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Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:53 am
by jo555
Hi. I'm not sure if this is in the right place to put this, but wanted to post here as sounding redundant was something mentioned in one of my postings here. I do feel necessary to do that at times for emphasis, or whatever else I am looking to convey, but been watching for those times when it isn't necessary. Caught myself unnecessarily doing that before so it has been helpful.

Anyway, I began to edit my first self-published book again as with the hardcopy I saw a need to go over it again. I believe I am finally done and don't plan on making anymore changes now.

I did want to post the summary I have placed on the back cover before I submit again and order more copies. Please pay close attention to the term "unexpected surprises". Do you feel it's too redundant, or does it fit considering the story?

Can't decide whether it sounds redundant. I think it may work because of the story . . . how that goes. So, I want to post the whole back cover summary so you can get a better idea and let me know if you feel it works.

Also, feel free to share what you may also see that may be off. It is the back cover and probably the first insight someone will get into the story so want to have help checking in on my grammar.

Thanks in advance.

Here it goes:

Setting out on a bike ride one cool, autumn morning, Sarah had no idea what was in store for her when she came across the ideal community and eagerly ventured in.

Or was it a community of ideals?

Each subdivision held a variety of unexpected surprises complete with odd twists and turns, but was one really all that different from the others?

Was this an unfortunate detour Sarah had taken on the road to life, or was it a date with destiny?

A self-conscious seer, a conservative teacher, a fun-loving intercessor, an enraged leader . . . These are just a few of the characters you will meet in this first installment of our Christian Stepfordville series where the gospel of Jesus Christ has been hijacked and many have been taken captive by the enemy to do his will.

But who’s who? Whose team are they really playing on? How does one discern right from wrong? Can they get past their personal challenges, and gifts for that matter, and come together as one?
The gate is wide open for anyone who’d care or dare to venture in.

What do you have to lose?

It may just be your date with destiny.

Re: Redundant

Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:01 am
by jo555
For some reason when I post, it doesn't post indented where I have done that. So, in the summary here I have put in line spacing where I have indented on the back cover.

Re: Redundant

Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:22 pm
by Shann
First you may want to post this in the Open Forum section as that will likely catch more people. The Open Forum is the best spot for any writing related questions. (This thread was used a while back for Ann to give some basic writing tips and examples. It is still super helpful if you want to peruse the older posts.) I'd move this for you to the Open Forum but I'm not a moderator in this thread so I can't do it. Though if you want to copy and paste it to that board don't worry about it being in this thread too, it will just be seen by more people in the other thread. :D

As for your question was it is the term unexpected surprises redundant? I think the answer to that is yes because unexpected is part of the definition of surprise. Also since you follow with twists and turns I think you have emphasized it enough and I'd suggest leaving it out. Though you might want to switch it to surprises complete with unexpected twists and turns. That way you have your emphasis but it doesn't feel as redundant as unexpected surprises.

I also stumbled a bit over this sentence and had to read it three times before I understood it.
These are just a few of the characters you will meet in this first installment of our Christian Stepfordville series where the gospel of Jesus Christ has been hijacked and many have been taken captive by the enemy to do his will.

I think part of the problem is you say these are the characters you will meet but you described personality traits and occupations not actually characters. Okay now maybe I'm rethinking it and it does describe characters. Perhaps instead after listing the characters you can do something like this: (A self-conscious seer, a conservative teacher, a fun-loving intercessor, an enraged leader are just a few of the characters you will met in this series.) Then start a new sentence with something like this it might be clearer: The gospel of Jesus Christ has been hijacked by the enemy. Many residents have been captured and forced to obey this nefarious antagonist.

Also in this part: Can they get past their personal challenges, and gifts for that matter, and come together as one? I might leave out the "and gifts for that matter" because that caused me to stumble a bit too.

I think it sounds exciting. Suspense is one of my favorite genres and you do a nice job of building the suspense with this write-up. Good luck, I hope my comments help some. :D

Re: Redundant

Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:30 pm
by Come forth
I agree with Shann; the unexpected is redundant in its current location but reads with more strength when placed as '... a variety of surprises complete with odd, unexpected twists and turns...'

Interestingly, I read 'surprises' first time through but had to go through slowly to find 'unexpected'; my mind had married the two because a surprise is unexpected or it would not be a surprise.

I don't quite understand what Shann is saying about characters and may need to bow to her judgment, but for me the things you describe are character traits; fun loving, conservative, self-conscious etc. They are what make a person a character, but maybe my use of character is wrong in story telling. They do, however, tend to make you want to know more about these characters and help lure the reader in.

Sounds like the making of a great series to me and the blurb would draw me into reading the book.

I'm far from an expert, but I like the blurb.

Blessings, Graham

Re: Redundant

Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:03 pm
by jo555
Thanks Shann and Graham!

So, appears you both confirmed it being redundant. Thought I may be able to get away with it, but it may just be too redundant.

I feel fine with the rest if the grammar is fine, but the feedback is still much appreciated. Although Shann, I will also be revisting, "and gifts for that matter." You may have something there. I want to keep the thought, but may need some work.

I don't feel the need to post elsewhere for the purpose of more feedback (though I understand if it is moved if it will be more fitting to the forum). As I said, feel you both confirmed it enough for me.

Thanks again! Much appreciated!

Re: Redundant

Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:37 pm
by jo555
Shann, I struggled a bit with the suspense and element of surprise, in regards to how much to leave that in. My initial direction was to keep the surprise going, and then reveal more the main points more towards the end of the series. I thought it wouid be an effective way to draw someone into the story, and reveal the mistakes we can make in our journeys by allowing the reader to possibly make some mistakes themselves while reading the story. So, it was going to be a wild ride, but I was too tempted to let out the teacher in me after buiding, what I see as a strong, suspenseful beginning. I don't reveal everything, but I do reveal a good deal of where the story is going and some main points I am looking to convey.

So, it's still somewhat suspenseful, yet a good deal changed into more like a devotional within the story. And, where I left off suspense, I have some humor and feel it is still very interesting and insightful in what I brought in with biblical teachings.

I still wonder if I made the better decision. After I wrote the story a girl I was training at work was reading "The Hunger Games" and lent it to me to read. Now that's a wild ride and found myself engrossed in the story. I didn't want to put it down and bought the other books and went through them fast. I have found that others that have read that series have also done the same (captivated and went through the series fast).

I also found that a good deal of what the author in the Hunger Games explores, are same things I also explore in the book I wrote, and will continue to build on with the other books in the series. It appears we are both trying to emphasize some of the same things. She doesn't mention religion, even so, you can see how the world parallels.

Seeing how effective she was at drawing the reader in and bring out her message through that avenue (much surprise and suspense, and a good deal of emotional element), and again, seeing how I felt we were looking to convey similar messages, I wondered if I should have stuck more with that. It was how I first intended to take the story I wrote, but I also didn't want to make the story about all that. It worked for her, and worked well I thought, but as I said, the teacher in me was bursting at the seams to come out and I let it out. So, I somewhat changed directions, but not totally.

I am happy with what I brought in, and know God was in it too. I feel it is revelant and timely. I'm not saying I got it all right and didn't miss it too in areas, but overall I am happy about the teachings and believe they are insightful and helpful. So, I traded a good deal of suspense for teachings and devotion. I'm keeping it, and may God use it, and all our writings for his glory as He is in it and how He sees fit.

And yes, as my conversation is going, I see how this may fit in better in a different section of this forum.

Either way, thanks for letting me share my challenges, and thoughts.

Re: Redundant

Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:59 pm
by Shann
I think this is a fine place to let your thoughts out. Sometimes just going over them helps a great deal. I read the Hunger Games too. I think the first book was the best by far. I saw the movie for the first time last night.

Did you ever get any beta readers for your book? They can be extremely helpful in offering feedback and to see if they are getting the message that you want to send. I'd recommend having at least three beta readers. A male a female and then someone who is the target age. You can ask people you know to do a beta read as a favor (I often ask my niece when I'm doing children's stories though she is usually too nice) It's hard to find someone who is willing to be honest with you but still wants to see you at Thanksgiving dinner. (Writing is like our babies and it can hurt more when someone we love critiques it) You could also pay someone a reasonable fee to give you some detailed feedback or find another author and offer a trade off.

I think because it is a series, you need to answer some of the questions or you will have a disappointed reader but at the very end, leave just a bit of the suspense for the next book to make the reader want to read the next one immediately. A good example is the Harry Potter books. I would order them so they would arrive in the mail (only because I wasn't healthy enough to go stand in line at midnight) You do want to build up that kind of suspense while at the same time if the reader only ever reads one book of the series she is still satisfied. it's not an easy line to find. I wish you all of the best though. :mrgreen:

Re: Redundant

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:05 pm
by jo555
Thanks Shann, you're very generous, as others here.

When I read what you wrote it reminded me of one of the other reasons why I did reveal some of the suspense in the first book.

In this series of books I look into errors I feel we as the body of Christ have made, along with growing into the full stature of Christ and coming together as one under his Headship.

One of my concerns with not revealing some of the suspense in this first book WAS so it wouldn't put some believers off that may think I am just looking down on believers and may even think I am making fun of them (there is some of that, but it is more fun, playful stuff amongst this group of characters). So, that was an important factor in heading in the direction I did.

That stuff turns me off, and I didn't want to turn a good deal of my targetted readers off (believers).

Thanks for reminding me of that. That was important to me. Very important.

Yes, I think you are right with what you said about selection of readers. Good insight.

What are beta readers and how do I find them? Is that offered on this forum?

Thank you. I was feeling chatty yesterday, then afterwards, kinda felt bad about going on. That internal voice, "You may like to hear your own voice, but not everyone cares for you to go on."

Thanks for understanding, and cutting me some slack. I feel better.