1000 Word Book Reviews: Roses Are Red

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Carrie Green wrote the collection of stories “Roses are Red.” It is a mix of different genres that range from horror to sci-fi to more literary fiction. This is a review of the 2nd short story, “A Lucky Human,” which was a sci-fi story. The basic premise of the story is what happens after humans can start physically connecting with humans in a sort-of symbiosis.

Does the first 1000 words show it as edited?

The entire story appeared edited, grammar-wise. The first 1000 words was technically “A Long Distance Relationship” (the horror story) which also looked edited as well.

Do I care about the characters after the first 1000 words?

In “A Lucky Human” I didn’t really care about the main character early in the story because there really wasn’t anything positive that stood out to me, however, there wasn’t anything for me to dislike about him. I did enjoy the character arc of the main character through the story and there is some growth shown.

Do I like the world building?

It was pretty good sci-fi world building for a short story. She set up the rules of the science fiction tech early in the story to be used later on so it didn’t feel like the end came out of left field. I would have liked to know a little more detail the science behind the computer-human connection.

Overall Assessment: Would I continue reading past the 1000 words?

This is an assessment of the entire story, so I read well past 1000 words. Would I want to read about what happens after the short story?  I would have to say yes. I think she might have something there based on where the story ended and can see a half dozen ways she could continue the story.

Overall Story Rating:  4/5 Happy Go-Lucky Red Pandas.

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One thing I would have liked seeing: 

I would have preferred more description of the ship and surroundings as they boarded. I would have liked to know exactly what the environment was to get a sense of place. Maybe a little background on Earth and the situation with humanity would have added some depth and color to the story.

Q&A with Carrie Green

How long did the first draft take to write?  

My short stories tend to be produced in one seating, but I always let them rest before editing, when the real nitty-gritty work of being a writer begins.  I edit endlessly, consistently, so that my first drafts never see the light of day.

Did you change the ending in the middle of writing?

No, if an ending changes, it’s during the editing process, not while writing…

Did you submit traditionally?
Before the advent of Amazon and self-publishing, I did submit traditionally.  Now, I’m a firm believer in what Joe Konrath has to share about the realities of the publishing industry (via his blog) and how authors are much better off, financially, in pursuing self-publishing.
 
Where do you want to go with the series?
This collection of short stories is part of a series named ‘New Blood.’ and it exists primarily to promote my writing until the publication of my novel, Walk A Lonely Street.
Favorite author who has influenced your writing?
There are plenty of authors who have influenced me, but the earliest was Mark Twain.  His books were my bedtime stories, read out loud by my father, when I was too young to read.  What you are exposed to, first, forever shapes how you judge what comes after.  All other authors had to live up to Mark Twain for me.
You can follow her @CarrieGreenBook &  http://www.carriegreenbooks.com

1000 Word Review: Storm in Shanghai by J.M.Bush

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This is a story about magicians and the powers that threaten it, or so I think from the first chapter. It begins with a back and forth conversation between father and son, and the son wins in order to see some World Cup action. There is some mystical threat, the Maelstrom, that is threatening Italy. The father is some mage of some kind. Disaster strikes and the leader if left wanting to turn the page to see what happens. (I do)

Does the first 1000 words show it as edited?

Yes, it appears edited. The only thing I saw that might stand out is the story is written in present tense, but at times the story does switch to past tense sometimes.

Ex: “My dad, one of the world’s fastest casters, dismissed his ball of lightning and sealed the car door shut with Storm wind. He also charged the handle with a little bit of Storm lightning, it seems, because I get zapped as I grab it.” 

As far as regular grammar, it reads well.

Do I care about the characters after the first 1000 words?

I did. He kept it simple and started his story about a father and son relationship as told by a POV of a 10 year old. The kid wants to see some World Cup action and the father placates him. I think every man remembers how it is at this age. The father doesn’t have to say he loves his son, but this is enough to imply to the reader the unsaid. This is good writing, like in a movie. Show and don’t tell.

Do I like the world building?

I do. I like foreign and interesting environments. It was a nice touch adding Italian to the prose. He also sprinkled in some magic and world building the system. I assume the father is a mage or wizard of some sort. There is a Maelstrom threat to everything.

Overall Assessment: Would I continue reading past the 1000 words?

Yes. I want to see what happens after the blackout. Good on the author for wrapping me in so quick.

Overall Story Opening Rating:  4/5 Happy Go-Lucky Red Pandas.

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One thing I would have liked seeing:

I prefer past tense with the story, especially since I am assuming 1990 AD (nice touch adding the AD) is in the past and the story is being told today due to the vocabulary the kid is using. Would have liked to know where the mother is. Maybe describe what the heck the Maelstrom is and the total deaths caused and who the father is in the scale of mage types. Would have liked to know why the father’s dream is to visit the place, but why he couldn’t have bought a plane ticket for this long? Magic spell bubble or something? Is the Maelstrom threatening other countries? How long has this been going on?

The First Chapter can be reviewed here:

http://www.eatplaywritetravel.com/#!chapter-1/jrohi

Q&A with J.M. Bush

How long did the first draft take to write?  The first draft took me three months to write and was at about 73k words.

Did you change the ending in the middle of writing? The ending changed slightly because, during the many rewrites over the course of a year, I added many new chapters from different POVs to show some backstory. This influenced the course of the story in many ways and as a result, the ending was affected.

Did you submit traditionally?
I did! I submitted like crazy after the first draft and first round of edits were done. After that is when I really went back and took it apart, then put it back together. It ended up being 106k words after all the rewrites. Then I began submitting again. This time, I got some partial requests and a couple of full requests. Two agents held onto it for a long time, but in the end, they passed. So I made my mind up to self-publish the book. I could have waited, but in the interim I had written two other books, one during NANOWRIMO 2015, and I felt that having something published, even self-published, would help me get these newer books picked up by an agent.
Where do you want to go with the series?
Two more books, at least. I have the overall arc of the story planned out, but it keeps changing. I keep having killer ideas about it, and so it is an ever-evolving thing. I’m sure it will change a lot more before it’s done, too. But at the moment, book 2 will take place in Malaysia and Cambodia, while book 3 will take place in Egypt.
Favorite author who has influenced your writing?
R.A. Salvatore got me started on the whole fantasy obsession, so I’d say he is the main influence. But more recently, Brandon Sanderson has really got me excited to write stories. I absolutely love his world building.
The J.M.Bush can be followed at @M_to_the_Bush