Bad Review

Mystery on a BudgetI got a bad review on my book Ready or Not available at Kindle. It isn’t long, but out of respect for the writer, I link it here rather than quote it in its entirety.

At first I had a sinking feeling and not a little despair. But on reflection, my writer’s integrity asserted itself and I issued a very polite (I hope) thanks and apologetic, also available at the above link as a comment on the comment.

Two things I take away from this. One is Kay’s (the reviewer’s) take on the language. I can’t apologize for my grammar. It is what it is. And I took severe pains to actually talk down the characters’ dialogue as I wrote (and rewrote) the text. I wanted characters’ spoken words to reflect accurately the speech I knew from my years in the 70s and 80s in Iowa, swearing included. Perhaps I had grown up in a privileged (linguistically) environ? Yet everyone I knew was middle class, strictly. We were well-educated readers in those days. All my friends read, and avidly. And we fished, played board games, card games, camped, and swatted softballs around. That was we. And my characters reflect that.

Two is her lack of commentary of anything substantial to the driving plot. I worried about this as I wrote it, yet it was based on real events. A youthful girl was raped who lived in my neighborhood while walking home from a school function at night. She did try to kill herself when her parents didn’t believe her after enduring months of her growing volatility and instability. This neighborhood shock was what inspired me to put pen to paper. Further, the subjects of unplanned teen pregnancies were beginning to become rife in the 80s, as well as the prevalence of digital and video material’s easy access to society.

It is as it was, and I stand by it. I see my book as more of a record of what started to happen to a recently staid society that found itself suddenly open to new avenues of media and rapidly changing cultural norms. We’re still reaping those changes.

New Page: Chapter 1 in its entirety

Chapter 1 of “Ready or Not” may be read on its own page.

Click to the right of “Home,” this blog.

Ready or Not” is copyright 2012 by Todd L. Ehlers. The novel’s cover illustration is copyright 2011 by Liza E. Paizis.

Inspiration

Courtesy Wikepedia

When I was writing (and rewriting) my book, I often found myself at Holy Mass receiving inspiration about how to handle a particular plot issue. This happened so often, in fact, that I felt that the project was sanctioned somehow. Further, single lines–or touches upon existing lines–would occur to me. Do other writers feel this? I am certain Christian-based writers would attest to a similar experience. How about others? When inspiration comes, it is endemic to creativity, and the creative potential comes from our maker.

Far too many times this occurred for me to count; I can only recollect one particular for certain, though, worthy of recounting that won’t also be a spoiler.

A loss of virginity occurs during “Ready or Not.” Yet this was not my original intent. I had every hope I could get a protagonist through the experience having withheld his integrity. But it wasn’t to be. It wouldn’t have been the Truth as a youth would have weighed it, both given his character and the themes of the novel. Considering the location I was in (the Church), I took this realization as inspired.

So I plotted it out as I had received it. I took care not to be titillating, for erotica is not what I sought. Realism almost precludes that genre.

Have I wrought a kind of Christian Realism? Christian Determinism? One day I will explore that possibility further. The concepts seem to clash, and yet I feel that such is the case.

Hurdles

What may have been the toughest problem I had with this story was how to thread traditional values through so much mire and daunting material. It came up over and again, and yet, perhaps nodding towards my literary hero Theodore Dreiser, I realized I had to stick to the truth as I knew it, as I’ve known it, and where I knew it would have to go.

Curtesy http://sistercarrieclareowens.wordpress.com/

Theodore Dreiser

Ready or Not – e-published October 4, 2012

Announcing my eBook “Ready or Not.” Take a peek here. I hope everyone who enjoys Iowa, its values, and who cares about how the digital age can drag our youth will enjoy this book.

(For those without a Kindle, free reading apps are available here.)

Ready or Not

Cover illustration copyright 2011 by Liza Paizis.