Friday, March 9, 2012

Book Review: Raising Abel

I was lucky enough to find Raising Abel by Carolyn Nash when it was offered as a free ebook. Being a mother of three kids, the cover and title intrigued me. I downloaded it to my Kindle and started reading. Right away, I couldn't put it down.

It was one of those "stay up late until you finish it no matter what" type of books.

What really hooked me was that it is a true story. The hook was further cemented by the Prologue. Trust me. Just read it and try not to get hooked.

It's about a woman who thinks she is a little odd--she's middle aged and single and doesn't have a lot of friends. Eventually she fosters a child, Abel, and her life is changed forever. Abel is a special child, and he has special challenges. But through it all this woman sticks with it and makes both of their lives better.

I was so inspired by this woman. And I was so saddened by Abel's situation, at least until he met his foster mother.

I loved her writing. She had such an authentic voice. In true stories, sometimes there is too much or too little--I felt she gave us just enough. The imagry painted a vivid picture of the surroundings as well as the emotions.

This is definitely worth purchasing. Check out the author's blog at Raising a Traumatized Child.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

One Tip To Test Your Plot

In your head, your plot makes sense.

But how do you know if it will resonate with readers?

One Tip: Write Chapter Summaries.

Make a list of all of your chapters and then write up brief summaries (1-2 sentences) of what each chapter is about. During the exercise, a few things might happen:

1. You might decide that certain things aren't really needed in the story.
2. You might notice that certain scenes are out of order.
3. You might notice that key things that are missing from the story.

Not only will this be good for you (the author), but it is great for your editor as well. When you send your manuscript to your editor, send along the chapter summaries as well.

As an editor, I can tell you from personal experience that this is very helpful. I am editing a manuscript, and currently I am working on one particular chapter that is difficult to understand. I've referred to the chapter summary more than once to keep my edits focused on what the author is trying to accomplish.