Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Writerly New Year's Resolutions

Here comes the time of year when I sit and think and think AND THINK about what I'd like to accomplish in the coming year--along with the rest of the world. This year, however, I choose to focus my goals clearly on writing instead of some weight loss goal or my third attempt at learning to swim before the end of the year. After a lot of time and consideration, my New Year's writer resolutions entail the following:

1. I want to publish five freelance jobs. I don't care if the jobs are local, online, or print. I just want publication and a little compensation wouldn't hurt. I'm starting with Cat Misener's guest post on freelance writing at http://inkyfreshpress.com. I hope to use her posts to find out how to achieve this goal.

2. I plan to edit my MS. I'm jump starting the editing process with The Forest for the Trees (Revised and Updated): An Editor's Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner.

3. After I beta/edit that MS & put it aside, I plan to query a few agents. I turn to Twitter for this one. If I tweet my genre and beta reader or critique partner with the hashtag 'betamatch', I hope to match up with a beta reader and/or critique partner. Twitter also comes in handy when I submit to agents. It gives me information about when they are closed to queries, what they are looking for, where to find their guidelines, etc.

4. I plan to write another terrible first draft. I have several story ideas. I just need to pick one and nurture it.

5. I want to add 100 followers to this blog, for which I have no starting point whatsoever.

I welcome any suggestions on making one or all of these things happen. Better yet, what are your New Year's Resolutions? Are any of the writing related?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A review: Harvest by Tess Gerritsen

Harvest, a medical thriller by Tess Gerritsen, follows Dr. Abby DiMatteo. She is a two year intern on the brink of getting a coveted fellowship within the transplant team at Bayside Hospital. She dates the perfect man and is well on her way to making her professional dreams come true just as a decision regarding two heart transplant patients changes everything. She ends up fighting for her job, relationship and even her life.

Tess Gerritsen wrote Harvest in 1996 but I only became aware of the novel a few years ago when an English Composition instructor encouraged my class to read the novel to get an idea of how to achieve suspense in writing. I purchased the book but did not read it until now--several years later. She was right and I could have read this good book much sooner. The suspense was only one reason to read the book; I also enjoyed the journey the main character went on and her likeability.

The opening scene alone elicits vivid imagery that makes a person cringe. It doesn't take long after that to pull the reader in. Gerritsen hooks the reader into wondering where the story is going. While the novel obviously follows the harvesting of human organs, precisely how it plays out is unknown and the novel is written in such a way that the reader finds themselves compelled to read the novel to find out just how it plays out.

I was hooked after just a few pages. I had to know what happened to Abby and even so I never knew Abby's fate---not until the very end of the novel. The novel could have been a movie with the amount of twists and turns it took.

Gerritsen wrote Abby DiMatteo into some very difficult predicaments but the more fantastic the story became the more I rooted for her. The likeability of Abby also served to hook the reader. Before I knew it, I cared about what happened to Abby and I read until I found out. I wanted her vindicated.

The only things that the novel is up against are the time, it was written in 1996, and the medical lingo. Both of which Gerritsen handled very well. Brief references to VCRs and old televisions let the reader know the time wasn't present but insert Blue Ray player and flat screen and the novel could have taken place today. Nothing else gave the decade away or took away from the story. The story could have just as easily been printed today.

I thought the medical lingo would be off-putting but it wasn’t. I only have a teeny tiny understanding of medical lingo but I followed the story and the lingo didn't loose me. I only read two passages that were over my head. I read them for an understanding of the situation without going to get lengths to decipher the medical meaning but those passages still held my attention and didn't take away from the story.

The novel was very well written and the story was compelling. I only wanted to hear more of the little boy's story woven into Abby's. The novel opened with a little boy named Yakov. He had a compelling story of his own and at least twice during the novel as I read Abby's story I wondered what was going on with Yakov. I wanted a little bit of Abby's story then a little bit of Yakov's story all the way through the novel. It read more like Yakov, Abby, Abby, Abby, and then Yakov and repeat.

All in all, however, the book is a must read and it gets five out of five stars.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

*twists faucet* Nothing. *taps faucet* Nothing. Between nanowrimo, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, my cup runneth over but my writing drips dry. I'm all tapped out. My creative juices are NOT flowing. And I know. I can't believe, I'm telling anyone else this either. *sits in the writer's naughty chair* To top that off, I have not read a book that I can brag about incessantly. Which isn't to say, I haven't read a book--just not one that I can brag about and urge you to spend money on. At least not with a clear conscience. Sooooo, the only thing I can do is tell you what will be in this space next Tuesday. I promise that a book review of either Harvest by Tess Gerritsen or The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins will fill this space next Tuesday.

By the way, I welcome suggestions for getting out of a NON-writing funk? Not that this ever happens to you.