Archives for the month of: April, 2017

Reblogged from: Rod Raglin

Review:

 

In a dystopian future with civilization all but destroyed, Emperor Donovan, a wicked, evil, despot rules an area that includes London Ruins. His DRT (?) agents control the impoverished subjects with ruthless violence and the help of digital implants embedded in each person at birth (?) that identifies who they are and where they are.

 

Jacks is a homeless, pickpocket in her early teens. Her parents, branded as rebels, were murdered before her eyes when she was just a child. Her hatred for the Emperor and his agents is only slightly less than her will to survive.

 

When she is asked to see what has happened to a friend she stumbles on a roundup of subjects by DRT agents looking for rebels. To save them from execution she creates a distraction only to find she’s not the only one on a rescue mission.

 

Members of The Flames, an underground movement fighting against the tyranny of the Empire, are there as well and their members and Jacks form an uneasy alliance.

 

Gradually Jacks becomes accepted by The Flames, which consists of only five members all in their teens. However, the group’s leader, Zira, feels uneasy about the new recruit.

 

As the rebel group fights to save innocents as well as themselves from the malevolent Emperor Donovan and his henchmen, Zira’s apprehension comes to the fore as she is forced to reveal secrets of her own that involve Jacks.

 

As dystopian fiction goes Ignite is not very original but it does have potential. Unfortunately, that potential is squandered by lack of craft including amateur writing, lack of plot structure, one dimensional characterization and chapter after chapter that do little or nothing to advance the plot or develop character.

 

For example, the Emperor and his agents are without exception evil, nasty, cruel and stupid. The Flames are without exception good, nice, friendly, and exceptionally smart especially for teenagers living in a society that has collapsed.

 

They are constantly one up on the bad guys even though there are a lot more of them and they have unlimited resources including weapons.

 

Hold on, two of The Flames are from a wealthy “shiner” family. Their father was thrown into the dungeons for consorting with rebels but apparently the Emperor forgot to confiscate the family wealth and throw the wife and children into the street, so now the kids use their father’s money to undermine the Empire.

 

If you think that’s dumb, the DRT agents of the Empire are so stupid they don’t even think to have paid or coerced informants in the general population considering everyone is starving and they’d likely sell their mother not to mention The Flames, for a meal.

But no they wouldn’t because in Rogland’s dystopian future everyone poor is honest, noble and loyal to The Flames, starving or otherwise.

 

In addition to attaining more writing (and reading) experience what author Danielle Rogland desperately needs is a good editor. Someone who can tell her that using adverbs to describe the delivery of almost every sentence of dialogue she’s written is the mark of an amateur. If your dialogue needs to be described it likely is weak and needs to be rewritten using a stronger verb.

 

A good editor would cut back on the tedious descriptions of setting suggesting she leave it to the readers imagination. Most importantly, her editor would tell her to delete or significantly cut the chapters that are basically redundant chit chat and do little or nothing to advance the plot or develop character.

 

In the end, Ignite would be tight, entertaining and about two-thirds as long as it is now with all the superfluity eliminated.

 

I received this e-book free from Inkitt in return for an honest review.

 

Inkitt says its  mission is “to ensure fair publishing and objectivity for authors. Who are we or any editor in the world to judge whether your book is worth publishing? We don’t think that we or any so-called “expert” is in a position to judge your work. You write your book for your readers, and the most important factor is whether your readers like it or not. That is what we measure at Inkitt.”

 

And how do they do this?

 

“We built artificially intelligent algorithms that have the ability to analyze reading pattern data and engagement levels. This allows us to make objective and data-driven decisions regarding a novel’s potential to become a bestseller. “

 

Apparently none of the above, as copied from Inkitt’s site, has anything to do with good writing, but hey, who am I to argue with artificially intelligent algorithms, or how many people you can persuade to click on your online book and add it to their “reading list”.

 

All the same, and despite being approved by artificially intelligent algorithms, I’m giving Ignite two stars.

 

 

 

 

Source:
www.rodraglin.com

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1558412/lack-of-craft-and-editing-extinguishes-the-potential-in-ignite

Advertisements

Review:

 

In a dystopian future with civilization all but destroyed, Emperor Donovan, a wicked, evil, despot rules an area that includes London Ruins. His DRT (?) agents control the impoverished subjects with ruthless violence and the help of digital implants embedded in each person at birth (?) that identifies who they are and where they are.

 

Jacks is a homeless, pickpocket in her early teens. Her parents, branded as rebels, were murdered before her eyes when she was just a child. Her hatred for the Emperor and his agents is only slightly less than her will to survive.

 

When she is asked to see what has happened to a friend she stumbles on a roundup of subjects by DRT agents looking for rebels. To save them from execution she creates a distraction only to find she’s not the only one on a rescue mission.

 

Members of The Flames, an underground movement fighting against the tyranny of the Empire, are there as well and their members and Jacks form an uneasy alliance.

 

Gradually Jacks becomes accepted by The Flames, which consists of only five members all in their teens. However, the group’s leader, Zira, feels uneasy about the new recruit.

 

As the rebel group fights to save innocents as well as themselves from the malevolent Emperor Donovan and his henchmen, Zira’s apprehension comes to the fore as she is forced to reveal secrets of her own that involve Jacks.

 

As dystopian fiction goes Ignite is not very original but it does have potential. Unfortunately, that potential is squandered by lack of craft including amateur writing, lack of plot structure, one dimensional characterization and chapter after chapter that do little or nothing to advance the plot or develop character.

 

For example, the Emperor and his agents are without exception evil, nasty, cruel and stupid. The Flames are without exception good, nice, friendly, and exceptionally smart especially for teenagers living in a society that has collapsed.

 

They are constantly one up on the bad guys even though there are a lot more of them and they have unlimited resources including weapons.

 

Hold on, two of The Flames are from a wealthy “shiner” family. Their father was thrown into the dungeons for consorting with rebels but apparently the Emperor forgot to confiscate the family wealth and throw the wife and children into the street, so now the kids use their father’s money to undermine the Empire.

 

If you think that’s dumb, the DRT agents of the Empire are so stupid they don’t even think to have paid or coerced informants in the general population considering everyone is starving and they’d likely sell their mother not to mention The Flames, for a meal.

But no they wouldn’t because in Rogland’s dystopian future everyone poor is honest, noble and loyal to The Flames, starving or otherwise.

 

In addition to attaining more writing (and reading) experience what author Danielle Rogland desperately needs is a good editor. Someone who can tell her that using adverbs to describe the delivery of almost every sentence of dialogue she’s written is the mark of an amateur. If your dialogue needs to be described it likely is weak and needs to be rewritten using a stronger verb.

 

A good editor would cut back on the tedious descriptions of setting suggesting she leave it to the readers imagination. Most importantly, her editor would tell her to delete or significantly cut the chapters that are basically redundant chit chat and do little or nothing to advance the plot or develop character.

 

In the end, Ignite would be tight, entertaining and about two-thirds as long as it is now with all the superfluity eliminated.

 

I received this e-book free from Inkitt in return for an honest review.

 

Inkitt says its  mission is “to ensure fair publishing and objectivity for authors. Who are we or any editor in the world to judge whether your book is worth publishing? We don’t think that we or any so-called “expert” is in a position to judge your work. You write your book for your readers, and the most important factor is whether your readers like it or not. That is what we measure at Inkitt.”

 

And how do they do this?

 

“We built artificially intelligent algorithms that have the ability to analyze reading pattern data and engagement levels. This allows us to make objective and data-driven decisions regarding a novel’s potential to become a bestseller. “

 

Apparently none of the above, as copied from Inkitt’s site, has anything to do with good writing, but hey, who am I to argue with artificially intelligent algorithms, or how many people you can persuade to click on your online book and add it to their “reading list”.

 

All the same, and despite being approved by artificially intelligent algorithms, I’m giving Ignite two stars.

 

 

 

 

Original post:
rodraglin.booklikes.com/post/1558403/lack-of-craft-and-editing-extinguishes-the-potential-in-ignite

TulipMeldIMG1_0029 copy

Authors.me – publishing and writing technology that fails to deliver

Back in November I wrote a blog entitled, Authors.me “matches manuscripts to non-existent pages, vanity press when I discovered that the platform that claims to “…connects writers, agents and publishers to find manuscripts, manage submissions and get books published” had connected one of my uploaded books to publishing sites that, among other inconsistencies, didn’t even exist or wanted me to pay them to publish my book. In fact, sixty percent of Author.me “matches” didn’t actually match.

Further to that, today I received an email from one of the sites that actually did “match”, Black Rose Writing, saying they “were going to pass on Loving the Terrorist (my novel) at present”, however if I decided to self-publish to consider their imprint, Bookend Design “where (you) would work directly with the Black Rose Writing Design Team.”

I’m wondering how much business Black Rose Writing gets from submissions from authors hoping for a traditional publishing contract and then redirecting them to their self-publishing imprint, Bookend Design?

Is there no end to the scams in this industry? And what about Authors.me vetting these so-called publishers for their site?

Technology to analyze manuscripts and provide actionable insights.

The latest product from Authors.me is Intelligent Editorial Analysis, “technology to analyze manuscripts and provide actionable insights.”

They offered me the opportunity to test drive this product and so I uploaded the manuscript of my novel The Big Picture, A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic.

On a scale of 1 to 100, where a 100 most resembles a commercially viable book, my manuscript scored 85.48.

My strengths included “an elevated level of craft” because of my “measured use of adjectives like “very” ” as well as “going easy on the exclamation marks”. Weaknesses were inconsistent spelling (they don’t say what), explicit language (curse words) and the use of clichés .

This last one I’d challenge but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and I don’t plan to get bent out of shape over it since it’s all grist for the mill.

If you want to try this out it will now cost you $49. Go to

https://app.authors.me/#partner/booklife-authors

InstaFreebie bolsters Advance Reading Team E-mail list

I just finished a trial offer on Instafreebie. For those of you who are not familiar with this giveaway platform here’s how it’s described on their site:

InstaFreebie was created in 2014 with a mission to accelerate great stories and big ideas. As the book world’s leading platform for exclusive access to sneak peeks, advance previews, and special giveaways, we live our mission every day and give readers a chance to SEE IT FIRST™.InstaFreebie was created in 2014 with a mission to accelerate great stories and big ideas. As the book world’s leading platform for exclusive access to sneak peeks, advance previews, and special giveaways.

Their basic program is free but I signed up for a thirty day free trial of the “Plus” program that allowed me to add subscribers to my email list. Fourteen people received an e-book edition of one of my novels and became a member of my Advance Reading Team by opting in with their email address.

A monthly subscription to this program is $20. That works out to $1.43 and e-mail.

Nope.

Here’s the site address:

https://www.instafreebie.com/plans

Deliver an hour long workshop – sell a few books

I delivered an hour long workshop on Introduction to Memoir Writing. This was in return for an opportunity to sell my books at the event. It worked, but if you factored in my time in preparation and the actual presentation I ended up subsidizing the sales.

There’s got to be easier ways to sell books. Any ideas?

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

30

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my seven novels and two plays at

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

Facebook for writing news, my experience as a writer as well as promotions, contests, giveaways and discounts regarding his books

https://www.facebook.com/Rod-Raglin-337865049886964/

Video book reviews of books about how to write fiction as well as the work of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

 

 

 

I spoke for an hour – flat out. In the end there was applause and a few participants bought my books, nicely displayed on a table near the door (so they couldn’t miss them).

A lot of participants who attend the Creative Writing Circles I facilitate are writing memoirs. A lot of them don’t know where to begin, how to structure or write their stories. I thought a workshop that addressed these issues would at least get them started off right, saving them a lot of time and frustration revising.

They might even be grateful enough to buy a book. Some apparently were.

Here’s the workshop outline I distributed to those who attended. You might find this information helpful if you’re considering writing about an event in your life. If you do (and your feeling grateful) sign up for my Advance Reading Team and I’ll send you a FREE E-BOOK edition of my latest novel The LOCAL RAG.

Here’s the link. http://eepurl.com/cj5wjj

 

Introduction to Memoir Writing

Facilitator: Rod Raglin

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

Website: http://www.rodraglin.com

E-mail: rod_raglin@yahoo.com

 

This short program is designed to set you on the right path to writing a memoir.

What is a memoir?

A memoir is not the story of your life (autobiography) but rather a story of one of your life experiences. It has a distinct beginning and end.

How to plan your memoir

Your memoir should be structured like any good story. Before you begin writing you should decide the story’s Goal, Motivation and Conflict.

Goal: What did you want?

Motivation: Why did you want it?

Conflict: What was stopping you from getting it?

Be specific about your Goal

It’s best to be specific and not generalize – I wanted to be happy is a generalization. I wanted out of the marriage I was in with an alcoholic so I could be happy is specific. Rather than wanting a good job which is a generalization; write I wanted to be a neuro-surgeon.

Motivation

Dig deep to discover why you wanted what you wanted. You might think you wanted to start your own business because you hoped to make a lot of money but was there more – the prestige, the power, the independence?

Conflict

These are the challenges that are preventing you from attaining your goal. Here again dig deep. What was stopping you from writing that novel – the responsibility of a family, lack of time – or fear of failure?

Where to start

Start with the inciting incident. The moment you decided things were going to change, or the moment something happened that changed the status quo.

Don’t start with backstory – your personal history – fill that in as the story unfolds and only what is necessary for the reader to understand your motivation. Always make it minimal and relevant to this memoir.

Story structure

The story arc – begins with the inciting incident and the tension rises as you are confronted with one obstacle (conflict) after another that you have to overcome to achieve your goal. The highest point of the story arc is the climax – the final battle that will resolve whether or not you achieve your goal.

Then denouement – wrap up loose ends and finish.

Some tips about writing

Always ask Why and How – and answer these questions honestly

Evoke emotion – how did you feel about the person, the event, the award, the death? Reading is an emotional experience and if you don’t tell the reader how you felt about the events you’re writing about your memoir will be uninspiring and not entertaining. Remember the paradox of writing – the more personal you write, the more universal the appeal.

Show don’t tell

You want your reader to feel like they’re actually experiencing the event not being told what happened. One of the best way to do this is to use lots of dialogue. Dialogue is action and action is showing not telling. It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember exactly what was said – this is your story.

Consider the writing technique Scene/Sequel. Write an action scene and then a sequel reflecting on the action.

Use specifics – don’t generalize

Revision

Once you’ve written your memoir you need to put it away until it’s out of your system. You need to get perspective on it. That could take anywhere from a minimum of three months to? Then take it out and re-read and revise. You’ll likely have lots of revisions.

Once you’ve done the re-write, you need to find as many “objective” people as possible to read, proof and comment on it. Try to find people who can be honest and do not have a conflict of interest.

Consider joining a local writing group or register on an online critique site. Then revise taking their comments and corrections into consideration.

Once you’ve done all the revising you can decide to self publish on Amazon – free with a 70-30% royalty split or begin the submission process to publishers.

Books that are helpful:

The Writer’s Process, Getting Your Brain in Gear by Anne Janzer

Writing MEMOIR, The Practical Guide to Writing and Publishing the Story of Your Life,

by Jerry Payne

%d bloggers like this: