Sunday, April 12, 2015

Book review: The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Recently, a friend asked me to help her reduce the size of her manuscript. Cutting words while retaining the strength of the story is a skill I'm developing. But working the other way, adding words, that's challenging. My longest manuscript, to date, is 68,000 words. I was amazed and impressed by this total. However, it pales in comparison to the 973 page book The Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThis book could be used as a weapon. Learning how to build to size is one of the reasons why I read...

Book blurb...
The Pillars of the Earth tells the story of Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, a devout and resourceful monk driven to build the greatest Gothic cathedral the world has known...of Tom, the mason who becomes his architect -- a man divided in his soul...of the beautiful, elusive Lady Aliena, haunted by a secret shame...and of a struggle between good and evil that will turn church against state and brother against brother.

Tips for writing a large book...

-Have several protagonists. (Here's some advice on working with a large cast of characters.)
-Follow each protagonist's story line. Then weave the characters together and untangle them, over and over again.
-Conduct extensive research and include it to lengthen and enrich your tale.
-Delve deeply into each scene. Bring them to life by incorporating sensory details.

Ellen is one of favourite characters. A young mother alone in the woods, she not only raises her fine son but also saves Tom the Builder's entire family. And when accused by the monks of being a sinner for sleeping with Tom, she tells Tom...

' "What about you? Don't these monks know that it takes two to fornicate?" ' (p. 278)
Thank you Mr. Follett for creating this strong, independent woman.

Life Lesson from The Pillars of the Earth... 
Just when everything has hit rock bottom hope springs eternal.

The Pillars of the Earth is a rich tapestry woven together by a skilled craftsman, but is not without its flaws. And in my next article, I will comment on these mistakes in literature.


Oprah loves the book

Next article:  Mistakes authors make in their books

Sharing my author journey...

Last week I received two rejection letters. 
1)A literary journal emailed me the shortlist for their latest contest. My name wasn't on that list, but they they thanked me for sending them my writing. 
2)A publishing house told me that they were full for three years. My translation:  I'd dance with you but someone else has already asked me.
Both of these manuscripts will continue their tour of the Canadian publishing slush piles.

Also in this week's news, I'm writing a novella.
Current word count:  approximately 6,000 words
Word count goal:  approximately 12,000 words
Hurray! I am half-way there. : )

This week's goals:
-send out at least two manuscripts
-work on my novella
-prepare for my author reading...

Sunday, April 19th
Author readings at...
Mayne Island Library
Pam Withers at 9 AM 
Amber Harvey at 10 AM 
Leanne Dyck at 11 AM
Kit Pearson at noon
Helen O'Brian and Debbie Bowles at 1 PM
Lee Beavington at 2 PM
Arleen Pare at 3 pm