Tag Archives: jennier eaton

And then their was a soldier – A review of SOLDIER by Julie Kagawa

Soldier by Julie Kagawa (Audiobook)

Arghhhh! I thought this was the last book in the series but nope, I was wrong.17342750 I thought for a moment at the end that it was going to have a surprise ending, but then BOOM!– Epilogue to open up the new conflict.

While I don’t think this is my favorite book in the series, I really loved how the author flashes back to give us glimpses of the characters previous lives. I think knowing the past, especially for side characters, made this story really rich.

I’m looking forward to the next book, but now I have to wait! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!

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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound | Google Play

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Lesson Twenty-Seven from a Manuscript Red Line: Fluidity in Action – How to write a good action scene

Disclaimer – I have a “rewritten” fight scene below.  It is FAR from well written. There are a few show verses tell issues in it that I hadn’t noticed a few years ago when this originally posted. But I think it still gets its point across. (And I don’t have time to re-write it since this post is already late. Ha!)

An example of a poorly written action scene:

Jason punched Eric in the face.  Eric fell to the floor.  Eric groaned and rolled over.   Jason wiped his chin and laughed.  Eric popped up, and Eric swung at Jason, but missed.  Jason ducked and swung at the same time.  Eric crumpled to the floor.

(Yes, I totally made this paragraph up.)

The publisher’s comment on a similar (but not as poorly written) sceneThis is a very stilted fight scene. It reads action, next action, next action, next action without the fluidity that’s needed for a fight scene.

For an intro into where these tips are coming from, please see my post: A Full Manuscript Rejection, or a Gold Mine?

You can also click “Rant Worthy Topics” in my right navigation bar.  Choose “Gold Mine Manuscript” to see all the lessons to date.

I have to admit, when I read the action passages in the Gold Mine Manuscript, I had the same comment.  The author was satisfied with the speed of the scenes though, and only made moderate changes.  Not being an expert, I backed off and figured it was just a “style choice”.  Guess not.

This fits in very well with my recent post on “Art of the Conflict”.  This scene is not about dialog, but this is definitely a conflict.  This one needs something inserted to break up the action, rather than action inserted to break up the dialog.

Now, I am not going to put a lot of time into this, since the scene is totally fake.  But let me add a little “art” to make it “flow”.  Fluidity is what they asked for.  Okay, here it goes…

Jason grunted as his fist swung toward Eric’s face.  Eric tried to dodge, but instead felt the sting of the older boy’s ring cutting into his jaw.  He fell to the floor with a muffled thump, and groaned as he rolled over.

Jason wiped his chin and laughed.  “I told you to stay down.”

Eric pushed up onto his knees.  “Why, so you can just pummel me?”  He popped up and swung at Jason, but missed.

Jason ducked and swung at the same time.  There was no time for Eric to react.  His head creaked back, and his jaw rattled as he crumpled to the floor.

Better, huh?  Not perfect by a long shot, but not bad for three minute flash fiction.  Can you feel the difference?  The staccato choppy “This happened-That happened” feel is gone, and the scene “flows”.

Of course, this is a first draft.  In editing, I would have to remove the “ing” word and the telly “felt”.  I would also insert a little emotion when Eric realized he missed, but this is definitely better by far than the first.  The art draws you into the scene.  You experience it, rather than just watching it.

The art of the conflict… If you don’t have it, go get it.

If you want to see a great published example, pick up a copy of  THRONE by Phillip Tucker and open up anywhere in the last hundred pages or so.


Simple Rules to Writing a Great Novel


For the past 32 weeks, we’ve been discussing Guthrie’s 32 Rules to Writing A Great Novel.  Here is a handy-dandy list of all the articles and links to them, all in one place.

This is a great time to review, especially if you are editing your manuscript.

Please let me know which one you found the most helpful, or if you think this guy is just off his rocker. 🙂


And Happy Editing!

01- Writing is Subjective – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1yw

02- Oblique Dialog – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1An

03- Whatsa Strong Verb? – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1AK

04- Easy on the Adjectives – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1B8

05- Two for One is not always a good thing – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Bc

06- The shorter the better – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Cd

07- Once is enough, Thank you very much. – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Ci

08- Show, Don’t Tell – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Cl

09- Just the facts, Ma’am – The important facts – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Cp

10- Don’t be cute – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Eg

11- Sound like a writer, without SOUNDING like a writer – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1El

12- Who’s talking now? – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1El

13- Yep. Your Write. Ya gotta change it. – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Ff

14- Stop “saying” things – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Fk

15- They’re not psychic – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Fq

16- Come late, leave early – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1H0

17- Don’t dump on me! – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1H2

18- Goals, anyone? – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1HL

19- Don’t sleep with him/her – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1HP

20- Go ahead, torture ’em! – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1HR

21- The stinkier the better – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1HT

22- The long and short of it – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1IP

23- Stop being all proper – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Ke

24- Stop feeling! And no thinking! – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Kp

25- Don’t repeat the tense – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Kt

26- Cut your weakest player – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1Ky

27- Plant Vegetables, not information – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1KD

28- Keep it to yourself, Jerk! – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1KG

29- No happy shruggers – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1KK

30- Pronouns. Tricky little suckers – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1KM

31- Shoot him later – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1KO

32- Forget about it – http://wp.me/p1HIMV-1KQ

A lesson in making your villain sympathetic

This is partly a review of the movie “The Great and Powerful Oz” which was ten times better than I ever dreamed it would be.  Lots of fun, lots of action, and lots of wonderfully developed characters.

This story stepped up to the plate and took on the daunting job of being a sequel to one of the most beloved films of all time.  And despite some of the reviews I read, I was wildly entertained.  My husband and I loved it just as much as the kids. My oldest son even put down his cell phone and watched… which is saying a lot.

This movie took on two stories of characters that everyone “knows” what will eventually happen to.  This is tough, because you have to ram rod your story in a direction that will lead to a pre-determined outcome.

The film shows how the wizard got to Oz and became the ruler of the Emerald City, and how the Wicked Witch of the West became… well, the Wicked Witch of the West.

What really struck me, is how the movie dealt with the WWW in a way that you really liked her.  I liked her so much, in fact, that the twist “surprise” took me completely off guard.

The premise reminded me very much of the old Batman days, where the villains, even ones as detestable as the Joker, were “made” rather than just “being there”.  They were everyday, nice people who had something bad happen.

In the Original “The Wizard of Oz” the witch was just “there” as if she had always haunted the land of Oz, and we hater her.  Oh, yes, we hated her and hid under our beds at night, didn’t we?

In this movie, though, we get to know her.  We like her.  And then Bam!

Although some reviews say her “journey” happened too fast, I just loved the trope used.  And I felt terrible for her.

I also loved the end, where you thought, just maybe, the character that you’d grown fond of might still be “in there” but of course, since we all know she eventually dies melting in a splash of water… the ending is what it needed to be.

But my point is you can’t get much more wicked than the classic Wicked Witch of the West, and I loved taking the journey with her.  Even if it was to an unfortunate end.

If anything, watch this movie to see the origins of an awesome villain.  Not one you love to hate, but one you can sympathize with… At least until she cries, “I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog, too!”