Recently I’ve been going out of my way to find books in the bookstore with these requirements:
1) First-time author (meaning, their first novel)
2) Not someone writing uniquely about a different country (ala Kite Runner, etc…)
3) The writer should have no connections with publishing companies/family of published writers, etc…
4) No platform (meaning an already semi-celebrity, or someone who has worked for the CIA for 20 years, etc…)
5) The book is under 300 pages
As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I’ve found less than two. =). Of course I don’t expect much success with my top five requirements. It’s what I hunt for. About a week ago I was fortunate to find a novel called ‘The Girl She Used To Be’, by David Cristofano. Great book, writing flowed, the voice was crystal clear. Of course before I started the book, I found that he met the top five requirements above. He had somewhat of a platform. The book is about the Witness Protection Program and he did work with the federal government for ‘over a decade’, but it didn’t sound huge enough to warrant a book deal with Grand Central Publishing. So it gave me hope, and I just wanted to pass along this criteria to you, because so often I talk to friends (or myself) and get frustrated about how some stories seem ‘phoned in’, or sloppy, or just downright lazy. And then that up and coming writer thinks…’well damn. My story is as good as that.’ Only recently did I realize I was referring to a bestselling author’s 21st novel…of course they’re getting a little lazy.
There are two parts to my blog entry this week, because I myself was lazy and missed last Thursday (sorry about that…brother got married!)
I am going to try and sound very objective here because I want to hear what everybody thinks about these phrases that I see in about 98% of published books. Again, the phrases below have been lifted from bestselling books, and I want to know what you think.
-he cocked an eyebrow.
-…raises a curious, disapproving eyebrow.
-she pursed her lips.
-Her heart panged.
There are others, but I’d love to hear what you think. True, they are taken out of context, but I don’t think it does that much harm.