Book Recommendation

Hello Fiction Lovers!

This weekend I was organizing all the books I bought over the years–which made me realize all the books I still want to get in print–and came across some my old favorites. Now I’m planning on revisiting all of the interesting characters and stories they contain over the next few months. I thought I’d share what they are with you as well in case you were looking for something good to read.

The first recommendation is Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness series that gives the foundation for many of her other books. It’s about a girl, Alanna, who wants to be knight and has to pretend to be a boy to achieve that goal. I liked watching her grow up as well as the magic and battles that take place throughout the series. Pierce is very good at writing heroines and I would also recommend the other series she’s written.

The next recommendation goes to Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold. It’s the first in a lovely quartet composed of romance, danger, unique magic and monsters, and realistic characters. I believe it’s one of the more distinctive fantasy series I’ve read, in that it did have it’s own distinctive monsters and magic that tied in well together and made sense for the world. It doesn’t rely on preconceived expectations but draws the reader in under it’s own power. It is also one of the best fantasy romances I’ve read to date.

The third recommendation is Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. He also creates a unique world where heroes are reborn as gods and magic is governed by color and Breath. The story involves a reluctant marriage, fear of war, living gods, and a sentient blade. Truth be told, the cover was the thing that first drew me to the book and what really made me want to read it. The cover’s simple but beautiful, and depicts the reluctant bride (so if you’re like me, you can picture her as more than a vague impression hair, hands, and body outline).

Those are the main books I really want to re-read now and I hope you’ll enjoy them as well. Feel free to post in the comments books you would like to re-read and let me know if you have any questions! I hope you have a good week!

Current Writing Projects

Hello Fiction Lovers!

I realized that I haven’t really said much about what I’m currently working on with my writing. Right now, I’m working on editing one manuscript and writing the first draft of another–both have progressed to the point they are at because of the story sections I talked about in an earlier post. I used to be horrible at finishing the stories I was writing (before I switched to a new idea), but doing the story sections has helped me keep focused on the manuscript I’m sending out to friends and family. Because I was so bad at finishing stories, however, I don’t have much experience writing endings or editing so it’s taking a lot of work to get that first manuscript to where I want it to be. The editing is going slowly, but I rather have it take a long time and be good than rush through it and not have it improve much.

The manuscript that is being edited is called The One Who Speaks and is about a young woman, Irene, who loses her voice under mystical circumstances. After the incident she gains a power she didn’t have before and her body starts moving without her direction. The story continues as she tries to find out what exactly what happened and how she can get her voice back. Along the way she is joined by the son of a spirit, Vix, and her cousin, Sao.

The manuscript I am currently writing is called A Cursed Blessing.  The story is told through the eyes of the main character, Ismelle, a family of nobles keeping a secret, and young woman trying to follow her goddess-driven dreams. As the story continues you learn more about each of the characters from their perspective as they try to figure out why monsters are appearing, worry about the danger Ismelle’s presence in the manor poses, and try to keep their secrets.

Do either of these stories sound interesting to you? Please let me know what you think and feel free to share what you are currently working on writing-wise. Thank you for reading and let me know if you have any questions.

Story Prompt #24

Character prompt:

Write about a warrior who is tired of fighting, but ends up getting pulled into a fight regardless. It could be something as simple as bar fight and they step in because they don’t want the place that serves the best beer to be ruined, to something as large as war where they feel honor-bound to fight, to being ambushed and simply needing to fight to survive.

Think about your character’s motivations and needs, and what would push them into doing something they otherwise would take pains not to do.

Feel free to post anything you come up with in the comments or let me know if you have any questions.

Story Prompt #21

Scenario Prompt:

Take two characters from two of your favorite books and have them have a conversation. It could be anything from them meeting in an inn and talking about their adventures to bickering about the best way to make rabbit stew in a cooking competition.

Have fun with it and if you wish to share anything this prompt generates feel free to do so in the comments.

Story Prompt #18

Scenario Prompt:

It’s the first time a witch has ever summoned a familiar. She’s worried because all the spells she’s cast have never quite turned out the way they’re supposed to. For instance when she tried to call a thunderstorm to help with the drought last summer it lasted three weeks, not the prescribed three hours, and when she mixed a truth potion the recipient had to tell the truth through a bout of sneezes.

Conflicting Emotions

Hello Fiction Lovers!

Lately, I’ve been reading the Last Herald-Mage series by Mercedes Lackey (whose interesting books I would recommend by the way) and her writing and characters have reminded me that characters–like real-life people–can have conflicting emotions. Sometimes when I’m writing I’m so focused on what the character is supposed to feel or how they are going to react that I find I forget that they can conflicting emotions. Having conflicting emotions can make them feel more like actual people and tie in other parts of the story to the scene you’re writing. No scene or dialogue is in a vacuum which means the emotions driving that scene or dialogue can’t be located in one either. People feel lots of different things at once about different things and more than likely they will feel those things at the same time.

Having conflicting emotions can also help with character development and motivation. It can help the reader know what is more important to the character based on what they are having conflicting feels about and what emotion they end up acting upon. A character who really wants a book but won’t go get it because they are afraid of the adult standing near it, and a character who really wants a book but doesn’t get it because they are worried about their financial situation are two very different people. The result is the same, but emotional impact and knowledge of the character is very different. Also, if the reader is told the character wants a book but doesn’t end up getting one without another emotional reason as to why the scene feels unfinished, lackluster, or confusing.

You don’t have to use conflicting emotions all the time but making use of them can make your story feel more cohesive and flow better. It can also break up the monotony of a character only being driven by one emotion–something that becomes unrealistic quickly and that becomes boring. Conflicting emotions can also point to internal vs external conflicts and pressures in the story.

I hope this post helped and let me know if you have any questions. Feel free to post your thoughts or anything you think I missed in the comments. I hope you all have a good week!

Story Prompt #13

Character Prompt:

There’s a magician who lives in the city and everyday they take a walk to a garden just outside the city. The magician never stays for very long, only for a few minutes at most, before returning to the city.

Why does the magician walk to the garden everyday? What does he/she do there? Is important to their past or in a future event/meeting? What is the magician like (personality/looks)?

Feel free to post anything this inspires in the comments or let me know if you have any questions!

Diagonal Dialogue

Hello Fiction Lovers!

First I would like to apologize for not getting this posted yesterday. My internet stopped working and I didn’t have a way to get to a place that had internet and was still open by the time I had a chance to write.

As for the topic for today lately I’ve been thinking about “diagonal dialogue”. It’s a term I first heard in one of my writing classes. It’s what happens when characters are talking to each other but not neccessarily answering what the other is saying. Instead they are responding to what the actual problem is or what’s important to them. For example, when Character A keeps complaining about how pretty another character is and Character A’s friend forces them to face their insecurity. Or when one character wants to stay and the other character wants them to leave and both are pretending to talk about different character, propriety, candy, or anything else, really.

Diagonal dialogue isn’t lying (though that can have it’s own interesting implications and uses) but is instead when the topic of conversation isn’t what’s actually as important. The important thing is the tension between the characters as they try to lead the conversation in the direction they want it to go–the tension that’s created by what they choose to say and what’s left unsaid.

I find that when I try to write diagonal dialogue the conversation becomes more interesting and gets closer to the  heart of the story. It helps to create better dialogue becuase it doesn’t allow the characters to talk about nothing, becuase even if they are only talking about the weather on the surface other clues show that more is at stake. An important thing to remember is that dialogue isn’t just things that are said but includes body language as well, and diagonal dialogue makes use of both (as any good dialogue should).

Of course, not all conversations between characters have to use diagonal dialogue, but making use of it now and again can be a good exercise and can help characters approach topics that otherwise would be too painful or awkward and such to broach.

Let me know if you have any questions and I hope you all enjoy the rest of your day!