Monday, February 27, 2023

Week 9 – The Martian by Andy Weir

Welcome to 2023!  On Mondays this year, let’s discuss and have fun with books. No I’m not writing book reviews. But this website is for writers, and writers like books right? So let’s have FUN with books!

Week 9 – The Martian by Andy Weir

Mark Watney is a botanist accompanying the crew of NASA’s Ares 3 to Mars for a one-month scientific mission. On Sol 6 (Martian day 6), a severe wind storm blows Watney out of sight and threatens to blow over the landing craft, which would strand the crew on Mars. The remaining crew leave Watney behind, believing him dead, before they can be stranded. But Watney survived and must learn how to stay alive while NASA figures out how to get him back to Earth. 

Watney is stranded on Mars on November 12, 2035, and rescued 549 Sols later, on May 29, 2037. A Martian sol is about 40 minutes longer than an Earth day, so this equals approximately 564 Earth days.


As a general rule, a PG-13 movie can include ONE use of the f-bomb, as an expletive and not as a verb. More than one f-bomb rates the movie as R.  The Martian is one of the few PG-13 movies which has two f-bombs.

Is The Martian realistic? Moreso than other films about Mars, but here are a few things that are questionable or even downright wrong [when NASA reviewed the movie script, the only thing they noted was the wind storm at the beginning of the movie would never have been that strong].

I really like this review of the movie

Here’s NASA’s take on the movie

The Martian was a box office hit, grossing more than $630 million worldwide. For a story that began as a self-published novel, that's extraordinarily rare.

I’ve mentioned my experience reading the book before. I first tried as an e-book from my library, but couldn’t get into it because of the lengthy scientific descriptions. I checked out the hardcover, and still couldn’t get into it. But then I tried the audio during my commute to work. I read the entire book and loved it.  In fact, there was one place where I ended up laughing so hard I had to pull my car over on the side of the freeway because I was cry-laughing and couldn’t see through the tears.

I enjoyed the movie also, but listening to the audio book was the best. What about you?


Friday, February 24, 2023

Query Friday- Comp Titles

I don't know if I have posted about comp titles before, and I know I should...But It'S Haaaaaard. GIF - Scott Pilgrim Vs The World Michael Cera But Its  Hard - Discover & Share GIFs 

Comp titles are used to tell agents, editors, and booksellers where your book may fit in the market or on the shelf. While not all agents ask for them, many do, and you want to supply good ones.

But good comp titles are hard to find, and not just because you've written the most special/unique/magical thing ever. They're hard because there is a set of rules around them that makes finding strong comp titles challenging.

1) You want your comp titles to be relatively recent. Usually published in the last two years.

2) You want them to be well known but not too well known. Have strong sales but not be an outlier. In other words, don't comp Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Fifty Shades of Grey or anything else that has become a household name. Also, things that are a little less common show that you read in your genre/age group. Bonus points.

3) Don't neg your comps. It's XXXXXX except done well will not win anyone over.

4) Sometimes just comping a book doesn't provide insight, so you want to tag the specific elements that are comparable. You want your comp titles to offer a comparison to your book and to each other. So you wouldn't comp Fifty Shades of Grey to Fifty Shades Darker. But you can use comps to call out specifics like the friendships and magic of Harry Potter set against a death match battle ala The Hunger Games. Or, for fans of the historical setting of XXXXX, and the romance of ZZZZZ.

Note here: Comps don't always have to be books. Sometimes film or television make great comps, but it is usually preferred when at least one is a book. Even better if it is a book you've actually read.

 Where Are They? - Flaker GIF - The Dark Knight Christopher Nolan Bruce  Wayne - Discover & Share GIFs

Finding great comps can be hard even if you are well read in your genre, so when in doubt

- Ask your beta readers/critique partners for comp ideas

-Use Amazon