Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Analysis of Lust, Money & Murder by Mike Wells

Hello all!~ Summer is over, kids are back in school, and I am getting back into a routine! I miss my routine!! I have not finished up with The Hunters yet (editing away!!!) but I will keep you posted. Something I want to start doing occasionally is looking at other author's work and analyzing it to help improve my writing (and hopefully yours as well!)

Today, we are going to take a look at a book I got on Amazon for free! It is Entitled Lust, Money & Murder by Mike Wells Book 1, Lust.

Now that right there is a mouthful, isn't it!!! I did a reader review for this  on my friend Linda's blog Books4Linda, and if you are not familiar with this book, then you might want to read the review there before you continue reading this post.

So, first thing I noticed when I picked out this book to do a review for my friend Linda, was that it was self-published. I was a little leery, but then I saw that the author is a creative writing professor at Oxford University. I had high hopes. But I only gave it a three out of five rating at the end.

His writing was sound, his imagery was nice, the tale was even believable. All great and important things to a story and worth mentioning. As a teacher, he has something that he can show is technically sound. Makes it worth reading for an author too! We indie- and self-pubbers can learn a lot from that, if we pay attention. I'm not gonna talk about all the things that made this a quality book, book though. What I want to talk about is why I thought it wasn't.

First thing, there is this movement out there to do serialized e-books and sell them at 99 cents to make some money. I have listened to arguments on both sides of the fence for a while and the biggest issue, or concern with this idea, that I have is that I know that I am not a short story/ serialized fiction writer. I am long-winded and I want to have 60,000 to 80,000 words to tell my story. But I know that serialized fiction was quite popular back in the day. Some folks used to buy the newspaper just for the serialized stories. I figured, if an author wants to do something like that, then let them. More power to them.

Then I took a step back and thought about it from a consumer's perspective. When you have new authors putting their work out there for 99 cents to get a following, there has become this expectation of gettting a full book from an unknown author for 99 cents. Then to get what is not a full book for that price? Hmmm... I see the potential for serious confusion in the industry.

Which leads me to the frustration I had with this story. This is sold as book one. I did not get a book. I got a cliff hanger. I got a longer version of a serial. I was left going WTF!!! Where as a typical book with a sequel (such as the Twilight series, The Ender series... ah hell, pretty much every series book worth it's grain of salt!) at the end of the story, the main arc point is concluded. There may be a couple of questions hanging out there; a larger, longer sense of doom to let you know that the story isn't quite over and you do want to get the next book. But at the end there is a sense of closure. You have most of the big answers. In the following books, new issues will create new plot points, etc. etc.

With this story, just as I was getting into the main plot, it ended. ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!!! I didn't like the main characters, I did not connect with them at all. Yet because I got NO RESOLUTION there is a part of me that wants to get the next book, just so I can see what all I was set up for. That is just cruel. It is kind of like getting a girl all worked up and then leaving her hanging so you can watch a game. (Especially since my husband pointed out to me that I was complaining yesterday about not really liking the story, so it would be stupid to go and buy the rest of the books. He is completely right. But I have this OCD need to finish things... grrr.....)

Which brings me to my next issue. And really this is not an issue with Mr. Wells. It is sort of an issue I have with society... and literature which insists on continuing this perpetuation... anyway... I give Mr. Wells mad props on writing a book almost exclusively from the female perspective. But you know what I despise about the female perspective in most adult literature? We are so damn cookie cutter about it. I cannot think of one adult female in literature that I can relate to, or that I like (Well, except for Riatha in Eye of the Hunter, but she was an adult Elf who lived in a time before time, so I don't think that technically counts.)

Can we please have a female character who does not have to talk about/ admire/ lament clothing, jewelry, nails, pink fluffy kitty shit. As strange as this may seem, not all women care about this crap. I am one of them. As a matter of fact, I have been so inundated by the expectation that I should/ do that when I see pink I immediately want to puke.(Can I just say, Breast Cancer Awareness?)

And on the few occasions where I have found a female character I can relate to, she ends up being gay. Given how much I dig dudes... the "being able to relate" thing ends right there.

I am not going on some feminist kick (their the ones who said "why can't she be badass and like pink!) I am simply saying that it would be nice to have a kick ass heroine chick who does not need to conform to checking labels, putting on make up,  being a "modern woman". (I realize this is really contradictory and now my head feels like it is going to explode. Ugghhh...)

I am a tough, kick ass kind of girl. You get an attitude with me and I am in your face. When the zombie apocalypse happens, my neighbors should be concerned because if I didn't like you before, I have no intentions of saving your sorry butt after! I don't wear make up (except when society makes me feel obligated), but I still look good. Unless it is something super important, my hair is lucky to get ten minutes of my time. I wear pithy shirts like "I'd rather be a ninja". I have never bought anything from the Banana Republic and wouldn't even know what the store was, if it hadn't been between Spencer's and Hot Topic when I was in my teens. Despite my theater director's assertions, I am not a lesbian. I am also not alone. I know lots of women who are, in their own unique way, not a part of the cookie cutter mold women are shoved into in books.

Fortunately if you like kick ass girls like me, I have three books coming out over the next year or two that feature such awesome ladies. If you know any books like these, please refer them to me because I would really like to read such books.

Really, those two things were the only problems I had with the book. Unfortunately, they were huge issues. If a person doesn't like your character (or at least like to hate them) then why would they waste their time reading them? If you set me up for a hot story, then leave me hanging at the climax  you won't be the guy I call next time I want a book.
*wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more!*

I give Mr. Wells credit, he tried something wild and potentially revolutionary. I am not faulting him for it. And based on his "best-selling author" status, maybe he is right. But I know that I have gotten so caught up in listening to the experts about how to be a good writer, that I forgot the most important experts. The readers.

They are the reasons that books like Hunger Games (which had SPELLING ERRORS, never mind the grammar nightmares) and I am Number 9 (which was written more simplistically than my genius 10 year old could have managed... which is weird, since the main character was supposed to be a 16 year old genius who wasn't even human!) became raving successes, despite some issues that most authors would thumb our noses at. But they had issues and characters that the masses cared about.

I'll be honest, 

Alright, those are all issues for another time.

Until next time,

Keep Writing!

P.S. If you do want to buy Lust, Money & Murder by Mike Wells (the full three-in-one e-book.) I have a link on the right to the full copy on Kindle. Can you let me know how it ends... that darn OCD!!!