Creative Dumping Ground #8 and Blog #3

Hey y’all, I hope you’ve been having a good week! Happy Friday!

So this post is going to be part blog and part creative dumping ground because… It’s been a week haha

Now, I haven’t been especially busy this week, but my brain (for whatever reason) decided to check out for the week (which is always great). Luckily, I had already wrote the book review I posted on Tuesday (but didn’t really edit it, so if it seems off, that’s why), so I at least didn’t have to worry about that.

Yesterday, I was trying to work on this post (it was my day off, so I had plenty of time to do it), but once again, my brain shut down, and all I could write was the “Be Inspired” entry, and even that was a struggle. It’s funny too because it was one of my shorter entries, yet I still had issues copying it down on here.

As of right now, my brain seems to be working again (for the most part), but now I have a busy weekend ahead, and really do too much writing (except Sunday night). I’m hoping that next week is a bit easier for me and brain.

Other than that, I have nothing else to really say, so here is my entry from my journal:

 

Quote: “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love…” -Marcus Aurelius

Prompt: Describe the greatest things about being alive

Entry: The greatest thing about being alive is having the chance to make things better. Rising from the ashes, turning failures to successes, no matter what it is, there is a way for you to give a better opportunity for yourself or others.

 

Thank you for reading, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

(Also, don’t forget about Mother’s Day on Sunday!)

-Erin 🙂

Twitter: @ENordhof

Prose: https://theprose.com/ennord

Book Review: The Storyteller’s Secret By Sejal Badani

*Disclaimer: There may be some spoilers in the following review, READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED*

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Synopsis:

The Storyteller’s Secret is a story of the love and pain that a family has faced spanning generations. Jaya is an Indian-American who, after suffering multiple miscarriages and ultimately putting a strain on her marriage, journeys to India to learn about her mother’s family that had pushed Jaya’s mother away many years ago. While she’s there, Jaya meets Ravi, who used to be a servant in her grandparent’s household, and one of the closest friends of Jaya’s grandma, Amisha. Ravi’s story about Amisha sheds light on secrets that Jaya’s family had kept hidden for so long and leads Jaya to reflect on her own life up until now.

Plot:

The plot of the story mainly focuses around the story of Jaya’s grandmother Amisha, and how her life affected Jaya’s mother, and ultimately, Jaya herself. I love that the plot of the story is revealed through storytelling, as it’s one of my favorite methods of a novel to reveal itself. For the most part, the plot was suspenseful enough that I wanted to know what would happen next, even though elements of it were predictable at certain points. Overall, this wasn’t a huge deal to me because I was caught up in the characters of the story, especially as this is a more character driven novel.

Characters:

As I just mentioned before, this is a more character driven novel, and overall, I love the characters in the novel. They had been fleshed out and thought they were flawed and realistic, the characters also had a likable quality about them. The novel is a dual perspective, told from Jaya and Amisha’s point of views. I enjoyed reading from both POV’s and watching Jaya learn and develop herself, while Amisha was facing difficult decisions and figuring out how to overcome them. I also thought that Ravi and Amisha’s husband were developed in an interesting manner, because Ravi makes what he considers a terrible mistake, and spends his life trying to make up for that mistake, while Amisha’s husband isn’t the best husband to Amisha, yet in the end, tries to do the right thing for the women he grows to love.

One of my favorite aspects of the novel is that I actually cared about what happened to the characters, and that I wanted them to have the best ending possible.

Writing Style:

When I first started reading the book, I found the writing style quite jarring, because it was, I would say, “simple” (no purple prose here), with short sentences. It was off putting enough where I was taken out of the story several times and made me not like the story as much. However, throughout the novel, I don’t know if I just got more used to the style, or if it just ended up flowing with the story as it progressed, but I ultimately ended up liking it in the end.  The “simple” writing style was emphasized especially in comparison to the stories that were told throughout the novel, the writing there was beautifully done and had a good flow with it.

As I write this, I wonder if the author meant for it to be like that. She didn’t want Jaya’s voice to overpower the stories told by Amisha throughout the novel, so Jaya’s perspective was written in a less “purple prose” type way.

Overall Thoughts:

Overall, I thought that this was a well written novel, with great characters and an interesting plot revealed to us through one of my favorite methods: one of the characters telling a story.  I thought the novel had a good pace to it, and I also appreciate the fact that the author incorporates the issues that India has had to deal with in the past, and how that shapes India in the modern day. I only have some minor issues with the novel, which was the jarring writing style at times, the fact that some of the plot points were predictable, and the ending was kind of cheesy and wrapped up almost too  nicely, but none of it was a big enough issue for me to enjoy the novel in the end. Plus, I kind of like cheesy happy endings sometimes, and I think that this had done it in a way that was enjoyable, but still gave you a warm fuzzy feeling on the inside.

I would rate The Storyteller’s Secret a 4.5/5 stars.

Thank you for reading guys, I hope you enjoyed the review!

Have a wonderful week, and I will see you in the next post!

Erin 🙂

 

Twitter: @ENordhof

Prose: https://theprose.com/ennord

Creative Dumping Ground #7

Hello everybody! I hope you’re having a wonderful week!

So, for this week, I decided to film a video ranting about a book that’s been taking me forever to finish.  At the time I filmed this video, I had about 200 pages to read, but since I was frustrated at this point, I made a video anyways.

I did finish it a couple days ago, and let’s just say that I didn’t like a lot of aspects of the book still… but there were parts of it I found redeemable. I wanna post another video about it soon, so I gotta get that going at some point!

Anyways, here’s the video:

 


 

I didn’t want this post to just be me sharing this video, so I’m also going to start something this week. Recently, I got a journal, full of prompts and quotes related to the prompts, as a present (thank you btw 😉 you know who you are).  Anyways, I decided I want to post prompts from this journal each week (I might expand this to other sources too, because there are only so many prompts in one journal), and my response to them.

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Now here’s this weeks prompt and my response:

Quote: “Everything that happens to you is your teacher. The secret is to sit at the feet of your own life and be taught by it.” -Mahatma Ghandi

Prompt: Write about all the lessons you’ve learned in life so far…

 

My Response:

  1. People who care about you will take the time to talk to you, but you need to take the time to talk to those you care about as well. Relationships are a two way street, whether it’s a friendship, family member, or significant other, you should have just as much of a stake in the relationship as they do.
  2. There are times in life where you will hurt people without meaning to. Though you didn’t mean to, that doesn’t mean the person you hurt will be anymore forgiving for it.
  3. Not everyone is meant to be in your life forever, so appreciate those around you, while they’re still here.
  4. If someone in your life is not bringing out the best in you, don’t hesitate to remove them from your life. In the long run, it could be the best thing for both of you. Maybe you both were a wake up call, or a lesson to learn. Either way, be mindful of who you allow into your life.
  5. Failure is a part of life, especially if you are taking risks. These risks can also lead to success, so take the risk. After all, you can’t succeed without failure.
  6. Never stop learning. Once you stop learning, ignorance will take its place.
  7. Listening is important, but don’t let it overshadow the importance of speaking your mind. There is a time and place to listen, just as much as there is a time and place to talk.
  8. Travelling is stressful (for me anyways) but rewarding.
  9. The good things in life come unexpectedly, but when they’re here, you will know.
  10. I need to trust myself more than I doubt myself.

Some of these lessons were hard to learn, and some I’m still working on, but that’s what life is all about in the end. Learning how to be a better version of yourself and committing to actually being that better version of yourself.

 


 

On that note, I think that’s about all I have for this week!

Thank you for reading, and I will see you in the next post!

Erin 🙂

Twitter: @ENordhof

Prose: https://theprose.com/ennord

Editing, Editing and…. Editing

Hello everyone!

I hope you are having a wonderful start to your week! Today I want to talk about the whole process of editing, since (in case you didn’t know already) I am in the middle of editing my own writing draft.

So, let’s start off by talking about how I feel about editing right now.

All I have to say about is is that… it’s still a drag. 😂

It’s one of the most important steps in writing, since writing isn’t just coming up with the idea and then writing it all down. It’s mainly rewriting.

And rewriting.

And rewriting some more.

And… Oh yeah!

More rewriting.

I also think it’s important because as I’m still learning a lot about writing, I want to incorporate it into my writing and improve the story. Obviously.

Since it’s so important for me, this means I’ve been slow going on the whole process, so that I can take a good look at what I’ve written and if anything needs to be fixed. Right now, I’ve only been doing a chapter a night (unless they’re particularly short chapters, then I’ll do more). I don’t want to rush through the process, especially as I near the end of my structural editing process, otherwise I’m doing a disservice to the potential of the story. I love this idea and story concept, and I want to do it justice by making it the best story that I’m capable of making it.

After all that rambling, something else I want to discuss is figuring out what the editing process is going to look like for you. Everyone is going to have the same basic steps (structural edits, grammatical edits, post beta reader edits, etc), but as far as when each step is going to happen, pretty much depends on you.

For me, my first couple rounds of editing are mainly focused on structural editing. This means adding more to the story, working on fleshing out more characters, figuring out what plot points work and don’t work, etc. etc. As I mentioned in my previous writing post, The Life of Being An Underwriter, I have a tendency to not write enough in the story for it to be rich and complex as it could be. This means the story itself can be lacking a lot of the components that would draw the reader in, and keep them interested. Before I started my edits, I only had between 40k-50k words for my draft. At this point (I’m only about half way through my story) I am at around 75k words.

So WOOHOO GO ME! 🤣🤣

What can I say? I got to celebrate the little things in life.

Now though, I’ve been thinking more about what I want to do once I’m finished with this round of structural edits. What I’m thinking is probably finding a couple beta readers to go over my draft, and answer some questions at the end of each chapter, mainly focused on the plot and the characters. Once that’s done, I’m going to edit some more, this time though, focused on grammar and the technical side of it. Then maybe do another round of beta readers (maybe even the same ones) to see if there’s anything else that I should look at and fix.

Then…

I’m thinking of having a professional editor read it over, before I do anything publishing wise. I’ll have to look into freelance editors who would be the best fit for my writing; someone who’s familiar with editing fantasy, and, even going one step further, someone who is good at working with newer writers. Someone who won’t get frustrated easily if there are some more “newbie” type mistakes in my drafts since… well I am still learning a lot about writing (and probably always will be). That’s part of the fun when it comes to any creative field though, is learning new techniques that can help improve your writing, and challenge you to do things that you didn’t even consider ever doing.

I find that this editing process flow works best for me, because I want to make the big changes first (structural edits) before I do anything else. Then, after making all these big changes, I want other people to read it over, to check that everything still makes sense (it also gives me a break from this story before I do anymore edits). Then, after going through this round of beta readers, I want to go through and correct any grammar mistakes and do a more in depth edit all the technical aspects of the story. As for another round of beta readers, if not much has changed, I might skip this step, just because it would seem redundant at that point. Then with the professional editor aspect… I’ll have to see if I can afford it, and all that good stuff 🤣

And on that lovely note… that’s about all I have for my editing spiel today! I hope you guys have a fantastic rest of your week, and I will see you in the next post on Friday!

 

Erin 🙂

Twitter: @ENordhof

Prose: https://theprose.com/ennord

 

Blog #2

Hey everyone, so once again…

I have nothing creative to dump here 🤣

So, I’m just going to kind of write a blog, and see where the wind takes me… or the writing muse… or lady bug… or whatever it is you want to call it.

As I was thinking about what to post today, I realized I hadn’t really done anything super creative this week (which is fine, nothing wrong with that). Instead, I’ve been working, editing, and reading (I think I’m going to make a video about this because… I’m frustrated with one of the books I’m reading right now 🙄), and not much else besides that.  This also made me think about the last time I had created something for the sake of it. Something that was really just for me.

I was doing that a lot last year, especially since I was sorting through a lot of different emotions and thoughts, so I didn’t want to post a majority of it online. Even though a lot of it was pretty, I guess I’ll say angsty, it was nice creating something without thinking about how other people would judge it. I think it’s good to create things for yourself, because it’s special in its own way. That piece, whatever it maybe, is for you, and you alone to cherish.

The same thing can apply to doing things for yourself. You maybe the only one who is benefiting from you going on a hike, or taking a bath, or reading a book, but if it helps make you feel better, (and of course if you’re not harming anyone else in the process) then why wouldn’t you do it? If you’re worried about taking care of others, think about it like this. If you don’t take care of yourself and handle your needs, then how can you help care for someone else?

If there’s one thing you should take away from this post, it’s to take care of yourself. Whether it’s creating something for yourself, relaxing, exercising, whatever it is that helps you feel better, make sure you incorporate that into your life. As we all know, life can get really stressful and hard to handle sometimes, so we need to take care of ourselves to deal with the game they call Life.

The other thing that has really been on my mind this week, are books. I have quite a few that I got this week, and I’m really excited to read them! Now, all I have to do is read a whole bunch 🤣  I also want to try making a few more book related videos, because I have some ideas for videos… the only thing is that I don’t have a good editing software still, but no matter, I’m just going to film them anyways! Haha

And… let’s see… do I have anything else to add to this post…?

Well, I think that’s about all I have for this week, just some more rambling about random thoughts on my mind.

Anyways, I hope you all have a lovely weekend, and I will see you in the next post!

 

Erin 🙂

Twitter: @ENordhof

Prose: https://theprose.com/ennord

The Life of Being An Underwriter

A few years ago, I watched a couple of videos from Authortuber (I guess that’s a word now😂) Jenna Moreci discussing what underwriting and overwriting, and tips on how to fix your writing depending on which one you are. During your writing journey, you may have had heard these terms pop up a few times; basically an underwriter doesn’t write “enough” for the story, while an over writer writes “too much” for the story.

You might be asking, “But, what does ‘enough for the story’ and ‘too much for the story’ mean? Isn’t writing a creative art form where the story ends when the story is supposed to end?”

Yes, writing is a creative endeavor; however, there are technicalities that go behind what makes a story either good, bad, or amazing, and whether you write too much or don’t write enough can affect the story overall.

As an underwriter myself, not writing enough for the story means creating a story that’s rich and complex for your readers to enjoy. This ranges from describing the setting so that the reader feels they’re right there experiencing it with the character, to creating relatable characters through their backstory and personality. Personally, when going through my first draft, I noticed three things:

  1. I was very skimpy with my descriptions. I had fleshed out the various settings for the story in my head, but never spent that much time describing it to the reader. As I’ve been going through my draft this time, I’ve been adding more descriptions for both the setting and characters as well.

If you struggle with writing description, here are a couple websites to check out:

  1. https://io9.gizmodo.com/how-to-write-descriptive-passages-without-boring-the-re-1479764153
  2. https://www.writing-world.com/fiction/description.shtml
  1.  I didn’t have much of a sub plot in the story. The way my story is structured, there are a lot of… I would say “mini plots” that follow a character for maybe a page or two but are resolved within those two pages. Other than these “mini plots”, I had not added a strong sub plot for more complexity in the story. As of right now, my sub plot is a lot more fleshed out than it was before, but it still has some work that needs to be done.

For some more resources on developing subplots, here are a couple that I recommend:

  1. https://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/7-ways-to-add-great-subplots-to-your-novel
  2. I know I’m including a lot of Jenna Moreci, but I found her videos super helpful when I was getting back into writing again

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHU3E1k0HWQ

  1. The last thing I noticed was that I had done a lot of info dumping throughout my story. As I was writing my first (and second) drafts, I would get an idea about something that I would want to add to the story, and knew where I wanted to put it, but I wasn’t sure how to incorporate it into the story. So, I would just type the information where I wanted it to go and incorporate it enough where it wasn’t jarring to go from the story to this explanation. Yet, when I read it over, I still was throwing a bunch of information at the reader without making it interesting to read. This can also be referred to as the dreaded “telling instead of showing” problem, where instead of showing readers what I wanted to know so that it flowed with the story, I would just straight up tell them the information. It’s a problem I noticed during certain sections of the story more so than others, and I’ll probably keep running into various degrees of this throughout the story until I finish my editing.

Here are three more authortuber’s I watch that have good tips on fixing info dumping:

  1. Bookishpixie

 

 

  1. ShaelinWrites

  1. Alexa Donne

 

 

 

 

 

From personal experience, these are three things that you may want to pay more attention to when editing as an underwriter.

If you want further tips on editing and writing concerning this issue, here’s one of the videos from Jenna Moreci I mentioned earlier:

 

 

Now, time to move on to the over writers!

For those of you that have this issue, I don’t have personal experience with this, but based on what I’ve read and learned over the years, these are common problems I’ve picked up on.

  1. An over writer may have so many different plots running through the story, that some plots really have no reason to be there and are there for the sake of being there.  I would go through each plot in your story and figure out what the purpose of that plot is, or even if there is one. If there’s literally no reason for a plot to be in the story, take it out. I assume you don’t want someone reading your story and being confused about why they’re reading about this character, and then later go on to say, “Well, that was pointless.”
  1. They may use unnecessary words that just make a sentence longer and clunkier when reading. This could be using filler words or repeating things to the reader that don’t need to be.  Out of all the overwriting issues, using filler words is a major issue I have. For me, I add “that” in places where it doesn’t need to be, and it makes the sentence longer for no reason.

For more information about unnecessary words and writing more concisely, here are a couple websites to check out:

  1. http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/concise.htm
  2. https://wordvice.com/avoid-fillers-powerful-writing/
  1. Over writers may also have the problem of showing too much, as opposed to telling.  Even though it is important to show the reader information rather than tell them straight up, there are instances when it is better to just give information to the reader.

If it’s something that isn’t important to the plot, but needs to be acknowledge.

Example: Jane went to the grocery store, but when she returned home, she realized that she was not alone. (Then after this, you might “show” by describing Jane sneaking around the house, trying to stay quiet so that she can find the intruder).

Or, if it’s something that cannot be relayed to the reader no matter how much you might be showing them, it’s better to just tell the reader. One example of this is if the actions of a character contradict what the character is thinking.

Example: He knelt on the floor, tears falling down his face, but all he could think was “Finally, I’m home”.

If you want to learn more about showing vs. telling, and which is better to use in certain situations, here are a couple websites I’ve used:

  1. https://jerryjenkins.com/show-dont-tell/
  2. https://www.autocrit.com/editing/support/showing-vs-telling-indicators/

As I said, I’m not really an over writer, so if you want more help on how to handle that when it comes to editing and writing, here’s the other video from Jenna Moreci:

 

 

 

 

For those of you who have issues with either one, I hope this helped! Sometimes, we need a little direction to determine where to start when it comes to editing (I know I certainly do). The idea of editing your writing drafts can be intimidating, especially if you’re like me and really hard on yourself and nitpick your writing (I think most of us are like this though). However, when you finally have an idea of what you need to look for when you’re editing, and set a schedule for yourself (I mention this in my last blog 😂  My moment of shameless self promo) it can make the whole process easier to handle. After all, most of writing consists of rewriting, rewriting, and (you guessed it: rewriting), so you need to figure out a way to make it easier on yourself in the long run.

Anyways, that’s about all I got for this week everybody! Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you in the next post!

 

Erin 🙂

Twitter: @ENordhof

Prose: https://theprose.com/ennord

 

Blog #1

 

Hey everybody, I hope you’ve all been doing well! This has been quite the week for me (Don’t worry, I mean this in a good way!)

Caldo's Cabana
I’ve also been playing around with different banners and such to add on here. Here’s one of them!

So, instead of trying to do some creative post last minute, I figure, why not talk about this past week? After all, this is my blog and I get to talk about WHATEVER I want WHENEVER I want. 🤣😂

First thing’s first, I started my new job this week! It’s a place that I’ve applied to multiple times over the course of the past five years, and I’m happy to finally be working there. It wasn’t necessarily in a position I thought I would be working in, but in all honesty, just working there is enough for me. When I come home from work, instead of feeling mentally exhausted, I may only have some sore feet, and  I might be somewhat tired. Yet, I feel energized and excited to edit my writing drafts (which has been something I’ve been struggling with lately, because editing my own work is the worst sometimes. I’ll look at something I’ve written and been like “What was I thinking when I wrote this? Did I really think this sounded good?”). Basically, my point is that this new job has been good for me so far, and I hope it continues keeping me motivated to have a more consistent writing schedule.

Now for the second thing… I mentioned that I’ve been editing my writing draft more so lately. When I started initially this year with editing, I was jumping around various points of my draft and fixing things with no particular order. The only way I really knew what I wanted to edit was that I would remember a part, and that I wanted to change something about it. Or I would open it up to a random page and start reading, then edit from there.

This week though, I have started reading my draft from the beginning and editing a chapter or two a day. I’m proud of myself for finally sitting down and seriously edit, because this draft needs it! I’ve always been more of an underwriter (basically, I don’t write enough to get the story across to the reader), so I’ve been adding more to my story during these editing sessions (and fixing clunky sentences, grammatical errors, all the good stuff), and I’ve already added another couple thousand words. I haven’t felt this focused and determined in a long time, and it’s nice to have that mindset again, after feeling so out of it recently.

Sale
Thought this could be a cool design… although I don’t think for my blog ;D

And finally, I’ve been thinking about doing more book reviews, although it may be a few weeks until I post another one. Currently, I am reading the final book in a trilogy (The Darker Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab, in case you were wondering), and rather than doing a book review post for just the one book, I want to do more of a series wrap up. For that kind of content, I personally would rather film a video over writing a post, because… it makes more sense to me to do it that way… plus I just want to do it ;D But, I also want it to be edited (unlike the other two videos I posted), so I’m saving up some money to purchase a better editing software as opposed to the free one I’ve been trying to use (and failing miserably at).

Now that I’ve updated you guys about where I’m at right now… Well, that’s really all I have for this week! I hope you guys enjoyed it, and I will see ya in the next post! Have a great weekend!

Erin 🙂

Twitter: @ENordhof

Prose: https://theprose.com/ennord

In case you were interested in knowing how I designed these pictures in my post, I used Canva.com. A while ago, I saw someone comment on a post about designing logos and stuff for blog posts and they mentioned they used Canva (which is also where I made my logo).🤷‍♀️

 

Book Review: The Witness by Nora Roberts

*Disclaimer: There may be some spoilers in the following review, VIEWER (or reader I guess) DISCRETION IS ADVISED*

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Synopsis:

If you don’t want a detailed of a description of the novel, I’ll insert the blurb right here so that you have an idea of what it’s about:

“Elizabeth Finch’s short-lived teenage rebellion began with L’Oréal Pure Black, a pair of scissors and a fake ID. It ended in blood.”

If that’s enough for you, you can scroll down to the “Plot” section of the review to get to the rest of the review.

Otherwise, I will continue below.

Elizabeth Finch is a sixteen-year-old girl whose mother raised her to be the perfect student, and ultimately, the perfect adult. Her mother is a surgeon and wanted Elizabeth to pursue a similar path and become a doctor. Elizabeth is incredibly intelligent (she took accelerated classes in high school and is now attending Harvard for pre-med. At SIXTEEN), and basically followed her mother’s plan for her entire life, until recently when she decided that she did not want to be a doctor. When her mom leaves for a week for a medical conference, Elizabeth rebels by going to the mall (to essentially be a normal teenage girl that her mother would NOT approve of) and runs into one of the popular girls who went to her high school, Julie. Julie decides to help Elizabeth with her rebellion, in exchange for Elizabeth making them fake ID’s so that they can sneak into one of the hottest night clubs in Chicago.

Once they make it to the night club, they run into members of the Russian mafia, which eventually leads to Elizabeth being on the run for the next twelve years of her life. That is, until she meets a cop who falls in love with her (This is Nora Roberts after all, there is going to be some form of a romance in the novel) and wants to help her with her situation.

I’m going to leave it there, because I don’t want to spoil too much.

 

Now, let’s move on to the review!

 

Plot:

The plot was interesting to me, especially with the perspective of someone on the run from the Russian Mafia. I thought, for the most part, the story did flow very nicely, and the subplot that is included was interesting and the characters involved in the different plots were interesting parallels to each other.

However, for a novel about being on the run from the Russian Mafia, they really weren’t involved after the first one hundred pages, which considering the novel is over four hundred pages, doesn’t make that much sense to me. The mafia was mentioned in a couple scenes in the middle of the novel, and then were a tad bit more involved in the end, but to me, it felt like they were kind of thrown in there as an afterthought,

“You know, we haven’t really talked about the mafia enough, let me add these random sections so that the reader knows that they’re still thinking about Elizabeth all this time.”

It was almost as if she was trying to create some suspense to make the reader think the mafia was going to run into her at some point, and then have this interesting plot development. Instead, it made me wonder why the author bothered writing these scenes in the first place. Also, the plot had predictable elements to it; I had a feeling nothing awful was going to happen after the events from the beginning, causing the novel to drag in the middle, especially with the romance.

 

Characters:

As far as characters go, I feel that each one had a distinct voice, so much so that I could imagine them speaking in my head very clearly. For the most part, the novel alternated from the point of view of Elizabeth and Brooks, and because the character’s voices were developed so well, their differences in personalities juxtaposed each other very well. However, some of the characters did come across as cliché because of the way I heard them speaking in my head. Eventually, I also did get tired of hearing from Elizabeth, because her voice came across as robotic (I suppose to convey her intelligence), monotone, and overall kind of bored me at certain points (another reason why I appreciated the alternating points of view).

Even though the novel alternated mainly between Brooks and Elizabeth, the focus was on Elizabeth, and her traumatic run-in with the Russian Mafia. The novel wanted to emphasize that Elizabeth had gone through a traumatic experience that affected her (obviously since she was on the run for the twelve years). Yet, instead of feeling Elizabeth’s pain and sadness from going through this, I felt nothing. Maybe the point is that Elizabeth was so traumatized that she had become numb and the only way for her to deal with her pain was to focus on being on the run, but it just didn’t interest me to the point where I wanted to explore Elizabeth dealing with her pain. Instead, I became bored with the novel and just wanted to move on to see what would happen to her in connection with the mafia.

One major point where the novel fell flat for me was when Brooks and Elizabeth first started falling in love and getting together. I know that Nora Roberts writes lots of romance, but I felt that the romance in this novel just didn’t really pull me in. I felt nothing when they were together, or about how their romance was affected at the end of the novel.

I think that the characters overall were okay, but I never really felt invested in anything that happened to them. For me personally, this novel was more interesting to me due to the plot than the characters, though this novel seemed as if it was supposed to be more character driven than plot driven.

 

Writing Style:

I generally like Nora Roberts writing style because I think she does a good job of setting the scene and creating the overall atmosphere, without over doing it. She’s a great story teller, and obviously as she has written many novels over the years (this novel clearly stated on the cover that it was her 200th novel, and this was back in 2012), this means both that she has had years to work on her craft, but also that not every novel of hers is going to be one that I love.

I did mention earlier, though, that certain points of the novel did drag on for me, and I think part of it had to do with Nora Roberts telling the reader things that they could have figured out themselves. One example of this is in the subplot, Justin Blake is seen as a parallel to Ilya, but instead of the reader realizing that for themselves, Elizabeth essentially says this to the reader during a conversation with Brooks after the incident. I wonder if one reason for this is because of how many people read her novel’s for purely entertainment value, as opposed to trying to figure out the significance of the sub plot in relation to the main plot. Due to this, she will probably spell things out for her readers, instead of letting them figure it out for themselves, because she wants to be sure that the reader picks up on this fact. Even though it is fun to just read a novel and not have to intensely analyze what it is that I’m reading, it does get old after awhile having the author spell things out for me, instead of letting me figure it out on my own.

 

Overall Thoughts:

The novel starts off strong, and made me interested initially, but the middle dragged on. After getting a third of the way through it, I had put it down for a couple of weeks and wasn’t interest in picking it up again. However, I am someone who hates not finishing a novel (unless I think it is just utter garbage), so I decided to pick it up again a couple days ago, and finished it quickly, mostly because I wanted to see how it was going to end.  The ending was anticlimactic for me, as throughout the novel, I had been convinced that nothing bad was going to happen to Elizabeth. A part of this also had to do with the fact that Elizabeth came across as so intelligent that she would be able to figure out how to get out of any situation, and I never really worried about anything happening to her. It was still a decent ending, but it just wasn’t as powerful as I thought it was going to be.

I do wish that there had been more of the Russian Mafia perspective included in the novel, as especially towards the end it seemed like they really didn’t care about finding her that much, even though it was the whole reason why she was on the run in the first place. During the last third of the novel, Elizabeth tells Brooks about one time in New York when Ilya had seen her, but she ended up escaping because she was just so much smarter than them and could move faster than they could. As a result of this, it seemed to me that Elizabeth’s fear from being on the run was told more so than shown, because to me, all I could see was that she was an intelligent woman who, even though she had to be careful, was always able to take care of herself.

Based on the plot, characters and writing style of the novel, I would give this novel 3.5 stars/5 stars. Even though it was a decent read, I wouldn’t have been too upset if I had never gone back and finished the novel after I had initially put it down.

 

Thank you for reading guys, I hope you enjoyed my first ever book review for my blog! 😀

On that note, I hope you all have a wonderful week, and I will see you in the next post!

Erin 🙂

Twitter: @ENordhof

Prose: https://theprose.com/ennord

 

Creative Dumping Ground #6

This week I wanted to play around with some pictures I took of the flowers in the yard. Flowers also have their own meaning and symbolism behind them, so I figured I would do some research and see what these flowers symbolize.

Hope you enjoy!

 

Yellow Daffodils

Daffodils

Purple Hibiscus and Yellow/Orange Hibiscus

 

Hibiscus

 

That’s about all I got for this week, thanks for coming by, and I’ll see you in the next post!

-Erin 🙂

Twitter: @ENordhof

Prose: https://theprose.com/ennord

References:

Hibiscus Flower – Meaning, Symbolism and Colors

https://www.teleflora.com/meaning-of-flowers/daffodil

Reading and Writing

If you have any interest in writing, you know one piece of advice you hear a lot is to read as much as possible. By reading other writers works, you get an idea of what writing styles you like, what kind of plots your interested in, and what a published piece of work (at least if you’re reading published pieces that have been through many stages of editing) is like at the end of the whole process. This is especially important when you’re first starting out and  your own writing still needs to be more developed.

20170617_203253 (2)
,Said the Shotgun to the Head  by Saul Williams

Another reason you should read a lot as a writer is to learn to critically think through a piece of work, even if it’s already published. If you can go through a piece and pick out parts that make the plot drag, or why a character seems so one dimensional, it will make it easier to find similar mistakes in your own writing. Which is why I want to start doing book reviews; I am stuck at this current stage of editing (basically I added a bunch of things, but now I’m not sure what I want to do, add more or work on the actual writing itself), so I figure by dissecting other pieces of writing, I’ll be able to edit my writing better than I can now (and it might give me ideas as to what I should do next).

 

Now you may be wondering, why exactly am I announcing that I want to make book reviews?

Why didn’t I just post one today instead of writing this piece?

Well, let me tell you that… I actually was going to do one for this week, but when I finished writing the first draft yesterday, I realized there was more I wanted to add and I couldn’t do it all in one day.

Also, I am starting a new job soon! Woohoo! As exciting as this is, I had a bunch of paperwork to fill out before my orientation this week, along with other things I wanted to finish before I start working.

Plus, I have a weird head cold where my nose is constantly congested and runny so I have to blow it every five minutes, which makes it hard to write a review that is as well thought out as I would like.

IMG_20190205_121637_277So, in other words, I’m going to post the book review next week. Now that I gave you my list of reasons (or excuses, depends on how you want to look at it), I hope you understand why… I guess that was part of the point of this piece…

Anyways, I think I’ve rambled on for long enough…  so, thanks for reading, and I’ll see ya in the next post!

 

 

Erin 🙂

Twitter: @ENordhof

Prose: https://theprose.com/ennord