12 May, 2014

Starting strong, ending strong

What was the last book you struggled to read? Do you remember what it was about the book that made it difficult? Did you give up reading it, or power through until the end?

These are questions I fret over when I'm starting what I think will be a good book, only to find out it's a disappointment. These are questions I worry will come about with my book.


Recently, I picked up His Dark Materials, and while I loved the first book, The Northern Lights (aka The Golden Compass), the second was a let down and the third a gigantic flop. The first book was so wonderfully crafted, from the writing style to the characters to the narrative. Pullman first put me in a world much like our own, yet so very, very different. But, when I reached the second book, it was as if a different author with a different style and a different level of experience took over. The Subtle Knife lost its focus on Lyra, instead seeming to make Will the star. That didn't upset me so much until the book started jumping from character to character, sometimes with no clear break between characters leading the scene. The Amber Spyglass was worse. Not for the religious reasons that people hark on, but again because it felt like another author had taken over and shoehorned in a message that didn't necessarily jive with the rest of the series. Again, the first book was almost artfully crafted, but the second and third felt like first drafts rushed to publish.

I say that last bit because, for my own work, I've run through three completely different drafts and started a fourth, given copies over to my peers for feedback, and sat aside time to painstakingly go line by line over my own work to make sure grammar, spelling, and general communication from brain to paper made perfect sense. I wrote the majority of Uncertain Heirs for NaNoWriMo 2012, and I've taken every step I can to make sure the end-product is a perfectly crafted piece of art that people can read, understand, and enjoy. I've left myself room, too, so I can add other books to the Earth Dog world that I've started (I guess in that case, it'd be an ongoing series), and I've even started laying the groundwork for future novels.

But, I want to make certain that whatever I write in the future will be just as strong as what I started. To do that, of course, I have to do my due diligence and make sure that each piece is the best it can be. I don't want my readers stopping to ask themselves "What happened to her writing? Is this even the same author?" -- I want to make sure I give you folks the best reading experience I can muster.

So I make this promise: I will not half-ass a story, and I will make sure -- beginning to end -- that my works will run the gamut from personal and peer approval before hitting the proverbial shelves so that you all aren't left scratching your heads.

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Oh, and for those of you wondering what I would rate His Dark Materials, the rankings are as follows:

The Northern Lights/The Golden Compass: 5 out of 5
The Subtle Knife: 3 out of 5
The Amber Spyglass: 1 out of 5

2 comments:

  1. Congrats on the new domain. I love it! I hope the writing world has been kind to you. Keep me updated!

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    Replies
    1. Jess, welcome back! Everything's been going smooth and on track so far, so I'm hoping to complete the edits on the fourth draft by the end of July. The new domain name is great, so glad I went ahead and got one. I look forward to seeing some updates from you on your agent search :)

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Ash Litton

Ash Litton is a writer and lover of sci-fi, fantasy, and all things fictional. She is the author of No Signal, Thoroughbred, Evening Hallow, Comeuppance, and Cabover Cabaret, and works on other Appalachian Dream Tales between her ongoing novel projects.

When she's not writing, she's drawing, and when she's not doing either of those, she's dreaming up new projects to work on. Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Ash has always wondered what things lay hidden in the hills around her. She attended West Virginia University, where she studied the English language before returning home to her family in rural West Virginia.