With possibly the most cliched title ever, this post will discuss one of my favorite things about writing–naming characters.
A character’s name can speak volumes about who they are, or it can say nothing. Sometimes the fact that the name says nothing, says everything. But that’s getting too philosophical for a Thursday.
I believe there are two general types of names: ones that someone else made up years and years ago, or ones that you make up. Continue reading
There are a multitude of things that make up a character. Physicality, goals, fears, and looks are just a few, but there’s a big one that often gets ignored.
Sure, maybe it’s obvious when a character has a specific way of talking, but what about when the entire book is written in the main character’s voice? Sometime’s it’s really obvious, but other times it’s so subtle that the reader barely notices. Continue reading
The idea of keeping a journal or diary has been around since the invention of writing. Essentially, that’s why writing was invented–to catalogue information. Journaling just became a more private form of detail splurging; a place to connect with oneself on a deeper level, complain, and remember the good times.
The journal is exceptionally good at what it does. But it’s needy–it requires cultivation and it feeds off your time.
So the bullet journal (or BuJo) was invented.* Continue reading
“Well, I was dreaming until you woke me up…”
Dreams are weird.
On second thought, the above three words seem vague. I might as well make statements like, ‘life is weird’ (it is), so let me go into some more detail on the subject of dreams.
I would argue that our concept of fantasy, and our ability to imagine fantastical situations, comes from dreams. It’s an interesting idea–one’s database of sensual information is all that’s needed to create a myriad of bizarre situations. Perhaps that is the only difference between a creative person and someone who is ‘not creative’. The person with the greater imagination is just better able to re-combine their memories while in a lucid state; they don’t have to be unconscious to make stuff up. Continue reading
Politics are arguably the most annoying thing in existence (if one overlooks lukewarm coffee and knee-deep mud), yet they can make or break a novel.
As far as I’m concerned, there are two types of politics: personal opinions expressed by people in their everyday lives and all types of government.
Most books steer clear of government-driven politics, but they all take advantage of the other kind. After all, it’s emotion that ties us to stories. There is, however, a whole genre of books that wouldn’t exist without warped versions of government politics: dystopian. Continue reading
All stories must have character growth.
Growth can be subtle: the character realizes something they didn’t know before. Or profound: the character goes from ugly, wimpy nobody to strong, world-saving beauty.
Most novels go for somewhere in the middle. But whatever the case, the character in the last chapter must in some way be superior to the person we met on page one.
Basically, they must have fixed or improved upon their flaws. Continue reading
In an age where easy-to-watch films are everywhere, what makes us continue to dedicate our time to reading books?
I was kindly invited to guest post on the blog Propaganda for Change. I tried my hand at a more scientific post that talks about the persuasive content hidden in the pages of our papery friends, using the impressive Hunger Games Trilogy as an example.
If you’re reading this, then chances are you like to read. And you almost certainly like stories.
From an evolutionary viewpoint, the reason for loving stories is clear; prehistoric man could listen to his friend talking about a close encounter with a wolf in a cave and then he could use that knowledge to stay alive on his search for food. Stories were sugar coated pills of important information. They were also a way of creating beauty to bond with other humans and increase one’s survival (1). Even today, it’s a well-known fact that we tend to enjoy things that lengthen our lifespans–mother nature is funny that way.
Granted, the ‘don’t eat those red berries, because…’ story is extremely different from the modern fictional sagas, but we’re captivated by them just the same.
However, this still doesn’t explain our love of books in particular. These days, most books have been turned into films, which require little effort or time to watch. Reading a 700-page book is an entirely different form of crazy. It requires days, and sometimes weeks, of dedicated page flipping. Why do we do this?
One simple answer could be ‘the book is better than the film’. But why would we say this? What powerful force would make us struggle through not just one book, but a whole series because it’s ‘better’ than anything on the screen?
I believe the answer is ‘persuasion’. The writer is trying, and often succeeding, to convince you that those 100,000 words are worth your time. Essentially, a book is a never-ending stream of propaganda that tells you to read more propaganda.
One of my current WIPs is Marsip, the sequel to the novel Aza that I self-published in 2014 (I’m also working on a dystopian novel called Two Kinds of Darkness).
Marsip is set several years after Aza and hopefully tells the story of how Marsip discovers who he is and what he truly wants. In true fantasy style, these questions happen during a battle for power, waged by the Teransellens–a tribe from the mountains. And let’s not forget Elaine, the stubborn lord’s daughter who unintentionally causes a handful of problems, most of which affect Marsip. Continue reading
Very early sketch of the city’s two halves.
My excitement with this novel has yet to wear off. I’m currently editing the fifth draft, preparing it for my test-readers.
Two Kinds of Darkness began as a tiny idea that struck me two and a half years ago. It was a question that came to me while sitting on a sofa during a young writers’ group and staring at a blue wall. The question was this: “What if someone could only see the color blue?” Continue reading
In some sense, winter doesn’t seem like a good time to have a big celebration. It’s cold, hard to travel (if one lives in a place with snow), and every other person is ill.
But there’s Christmas and Chanukka. And there used to be Saturnalia and Yule. And what about all those fantasy novels with solstice celebrations?
Apparently, winter festivals are common.
They’re also fun to create. Partly because weird behavior gets pardoned if it occurs during a festival. Continue reading