My Writing Favorites|| Beautiful People April 2018

My Writing Favorites

Hello everyone, today we are discussing my writing favorites with a writing meme hosted by by Cait @paper fury and Sky @further up and further in in which writers discuss their current writing projects.

I am currently on hiatus and expect to remain on hiatus into the beginning of May for complicated life reasons and the time it takes to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, but I just had to return and participate in the final edition of this meme.

Today’s character based questions will center around Lyle, the protagonist of the project I’m currently revising for Camp NaNoWriMo.

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Favourite genre to write in?

Looking at what I’ve written in the past, I’m going to have to say science fiction. It’s what I write the most even if I write a lot of fantasy too.

What book (a real actual published book!) do you think your character would benefit from reading?

As much as I love fiction, I’d probably have to go with some sort of self-help book because Lyle’s life is messed up. Unfortunately, I don’t read a lot of self-help books. Maybe a guide on how to be human, LOL.

Favourite piece of dialogue you’ve written?

Most of my dialogue doesn’t work out of context . . . I’ve been looking for half an hour and haven’t found anything I’m willing to share, so here is one of my favorite first lines instead:

The only person here tonight who does not want to kill me is my mother.”

What did your character want to be when they grew up, and what did they actually become?

My character is still a teenager . . . sort of, it’s complicated, so he hasn’t grown up yet. I want to leave this open for a potential sequel.

Favourite character name(s)?

I’m actually really bad at naming characters so, um, Lyle. Let’s go with that.

What makes your character feel loved, and who was the last person to make them feel that way?

I misread this question as “what makes you feel loved” which made this seem like a very awkward question for this sort of Q and A. . . .

Anyway, this depends on whether the question is referring to before or after the book. I suppose Lyle’s friends make him feel loved?

Favourite character you’ve ever written?

This would probably have to be the protagonist of one of my middle grade projects. She is a fairy princess who wants to be something– anything– other than a fairy princess, and I just had so much fun writing her even though I generally dislike the rebellious princess trope.

If your character were permanently leaving town, what would they easily throw out? What would they refuse to part with? (Why?)

Well, Lyle actually does “leave town” so to speak early in my draft. He does so at the spur of the moment with very few belongings except for one that helps him speak. Lyle likes being able to speak.

Favourite tropes to write!

In my fantasy, I love writing stories that feature quests with lots of travel . . . maybe a little too much because I don’t travel often. In my sci-fi, I love exploring moral dilemmas that arise from concepts like time travel and other theoretical technology.

Overall, I’m not sure if this is a trope or not, but I love writing from unusual point of views. I mean this less in terms of the character I’ve chosen as my narrator being an odd choice, though there is some of that, and more in terms of the way in which they tell the story being somewhat experimental.

For example, when I wrote from the point of view of a character who could read minds, she would frequently make comments that, from any other character, would resemble what is known as “head-hopping” in which a character knows more than they should about what other characters are thinking.

Which story has your heart and won’t let go?

I really want to write something set underwater, but have never gotten around to it. At the moment, it’s next on my “to-write” list.

Favourite relationship between characters you’ve written?

This is a hard one. If this can apply to non-romantic relationships, then the complicated bond between two siblings who are side characters in one of my previous manuscripts I’ve now shelved.

Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?

There are so many “holes,” but I don’t necessarily think it’s my place to “fill” most of them. As to what I think the literary world needs more of in general, but not necessarily that I will write, I think it needs more books set outside of the US and UK, more books featuring friendship and family bonds, and more books featuring characters with various disabilities.

Favourite pinterest board / aesthetic for a book?

I have a tendency to get caught up in searching for these sorts of things for hours and I don’t have time for that right now, so I think I remember Marie Lu had some nice ones?

Favourite time periods & settings to work with?

Well, I love writing about the future an in places that don’t exist. Does that count?

When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?

This depends on the book in question, but generally I would like them to come away feeling I’ve made them think about concepts they’ve never considered before. Not even feeling that their thoughts on these concepts have changed, just feeling interested in having a conversation about them.

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What is your favorite time period to write in? Anyone else participate in April’s Camp NaNoWriMo? Were any of my questions surprising? 

Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

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The Fantasy Tropes Tag

The Fantasy Tropes Tag

Today we explore books though fantasy tropes in this tag. I was tagged by Kelly @another book in the wall.

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“The Lost Princess”

A book/series you lost interest in halfway through

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Maximum Ride

I enjoyed the first three books in this series, but after that I don’t even know what happened because everything got way too wild. The characterization didn’t even seem consistent any more.

I read this in a time where I used to finish everything, so I read up what was then the last book. There is now an additional sequel that I have no interest in reading because the last couple books made me upset and not in a good way.

“The Knight in Shining Armor”

A hyped book/series you were swept up by

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Arc of a Scythe (Scythe and Thunderhead)

Okay, this series isn’t that hyped, but it’s hyped enough that I feel like I can mention it. I love this series so much. This book is one of the most thought provoking YA novels I’ve read (though I think the author’s other series, The Unwind Dystology, may have this one beat). The world is just so captivating and the plot twists are so great that I just love this series.

I ultimately liked book two more than book one. For this reason, I featured the image of book two.

Read my review of book one here.

“The Wise Old Wizard”

An author who amazes you with his/her writing

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Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor’s prose is beautiful and poetic. I want to quote her whole books! But, that would be plagiarism, so I can’t do it. 😦

“The Maiden in Distress”

An undervalued character you wished had a bigger storyline

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Flower — Wings of Fire Series

Wings of Fire is a middle grade series told from dragons’ point of views. While I think this was the right choice for the series, I’d love for Flower, one of the dragon’s human “pets”, to have a spin-off novel devoted to her. Her point of view must be so interesting.

“The Magical Sword”

A magical item/ability you wish authors used less

Resurrection

Okay, so this applies more to certain authors who shall not be named than authors in general. In some stories, resurrection can be an effective plot device, but a lot of authors overuse it to the point of ridiculousness: I wonder if that character who has died twenty times will stay dead? Of course not!

“The Mindless Villain”

A phrase you cannot help but roll your eyes at

“S/he released a breath she didn’t know s/he was holding.”

I see this everywhere. I’ve had to put a few books down because it’s so ridiculous.

“The Untamed Dragon”

A magical creature you wish you had as a pet

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Chalklings– The Rithmatist

It would be awesome to have a moving chalk drawing (AKA Chalkling) as a pet. A nice Chalkling though; I don’t want to get eaten by chalk. Thank you very much. I’m not sure having one of these is possible due to the in-universe rules, but I don’t see that there is anything explicitly against it happening either.

“The Chosen One”

A book/series you will always root for

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The Stormlight Archives/ The Cosmere

I’m going to go with The Stormlight Archives or better yet The Cosmere, the massive collection of books The Stormlight Archives series is a part of, because I love them so much. Yes, I have already mentioned a book by this author in this post, but I’m mentioning his books again because why not?

Rules

  1. mention the creator: one’s peculiar.
  2. answer the questions.
  3. tag as many people as you like.
  4. Have fun.

I tag

Sumeet @Aspire to Inspire

Abbie @Boneseasonofglass

Anyone who wants to do this tag should consider themselves tagged too!

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Were any of my choices a surprise? Have you read any of these books? How would you answer these questions? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Books vs. E-Books || An In-depth Comparison

Ebook in Stars

Hello everyone, I was asked to compare print books and e-books for a class assignment. It occurred to me that while I’ve seen lots of book bloggers compare the two based on their personal preferences, I’ve never seen a post compare them based on their functionality. I thought reformatting my assignment into a blog post would be a perfect way to change this.

Extra credit if you can figure out what subject this assignment was for. 🙂

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Cover Vs. Cover

Paperback books have a spine and cover to tell readers what they’re about before opening the book. This is possible via books’ titles and illustrations. Books’ titles must summarize a book’s content in a single word or phrase. Books’ cover art must further their titles’ goal by conferring elements like a book’s tone and setting.

Spine vs. List

The books’ spines allow for stacking them side-by-side along a bookshelf while still being able to see a books’ title and a small segment of the book’s cover art. This allows many books to be displayed side-by-side at once.

E-books lack spines but their titles are often displayed side-by-side in a long list. This is similar to a bookshelf in that books are organized by titles, like at a library, and the title remains the first thing readers see.

Sometimes, books’ covers accompany their titles to provide the reader further information about a book. This display function is a better metaphor for when someone pulls print books off a shelf to examine their covers than a bookshelf.

Page Vs. Page

Both print books and e-books divide content into sections known as pages. Pages make it possible to read books without being overwhelmed by their length, while, in the case of print books, also providing yet another method of being easily stacked.

E-books don’t need to be stacked. Pages instead provide readers with an experience more similar to reading the print books they’re familiar with. E-books have limited screen space.

They can’t display the whole book at once because that would make the text too small to read. The e-books could have solved this in another manor, like scrolling on a webpage, but instead their designers chose to solve this problem through pages similar to a print book.

E-books often include arrow symbols. These symbols alert users to the need to click to the next page as opposed to the scrolling common in webpages. This might be confusing to someone who had only ever read things on the computer and never used a book.

Customization Vs. Eye Strain

Another feature e-books have added to print books is their customizability. E-books allow users to change aspects like the font, the text size, and the page color. This makes e-books more accessible to readers with accessibility issues like low vision, color-blindness, and dyslexia.

Before these readers would have had to rely upon large print and books with non-conventional page formatting, but now, they can use the same product as other users.

Audiobooks vs. Reading Aloud

E-books are also sometimes bought alongside audiobooks or have functionality that otherwise allows them to be read aloud. This allows greater functionality for both blind readers and those who enjoy multitasking or switching between formats.

Heavy Books Vs. Charging Time

E-books are great for those who would have otherwise needed to carry around large numbers of heavy books too. E-readers and e-book apps allow readers to carry around the equivalent of their entire bookshelf wherever they go.

Then again, print books do not require charging and can be less likely to cause eye strain. They also provide a print representation for avid readers to enjoy and treasure.

Conclusion

Personally, there are some situations I enjoy reading e-books, but print books have a definite appeal. Print books are beautiful, but e-books are great for a busy life where it’s a burden to have too much to carry.

As for functionality, e-books are in many ways more functional than print books. The exception comes when people do not have constant access to electricity. In these cases e-books are completely useless.

In other words, if it’s the apocalypse, print books are superior.

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Best assignment ever, am I right? Okay, so I was kidding about the extra credit I mentioned at the beginning, you still won’t guess which class this is from. Print books or e-books? 

Hope this wasn’t too technical. 😉 Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

My Bookish Identity Tag || I’m a Shadowhunter I guess?

My Bookish identityThis tag explores readers’ possible identities in popular fictional universes.

I was tagged by Kelly @Another Book in the Wall.

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What Dystopian/Fantastical World Would You Want to Live In?

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I think I’ve said this before somewhere, but I’ll say it again. I would love to live in the world of Scythe by Neal Shusterman . . . except maybe sometime before book two begins because reasons . . .

Then again, in the fictional future of Scythe there is a good chance that if I’d been born anytime with in 150 years or so of book 2 happening I’d still be alive then. It’s a conundrum.

For more of my thoughts on Scythe see my review.

Who Would Your Partner Be?

I’d never say no to being business partners with someone like Katness Everdeen. Then she could get me out of trouble and save my life if it ever needs saving. Hopefully it won’t. Also, I’d be popular by association.

Who Would Be Your Godly Mother/Father [Percy Jackson]? (Quiz)

I got Athena. Not what I was expecting, but I’m okay with that.

Would You Be a Downworlder or Nephilim [Shadowhunter World]? (Quiz)

I got Shadowhunter. This is hilarious because, LOL, no.

Which Hogwarts House Would You Be In [Harry Potter]?

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Which Faction Would You Be In [Divergent]? (Quiz)

Erudite apparently. It gets a bad reputation in the series, but I’m going to take this quiz as a result going back to Erudite’s core value: seeking knowledge.

And, an excuse to read all day? Yes, please.

What Would Be Your Daemon [Northern Lights]? (Quiz)

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An Arctic hare. It would be awesome having an Arctic hare follow me everywhere. Unless I had to clean up after it. Then it would be not so awesome. . . I don’t think people in the Northern Lights series (which I know as The Golden Compass) had to do that? I just read the prequel a few weeks ago, so I should really know this.

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Want to be tagged? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll add your name to a list of people I’ve tagged in this post!

Did you take these quizzes? What were your results? Any surprises? 

Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

My Top 5 Most Anticipated Books of 2018

emotions-2975395_1920There are some really great books coming out this year, and I can’t wait to read them.

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Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2)

Release Date

January 9, 2018

Thoughts

Already read this one and loved it. Shusterman is one of my favorite authors, so of course I wasn’t missing this book. Will say more soon in my wrap-up posts or a full review.

Check out my review of Scythe here.

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Iron Gold

Release Date

January 16, 2018

Thoughts

I’ve already got a copy and can’t wait for a chance to read it. I’m a bit weary of there being so many first person point of views in one book, but I enjoyed Red Rising, the prequel series, enough to give it a try.

See my reviews of books one, two, and three of the prequel trilogy.

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Defy the Worlds (Constellations #2)

Release Date

April 3, 2018

Thoughts

Just finished my reread of book one. It was still great the second time. I need to know what these characters do next!

Hate the cover change. But, as long as the book is good, I don’t care too much.

Check out my review of Defy the Stars here.

Skyward

Release Date

November 6, 2018

Thoughts

You thought you would get through this list without me mentioning one of Brandon Sanderson’s books? *laughs* Not happening.

I typically like Sanderson’s adult fantasy more than his YA, but I’ll still read anything he writes.

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The Cruel Prince

Release Date

January 2, 2018

Thoughts

I’d never even heard of this book until after its release, but the number of positive reviews it’s received intrigues me.

 

 

Keeper || An Advanced Review

Keeper (2)

34871966Title: Keeper

Author: Kim Chance

Publication date: August 30, 2018

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

*Disclaimer: I was provided a free, advanced copy of this book from Netgalley and Flux Books/North Star Editions in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own.*

Synopsis: Lainey wants more than anything to get a high score on the SAT and go to a good college. Unfortunately for her, a 300-year-old witch has other plans.

When Lainey discovers her life is more tied to the supernatural world than she ever imagined, it seems those college applications might have to wait.

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Review: This book may well mark the beginning of a return for urban fantasy/paranormal romance. It’s been so long since I’ve read an urban fantasy from a debut author, but this book has the feel of a YA fantasy from the height of the paranormal romance craze.

I know several people who’ve been longing for this comeback, especially for witches. If you’re one of these people, this may well be the book for you.

That said, it drew a little too much inspiration from the books written during the paranormal romance craze for my tastes. There were a lot of tropes used in familiar ways, and it reminded me of a lot of books I’ve read in the past.

A great deal of the aforementioned tropes used are not favorites of mine either. For example, I’m not a fan of novels where a character discovers they’re special because of something an ancestor did centuries ago.

Yet, despite this, there were some elements of the book I enjoyed. It seemed atmospheric with a good sense of place, and I enjoyed that Lainey was worried about things most teenagers worry about, like the SATs.

I think this would have made the book a lot more relatable when I was a teenager. I would have loved this book around seven years ago.

As it was, I had difficulty motivating myself to keep reading. I suspect this was due to the story’s familiarity and the fact that I didn’t connect with Lainey as well as I would like.

Rating: People who who’ve been longing for YA paranormal romance and those who are looking for a gateway book to the genre may well love this book. However, it was not memorable or engaging enough for me to give it a high rating.

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What’s your opinion of paranormal romance? What’s the best urban fantasy you’ve ever read? Are you planning to read Keeper? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Critiquing My Old Writing || Part 1

CritiquingI’m hesitant to share this now because it’s the first fiction I’ve shared on this blog. I don’t want people thinking I’m still this bad at writing. But, I love reading posts like this, so I’m doing it anyway.

In this post, I’m sharing the first chapter of the first book length thing I ever finished, written when I was 15 years old. Needless to say, please do not believe the quality of the chapter below in any way reflects my writing today.

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Some context

This draft was around 65,000 words. I never titled it, but often referred to it as Martian Murder Mystery. This temporary title is a good description of the plot: a murder mystery set on Mars. Not that this is apparent from this prologue. Oh, and there was also time travel. Lots of time travel.

The most embarrassing part is that the draft below is the revised edition. Back then, I though the only editing writers needed to do was fix all their grammatical errors.

I do have some plans to reuse my favorite aspects of this novel in future drafts (e.g. the plot and some world building elements), but have abandoned the idea of publication for this specific project, which is why I’ve posted this prologue.

The Prologue to My First Novel Length Draft Ever

Before this prologue there is a horrible poem. This poem is excluded for the purposes of this post.

Prologue: First Contact

Mars was once a rocky planet, devoid of all life. Before that changed 75 seventy-five years ago, no one on Earth would have thought anyone would ever call it home. When I came upon the planet for the first time, I’d expected a relaxing vacation away from the pressures of life on Earth. What I got instead was something I’d never expected, something that would change my life. It all started one Martian summer day as I was giving a speech.

Ugh, why is this started with summary? Start in scene! There is no need to explain what could be explained through action, especially not at the beginning of the story when I am trying to give readers a reason to continue.

Also, dependent clauses need a comma after them if they come at the beginning of a sentence. 

Despite all of my previous speeches, the sheer number of which would have left the average person in the state of shock, this was the first I’d seen of a stage. Also a first, were the unnerving stares of the live audience. All these factors made the words of my speech more difficult, as though the very air was poisoned. However, the most unnerving thing of all was not any of these facts, but instead the expressions of the audience. Before now, I’d always wondered what viewers thought of my speeches, I’d even seen the stats, but nothing could compare to this. Never before could I so clearly see the boredom, accusations, and jealousy portrayed in the faces of many in my audience. I swallowed hard, but made sure that my disposition continued to appear confident and energetic. Showing any sign of nervousness or hesitation to an audience is to tell them that you’re not worth listening to. Despite all these things, I started this speech as I had many others.:

This paragraph is way too long, especially when surrounded by other paragraphs that are also way too long. Paragraph length should vary.

Another low-level concern is that there is way too much abstract language over language that engages the senses. I should, for example, show how Chess is making herself appear confident and energetic instead of saying she appears that way. The audience, too, should be described.

That’s another thing, Chess, our narrator, probably should have had her name stated by now with a description of herself.

“I was only five the day the world moved backwards. I may have been young, but I can still recall the way everything, every broadcast, and every person seemed to freeze a moment. The invention of the first practical method of time travel should have been a joyous occasion, or so one might think. Instead, the possible implications seemed to suddenly dawn on people. If someone commits a crime, why not go back and prevent that person from existing all together? If someone is about to be murdered, injured, or raped, why not go back in time and prevent it from occurring? Why not even go back and prevent some of the bloodiest wars in history?

So much info-dumping and way too many rhetorical questions. The speech should also be interrupted by action.

“Before the year was out, we had a war on our hands. On one side, we had everyone who believed time should be unaltered and on the other, was everyone who believed that, no matter what the cost to ourselves, we should do whatever we can to assist our ancestors and make time as perfect as possible. The two groups were called the preservationists and the perfectionists. As time machines grew more and more readily available to members of both parties, it became all too apparent that battle tactics needed to be completely revised.

The audience would likely already know most of this, so there would be no reason for Chess to say most of it in her speech. They would also mostly be asleep by now. 

“The inclusion of time travel opened the door to a literal whole other dimension of warfare. No longer could wars be won by fighting in simple battles. The members of each side would continually go back and warn their former selves and both sides would be locked in an endless stalemate. Like a song playing on an endless loop that none of them even realized was repeating. As a result, no one can say exactly how long this war (known today as the 4-D War) actually lasted, but everyone can agree on the event that ended it.

*face palms* so much info-dumping. Even my head is spinning with all this information. I could also probably even make all this info-dumping much easier to understand if I were to just rewrite it at my current skill level.

“It was 199 years ago on this day when that war ended all because one man, my father Robert Tempest, proposed a compromise. This compromise became known as the Retribution Act. It stated that true time travel, which was never properly reproduced after the Zephan Aaron disaster in any case, was outlawed entirely, and the more practical, less dangerous form of time travel known as dream travel would only be used in murder cases to force the person who committed the murder in the first place to experience exactly what their victim had experienced. People who die while dream traveling never come back…” I trailed off as I noticed something, or rather, someone behind the curtain of the stage move. I tried to pass this off as dramatic effect about my previous comment to allow the full meaning to sink in. What I’d seen had been a girl about my age, maybe a little older (or way younger depending on prospective) she had been wearing a “retribution is a crime in and of itself” t-shirt. I hated protesters, but wasn’t about to let them ruin my speech.  Something had felt off about this protester though, as though I knew her from someplace, but at the same time I was entirely positive that I had never seen her face before in my life.

Okay, here is the first interesting thing that happens in this chapter. Chess should have noticed this person sooner and had her unease intermingle with all the info-dumping.

Chess should also be sharing many more of her thoughts on the matter and how she is remaining calm in front of her audience despite this protester’s sudden appearance. That would have made it all much more interesting.

There should have been a new paragraph after the end of the speech.

Also, Martians from the distant future wear t-shirts? Who knew.

“On a happier note, many people often ask me how it is possible for me to be so young, not even sixteen and yet have been seven 199 years ago. The answer, I’m afraid, is not nearly as creative as some of the rumors I’ve heard drifting around. As is understandable, not everyone was happy with my father’s compromise, and so, small rebellions continued. It is not that difficult for someone to make the mental leap and come to realize that my father was at the top of the rebel’s hit lists, meaning that the rest of his family was not all that far behind. In an effort to protect me, I was cryogenically frozen and, as a result, became the first person to awaken from a long term cryogenic sleep lasting longer than twenty years. ”

All this information and Chess’s name hasn’t even been mentioned once?!

Besides, it was not by my choice, I wanted to add, but I didn’t because I knew the comment would be everywhere, and therefore was not worth the potential trouble it would cause: even if it was the truth.

Chess’s emotions should be portrayed in a less telly way.

“This in no way violates the laws of Retribution which only mention time travel, not cryogenics.” I wanted to wrap my speech up quickly now to figure out what the deal was with that protester, but now, as I glance at the area where she had been only seconds before, she is already gone.

Chess really should have been a lot more concerned about this protester.

“I must say that Mars is the perfect change in scenery I needed in order to celebrate this historic event in a whole new way. Even here on this planet, it is important to remember that history still links our two worlds. This is my first experience of interplanetary travel, and I must say that the trip is completely worth it. Thank you all for your time everyone! Wishing you all a happy Retribution Treaty Remembrance Day this is Aubriana Tempest.” After my speech had ended I looked around for someone who had seen the strange protester girl, but no one had noticed her: no one except me.

The most cliche end to a speech ever. There was no need for the entire speech to appear here. I could have included only the lines that were important.

I should mention that Chess is the nickname the main character goes by throughout most of the novel. Aubriana is her legal name. This in and of itself is rather gag worthy.

The last line in this paragraph is probably the most exciting thing that happens so far: that no one notices the protester and the protester doesn’t directly disrupt the speech.

Overall Thoughts

  • Most of the speech should be cut with only relevant lines shared with the reader. Those lines absolutely necessary to understanding events should be shared, the rest should be excluded.
  • Chess needs to interact with more of the characters, even if those characters don’t have speaking roles. She’s in an auditorium full of people. There should be plenty of characters around for her to interact with.
  • Chess needs to be more concerned about this protester and do more to prevent the protester from ruining her speech.
  • I need to do more to show readers why they should care about Chess. I suspect the scene starts a little too late. More about Chess can be established if I show who she speaks to before her important speech and her reaction to the need for the speech to be given.
  • Paragraphs need to be shorter and more varied. This is in part due to ungrammatical lack of spacing after quotation marks.
  • There needs to be more description using language that evokes the senses.
  • There is no reason for this to be a prologue. There is no time jump and Chess narrates the whole novel. This should be chapter one.

This is only a small percentage of what is wrong with this chapter, but there isn’t enough room in this post for me to cover everything.

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Anyone want to see chapter one or for me to critique another of my old works? Anyone else have some embarrassing old writing shoved in a drawer somewhere? Do you agree with my critique of this chapter?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!