Saturday, December 3, 2016

Sever, Writer's Digest and new short stories

Sever did not win the 24th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards, but it did get a very kind review from the judges. Writer's Digest allows you to publish their commentary, as long as you cite “Judge, 24th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards” and don't cherrypick it to make it sound better than it is. I figured I'd just publish the whole darn thing.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5
Production Quality and Cover Design: 5
Plot and Story Appeal: 4
Character Appeal and Development: 4
Voice and Writing Style: 5

Aimed at a young adult or even teen audience, Sever pulls in the shadows around the characters quickly, suggesting that life can all go terribly wrong even before one gets out of college.

Narrator Leo Thomas tells us that in the town of Epshire where “Sophie” is going to graduate, four axe murderers (two of them serial killers) have nestled in. I wish the author had been a little more specific when introducing his characters. Nonetheless, I appreciated the growing parallel I felt the author suggested: to wit, that once college ends, it cuts off everything, just like death does. As this horror thriller progresses, I felt awful for Leo when he saw the mutilated female. I liked the way Leo goes about investigating and I liked his relationship with Becky. I became convinced, while I read the book, that Epshire was the center of all evil in the universe. The author did a good job convincing me.

I liked the front cover art. The back blurb is well worded. The author does not give away “Sever,” which is as it should be. I liked his voice, both telling the tale in that random college guy way, narrating all the dumb things college students do, and in hindsight, sounding spooked, looking into lakes and imagining monsters. The story was well told, though a bit choppy at the beginning.

I am a little disturbed that Sever is so consistently identified as YA. But I love, love, love the identification of the parallels between the end of college and the end of life. And the idea you have to kill the person you were to live in the waiting world.

Sever has won a different award which'll be announced sometime next month. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I have been writing short stories about the various killers that inhabit Epshire. I always send my short stories free to my email list, so if you want the next one, sign up in the sidebar of this blog.

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