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.

Science and Magic

Hello Fiction Lovers!

First, I would like to apologize for not getting this posted yesterday, but I didn’t have access to the internet, unfortunately. As for this week’s topic I thought I’d talk about the relationship between science and magic  I’ve noticed in fantasy books.

Often, it seems that science is almost omitted from fantasy with only the inclusion of medieval technology or during the few times more advanced scientific understanding is included it’s at odds with magic. I believe that this comes from a belief that magic and science can’t coexist, and I think that belief comes from the stigma we’ve experienced in our world. The social norm seems to rise up science and eschew magic as we use more and more technology. But in fantasy things don’t have to be the same as it is in our world.

I think it would be interesting to see more fantasy books where science and magic work together or where science is a variation of magic (and vice versa). They don’t have be separated, but could help explain each other or be viewed as the same thing.

I’ve been taking an astronomy class and it’s been interesting to see the change in how people used to view the sky and stars as a different place, but now we understand that the stars are like the sun and everything is pretty much made from stardust. There’s something magical about that isn’t there? And there’s plenty science still doesn’t know such as how the universe began or what dark matter actually is, and perhaps in using the two together magic could explain those things. New scientific discoveries and using more technology doesn’t have to mean the end of magic, it just means that maybe we can understand magic in a new way as well.

Of course, if you just want to use magic or science or some new process that’s fine too. I’ve done so myself and it can be interesting and create worlds very different from our own. But perhaps when magic and science do come up in a work together they don’t always have to be at odds. I think it would be a fun thing to explore.

Thank you all for reading and I hope you have a great week! Let me know if you have any questions and feel free to post your thoughts in the comments.

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.

No New Plots in Stories

Hello Fiction Lovers!

So this past week I’ve come across the idea that there are no new stories and everything that is being written is some variation on a story that’s already been told once again. I will admit that I believe this to be true in that certain types of stories are going to have similar elements–the hero’s journey, for example–but I also have a couple of issues with it.

The first is that when people mention this, in my experience, it’s typically with a tone of “why bother?” when it comes to writing. After all, if everything has already been written why bother writing more? But just because two or more things have the same foundation doesn’t mean they will look anything alike by the time the construction is finished. Let’s use the example of two identical rooms and only one thing is changed: the paint. One room is painted blood red and the other a bright pink. The paint might be shades of the same color but a visitor is going to have a different experience/expectations depending on what room they enter, and all just because the color of the paint changed. Stories work the same way; they might start with the same foundation–a story prompt or a genre–but based on the different variations they use, however slight, they can be very different by the end and thus give a different experience/expectations to the reader. Writing is worth bothering because of those variations and the entertainment they can give to both reader and writer.

The second issue is the extreme distillation of a story that one needs to employ to encompass them as broadly as the basic plots do. Rags to Riches, Comedy, Tragedy, Voyage and Return are the names of some of those plots. But those aren’t stories, not really. They’re ideas, ideas so broad and vague that there’s barely anything to them and that doesn’t make a story. Even the idea that they are called “plots” drives the point home. Plots aren’t stories but rather the foundations they are built upon. Stories are made up of characters and their decisions, the writer’s voice and style, the emotional journey they–hopefully–take the reader on, and a hundred other little things that people use and play with to make their stories unique. Another way to think about it, to go back to the earlier example, is that plots are the functional parts of the house–the walls, windows, doors, sinks, etc.–that help the people do what they need to do and stories are the lives of the people who live in that house and the personal touches they add to it. It’s why we can read so many books of a farmer boy becoming a king or a person going on a journey or people falling in love and still want more. Those were the plots and we wanted to see what the new story would bring, what variation we never expected would happen.

So there might not be new plots, but there are definitely new stories being written and read every day.

I hope this made sense and feel free to post your own thoughts on this topic in the comments or let me know if you have any questions. I’d be interested in what you all think about this prevalent idea in writing.

Story Prompt #22

Dialogue Prompt:

“Why do you get mad every time I call you a ‘friend’?”

“We might of stopped the Evil Overlord together but that doesn’t mean I like you.”

“I have Nana’s homemade apple tarts.”

“Give me five and you’ll have the privilege of calling me ‘friend’ for a day.”

“Deal.”