Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Today, I wanted to write about some fun writing projects to take on around Christmas. Sometimes I get so caught up in my stories, that I never pause to put my writing skills to use for other people or do side projects. However, last year I was introduced to a whole new world of writing around Christmas. It was just so much fun, so I've made up a list of some of the best ways to put your writing skills to use in the festive season for your listening...er reading enjoyment.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
I've mentioned it earlier that I've been reading You First Novel by Ann Rittenberg and Laura Whitcomb. I've been sifting through the pages looking for tidbits of information on and off for weeks now. Speaking of which, I need to go renew it (I've probably racked up an unreasonable amount of fines at our local library from it).
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
4. Reading new books that look bad but turn out to be great
64. The library
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Since I have plunged into the crazy world of NaNoWriMo, and I know a ton of others out there have to I decided to share a few links that might help you out with starting off a new story.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Co-authorship, good idea or bad? This a question that I've been thinking about for a little bit now, and I have formed an opinion (of course). This is pretty much just my thoughts on it, and I'm almost positive that at least some one who reads this will disagree with me. If that's you, then please feel free to comment with your ideas. So here's what I think.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Since I am quite busy, and not to mention a tad bit lazy, I thought that today instead of a normal Word Wednesday I'd share with you the essay I've been working on for English. It does talk about a few of the things I normally post about, but I thought you guys might enjoy it anyhow.
Making it to The Top Shelf
The other day my sister bought a new bookshelf. Being the big readers we are, our shelves were overflowing dog-eared copies of our beloved novels, so it was time to get a bigger shelf. We headed off to Ikea, came back toting a beautiful wooden shelf, and a couple hundred dollars poorer. After helping her assemble the “easy” DIY bookshelf, I took her ratty old shelf off her hands. With a good cleaning and a lick of paint, the shelf was as good as new. Eager, I unloaded the boxes that had been sitting stagnantly in my room since we moved. I was overwhelmed by emotions as I pulled out the cheap paperbacks that I had begged my mother to get me from the book order back in grade school. I had loved those books like they were part of my family. Needless to say, the shelves quickly filled up, but I saved the glorious top shelf for my favourites. After proudly displaying books like Harry Potter, Little Women, and the numerous Nancy Drew mysteries, I surveyed my selections wondering why I loved these books so.
Picture your favourite novel. Do you see it? Maybe it’s a worn leather covered classic. Maybe it’s a shiny new book you picked up from the nearest Chapters with the “new book” smell still lingering among the pages. Now, think about why you like it. Why do we find ourselves drawn to these top shelf books like Winnie the Pooh to honey? Well, I am convinced that good novels, the top shelvers, have three elements that have to be well: characters, plot, and writing.
Characters in a novel need to be well crafted and developed if an author wants to write a novel worthy of reading. Characters have to demand attention and emotions from the reader. A good character will reach through the pages and latch onto the readers’ hearts and make them care about where their fictional life ends up. They will also be relatable and entertaining. People read to escape the realities of this world and want to live vicariously through bold and fun characters. Take the popular (and not to mention wildly successful) Harry Potter series, those books are full of strong characters. You have Harry, the main character, who immediately draws on the reader’s emotions by being oppressed and parentless, and then you have the lovable Weasley twins that give us much needed comic relief. Readers invest in these characters and by book seven can’t wait to find out what happens to the magical crew. Top-shelf characters become our friends or enemies; either way they force us to turn the pages of their story and make us love them and dread the end of their tale.
Characters are nothing without plot, another aspect that must be there in order for a book to make it to the top shelf. Recently, I read a novel that had excellent characters, but the plot was non-existent. It had potential to be a favourite but because nothing actually happened it was a major flop. A great novel must have an inciting incident that grabs the reader’s attention and interesting rising action that leads to an amazing climax that no would see coming. For example, the classic Brontë novel, Jane Eyre, has a brilliant climax; the reader finds out that the love interest is hiding a deranged wife in the closet. Nobody would expect that! These types of plot twists are what we remember and what we love about our top-shelvers. Overall, a good novel needs a plot that can keep a reader involved. The actual mechanics of the written word and diction are often elements of top-shelf books that are overlooked, but contribute a great deal to a reader’s liking of a book.
EDIT: Haha, what a fail! I actually forgot to put the last paragraph in. So here it is:
We all have those favourite novels that we proudly display on our top-shelves, and we all love them for different reasons, but the staples of a good book (whether we realize it or not) are characters that tickle funny bones or make a home in a reader’s heart, plots that have readers sitting on the edge of their seats, and impeccable writing. So, once again I find myself where I started, admiring my bookshelf. Before I know it, the voices of Nancy Drew and Jo March are echoing in my ears, making me marvel at the quality of these top-shelf natives. I still wonder how these authors manage it, and then I realize that it is only when these three elements gel together with a perfect consistency that a wonderful novel is penned. And that, my friend, is easier said than done.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Act of Pardon, Act of Grace – A letter from a state or power authorising action by a privateer. Also see Letter of Marque
Absentee pennant – Special pennant flown to indicate absence of commanding officer, admiral, his chief of staff, or officer whose flag is flying
Aground – Resting on or touching the ground or bottom (usually involuntarily).
Avast – Stop, cease or desist from whatever is being done
1. To make fast a line around a fitting, usually a cleat or belaying pin.
2. To secure a climbing person in a similar manner.
3. An order to halt a current activity or countermand an order prior to execution
Bilge– The compartment at the bottom of the hull of a ship or boat where water collects and must be pumped out of the vessel.
Bonnet – A strip of canvas secured to the foot of the course (square sail) to increase sail area in light airs.
Bulkhead – An upright wall within the hull of a ship. Particularly a watertight, load-bearing wall.
Cut and run — When wanting to make a quick escape, a ship might cut lashings to sails or cables for anchors, causing damage to the rigging, or losing an anchor, but shortening the time needed to make ready by bypassing the proper procedures.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Recently, I've lost my spark. I think about my story and don't feel that familiar urge to drop everything and write. I don't get excited. In a way, I feel like I've lost a dear friend. Call me melodramatic, but when something that has been dancing around the murky recesses of my mind for so long, always present and growing, slowly gets buried...it hurts. It hurts like when you see a friend travel blindly down a road that leads to destruction, with each step growing farther and farther apart until all you can see is their faded silhouette.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
This is something that has be bothering me over the past few weeks, and I was finally pushed off the edge by reading Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink. Now what could be the cause of my annoyance? Something that I like to call:
Sounds good, right? It did to me, then I started reading it. It is quite boring, as for the first half of the book the gate sister is finding out all the info I just shared with you up there. The plot consists of Lia, the gate sister, going to town learning something, going home, having some "Now-we're-enemies-I'm-going-to-try-to-intimidate-you-first" conversation with her guardian sister, then she talks with two of her friends who share the same mysterious mark, wash rinse repeat. Basically, the whole book is the reader learning about the prophecy, and Lia figuring out who the keys are. Not to mention that as soon as the plot begins to pick up, the book is done. This book has a case of Good Premise, Bad Plot.
Don't stretch out your story longer then it needs to go. Sometimes less is more. If you are going to write a trilogy/series, then make sure that each book has a separate goal (eg. Harry Potter, each book has a different "mission", but he doesn't have the final showdown with the antagonist until the final book). The book I'm reading is the first in the trilogy, and, according to a friend of mine, it is a set up book for the rest of the series. Now, this isn't necessarily wrong, but it's important to remember that if the first book is boring, then the reader probably won't even want to read the book that you've set up for.
Don't overload the reader with information. It's great if you know the history of the protagonists family or the history of the world they're in, in fact I recommend it, but you should only tell the reader if it's important to the story. When I first started writing I struggled with explaining the layout of the world my characters were in to the reader, but when it really came down to wire, it didn't matter if the reader knew that almost everyone one in Melodea was a goat farmer. It's good for the writer to know in order to write with greater understanding of the world/character, but somethings are better left unsaid.
The knight searching for the princess.
He brings along his fellow knight friend to help him.
They battle many fearsome monsters, and eventually reach the princess.
The knight searching for the princess.
He brings along his fellow knight friend to help him.
His knight friend really turns out to be working for the evil guy who's imprisoning the princess.
The knight and the friend have a falling out, so the knight decides to leave his friend behind.
The knight stays at a tavern where he meets a servant girl and falls madly in love.
The servant girl turns out to be a slave, so the knight has to buy her freedom.
The knight doesn't forget his original mission so brings the servant along with him to rescue the princess.
The servant girl finds out his true mission, and leaves him, but eventually comes back.
They rescue the princess, and the knight must choose between the two girls.
Now, that plot is really quite cliche, but for the purpose of this, it'll do. Do you see the subplots I put in the good example? In case you're reading this at an unreasonable hour of the morning (like I tend to find myself doing sometimes) I'll list them.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
Today I got awarded with the Liebster Blog Award. I've seen it popping up here and there on some blogs that I follow, and I never really thought about it that much (ok that's a bit of a lie, I might have been the tinsy bit envious). Anyways, I never really thought about what "Liebster" meant, so when I was awarded by Megan Rae Lollman (Thanks so much!) I hopped over to my favourite search engine, Google, to check it out. It turns out that "Liebster" is German for "favourite". So, there's a bit of useless knowledge for all you non-Germans out there!
- Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who bestowed the award on you
- Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog
- Copy and paste the award on your blog
- Have faith that your followers will spread the love
- Have bloggity-blog fun!
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
This week, I'm simply to busy (and not to mention lazy) to write up an actual post, so I decided to share this picture that I just love. I'm not really sure why I like it, and I'm pretty sure some people might think it's creepy, but hey. Enjoy:)
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
This week I'm super excited (and not to mention busy), because my church is doing VBS (Vacation Bible School). We've been in the Big Apple, and having a great time, with the occasional spill, and screaming child. During these last two weeks -last week was prep week- all of us leaders, and helpers have been living and breathing VBS. In fact, I'm listening to a song that I've got to learn for Worship tomorrow as I'm writing this. During this week, so far, I've listened to a lot of conversations. Some forced ones between parents, some hardly intelligible ones between kids, some frantic ones with leaders, some that weren't even in English, and some I've participated in myself (I don't spend ALL my time eavesdropping). All that being said, I've been inspired to write this week's post on listening to people.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
Monday, August 1, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
“He wants to take you hostage,” Stephan said hopelessly.