Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Just got back from a weekend getaway at the Jersey Shore!  Not exactly the Bahamas, but as long as I've got sand under my toes and an ocean in which to cool off, I'm happy.

Angel figurehead on the prow of a ship.
Normally I'm very productive when I go to the shore.  I spend the day tearing through beach books, and then, late at night, I open up my computer and work.  But not this weekend...

Which means I have a lot of catch-up work to do.

But in the meantime, I thought I'd stick with a beach theme and post the first 500 words of THE LOST FIGUREHEAD, my middle grade fantasy which features pirates and, of course, beaches.


  1. I feel like this reads a lot smoother than your other work. There's a lot of good description in here. I think your dialogue maybe be the weak spot of this. At least Mr. Leland's dialogue. The "I say" I think you overdid. Maybe just use it or consider cutting it completely. Plus "I say" makes it sound old-timey, but then he says emergency room which is more modern.

    And then way too much with the word "temper." I get what you're going for, but anytime we repeat the same word, even if it's as far apart as two sentences our readers brains begin to get distracted by the repetition.

    I really liked this bit of dialogue: "Disciplined? The only discipline for a...a...a terror is a concrete bed and barred windows!" But the repetition of dangerous following it kind of killed the moment--made it sound fake in a way.

    I think you clearly have the ability to write good dialogue, just try not to get in your own way.

    And pick your POV. Some of the things you say go from omniscient, to Finn, to Susie in POV. It sounds like it's mainly supposed to be Finn, so turn the reins completely over to him. I'd like to see more description of the place and character through Finn's eyes. Is his foster father wearing a stupid-looking pair of thick glasses? How would Finn describe him? How would Finn describe Sis. Susie? How does he describe the room? Is it good for him to be "home again?" Does he want to please Leland or does he care anymore?

    Let us see some of this, and you can do it with description.

    Also, be careful not to tell. Like with this sentence: Those words must have killed Sister Susie.

    What would Finn see that shows him she'd be irritated with this? Do her lips purse together, does she straighten up, eyes narrow, grab the desk, clear her throat, etc.? Then if you follow it up with Finn's commentary on it, it'll convey more to the audience.

    But I'm wondering if this is something Finn would notice, unless he really, really cares for Sister Susie. Then would his demeanor hold rebellion or shame for causing her trouble? I don't know, just things to think about.

    You'll get this though, it's all in you, just needs some polishing. I'll be interested to see how revisions go.

    1. Thanks Jae! Your comments are always extremely insightful, and I really appreciate you taking the time to offer advice. You point out a lot of things I probably wouldn't have noticed on my own, but definitely need attention. As always, thanks for the help and encouragement!

    2. You're welcome. I'll be excited to see what your revisions bring you. It's been fun for me to make new discoveries about my story and my writing in revising. I guess I like watching the evolution in my own stuff as well as others. Anyway, I'll be interested to see where this goes. Keep on writing!

  2. Hey, you need to check out this awesome article. Great tips for the editing stage. http://blog.janicehardy.com/2012/07/youll-have-to-go-through-me-eliminating.html

    1. Oh wow, thanks for pointing me here! I definitely recognize the problem with filter words, especially words like "wonder" and "realize". I'll have to pay careful attention to those when I revise.