(grim painting by Egon Schiele)
The other day I wrote about staying focused in on your story as you write or risk hitting a dead end. It's important to know what your story is trying to do before you write it. Otherwise it's very easy to end up with a rambling bit of mess that isn't fit even for self-publishing. (Sorry, couldn't resist). I just finished reading a pretty good book that sort illustrates my point in a way. I thought it was a good time to share my review.
The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
One important aspect to writing a good book is knowing your story's limitations. If a writer lets the subject get away from them in hopes of writing a more epic book, one that the story can't hold, then the results are typically less than rewarding. Polly Shulman is careful not to make this critical mistake. Saying the story is limited may seem like a strange way to praise The Grimm Legacy, but the truth is that the containment of an idea that could easily have run wild is exactly what makes this a well-written book. The idea is HUGE. A young girl takes a job at a library that lends out magical objects that were featured in many of the Grimm Fairy Tales. It's an incredibly intriguing concept that could easily get out of control, but the story sticks to a well structured mystery story surrounding what happens when some of the objects start to go missing. With an effective mild blend of magic and excellent group dynamic between the characters, the story succeeds in being not only a fun mystery but also a decent, if not too in depth, story about adolescence. However, I'd been hoping for more elements of a Grimm Fairy tale in the narrative structure and mood. But that's my own issue. A really solid book for Middle School kids or anyone who has ever worked in a library archive, such as myself.