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Micro-fiction Publications

Tale Foundry: Write a Better Future

In light of recent events, Tale Foundry changed their prompt for this week. Honestly, things are out of hand right now. I love that Tale Foundry is doing their best to help in this time of change and crisis. All the donations from this week’s stream on Twitch are going to ACLU.

This time of change and fear of course brought an important name to my mind. Federico Garcia Lorca was one of the first victims in the Spanish Civil war. He was an amazing poet and he wasn’t afraid to speak up about political issues. As such, it’s so surprise that he was one of the first silenced in the wartime events of Spain.

Since I feel that his voice was also marginalized and discriminated against, I thought it appropriate to include excerpts from one of his poems in my submission for this week. Also, I gave the title a name honoring the concept of his poem. Feel free to check out my submission: Rivers of Lemonade on Tale Foundry’s website.

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Reviews

5 YA Fantasy Cover Comparisons

Deseretgear and I recently did a YouTube video, 5 YA Fantasy Cover Comparisons, about book covers we like and don’t like as well as why. Check out the article below to see highlights or go head and click image below to hop on over to YouTube and watch the full video.

cover comparisons

Reason 1: What is the Genre?

There’s nothing I hate more than when I pick up a book and I have no idea what genre I’ll be reading. Especially since there are some genres that I don’t like. Some book covers don’t give off any indication at all. I’m more likely to never pick the book up in the first place rather than flip it over and read the blurb. In making things as generic and mass-appealing as possible, the cover loses could-be readers. Specificity may lose the crowd, but it brings in the ones who will cling to content to the bitter end.

covers on the shelf

Reason 2: The Design is Cluttered

There’s too much going on, or the things that are added don’t add to understanding the story inside. This has to do with purposeful design. If it seems like things were thrown together or if they don’t really have a purpose, then the cover feels bland. The best example of this that we discussed in our video were the covers for the book Shiver. Both covers we looked at were similar and both contained elements pertinent to the story. However, one of them was certainly a tighter and more thoughtful design. Purposeful covers are a testament to the thought that went into the creation process.

covers with purpose

Wrapping Things Up

We haven’t judged these books by their covers but we have judged their covers by their covers. Both Des and I know that traditionally published authors have little to no say in the design of their book’s covers and in no way does our review intend to reflect poorly on these books. These are fantastic books that either we’ve read personally or heard good things about. However, doesn’t that make this all the more lamentable? Doesn’t it make it even sadder when a good book deters readers who would love and enjoy the story inside because of industry choices outside the writer’s control?

So, if you’d like to see the full review, check out our YouTube video and subscribe for updates. Also, tell us in the comments below what you think. When have you been disappointed by the cover of a book you know and love?

cover blank
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Reviews

Book Review: Monster Calls

This book was heart-rending in all the right ways. A Monster Calls is from the perspective of Conor, a young boy whose mother is sick. This book was tragic, but we knew what we were getting into from page one, or so we thought.

The fantasy-like stories are juxtaposed against the hard realities until we start to realize that the fantasy stories are just as dark as the issues that Conor confronts daily. Although he’s still a young child, he must learn to deal with very hard things at a young age and the monster is a wonderful personification of his terrifying, and sometimes violent, emotions.

Although it’s dark, it feels similar to Bridge to Terabithia in the way fantasies come crashing down around the main characters.

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Reviews

Book Review: Fire and Thorns

I read The Girl of Fire and Thorns about a month ago or so and I found it very refreshing in some ways, a bit of a let down in others, but over all a great read. I openly cried in the first couple of chapters and I almost lost it again at the end.

First of all, this book passes the Bechdel test with flying colors. The main character, Elisa, has two handmaids who are 1. unique and 2. endearing. Also, there are other characters we meet along the way who are powerful women in their own right. Again, just like other books I’ve read, they have a delightful cast of characters both male and female.

I also love that Elisa does not start out… how to say this… in sync with modern notions of feminine beauty? That is to say, she’s overweight, and this is mentioned throughout the first couple of chapters in the book. Not only that, but as we progress to have love interests in the story, we see that this is referenced again. It was delightfully done in my opinion. I won’t get into my small disappointments with this sub-story for plot spoiler reasons. But, although this starts out strong, I am a bit put out with some of the ways things pan out.

Also, the conclusion is fantastic. Although a reader may suspect the outcome before it comes to fruition, it is no disappointment when it plays out exactly as was suspected. Again, this was a wonderful read. Rae Carson has a number of great titles under their belt.

Categories
writing

A Bad Scene, Better Than None

Oh, you’re past the inciting incident and you haven’t reached the end just yet. You have a few thousand words to go through before you get there. And by a few I mean about 30,000? I’m low balling, by a lot. Anyhow, when you get to the flabby middle section of your book the most important thing is to keep moving.

writer's block

Fresh out of Ideas. What to Write?

Out of Ideas? 😦 What should you do if you’re in the middle and you find yourself out of ideas? This is where leading a meeting or running a RPG comes in handy because nothing says pull something out of the air right now like having a table full of expectant faces. Yikes. Literal nightmares. But, after a long while, after a very very long while, you get used to it. And you find that, yes, you can pull things out of the air. You’ve studied them so much that they spill out.

But wait, maybe you’re not to that point yet! So, what do you do? Well, I look up plot hook ideas because, surprise, the plot doesn’t happen at the beginning and the end of the story alone. A whole lot of it happens in the middle too. These guys can give your characters enough juicy action to keep kicking through the slump of your book.

So, here’s a pair of useful places to look:

  1. D&D Quest Ideas
  2. Subplot Ideas

I also recommend Save the Cat, Writes a Novel. It has some excellent plotting advice which should help you string your story quite nicely.

writer's block

Why a Bad Scene Is Better Than None

A bad scene can be rewritten. Half of the battle is getting through the middle of the book. If you can make it to the end you can re-hash, re-smash, and honestly re-write a lot of things. A bad scene is good because you know it’s bad. A bad scene can be tossed or re-written. So, write a scene you hate. Write a scene that sucks. If you write it, you’ll reach the end, and you’ll know how to change it when you go back.

In fact, Brandon Sanderson openly admitted in his lectures that he makes revision notes as he writes his first draft. This is perfect. If you really don’t like a scene, you can make a note about how you’ll do it better next time around. And thus, you’ll reach the end of your book.

writer's block

Keep Writing

Never give up. Even if you can’t make it this time, keep trying. Don’t give up and try to keep writing even through the terrible bits. You’ve got this. Feel free to comment below. Do you disagree?