Poetic Beginnings and Sad Endings (TCWT)

“What are your favorite book beginnings and/or endings?” 

Thus begins my TCWT post for September, because I couldn’t think of anything cleverer to say.  Since I still have nothing, I won’t bore you with it— right into the beginnings.

One of my favorite beginning is that of The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss.  It’s an epic fantasy that doesn’t begin with a battle between the Dark Lord and the few ruggedly handsome who dare to stand up to him.  Instead, it begins with silence.  A silence so layered that you can feel it through the pages.  It’s called poetry, my friends, and it’s beautiful.

It was night again. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.

Another excellent, poetic beginning is that of The Book Thief.  Poetic, and hypocritical— the narrator tells you the truth no one wants to remember, then talks about colors to help himself forget about that same truth.  It’s a pretty amazing character moment as well as a great hook. Continue reading “Poetic Beginnings and Sad Endings (TCWT)”

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Bending Over Backward (TCWT)

The Teens Can Write, Too! blog chain this month tackles heavy topics all the time, but this month’s is particularly difficult.  They ask:

“What are your thoughts on book-to-movie adaptions? Would you one day want your book made into a movie, or probably not?”

It’s a hard topic.  Fans are rarely happy about how any adaptation turns out, but they still buy tickets to their favorite book’s adaptation without question.  It’s difficult to tell who to side with: the literary world, or Hollywood.  However– and don’t stone me– I believe that it’s a problem created by the literary world.

I see you picking up rocks, but let me explain.  The novel has been around for centuries.  The motion picture has been around for one.  Its predecessor, the stageplay, was around long before that, but even then very few novels were put into plays.  Occasionally a narrated piece could be performed as a play, but as for novels… it wasn’t done.  Perhaps a scene here or there, but it was generally understood that a book could be enjoyed over a long period of time, with as many breaks in the middle as anyone could want.  A play, on the other hand, could only be enjoyed as long as the audience’s seats were comfortable– once someone needed a bathroom break, they lost interest in the play.  Books were for long-term enjoyment.  Plays were for a single evening.

Once the screenplay came along, however, the idea of mass entertainment was revolutionized.  Books already reached enormous audiences, and motion pictures were beginning to do the same– how about take popular books and make them motion pictures?  Great idea, except motion pictures were bound by the same restrictions stageplays were.  Although a hefty book deserved good representation, all the cinematic excellence in the world couldn’t combat the stupidity of the man who drank half the Atlantic before coming to the theater.  Thus, truncation in the name of time constraints was begun. Continue reading “Bending Over Backward (TCWT)”

Fun with Lists (TCWT)

This month’s TCWT blog chain asks:

What kinds of published books would you like to see more of? 

I’ve seen a big push for diversity over the month so far (so much that I posted about it), but personally, that isn’t what I look for in fiction.  Sure, I’d love to see equal representation of all different styles of life, but I read books for two reasons: entertainment, or studying the craft of writing.  The main character’s ethnicity doesn’t ultimately affect her emotions, and while occasionally it comes up as a plot point, my favorite stories featuring diverse characters are the ones that don’t mention their diversity.  It isn’t that I prefer to be blind to their differences, but humans are humans.  Unless the main character isn’t human at all, they’re going to move through the story the same way any other character would.

Thus, when confronted with this prompt, diversity is not the first thing that comes to mind.  What would I like to see more of?  The first choice is extremely broad: well-written books.  And I don’t even have the right to wish for that.  I don’t want more books in the world– I want more time to read all the books in the world.  But if I’m sticking to the prompt, I might as well make a list. Continue reading “Fun with Lists (TCWT)”

I am a Leaf on the Wind (TCWT)

Isn’t it great to realize you’ve put off your mandatory TCWT post until the day before it’s scheduled… two months in a row?  I’m so glad TCWT is back, and with it that wonderful feeling of horror.  (EDIT: and I also left this a day late.  I apologize.)

Anyway, the prompt this month is an interesting one: “If you could co-write a book with one author– living or not– who would it be and what would the book be about?”

When I was young(er), I often dreamed about coauthoring.  Not because I liked the idea of writing a book with someone, but because, infallibly, the person with whom I chose to coauthor would be rich and famous and I would be a longtime fan.  With this in mind, I fantasized about coauthoring Redwall novels with Brian Jacques, because let’s face it– his plots got a little formulaic near the end.  He wrote beautifully, but I could come up with a better story than “Villain with bad teeth attacks the Abbey, but a small group of intrepid travelers escapes and brings back help at the last moment.” Continue reading “I am a Leaf on the Wind (TCWT)”

Ducks, Explosions, and Ducking Explosions – TCWT

So in fact I was just about ready to write an apologetic post about how I couldn’t fulfill my promise for a TCWT July blog chain post, when suddenly I realized that the time I spent writing that post could actually be used to write the promised post and none would be the wiser (except that I’m writing this introduction).  Truth be told, I hadn’t given this post a thought since I signed up, except for a few moments of heart-stopping panic when I thought I had already missed the date.  I thought I had no characters to use; I thought I had no ideas for it.  Then I remembered my cardinal rule.  The cardinal rule of writing is this: when you can’t think of anything to do next, add a duck or some explosions.  Preferably both.  Following that logic, I wrote my therapy session with the one duck character I have, who coincidentally also explodes from time to time.  Allow me to introduce the stellar, the scintillating, the slightly bald Mack! Continue reading “Ducks, Explosions, and Ducking Explosions – TCWT”

The Flaming Sonic Boom (TCWT)

This post came upon me like an eager puppy with a jet pack– not unpleasant, but it arrived a bit too quickly.  The prompt for this month’s TCWT blog chain is this:

“What are some of the coolest/weirdest/funniest/most disturbing things you’ve researched for a story?”

To be honest, I don’t remember.  I often forget the results of my searches just after closing the browser, prompting a second search that may just stick in my head long enough for me to write about it.  But the wonderful thing about Google Chrome, run by that bunch of evil spies, is that it saves every single part of your history. Continue reading “The Flaming Sonic Boom (TCWT)”

I Want a Pony… And a Puppy… And an Exploding Kite… (TCWT)

I’m going to be frank.  For the Teens Can Write, Too! blog chain this month, I must answer the question:

“What is your ultimate goal as a writer?”

I know my ultimate goal pretty clearly.

I want to be published.

Not once.  Not twice.  I want to get as many books published as I have ideas.  And that would be a lot. Continue reading “I Want a Pony… And a Puppy… And an Exploding Kite… (TCWT)”

A Diversion! (TCWT)

The prompt for the Teens Can Write, Too! blog chain this month is: “Write a letter to an antagonist.”

Some people might find this easy and pick an antagonist in a matter of minutes.  Not me– I spent half a month trying to think of a suitable antagonist.  Not just any will do, of course– it has to be a special one.  Special antagonists, however, are very hard to find.  In fact, I realized as I was thinking of this prompt, that I don’t enjoy antagonists half as much as protagonists.  The more interesting they are, the more they contribute to the fame of the protagonist.

After a very long time, I finally settled on writing to Sauron, an old friend.  Figuratively speaking.  However, one does not simply write to the Dark Lord.  Normal mail wouldn’t work.  The mailman, Nazgul Five, is notorious for losing things– maps, expensive Morgul blades, his mind; you name it, he’ll lose it.  (Not to mention the fact that he’s pink.  They conveniently left that out of the movies.)  Normal mail was out of the question.  Thus, I had to settle on a more complicated and slightly outdated means of communication: telegraph through the palantiri.  Pardon its slight awkwardness.

* * * Continue reading “A Diversion! (TCWT)”

The Million-Dollar Question

“Why do you write?”

This is an important question for writers, but at first glance it seems ridiculous.  “Why do I write?  I’m a writer.  Wasn’t I born that way?”  That line of thought really doesn’t work, and yet it seems so simple for us to answer that way.

I think the main reason I write is because I like stories.  I was seven when I first wrote anything.  It was a short story that I am not so proud of now as I was then.  Since then my writing has alternately grown and lessened, until it has reached the stage I am at today, where I try to write every day.

At first I wrote because I wanted to make up a story.  It continued thus until I began writing every day, where it became a matter of writing for the sake of writing; I almost couldn’t live without it.  If I tried, I would have to supplement my life with double reading time, doubling the books necessary, and thus doubling my rereading rate.  This would have the effect of me rereading things I still remembered vividly, thereby making those books mildly detestable as being too predictable.  Also, I would pick up any book that looked even remotely interesting, getting me to a place where I have three piles of books on the floor, half of which I would throw away because I absolutely loathe them.  So.  Writing is a time-killer right now.

Another reason to write is because it is very possible (and ever-increasingly probable) that I will go completely insane because of too many ideas.  That will lead to my becoming a hermit, thinking up theories about eating and sleeping making you wiser.  (It’s true; the more you eat, the less your mouth will be able to say foolish things.  The more you sleep, the less you’ll be able to think of reasons why this theory isn’t very practical.  See, I’m doing it already after only one week without writing.  [Note: this post is a scheduled post.])

Believe it or not, writing actually helps me with learning.  I don’t learn much unless I write it down in my own words.  This came up primarily in my biology course, where I was getting pretty bad scores until I talked my mom into letting me write everything down instead of diagramming.  Immediately test scores went from seventy and eighty per cent (not the best) to 100% on all but a few tests.  It wasn’t any sort of change in the topic, just in the method of absorption.

Writing is also one of the only things I stick with.  I’m not too great at perseverance, really.  Thus, I’ll start something, learn enough about it to pass as a mediocre whatever-it-is-I’m-trying, then give up.  With writing, however, though the powers of despair assail me every time I read something written infinitely better than I could ever write, I’ve fought them off every time with a crazed grin on my face, scribbling like a kindergartener with a vendetta against his crayon.

Writing also helps me remember.  I’m quite scatterbrained, so my powers of remembrance are sporadic at best.  Thus, when I need to remember something, it disappears, and when I don’t need it, I remember.  Now, this would be fine and dandy if only I had a time machine; I could wait until I remembered something, then zap myself back a few hours and whisper it into my past self’s ear.  Prob-lem solv-ed.  Unfortunately…  Well, I think you can figure out what would go wrong with that plan.  But if I write something down, like a good idea, I’ll most likely remember it later.  Writing helps me, so I write.

Also, writing is a way to clear thoughts.  It has the same capacity to aid you as talking to yourself does.  Both things help get your thoughts into orderly fashion, and thus will help you think about them better.  I’ve had ideas floating around in my head for days and weeks at a time, during which period I don’t progress at all in their development.  Then I write them down and new ideas flood in.  I suppose I could also just go around talking to myself all day, but my friends think I’m crazy enough already.

And there you have it…  Unless you don’t.  You’ll figure it out eventually.

Want to follow our blog tour? Here are the participating parties, day by day:

May 5–http://towerofplot.blogspot.com–The Leaning Tower of Plot

May 6–http://correctingpenswelcome.wordpress.com–Comfy Sweaters, Writing and Fish

May 7–http://cassidymarierizzo.wordpress.com–Cassidy Marie Rizzo

May 8–https://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com–This Page Intentionally Left Blank

May 9–http://weirdalocity.wordpress.com–You Didn’t Really Need To Know This…

May 10–http://inklinedwriters.blogspot.com–Inklined

May 11–http://thewordasylum.wordpress.com–The Word Asylum

May 12–http://lilyjenness.blogspot.com–Lily’s Notes In The Margins

May 13–http://laughablog.wordpress.com–The Zebra Clan

May 14–http://planetaryelastic.blogspot.com–Tangential Bemusings

May 15–http://realityisimaginary.blogspot.com–Reality Is Imaginary

May 16–http://otherrandomthings.wordpress.com–Dragons, Unicorns And Other Random Things

May 17–http://lonelyrecluse.wordpress.com–The Lonely Recluse

May 18–http://delorfinde.wordpress.com–A Farewell To Sanity

May 19–http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com–The Incessant Droning Of A Bored Writer

May 20–http://allegradavis.wordpress.com–All I Need Is A Keyboard

May 21–http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com–Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)