I'm fresh out of bed, and haven't had my coffee yet, so this blog post should be interesting. (And likely riddled with typos. Heh.) Last night Cass and I met up on Skype for a round of book plotting and idea repair. Kind of a project check up, if you will. I've reached the midpoint of my WIP, and wanted to see what she thought about the changes I made to the set up and the character dynamics. (whether or not they sucked, etc.)
#1 thing I've been worrying over is the three short scenes I added to the set up. I don't want to bog down the beginning, but I do think they add more perspective to the story. It also lets me bring in an important character early on, someone who'll be necessary to interact with the protagonist/heroine at the middle of the story. I was actually worried how to bring that character into the mix in a feasible way without it seeming convenient mid-way through. So that's a win.
The other thing bugging me is the momentum versus the length. The beginning is punch-in-the-face action. There's a slow tension build up in the middle before crap starts to roll downhill again. It's a very fine balance. As it stands, the first half of the story is only about 30k. As an estimate, by the time it's doubled, it will only be 60k. So, I'm probably going to have to string in another subplot or two in there somewhere. *whimper*
So it's coming along, and I do think the story has a lot of potential, but there's still much work to be done before the draft is finished. And this is the story I created the 30 page outline for. I can only imagine what a tangle I'd be in if I hadn't done the legwork first!
Today I have to figure out if Toys R Us has the Road Ripper Mini wants for his birthday, and I need to find out if I'm going to be able to pick up a bakery cake for Tuesday. I want one of the ice cream cakes, and I haven't decided if I'll stick a big monster truck toy on top, or maybe a Hot Wheels 18 wheeler with a lot of little cars around it. We'll see. Either one is 100% to his taste, so I don't think I'll have any complaints from him.
Oh! I finished reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. Cass knows I like zombie stories, and recommended it to me. I hemmed and hawed about reading it, in general I don't care for YA books. It's not that I didn't like Harry Potter or Twilight, but reading about teen problems typically makes me put a book down after the first few pages. I'm just saying.
On the other hand, the zombie apocalypse... that's a universal problem for child, teen, and adult alike! ;0) I think that's part of the reason I liked The Forest of Hands and Teeth so much, even if it is sad in many places. This is a Murphy's Law book if I've ever seen one. If something can go wrong, it will - and it's gonna happen right as the zombie hordes are barreling down on you. NOTE: Spoiler Alert: Past this point, I'm going to discuss the book a little, so if you don't like spoilers, please skip to the bottom of the post.
Before I start, like I said, this is a discussion of the book, not a review, so get that in place before trekking forward. I'm going over some points in the book that stood out to me as an adult reader. If I were going to say something by way of a review for The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I'd have to say it's compulsive reading. I couldn't put this book down, and I highly recommend it to zombie fans. Yep. It's like that.
So anyway...on to things that stood out to me...
I have to admit, by the end of the book I found that I didn't like the main character (Mary) all that much. Teens are dreamers, they're restless...it's a fact of life. I liked Mary in the beginning, I sympathized with her loss, and felt sorry for her wanting to know more, but not having any answers. I had no trouble putting up with Mary's restlessness for so many pages. But when it did finally grind on me, it killed any sympathy I had for her from the beginning.
Once Mary attains a goal, she quickly falls out of favor with it. She decides she wants something else, and she wants it with all consuming passion. I wouldn't have a problem with this, if half her goals were something other than gaining something from another person. Her goal to escape the Sisterhood, for example. She doesn't love Harry, but she is willing to marry him to avoid it, and is angry when he doesn't speak for her right away. She loves Travis, but once Travis falls in love with her, he becomes just another goal she discards when discontent settles in. It was at that point I realized I didn't like Mary very much. Travis risks his life for her, and she decides he isn't enough. The ocean, something she's never seen, becomes more important to her, than the person willing to die for her. From that point on, I lost any real desire to see Mary attain her dream goal. I mainly wanted to see the characters find their way out of a horrible situation. However, once Travis is out of the picture, Mary is the only fate we're allowed to witness.
Despite all that, I liked the ending. I liked it, but it didn't make me happy. I feel like I settled for that ending because it was Mary's dream, when really all I did was miss Travis and wonder if they'd ever find Jed. It also made me want to tell any eligible male within a 50 mile radius of Mary to avoid her like the plague.
In the long run, I see Mary being a very unhappy adult, because eventually she will have to settle for safety somewhere. She has reached her ultimate goal, but I think like all the other goals she went after before it, the new will wear off this one, and she will be restless again. It's her nature. The life she wants isn't something that exists in her particular universe; it existed before the Return. Ultimately, the freedom she wants is unattainable.
I can't help but wonder in all this, if Mary will eventually become like her late mother, who went daily to the fences to look for her lost husband. I can easily picture Mary an adult, going daily out to the ocean, where she will stand and stare, and wish she could get back what was lost.
All that aside, it's a story I know I won't forget any time soon, and can easily recommend to other readers.
I'm not sure I'm ready to read the second book, The Dead-Tossed Waves but it is on my TBR list. Right now, I'm comfortable with the ending of The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I have a grasp of what I think the future is like on that stretch of beach, so I'm not quite ready to disturb that notion, and jump into the next generation of restless youths chasing unicorns.
::end of spoilers::
That's it for today. Mini's starting to drive me bonkers, poor thing. He's bored so I better find a way to entertain him, otherwise I'll never get everything bill wise ready to make the weekly errand run. Happy Friday, everyone!