Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Trust and Awesome Books

Sometimes, I’m just in the mood to read a really good book. I don’t want to be bogged down with flat characters or boring plots. I don't want to start a book and have it end terribly or begin terribly. I just want to be caught up in story. I want characters that I adore (even when they are annoying).
During these times, I turn to authors I can trust. I have a list of authors that I enjoy every single book they write. The genre doesn’t matter. I know it will be good. For these authors, I’ll snatch their books off the library shelf without even reading the jacket flaps or studying the covers.
I know their books will be awesome and sometimes every reader needs a little bit of awesomeness.
How do these trusty-worthy authors do it?
Here are some things I’ve noticed that the authors on my list have in common.
1.      They know their craft. They know the basics of grammar. They understand character development and plot arcs. I don't have to plow through poorly constructed sentences or dig my way out of plot holes. I can just enjoy the story.
2.      They create memorable characters. Yeah, their plots are superb too, but really I can’t put down their books because I want to find out what happens to the character. The voice is strong. When reading, I forget that the characters are a creation of the author's imagination.
3.      Their endings are satisfying. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a happy ending, just that it’s a fitting ending. Their endings are also not predictable and yet, there is a connection to the beginning that astounds me in its simplicity.
4.      Their books make me think. I love books that when I finish, I just have to sit and think about what happened. Books that help me better understand people and ponder life. On my list of trusted authors, they do this consistently.
Do you have favorite authors like this? How do you think they do it?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Review: The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner

Maze Runner catches your attention from the first page. The main character Thomas wakes up in an elevator and can't remember anything except his name. He finds himself in a giant maze with a bunch of other kids. And then things really get crazy . . .
My first impression of these books: holy cow this author has an insane imagination (and not the bad kind of insane). Dashner creates the most interesting creatures and scenarios. You never know what you will encounter in his books. The best part is that they are written in such a way that you can picture exactly what he is talking about.
Perhaps it’s the vividness of the world or the strong voice in the characters. Either way, Maze Runner and the subsequent books were amazing.
The plot twists were great. Absolutely not predictable. Excellent books.
And the prequel comes out on August 14, 2012! Check out his website to learn more: http://www.jamesdashner.com/

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Near Disaster

A few months ago, the unthinkable happened. My computer shut off. That part wasn’t surprising. It had been on the fritz for a while. In fact, the power cord (Power Cord the Second) sometimes didn’t work and the battery had the lifespan of a fruit fly . . . in a jar . . . being shaken by a five year old.
So the power cord would be the slightest bit finicky and the battery would falter and little pink netbook would go black-screened. Fixing it was a matter of aligning the power cord with exact precision and turning the computer back on (hoping that nothing would jostle the cord that had been so carefully placed).
This time it didn’t work.
It turned on, but a screen came on saying there was a problem and inviting me to restart a different way.  I did.
Nothing was working.
Everything I tried led me back to the screen announcing there was a problem.
Now, I knew that little pink netbook was on its last leg, so I’d already planned to get a new computer. But I didn’t plan for such a quick crash. I hadn’t backed up my file for two weeks!
I have a friend who either likes computers or likes taking things apart (I can’t remember which), so moment later, little pink netbook is in pieces scattered across the living room. After two days of fretting, the files were finally retrieved. Thank goodness for friends who like computers or taking things apart!
Moral of the story: Backup! Backup! Backup! When was the last time you saved your novel on a source that wasn’t your computer?