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wordsmyth
10-08-2007, 04:57 PM
I wanted to let everybody know I had the supreme joy of reading Jim's first book, The Pit, and posted a review (http://virtualwordsmith.blogspot.com/2007/10/book-review-pit-by-jim-melvin.html) of it on my blog this morning. Check it out!

Jim's blog is http://www.deathwizardchronicles.blogspot.com/ .

Michael
10-19-2007, 10:25 AM
Yeah, I just finished it myself. It's pretty good. Jim has a great imagination, interesting characters, and the plot is very cool.

I have no problem there, but I wonder about the publisher; not because of things people have said here, but because I could tell by reading the book that the publishers did not uphold certain standards that I have been taught are necessary in the industry. It made me wonder how Jim got the manuscript past the editors in that condition. I almost thought they were POD because of it, so I looked them up. That's how I found the threads about Rain here, otherwise I never would have known. It turns out they're not POD, but that makes this even more confusing.

Not a slight against your book in any way, Jim! My first book has the same problems; and, of course, I think they're both very good. You did very well, but it's obvious that Rain's editors did not do their jobs.

Voyager
10-19-2007, 12:50 PM
I just got the book the other day. I've been so busy with my own editing and the query letter o' death that I just picked it up and read about 25 pages of it so far. No reflection on you, whatsoever Jim, but it was 3a.m. and I was exhausted. But I have to say this, I am in love with Torgon and he's made me want to keep reading. I can't wait to find some quiet time to sit down and read further, a little earlier than 3a.m., perhaps. As far as the editorial problems go, I agree with Michael, it's a damn shame they weren't more careful.

Death Wizard
10-19-2007, 03:31 PM
I appreciate your comments and compliments and certainly respect your right to your opinions.

triceretops
10-20-2007, 05:33 PM
Now that's funny. I found the editing precise and error free, showing Jim's care. I would consider it one of the cleanest books I've read, considering mine that had true grammar errors and mispellings. Now, if you're talking about the printing format, it is a tad unconventional with the unjustified right margin, which gives the impression of a POD book. Alas, most of our print runs were 1,500. I like the large type and became accustomed to it, and actually prefer it now.

Some of (my) transition markers were wrapped around the page. I didn't see that in his.

In this case, as with all books, story trumps all. There was nothing here that so distracted me that I had to put the book down and say "That damn printer!"

My two centavos.

Tri

Death Wizard
10-21-2007, 04:04 AM
Now that's funny. I found the editing precise and error free, showing Jim's care. I would consider it one of the cleanest books I've read, considering mine that had true grammar errors and mispellings. Now, if you're talking about the printing format, it is a tad unconventional with the unjustified right margin, which gives the impression of a POD book. Alas, most of our print runs were 1,500. I like the large type and became accustomed to it, and actually prefer it now.

Some of (my) transition markers were wrapped around the page. I didn't see that in his.

In this case, as with all books, story trumps all. There was nothing here that so distracted me that I had to put the book down and say "That damn printer!"

My two centavos.

Tri

Thanks, Tri. I -- like many others -- highly respect your opinion, in all matters, and I agree with what you said. My books were professionally edited by a nationallly award-winning editor even before they were sent to Rain, and then Rain did a nice job, afterward. So I'm confident in their quality, at least in the editing regard. However, anyone who is willing to read my work from start to finish has earned the right to his or her opinion. Some reviews will be positive, some negative, and some in between. It's all part of how the system works. And that's what makes it fun. Ultimately, it's up to the reader to decide. Harry Potter is a grand example.

Michael
10-23-2007, 07:44 AM
Rest assured, Jim, my review will also be positive. I only made a note of my observations because people have pounded into me what's expected if you want to publish traditionally. My published book lacks some of these standards since it was published POD, and I noticed some of the same difficulties in yours. Since then, I have worked hard to incoporate those standards into my work, and I have yet to publish any of it.

Grammar was not a problem (although in my book I had some that I'd overlooked when editing, such as the ever popular split infinitives). You had a typo or two, but that's to be expected. They occur in almost any book, regardless of professional treatment.

No, it's more about execution, and I think that if the publisher liked your story well enough to print they should have pointed out to you things that needed revision. [EDIT: deleted by the poster after realizing his error]. Although Rain seems to be about doing something new in the industry to help more new writers get published, and I'd like to see that venture continue to grow and improve. As long they handle it well, it might open opportunities that were rarely - if ever - available to us before.

[EDIT: deleted by the poster after realizing his error].

But, since I plan to write a review, I should refrain from making too many comments here concerning your work. Instead, I'll note some of the problems with Pure Intensity.

Pure Intensity was originally written in omniscient perspective, which is a valid POV in fiction but difficult to execute properly - especially for new writers. Often it is confusing to read, although some writers do okay with it. It's better to stick with a single character's POV within a given passage (called third-person limited). Only one person's thoughts and observations should be expressed in that passage. If the passage is wrtten in Linda's POV, for example, she can think about Kirk's features (hair and eye color, etc.) but she can't see her own hair and eye color (unless she's looking in a mirror).

Even after I divided the passages according to POV, however, the text constantly jumps from one person's POV to another's with very little consistency. As a result, the text is not organized very well, and most editors would consider it poor (or even sloppy) composition.

I also have a few awkward, uninspiring passages that a little positive criticism helped me to eliminate when I revised (and reorganized) the entire manuscript. And there were plenty of awkward sentences that needed restructuring. Worse, in some passages the overuse of flowery language makes it difficult to follow the context (this is definitely a problem that does not exist in The Pit).

But if Pure Intensity were written by someone else, would I still recommend the book? Sure, I would! I mean, we all have to start somewhere, right? ;)

Death Wizard
10-23-2007, 05:42 PM
I could not disagree more with the accuracy of everything you've said, but you are entitled to your opinion.

triceretops
10-23-2007, 09:58 PM
Gads. I found the tone of the prose and dialogue almost sophisticated, even highbrow in some instances. I can't imagine this qualifying as YA, for the very reasons stated--the adult themes--mood, and incidents of violence and sex, notwithstanding. Generally speaking, is it not young adults who populate such a story as protags and antags, since they are aimed at that particular age bracket? I don't see any juvenile or young person appearances here with themes and topics commmonly associated with a younger set. I associate a lot of YA topics and themes with an overabundance of pettiness, snobbery, lust, and coming of age issues clearly associated with younger characters. If Death Wizard was intended to be YA, then the young readers were clearly robbed of these characterizations and portrayals.

All do respect, Michael, but to compare or place Jim against the likes of Robert Jordon (Wheel of Time, which were not the first books he wrote) or Duncan, and say that his prose does not equal or exceed these masters, is a bit unfair. How can you expect a debut novelist to write like an award winner from the gate? I've idolized Poul Anderson and Alan Dean Foster for 30 years, and even tried to copy/emulate their voice/styles. But I am a far cry from such mastery, and can only hope to approach such skill.

I'm not making excuses for anybody, but I will say that the format problem strickly belongs to Rain, and I was a sufferer of it myself. Jim and I were quite shocked/surprized with the final product, and knew instinctively that we would face a certain amount of prejudice, as a result of it. And that objectivity and human nature is part of the review process.

The keyword I think here is 'perspective.'

Tri

Michael
10-24-2007, 12:03 AM
Generally speaking, is it not young adults who populate such a story as protags and antags, since they are aimed at that particular age bracket? I don't see any juvenile or young person appearances here with themes and topics commmonly associated with a younger set. I associate a lot of YA topics and themes with an overabundance of pettiness, snobbery, lust, and coming of age issues clearly associated with younger characters. If Death Wizard was intended to be YA, then the young readers were clearly robbed of these characterizations and portrayals.

All do respect, Michael, but to compare or place Jim against the likes of Robert Jordon (Wheel of Time, which were not the first books he wrote) or Duncan, and say that his prose does not equal or exceed these masters, is a bit unfair. How can you expect a debut novelist to write like an award winner from the gate? I've idolized Poul Anderson and Alan Dean Foster for 30 years, and even tried to copy/emulate their voice/styles. But I am a far cry from such mastery, and can only hope to approach such skill.

I'm not making excuses for anybody, but I will say that the format problem strickly belongs to Rain, and I was a sufferer of it myself. Jim and I were quite shocked/surprized with the final product, and knew instinctively that we would face a certain amount of prejudice, as a result of it. And that objectivity and human nature is part of the review process.

The keyword I think here is 'perspective.'

Tri

[EDIT: The statements made in this post and the previous two are my opinions, not facts, although they are based on what I've learned from other writers about professional standards in the publishing industry. Thank you to those good people who have rightly pointed out what I've done wrong].

Eek! I really have misrepresented myself! I did not mean that Jim's work is YA, I just mean that the prose is on an easy reading level, which is not a bad thing. And of course I don't expect his debut novel to compare to those I mentioned, I just meant to clarify that the manuscript could have been polished a little more, and that the editor should have made suggestions for revision. Since it isn't a bad thing, I suppose I shouldn't have mentioned it all.

I definitely made a mistake when I said "others might not have published it in this condition," because I just don't know that for sure. I do understand that editors request revisions often, even from established writers. Therefore, my criticism was aimed more at Rain than at Jim, because they didn't do this (at least not as well as they should).

And, of course, why should I expect more of Jim's debut novel? I have tried to express that my own debut was on an equal footing with his, the difference is that I did not have an editorial staff to criticize for it. The only one who can be criticized for it is me. But I have received plenty of very helpful criticism, for which I am grateful.

I really am sorry about the misunderstanding.