Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Analyzing Ever, by Gail Carson Levine


Ever is a young adult fantasy, love story and quest. I liked it even better than Levine's more famous Ella Enchanted.

Elana Johnson posted a link to a great writing resource, Seven Points of Story Structure (Dan Wells), and showed how you can write a seven-sentence synopsis using this technique. So I thought I'd give a stab at it for Ever, just for fun.

1. Hook - A young god, Olus, falls in love with a mortal girl, Kezi.

2. Plot Turn 1 - introduces the main conflict. Kezi accepts a sentence of death to prevent another family member from receiving that sentence.

3. Pinch 1 - introduces the villain/pressure to force action. Olus wants to save Kezi, but the only way to get around her honor-bound commitment is to turn her into a god, too, an immortal who can't be killed.

4. Midpoint - Olus and Kezi must each must undergo a test: her to become a heroine worthy of becoming a god; he to become a champion worthy of taking her before the gods.

5. Pinch 2 - more pressure/problems, so many that the situation appears hopeless. Both Kezi and Olus fail their respective tests

6. Plot Turn 2 - the MC has what they need to overcome the main conflict. After both reaching a point of despair, Olus and Kezi determine to keep trying even though they think they've failed. Their enduring love conquers all.

7. Resolution - sorry, you'll have to read the book to hear what happens.

Amazing! This book perfectly fit the seven point story structure. I'm going to have to try this some more (with my own three books too, of course)

A few other notes about this book:

Olus is god of the winds, and this was what make this book so much fun. He can command wind to do all sorts of things for him. He has a strong wind, a clever wind, a comforting wind, even a herding wind - and of course he can use his winds to fly. I love the scene where Olus whisks Kezi off on one of his winds, before she's aware that he's a god.

Kezi is a fun character, too. She's a dancer and a weaver, and if these don't sound like very exciting character traits, what is exciting is seeing how her talents and her passion aid her in her quest to become a heroine, and again during her final test to become immortal. She is asked what she would like to become a goddess of. There's already a goddess of dance and of weaving, so she has to think of something else that's important to humans that there isn't already a god of. She comes up with something clever and beautiful, but of course I won't say what it is.

The quest part of the book reminded me of C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, particularly the Silver Chair. It has the same effortless story-telling in a magical world, and I can never resist a quest. The only thing I didn't like was that Olus and Kezi were tested separately. I wanted more scenes with them together.

Levine's writing style is spare and lyrical. The point of view is first person and shifts between Olus and Kezi with each chapter. The first two chapters were a little hard for me to get into, but this book is definitely worth the effort it takes to get into.

This excerpt is from Kezi's last day before her final test to become a god. If she fails, she'll die.

The twelfth day we spend riding a single-masted boat down one of Akka's rivers. The banks glide by, while I clasp Olus's hand and try to hold back the minutes. I want the river to stop flowing. The sail can continue to billow, but we must not move. Olus's winds must blow time itself away and stretch this moment into eternity.
Haven't we all felt that way, about certain precious moments in time?

I never could figure out where the title, Ever, came from. If anyone else has a clue, let me know! Have you ever finished a book and scratched your head, wondering what hat the author pulled the title out of?

13 comments:

  1. Oh wow - Ever sounds like a great read!! And thank you for using these seven theories practically!!

    I'm trying to think of novels I've read where the title was just too bizarre and I can't think of any! Maybe I just need more coffee...

    Take care
    x

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  2. Love the review. And THANK YOU for avoiding spoilers. Levine is a favorite of mine. Can't believe I didn't know about this one.

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  3. Thanks for the book tip! I'll have to check them out.

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  4. Thanks for the link to Elana's post! I've always wondered where the title hush, hush came from. Any ideas?

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  5. I use the 7 point story structure for my books as well, and it is great. I highly recommend watching the videos Dan Wells did about it.

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  6. I've gotten so many good tips from Elana's posts. She's a great resource!

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  7. I love how you applied the 7 point story structure to Ever! I'll be keeping the structure in mind as I'm writing.

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  8. I've got to try this seven sentence technique too! Awesome.

    And this book sounds great! I didn't really like her Fairest, but this one sounds right up my alley.

    Thanks for sharing, Margo!

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  9. Hi there!

    Shortstorybook.net is organizing a short story writing contest.

    We do think that you too might have a marvelous story to tell, one that is your own! So if you can compose it in not more than few words, we would want to hear from you. Also, you stand a chance to get your story published on our site and win cash prize of USD 100.

    “Then what are you waiting for? …put on your thinking cap and get writing. For registration and other information check - http://bit.ly/short-story-contest-2010

    Happy writing!

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  10. I heard Gail Carson Levine speak at the SCBWI conference, and it brings a new light to her books (which I haven't read, but have admired from afar). She's a passionate speaker and I clearly need to read this, among others. Thanks for the reviews!

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  11. I'll look up the book. I haven't seen it before.

    Elana's great and so helpful.

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