suspense tagged posts

Wool Review

By Ross B. Lampert

4.5-star rating dark blue background

Wool is the title of both the first novella and the first five stories in the Silo series, and the book which rocketed Hugh Howey to science fiction stardom. Deservedly so.

WARNING: There are spoilers in this review. I’ll put them in a different font so you can spot and skip them if you wish.

Wool is the story of a large, thoroughly developed community of people (hundreds if not a few thousand) who have lived for a long time in a 144 story deep underground silo. One of many, as it turns out, but the residents of Silo 18 don’t know that there are other silos until late in the story. Until then, only a select few even know that they’re “Silo 18.”

The silo culture is divided into dozens of functional groups: the Mechanicals live in the “down deep,” the lowe...

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Critique Technique, Part 33—Contradictions

By Ross B. Lampert

Contradictions are the stuff of conflict. Contradictions between:

Angry couple standing back to back

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • characters’ words and actions,
  • what they say to different people and/or at different times,
  • what they do at different times or in different circumstances, or
  • the responses of different people to the same stimulus

all increase a reader’s tension and interest in the story.

At least so long as the contradictions are intentional on the author’s part.

If they’re not, that could be a problem. Or an unintended/unexpected opport

unity. Your job as a reviewer is to not only spot the contradictions, but to evaluate them for effect and intent. Sound difficult? It doesn’t have to be. Here’s how to do it.

It’s easy to evaluate contradiction...

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Great Stuff for Writers, April 29, 2013

Frantically trying to get caught up after spending the last 3 days volunteering with the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, something I do every year to honor the memory of a friend of mine who was killed in the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building here. I’ve been a part of the event every year, as a volunteer, runner, or both, and this year was even honored with a profile interview in The Oklahoman, the city’s newspaper, even if the writer did misspell my name.

But enough of that! This is a writing blog! There’s lots of Great Stuff included this week: foreshadowing, characters who pop, pitching, the benefits of writing short fiction, book marketing, the value of reviews, burnout, learning from writing, and even some fun: one 2-year-old’s takes on books based on their covers...

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Great Stuff for Writers, March 7 & 8, 2013

Happy Friday, everyone. The Tucson Festival of Books is this weekend and I’m psyched. This is always a great event. Maybe I’ll see you there. Meanwhile, there’s a big kerfuffle afoot over some new ebook contracts from Random House. See below for much more on that, plus other, far less controversial Great Stuff.

CRAFT

Jordan Dane (@JordanDane) offers terrific advice in 8 Key Ways to Edit Suspense & Pace into Your Finished Manuscript. If that title isn’t enough to make you want to go read it, I’ll tease a few of her suggestions: figure out if you’ve started at the best point; is the setting the right one; does the protagonist’s “black moment” occur at the best possible place? Valuable stuff here.

Rachelle Gardner (@RachelleGardner) injects a moment of sanity in what other m...

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