Saturday, September 12, 2015

Time, Caverns, héros and Hounds

Many things contribute to writing a good book.  An interesting plot, true to life characters with understandable motives, and an error free manuscript all help. Sometimes a little tweak of a good book can move it from good to great. A truly good editor knows how to find those tweaks. Self-published authors often work without the benefit of a good editor but even trade published authors fail to obtain a good editor occasionally.  Writers need to recognize some of the easier pitfalls and avoid them.

I recently read two juvenile books, The Time Cavern by Todd A. Fonseca and Heroes & Hounds by Bill Miller. Both contained good plots and I loved all the characters. The books contained no errors that halted me in my reading.  One was easy to read, the words flying off the page, the story surrounding me, fairly dragging me into the story. The other was hard to read, and I never fully integrated into the story, making it easy to set the book aside. 

The difference, you ask? Syntax! Tense usage! An overabundance of being verbs!  Awareness of both tense usage and how to convert being verbs into action verbs helps the new writer move his manuscript from okay to good; from good to great.  Converting being verbs actually increases the book/ reader bonding by limiting the distance the reader feels. It gives the writer a larger pool of words to use in the story, making the story more varied and interesting. Using fewer being verbs creates a more dynamic read with exceptionally descriptive passages.

I must read now!
I consider Heroes and Hounds an outstanding book, easy to read, hard to put down. The book spins a tale about a young girl, Carly, who dreams of riding in the fox hunt. When a young hound goes missing, Carly, determined to find him, takes chances and makes a new, dangerous friend. When her best friend from school goes missing, Carly realizes the deadliness of her deceptions. 

The animals' motives and experiences are a large part of the book and creates other interesting points of view. Building a whole two other stories within the book creates a richer experience for the reader.  Many people feel that more than one point of view is hard to read but I believe it enriches a story if done well.  Miller does this more than well.

This dynamic read held me spellbound for the entire time, the language painted imagines so bright and clear, I felt imbedded in the story.  Writing like this is a joy to read.

And let's not forget the beautiful illustrations by Mary Burkhardt.  These wonderful pictures shine without intruding, depicting the story perfectly.

Can't wait to read it!
In Todd A. Fonseca's book, a young Aaron moves to a new place, far from the city. On his first backyard campout, he discovers the quiet of the country while hearing the noise as well - different noise from the city. Soon he hears his name being whispered by the wind, as if someone is calling to him. Should he investigate?

In town, Aaron meets a young girl, Jake, and adventures begin. From learning to milk a cow to using a microfiche machine, Aaron's  adventures lead him to decipher a message, discover the Time Cavern, solve a hundred year mystery, and become more responsible - with Jake's help, of course.

Waiting to reach the time aspect of this novel builds some frustration for older readers intent on a fast moving story. Still, the clues and the uniqueness of the time travel concept pays off in gold.

The Time Cavern takes an interesting path.  The story begins scary enough but not enough to be considered a scary book. The descriptions in the book propel the reader down a trail of experiencing and learning. If you are looking for a book that teaches as well as reaches the young reader, chose this book.  Children see what a planetarium looks like, learn about the Amish, and pick up a score of new words explored in the text.  Some of this teaching may feel a little heavy-handed to older readers who know these things but it may delight younger, newer readers who find the information novel.

You can find this book for the Kindle at less than a bottle of soda, making it more than worth the cost.  Another joy - the book begin a series and the second book, The Inverted Cavern, is now available.

 I highly recommend Heroes & Hounds to all readers.  This is an excellent read.

I recommend The Time Cavern, though the writing is a little amateurish. Beware of some of the lessons taught in these pages, as our hero learns some undesirable habits for dealing with his parents and others.

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