Thursday, February 19, 2015

Info Dumps and Adverbs

One Reader’s Thoughts

Eli's Heart is a tragic love story about a man destined to live a short life due to his heart condition - Tetralogy of Fallot. Eli and Krissy are drawn together by a shared love of classical music and the ensuing romance is beautiful and inspiring as their love defies adversity.

The story has strong emotional content with believable, and often moving, character interactions. These fictional figures become utterly real to the reader, helping to develop a connection that will make you need to know what is coming next. The entire book is tinged with the sadness of Eli's inevitable fate and the lingering hope he can somehow overcome his condition.

The author has drawn on her musical background in order to bring the world to life, and authentic touches such as Eli's medical history make events all the more convincing. The story takes place over many years and it is unfortunate the author has resorted to info dumping to keep the reader up to date. The structure suffers as a result and I found my eyes skimming over the page at times. However, when the correct approach was used, the writing became easy to follow and successfully painted a picture in my mind.

The attention to detail is good but there are occasions where it is slightly overdone and a surfeit of adverbs were a distraction. In my experience this is the flaw of a good writer trying too hard, rather than a sloppy one, and a good editor could rein this in.

Eli's Heart has a lot of potential and it is the kind of story which would translate into a good movie. I would like to add the Afterword is well worth reading as it discusses the real events which inspired the author and is very moving.” (Italics mine)

This was a four-star review on Amazon, mostly positive. But I studied the chapters where I thought the reader might have felt I was “resorting to info dumps” (one chapter in particular where I cover a fairly long period of time) and did some rewriting which I like, and the book presently for sale includes the revised Chapter 25. For any of you nice people who have read Eli’s Heart and would like to read the “new” Chapter 25, send me a message with your email and I’ll be happy to send you a PDF. The story has not changed; but I’ve rearranged some paragraphs, reworded some and added one little vignette that I particularly like.

About adverbs. I read frequently cautions to avoid “ly” words like the plague. I’m not sure I agree with this. I like adverbs, and I think there are times they work better than anything else to help create a picture. In You Are My Song I very deliberately use three “ly” words to describe a particularly tender moment between my protagonist Jamie and his wife. I think those words painted this picture better than anything else would have.

I appreciated this reader’s thoughts. I was very happy he found my characters believable, and I especially liked his comment about the book making a good movie. However, since there are no sparkly vampires or sadomasochists or whiny, vapid females in my book … in any of my books, for that matter … that seems highly unlikely.

Eli’s Heart is presently on sale on Amazon for $10.72 and You Are My Song for $11.76. Kindle editions of both books are $3.99.

 covers created by Tristan Flanagan