Thursday, March 20, 2014

Things I Learned from my Recent Reviews

This is the 'Butterdome' I mentioned in the novel.

So as you all know, I had a book tour last week for my second novel, 'Aphrodite's War'. Sorry about the links...I tried to fix them, but it was a futile and irritating endeavor. I read every single one, and I hope the bloggers know how grateful I am. They ranged from a 3 star to five stars. Not bad at all! Thanks everyone for writing detailed lengthy reports on what they liked and disliked. Which brings me to today's blog topic. I should call this entry "Things Reviewers Say that I Find Disconcerting." There's only two, but they've both come up enough times to cause me some concern about my writing patterns.

#1...Multiple POVs. For those who don't know what that is, it's short for Point of View. In a lot of novels, particularly YA, there's only one--The main character. Mine have several. Not every personality, just the ones that I feel need to show their side of the story.

I've noticed that a lot of people have been confused or distracted by that, and I'm not really sure why. No sarcasm--I REALLY don't get it. I'm in the habit of switching POVs, and separating them with asterisks. I feel that there are certain times when the view needs to be switched up, without head-hopping back and forth. Especially when there's more than one storyline. I feel it adds more depth if you can see how HE feels about the romance...Not just HER. And I got that idea from Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and my former critique partners. Am I out of the loop? Am I missing something? Am I just doing it wrong? I wouldn't mind some input.

#2...Edmonton is NOT a town. The main location of 'Aphrodite's War', Edmonton, Alberta is a city with over a million people. But I've noticed more than one reviewer call Edmonton a town. Uh-oh...The first time it happened, I privately asked the reviewer, "Did I give you the impression it was a town?"  She confirmed. I was confused...I'd mentioned two universities, a bus system, an LRT train system, a state-of-the-art-cancer center with access to isotopes and held a scene in West Edmonton Mall, one of the largest malls in the world. How did people mistake it for a town?

When I asked my best friend, she said, "It DOES have a small town feel."

This is part of the downtown area, with a view of the River Valley.
"Really?" I said, "I mean, I've always said Edmonton was a big small town, but..."

"Well, that explains a lot," she said. "because that's how it feels to read it."

This is the Waterpark in Phase Two of WEM
After much discussion, we figured that just a few extra sentences about atmosphere might have solved that problem. Did I describe the rush hour traffic? Or the shade of downtown Jasper Avenue from all the skyscrapers? Should I have gone into more detail about the enormousness of West Edmonton Mall? Maybe I should have made the pace a little more frantic, even though I myself don't find rush hour traffic intimidating. For lack of a more appropriate cliche, "D'OH!"

This isn't even all of Edmonton. You can't see WEM or my end of the city in this shot, or even the southside.
Since 'Chasing Monsters' also takes place in Edmonton for several scenes, I solemnly swear to improve. I'm just kind of irritated to find myself "Learning to Write in Public."


  1. Donna I find your use of POV comes across clearly and adds to the overall dimension of the story. I have to admit that I thought Edmonton was a town. I never gave it any thought. thanks for.enlightening me. I think for non-Canadians we are just not savvy enough to know,

    1. Thanks for the input! I'm soooo glad to hear you liked the POV shifts and that you understood the reasons behind them <3 As for Edmonton...So sorry about that. I'm really kicking myself about it.

  2. I also like your multiple points of view. I don't find them confusing and it makes the story more interesting, I think probably the reason I didn't enjoy Young Adult books when I was younger was due to the single point of view. Dan Brown also uses multiple POVs, I think that is why his books are so enjoyable. . I can't figure out how people thought Edmonton was a small town (maybe compared to New York, or L.A.). There is also the Telus World of Science, the Muttart Conservatory, the whole University Hospital complex (Cross Cancer Institute, Canadian Blood Services, the Stollery hospital, the Mazankowski Heart Institute), the Pancreatic Islet Cell Transplant Protocol (potential cure for Diabetes, developed at the University Hospital), in addition to WEM and the 2 Universities, and N.A.I.T. Am I missing something?

  3. I also forgot to mention the baseball stadium, Clark Stadium (Edmonton Eskimos, the NHL-sized arena (for our 5 time Stanley Cup winning NHL team, the Edmonton Oilers). There is another large skating rink at WEM in addition to Galaxyland), St. Joseph`s Basillica (where Wayne Gretzky got married.

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    2. Thanks jlotus. I think that's the reason why I don't care for YAs either. I didn't mention all the things you listed---they weren't part of the story--but I was certain I'd included enough big ticket locations to make my point. I guess I didn't.