Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I love a walk through a garden. Getting outside and seeing beautiful things relieves stress and inspires creativity for me. I must be aesthetically inclined.

I recently took a guided tour of the Allen Centennial Gardens in Madison, WI. This is a garden in the middle of the university campus (but not supported by university funds, I am told).

It was quite beautiful, and unusually serene against its urban landscape. 

This tree made me think of secret places with that opening that looked like a doorway to wonder. 

These had to be painted plants in this "natural" garden, because I could not get over their color. 

Who wouldn't want to ponder plots and characters on this bridge?

One last piece of garden as inspiration. This French garden is supposed to mimic a tapestry. I loved the idea of a garden imitating such permanent art. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Point of View – Pick One (some exceptions allowed)

A plea to authors, especially the aspiring kind: choose one point of view. I promise, it will do your book a world of good.

I spend a lot of time reading and critiquing and reviewing books at various points of publication. One of my biggest pet peeves is when the point of view shifts. I get nice and comfortable in the head of the protagonist, and I am bulleted to another head. Most often, the shifts are unnecessary and detract from a good story. They chop it up.

Now, I know it can be done well. "Flipped," by Wendelin Van Draanen, is famously written from two different character's perspectives. "Little Women" is written from an omniscient point of view, dropping in on each character in turn (although it should be noted this was published so long ago, it may not be relevant to today's market). 

These are fine examples of doing it right, and if your story demands more than one point of view, study the masters on how it was done before. Most of the time, chapter breaks help the reader get in the right head. Changing the speaker by scene breaks gets messy. Really messy. You don't want your reader wondering who is in charge while reading your book. 






Sunday, August 5, 2012

Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars

I would like to thank John Green for writing this book, “The Fault In Our Stars,” (Dutton, 2012) because it saved my summer. I have been on a string of disappointing reads, which I won’t bother to tell you about on this blog. I have no reason to write about books I wouldn’t recommend.

“The Fault In Our Stars,” does not disappoint. Although there are examples of delicious vocabulary and deep thoughts instilled in the narrative, it does not impede the rate at which I could consume the story. Extremely readable with a tragically likeable main character, Hazel, Green’s newest novel captures the state of being for teenagers. Hazel has terminal cancer, but has survived for a surprising number of years. Her trauma isn’t one of insistence, but a state of perpetuity living with a terminal illness she literally carries with her in the form of an oxygen tank. Her years are short, but her days are long.

I laughed, I cried, and then I wanted to read it all over again.