Allbooks Review August 2011
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Evaluating a Novel's Plot and Scenes (Part One, Part Two will be in Sept.
By Frances Beckham
After months of hard work you have finally completed your first
novel. Think of your novel as a puzzle. Each piece of the puzzle is
equivalent to pieces of the plot and the various scenes in the
chapters. When they are put together, they create a big picture,
the novel. However, if your chapter scenes and plot -- the puzzle
pieces -- are ill-shaped and ill-formed, they cannot fit together
properly to form the big picture. Before attempting to publish the
book, do a careful review by asking yourself the following
Is The Plot Original Enough?
When rereading the novel, mark anything that you have read before
in other books, or seen in a movie. Next, list them on a separate
sheet of paper; then, for each one, write down notes on how to make
them different from what you have seen before. For example, in your
story your protagonist is an orphan boy who attends a special magic
school to learn how to become a wizard. Sound too much like the
Harry Potter books? Consider how you could change the essence of
the plot. Instead of an orphan, make the protagonist a boy with
busy parents who send him to a boarding school, unaware that it is
an exclusive school for children who are monsters in human form.
Making such notes and brainstorming changes can train your mind to
think more creatively.
Can Readers Predict What's Going To Happen Next?
As you tell your story, are you revealing too much information?
Can the reader see the resolution of a problem long before you
actually get there? Telling the reader too much can bore him. It
does not allow readers to utilize their imaginations and feel a
sense of mystery and suspense.
Make notes on areas where you have given too much detail. Make
changes that will hook the reader and tease her mind. Make the
reader believe the story will go one way, then introduce an
Is The Plot Boring?
Even though your plot may be unique, it may be boring. Boring plots
typically include long scenes, rambling dialog, overly detailed
descriptive narratives, and little action. Correct this by
shortening the dialog and focusing it on the plot. The mood of the
conversation should fit the mood of the scenes in the chapters. For
instance, if the scene is comical, the dialog should be comical. If
the scene is serious, the dialog should be serious. Keep in mind
that dialog should always be supportive to the plot. Liven up the
story with unique situations and events that can add more
Don't overdo it, however. Give the reader some down-time between
exciting action scenes. Do this by incorporating chapter scenes to
appeal to different emotions. Use some comedy, some drama, some
suspense, and some mystery to support the plot. Take your readers
on an emotional rollercoaster ride.
Is The Plot Too Complex?
Making the plot complex (too many subplots, too many flashbacks, or
too many dream sequences) can confuse the reader. A complex plot
can lose focus of the main point of the story. It can make it
difficult to develop a resolution. Some writers who are experienced
can create complex plots. However, for new writers, it is best to
keep the story simple.
Is The Plot Too Shallow?
Sometimes new writers get too caught up in making their story
exciting and so interesting. They get caught up in the action,
symbolism, witty dialog, and slick descriptions, but lose the
focus, the meaning, and the purpose of the story. When reviewing
your novel, ask yourself, "What is the meaning of the story? What
is the purpose? What is the story about?" If you cannot see meaning
and purpose in your plot, then the plot is shallow. Begin to think
of ways to refocus the plot on its purpose.
Is The Plot Believable?
Readers need to buy into the reality of your story even though it
is fiction. If it sounds farfetched and unrealistic, most readers
will have a hard time connecting with the story. In your notes,
consider what you can do to make a "hard to believe" event more
believable, more "possible" within the context of the story.
Is The Sequence Illogical?
This relates to the order of chapter scenes and events in the
novel. If you feel the current order is not right, consider ways to
rearrange them, change them, or delete them.
Is The Conclusion Satisfying?
Is the resolution is clear enough or logical enough? If you feel
unsatisfied with your conclusion, this is your gut feeling telling
you that it is lacking something. You need to determine what that
"something" is, and make sure it is part of your conclusion.
After reevaluating the plot, it's time to examine each scene.
Frances Beckham is a writer of children's and young adult fiction
and resides in Washington State. She operates the Affordable
Proofreading & Critique Service for writers of film scripts and
novels. Beckham enjoys writing, whether it is scripts, books, or
We love to hear of your success stories, submit them to us
Remember to post your book signing, guest speaker events on our
Bookstore page. Simply send us an email with details of your events and we will
be happy to post them. Just part of the Allbooks service to our authors.
Congratulations to Shirley A. Roe,
Managing Editor of Allbooks Review Int. on the release of her sixth novel, Now
My Life Begins. The book is available in print and ebook on Amazon.com
Jon Saboe has released the long awaited
prequel to Days of Peleg. The new book is The Days of Lamech, available on
Allbooks Reviews INTERVIEW:
state your name and location. (city and
State or Province, Country)
us the title and publisher of your book:
by David V. Mammina
us about yourself:
I grew up in Long Island, New York and
still live there today, teaching Social Studies in a private school for
students with neurobiological disorders.
was the book released?:
us an overview of your book.
A holy knight has committed terrible sins
of vengeance against those allegedly
responsible for killing his wife and child.
In turn, he has been exiled to Islandia, a nearby island, to live out
his days of solitude with only a faithful dog to accompany him. Finally offered an opportunity to redeem
himself, Arl Baelin has been called upon to inspect a series of suspicious
hauntings in an infamous manor known as Midvein Mansion. However, in his quest to cleanse the mansion,
he quickly realizes that his path to redemption comes with a shocking price.
Experience the story of a controversial knight who will go to dangerous lengths
to find penance in this seamless read that will keep the book in your hands and
off the shelf until the climactic ending.
inspired you to write this book?
I was always fascinated with the concept
of a fallen hero in search of redemption.
You hear it in tales and cliché’ TV series all the time, but it never
holds true to the character. I wanted to
create a genuine tale of redemption, including the hardships, doubts, and
determination that go along with it.
is your book different from other books in this genre?
Many are not familiar with the Dark
Fantasy genre, as it falls into the shadows of fantasy itself, but this story
will surely set them apart. Redeem the Knight focuses on the acts of
redemption, rather than the vengeance as in other tales of the genre. Each of the ten chapters begin with a memory
that ties in with the story and progressively enlightens the reader with
provocative truths about the hero’s life from childhood to the present date. I believe this subtle, yet piercing literary
strategy makes for a very personable protagonist and dynamic storyline.
can people buy your book?
Anyone can purchase a copy through any
online bookstore, like Amazon, Barnesandnoble, Borders, Waldenbooks, etc. You
can also visit my website www.MamminaBooks.com
where all of my work is listed. (It is
also safe and cheaper!) I am often at
ComicCon and I-Con conventions, where I promote and sell my work with free
signings and other cool giveaways.
you working on another book? If so when do you expect it to be published?
I am always
working on another book. Sometimes I try
to take a break so that I can market my work, but new stories always beckon the
call. So, I am already writing the
sequel to Redeem the Knight, creating
a series foundation. With hope, it will
be out in about a year.
you self published, what advice can you give to fellow writers?
It certainly isn’t easy to do it on your
own, but it is even harder to find an agent or publisher to rise you up. It is important to be realistic about
self-publishing. It takes time and
commitment, but more than anything else, confidence. Let no one discourage you—ever! This is your talent and it will be recognized
as long as you believe in it and share it with others. Remember to smile and foster a natural
balance of humbleness and pride.
published traditionally, tell us how you benefited:
you share one of your marketing successes with us?
Facebook and LinkedIn is a treasure trove
of marketing capabilities. Free and
easy. Always toss business cards around,
because you never know who is reading these days. A strong handshake and quick hook line does
wonders in the long run.
did you find Allbooks Reviews and what are you hoping for in your relationship
I heard of Allbooks through a friend, who
saw it advertised on the internet. It
has proven to be a great service for objective reviews for a very affordable
the low cost a surprise? What other things would you like Allbooks Reviews to
As the market to promote works for
self-published authors can be cruel and disheartening at times, a great service
of promotion through other sponsored sites and magazines would surely help to
spread the word around about the service you provide and the authors you have
you for this interview and best of luck with your book.
Thanks so much for this opportunity, I am
very humbled by the great review your services have rendered.