Saturday, July 20, 2013

CATCHING FIRE - All Official Trailers & TV Spots in Order


The Hunger Games: CATCHING FIRE - Official Teaser Trailer:


The Hunger Games: CATCHING FIRE - Official Trailer # 1:


The Hunger Games: CATCHING FIRE - Official Trailer #2:

The Hunger Games: CATCHING FIRE - TV Spot #1:


The Hunger Games: CATCHING FIRE - TV Spot #2 Atlas:


How Swiss Cheese and Connect-the-Dots Keeps Writing Interactive for Your Readers

If you write like I do, you've probably done this too: over-explained your plot point or drowned a passage of writing with heavy description down to the exact grain of wood your furniture is built with. It's great that you've joined Pinterest, but you don't want to put off your readers with overkill. Writing is like perfume, cologne, or maple syrup. Too much is a bad thing. Make a note. Okay, maybe not the syrup.

A helpful visual I use is the Swiss Cheese Narrative. Make sure to leave your reader enough holes that they can actively participate in your story without filling in every single minute detail. This is especially important early on. Beginning writers often think they need to take charge of their writing and explain why they put every single thing into their story. This makes for tedious reading at best, and at worst you've lost your reader. Overboard explanations are a sure fire way to turn your readers off and make them put your book down (shudder).

Does this mean your writing should be, dare I say it, cheesy? Of course not. But if you think your reader won't get something unless you've shown it five or more times, you're likely to find your reader somewhat irritated by your insinuation. Readers are not ignorant. Trust your reader to do their job and see and find connections as you lay them down. Don't beat them over the head with a cast iron skillet plot point. Ouch!
What you can do is make sure that the trail of breadcrumbs, or the dot to dots, or the color by numbers, or whatever version works best for you and the story you are telling keeps the reader busy with juggling all kinds of interesting parts that will eventually paint a masterpiece. If you've done it right, they'll feel like they personally helped your main character along the way, and that's how you keep your readers happy and turning pages, unable to entertain the idea of closing your book or setting it down.
A good writer knows that once the book is written, it's no longer about what the writer intended, rather it's what the reader finds and experiences along the way that matters. If you've done your job, you won't have pinned your reader down and forced them to see something in your character or your story in the exact way you meant it, and nothing else.
Don't limit your reader to the one view of your story you think they should see.

Write in such a way that the reader can draw their own conclusions, make their own connections, and peel back layers of your story you never even dreamed were there. You may know your book cover to cover, word by word (especially if you've spent any length of time editing your story), but you don't know it exactly like your reader does. You might even be surprised by your readers and learn more about your characters and the story once your book is out there and being read by readers everywhere.
Let your readers have a say in what they uncover in your novel.
So, let me ask you this: If you could choose, would you provide your readers with a rigid outline, forcing them to stay inside the lines of your story, or will you hand them the paintbrushes and paint and let them show you what they can come up with on their own?

I dare you to take the risk of trusting your readers and let them have a say in your story. You didn't write it to keep it to yourself, did you? So, why not let your readers have a part in your story as well. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy writing!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Book Review: HUNTED by Cheryl Rainfield

HuntedHunted by Cheryl Rainfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was thrilled to get a chance to read Hunted, having recently read Scars (also by Cheryl), and being blown away by that story. Cheryl does it again, and drew me into the world of Caitlyn, a teen with mental telepathy (she can read minds and make suggestions that results in a potentially manipulative effect).

The tension resulting from being on the run immediately drew me into the story. I loved the role reversal in the relationship of Caitlyn and her mom. Her mother's powers are mysteriously suppressed and the why is only revealed later on in the story. It creates a strange closeness and dependance of the mother upon her daughter's powers to protect them from being caught, and a distance because of the mother's suppressed powers.

I was reminded of such stories as FIRESTARTER (by Stephen King) and other familiar dystopian novels I've read lately (DIVERGENT, THE HUNGER GAMES, UGLIES). These were positive comparisons. Cheryl does not steer clear of the tough issues presented here, and while strongly portrayed, I did not feel it overwhelmed the story. Rather, I felt the issues of acceptance, diversity, celebrating our differences added to the development of Caitlyn's plight.

Cheryl created an excellent, modern day love triangle between Caitlyn and Alex and Rachel. While Caitlyn does not mislead Rachel's interest in her as "more than a friend," Caitlyn accepts Rachel for who she is and Rachel accepts that Caitlyn is straight. In fact, Rachel encourages Caitlyn in her interest with Alex, even though it conflicts her. I liked that Alex's ethnicity was not pointed out right away, allowing the reader to identify potential prejudice in the way we judge/perceive/pigeonhole others when we meet them. Whether in the pages of a book or in real life, these are the REAL ISSUES that teens face today. I love how I identified with the message of HUNTED, and I'd recommend this as a great read to anyone.

This is the first paranormal book I've read. I love the crossover with the mystery of the Para Reaper and the surprising antagonist, a government controlled para who presents himself differently at first. I also enjoyed the dystopian world, and was pulled in by the way Cheryl incorporates the use of Caitlyn's powers in dialogue, in her relationships with others, and in various plot developments along the way. I was so captivated, I could not put the book down and rushed to read all the way to the end.

Fortunately for all of us, this is the first book in a series, perhaps a trilogy or quartet (if I get my wish). I could easily see this as a movie, and will dream of the day when that becomes a reality. I've already started casting it in my mind.

I believe you will enjoy this book, and I give it at least 5 stars. Cheryl does an amazing job of cliffhanger chapters and a pace that will keep you breathless, on the run and feeling just as HUNTED as Caitlyn. I was satisfied with the ending, but wanted more. I'm thrilled to know Cheryl is currently at work on the sequel.

Give HUNTED a read, and post your thoughts here. I hope this review helps you in your decision to give it a try.

Check out my reviews of all of Cheryl's books:

Book Review: SCARS by Cheryl Rainfield

Book Review: STAINED by Cheryl Rainfield

Book Review: PARALLEL VISIONS by Cheryl Rainfield

Check out my cover reveal(s) for STAINED:

Original Cover Reveal for STAINED

Revised Cover Reveal for STAINED

Check out my Author Interview with Cheryl Rainfield:

Author Interview: Cheryl Rainfield on SCARS and HUNTED

Author Interview (Part One): Cheryl Rainfield on STAINED and HUNTED Giveaway

Author Interview (Part Two): Cheryl Rainfield on STAINED and SCARS Giveaway

*****Giveaway and NEW Author Interview Coming Soon with Cheryl Rainfield*****