this book delivers.

-"Nobody on the planet teaches story structure better than Larry Brooks. Nobody," says Randy Ingermanson, and he should know he wrote the book Writing Fiction For Dummies and is the creator of the snowflake method.

-The chapter on wrapping your head around theme is a must read (I judge all writing how-to books on whether they have an index - a necessity in my opinion and how the author handles the subject of theme.)

- Story Engineering will help the future novelist reach their goal and help save time doing it.

-This one goes on the keeper shelf.

Crazy About Georgia Bottoms

Author Mark Childress* stopped by Books & Books in Coral Gables Florida last evening to talk about his latest novel, Georgia Bottoms (2011 Little Brown). Georgia (think Southern Belle, not the town) makes ends meet by entertaining the pillars of her small town Alabama community ... and she does it with style and graceful cunning. Each man (the bank president, doctor, preacher, publisher) gets one night a week in bed with the gorgeous and good-hearted Miss Bottoms. But when Saturday's date, Preacher Eugene stands before the congregation on that first Sundaqy ready to confess the affair Georgia does what any "Scarlett" would do ... she stands up and faints. The author is a master at writing dialogue and pacing. The story is just plain fun to read.

-Mark sat amongst the attendees and told stories ... about great Southern fiction writers like Harper Lee (who responds to each request for an appearance with a bold "Hell no!" often written with a green felt-tip pen) and Margaret Mitchell who was so determined to save herself she left her elderly, doddering husband standing in the middle of the Atlanta street and dashed for the curb. A fatal error. Mark wrote the script for Crazy In Alabama (based on his 1993 best-selling novel), and the dialogue for John Travolta in The General's Daughter.

-During the book signings a father asked that the novel be autographed for his daughter adding he thought Georgia would be a good role model. Role model? If you love Southern fiction, GB is definitely a role model or as Anne Lamott said "... she's an inspired creation who grows before our eyes.

-Georgia Bottoms received a starred review from both Publishers Weekly and Kirkus. The novel is as compelling and devious as it's main character and I highly recommend it.

*(Crazy In Alabama, One Mississippi)

Friday, April 22, 2011

William F. Buckley, A Book Review

William F. Buckley
Christian Encounters Series
by Jeremy Lott

The late William F. Buckley: popular TV host (Firing Line), editor (National Review), author (50+ books and novels), nationally syndicated columnist (On The Right), Roman Catholic and well-known conservative with a distinctive voice is the subject of Thomas Nelson's Christian Encounters Series. One of ten children born into a wealthy family, WFB was well-educated, wrote his first book, God and Man at Yale, soon after graduating, worked for the CIA, ran unsuccessfully for mayor of New York, was perhaps best known for his political and religious views (he was a life-long Roman Catholic).

Author Jeremy Lott does an excellent (and even-handed) job of introducing the reader to the man known for speaking his mind ... forcefully, often and eloquently. At the end Mr Lott provides a useful bibliography for those readers who want to know more about this fascinating, faithful man of the 20th century.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program Book Sneeze. While I greatly appreciate and value this relationship with the publisher, this review is based solely on my reading and review of the book. This disclosure is in accordance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising.