Monday, August 14, 2017

The Writer’s Brain Disease



There are many different types of writers.
Some write on occasion as a hobby, others make it their career, while many write all the time simply because they love it. We all have different goals and dreams and reasons why we write. But whether it’s a hobby or your full-time career, I’m afraid I have terrible news. Once you’ve started on that writing path, your brain forever changes.


Writing is like a plague. The moment you begin dabbling into it, it creeps into your brain and spreads and spreads and spreads. Then, next thing you know, it’s happened.


You have Writer’s Brain.


I am sorry to say there is no stopping the infection from spreading, and there’s no cure once it has taken root. That moment you label yourself as “writer”, there is no going back.


“But wait, Christine!” you’re probably crying. “Is there any hope at all?”


Um…no. If you’re gonna be a writer, the disease is going to infect you. You’re basically doomed.


BUT. Knowledge is power, yes? And, as with any disease, it’s good to be knowledgeable about what exactly is affecting you and what symptoms you’ll be experiencing. That way you won’t get caught off guard and can take actions accordingly.


So, because I love you all, I’m here to explain exactly what Writer’s Brain is and the side affects that go with it.

 

DEFINITION


WRITER’S BRAIN
/ˈrīdərs brān/

noun

A disease that affects primarily those who have taken up writing in which the brain’s thought process of literature, media, people, all means of entertainment, and the world in general changes drastically.

Ex. “She couldn’t enjoy reading the book due to her Writer’s Brain wanting to rewrite the poorly written sentences.”

 

In short, it changes your view of EVERYTHING.


And you may not even realize it. Self-awareness of the disease can often come gradually. But, eventually, it will hit you. At that point, there’s no going back. So we may as well rip off that band-aid now!


Let’s look at how the symptoms affect every aspect of our lives.

 

WRITER’S BRAIN
AFFECTS THE WAY YOU:

 

. . . READ . . .


Before you were infected with Writer’s Brain, you used to just read a book and that be that. But once the disease hit, reading became a vastly more complicated endeavor.


Now that your brain is solely focused on words and plot structure and characterization, it automatically searches for these things whilst you read. Used to, you’d read a book and merely did or did not like it, and that be that. Now, your silly brain pinpoints every. single. minute. detail. on why you did not like the book or why you thought it was the greatest creation to ever be produced and wonder hoooow did the author come up with such brilliance. Because now you understand what exactly it takes to write a book.


You discover every single typo because, hey, just a bit ago you spent 3 hours scouring your own manuscript for those pesky things. You notice the way dialogue is written, or how world building is weaved into the story, or the exact structure the author chose to write the book. You can often foresee what will happen next, because you noticed the author mentioned that knife on the table so it’ll be used to most likely stab that guy in a moment. Or that person is probably going to end up being the villain judging by the way his character arc is spiraling downhill. You notice patterns and writing tricks and basically EVERYTHING EVER.


Once upon a time, your conversations may have gone like this:


Person: So what did you think of that book?

You: I loved it! I was totally hooked on that plot and got very attached to the characters.



Now it probably goes something more like this:


Person: So what did you think of that book?

You: IT WAS GENIUS. The author’s ability to foreshadow blew my mind. And the way they used fragments to get the heart pumping was perfection. Although the pacing may have been a bit too fast. But Character A’s motivation that led up to the climax was so relatable and made me completely fall in love with them. And I couldn’t get over how unique the third act of the book was structured. The writing style was beautiful, too. Although some of those typos did distract me from the story. But still, I kept taking notes because wow, such genius.

Person: …….


WE CAN’T HELP IT, OKAY????


Reading is no longer reading anymore. It’s accidental research because you can’t help but notice every. little. thing. Your brain is just wired that way. I’m so sorry. Because sometimes you just want to read. But noooo. Now you have to pick apart every itty bitty detail. You’ll find yourself even mentally rewriting poorly written sentences! Or even the whole book.


Side affect of Writer’s Brain. There’s nothing we can do about it.

 

. . . WATCH TV . . .


This is really about the same thing as reading. Although you’re not looking at sentence structures, you’re still seeing how a team of writers chose to layout a plot, bring their characters to life, etc., etc. And, once again, instead of turning your brain off to settle in for some relaxing entertainment, your new Writer’s Brain switches to research mode and analyzes every slight detail.


“Oh, that facial feature that character just did was so expressive. I need to figure out how to describe with words.”


“Wow, the dialogue is so sharp and witty. Gotta take notes on that.”


“This is such a good fight scene. I need to pay close attention to each movement so I can properly create my own fight scene in my story.”


“Whoa, they ended that episode with such an amazing cliffhanger. I’ll have to remember that for when I end my chapters.”


It never ends, guys. It never ends.


But your Writer’s Brain is not just gathering research. It’s picking up IDEAS. And this applies to both reading and watching TV. Ideas from something simple like, “Hey, I really like this genre this show is set in. I want to write something like it.” To ideas from the smallest things. Like that person in the background wearing the yellow hat in that one scene that literally has no name or lines but your crazy Writer’s Brain suddenly has a plot bunny sparked by them and next thing you know you have an idea for a 10-book series, a prequel novel, and at least 3 or 4 companion short stories. All because of that one background character with the yellow hat.


Sometimes you’ll get a bunch of different ideas from the most random things and put them all together into one novel. Like that inspiration you had from that one book and your favorite TV show and sheesh! you even got a great idea from an iHop commercial that would fit in this novel. Yep, you’re not safe from watching commercials either. You’re never safe again. Once the Writer’s Brain has infected you, it is wide open for the plague of plot bunnies.


Like I said, you’re doomed.

 

. . . VIEW PEOPLE . . .


Our Writer’s Brain doesn’t just change our view of our sources of entertainment. Oh no, it doesn’t stop there. It changes our view of actual, real life PEOPLE in our lives, too. Which is dangerous. Because often us writers go into full-on stalker mode and creep everyone out.


While sitting in a coffee shop, we may study everyone there. Because, oh wow, that guy with the beard looks like he’d be perfect in your new dystopian novel. Hm, that couple in the corner are having an awfully lively conversation. What could they be talking about…? *cue your Writer’s Brain coming up with an entire short story based off of them* That girl at the register has such a cute fashion sense. I want my protagonist's clothes to be based off hers.


#Stalker


But it’s not just studying strangers. You’ll probably creep out your friends and family, too, when you begin to notice everything about their personalities and their mannerisms and understand their motivations for things and can tell them offhand exactly what Myer-Briggs personality type they are. Or describe the exact facial expression they made last Tuesday when they were talking to the cashier in the grocery store about ripe fruit.


We writers are intuitive people. It comes with Writer’s Brain. We just can’t help it.

 

. . . LOOK AT SCENERY. . .


You and your family are going on vacation to the mountains. Wonderful. Some relaxing time to just unwind and— WHOA. Look at the creek right there, with the sharp boulder above it. What if a character was running from the authorities and slipped and hit his head on that boulder? OH. And over there, that hollow tree. A fairy could live there and heals him and then they find treasure down in the valley between those two mountains and—


Yeah. No turning off the Writer’s Brain. Everything you see is story potential. Everything.

 

. . . EXPERIENCE MOMENTS . . .


Interesting experiences aren’t just stories to tell your friends now. Just like watching TV or reading or even sitting in a coffee shop, everything you do is now research.


Oooops. The knife just slipped while I was chopping vegetables and now my hand is bleeding all over the counter and I’m experiencing horrifying pain. Well hey, now I can describe that hand wound scene in my novel accurately!


Oh, look at that, I just burned my hair with the curling iron. I guess now I know what singed hair smells like for that chapter with the fire.


Ouch. I just slipped, fell off the porch onto concrete, and am lying here with half of my body broken. Huh. Now I know precisely how my character felt when I made him leap off that building.


I mean, it’s not just injuries we experience that we view as research. It can be fun things, too. Like riding a rollercoaster or taking a trip to Paris or horseback riding or singlehandedly eating that entire cake in one sitting. But let’s be real, we injure our characters a lot, so…


. . .


I think you get the idea. Everything in our lives is now viewed via the Writer’s Brain filter. The world is no longer the same. Everything is story inspiration and research.


But it’s not just that. Your entire imagination and thoughts are centered around STORY. When you go to bed, you fall asleep by playing stories in your head. When you’re brushing your teeth, you’re plotting the next scene in your WIP. When you’re waiting for your lunch to finish cooking, you’re using your phone to research common ways wars are started (#truestory). Your life is now 100% centered around your novels.


Honestly, I often wonder what non-writers even think about. Seriously, all my thoughts are focused on my WIPs or my next blog post or new plot bunnies or how to fix that problem in that one novel and just…WRITING and STORY. If I wasn’t a writer I literally have no earthly idea what my brain would occupy itself with.


Because I have Writer’s Brain. And it’s an incurable disease.


But guess what? You know how I said there’s no hope at all and we’re all doomed? I LIED. Well, I mean, no, you can’t get rid of Writer’s Brain. That’s impossible. If I got your hopes up…sorryyyyy. BUT. It’s not just an incurable disease.


It’s also a superpower.


Because you are more intuitive and have a deep understanding of people. You enjoy scenery more, because that creek with the sharp boulder isn’t just water and a rock to you. You can take every experience you have, even the bad ones, and appreciate them because #RESEARCH. Books and television are so, so much more than mere entertainment.


The entire world is a blank page just waiting to be discovered and painted with stories by you.


Sure, it can be annoying when you’re trying to read and instead you’re taking mental notes on the author’s three-act structure. But it’s also fun to understand storytelling. When I was younger, if I didn’t like a character or something I’d often wonder why. It honestly confused me. Because wasn’t I supposed to like them? Or shouldn’t I enjoy this story? What’s wrong with it anyway? Well, now I can usually answer those questions.


I love how I can scroll through pinterest and be inspired to write an entire story by one little picture.


I love seeing a new place and thinking it’d be the perfect setting for a novel.


I love having story after story after story rolling through my head 24/7.


I love having a Writer’s Brain.


Maybe it makes us seem a bit odd and occasionally creepy and awfully eccentric.


But hey, that’s just the burden we superheroes have to carry. *winks*

 

Tell me, do you suffer from Writer’s Brain? Do you experience any or all of these symptoms? Are they an annoyance or fun to you? And do you have any symptoms to add to my list? Speak with me! Together we can support one another with this incurable disease.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Why I Believe Cinderella is a Good Heroine

 

Once there was a gentleman who married, for his second wife, the proudest and most haughty woman that was ever seen. She had, by a former husband, two daughters of her own, who were, indeed, exactly like her in all things. He had likewise, by another wife, a young daughter, but of unparalleled goodness and sweetness of temper, which she took from her mother, who was the best creature in the world.

-Cinderella (Charles Perrault)


In this day and age of “strong female characters” and “girl power” and “being one of the boys”, characters like Cinderella get a lot of shame and hate.


After all, Cinderella was a pushover. She was weak, cowardly, never stood up for herself. Not someone little girls of this age should ever look up to or strive to be. Right?


I’m about to be a bit controversial. Are you ready? Here we go…


Cinderella is one of my favorite heroines.


“Say what now?” you’re probably exclaiming. “CINDERELLA? That weak little mouse? Why would you look up to her?” I’m glad you asked! *smile, smile* I’m here to tell you allll the reasons why I have, in fact, always saw Cinderella as a wonderful role model. *cracks knuckles*


It’s true, Cinderella is not your usual protagonist. She didn’t stand at the front lines and charge into battle to save a kingdom. She didn’t rescue a planet or bring down a corrupt government or battle a kraken or any of those things most female protagonists do these days. On the surface, it appeared as if all she did was let people push her around and then put on a pretty dress and got married. When you look at the story from that mindset, I can totally understand why people think it’s poison for their little girls.


But the story of Cinderella is SO much more.


So let’s debunk some of these problems people have with our girl Cinderella…


 

PROBLEM #1:
WAS SHE A WEAK PUSHOVER?


At first, Cinderella does seem like a pushover. I mean, she let these three crazy women come into her home and turn her into a scullery maid. But what other choice did she have? The stepmother ruled the house. And what was Cinderella going to do? Leave her home and go live on the streets? Poison her new stepmother and sisters? That certainly wouldn’t be very heroic. (Though I could see that happening with the protagonists we often get now, especially with TV shows…)


Let’s be real, most of us in that situation would be angry and bitter. I know *I* would. I’d be furious. I’d have turned into a bitter raincloud.


But what did Cinderella do? She didn’t stomp around and gripe about those horrible stepsisters and wicked stepmother. She didn’t seek revenge. She didn’t let anger fester and fester into her heart until she became a bitter, harsh woman.


No, sweet Cinderella did as her dying mother told her in Grimm’s version.


“Dear child, remain pious and good.”


Or Disney’s spin on it, if you’d rather.


Cinderella remained good.


Because that’s what Cinderella is. She’s good. Bitterness hardens the heart into something ugly and selfish and cruel. And so many of us could have fallen into that in that situation. But Cinderella chose goodness.


Even after all she had been through, and she married into the royal family and had all the power in the world, she did not seek revenge. In Perrault’s version of the tale, she forgave her stepsisters and showed them kindness.


Cinderella, who was no less good than beautiful, gave her two sisters lodgings in the palace, and that very same day matched them with two great lords of the court.


And Disney nailed it at the end of their live action movie, when Cinderella told her stepmother she forgave her. That was one of the most powerful, poignant scenes I’ve seen in a movie in a long, long time.

 

Chills. It gets me every. single. time.


Cinderella chose to love over hate. And you know what?


That is strength.


Can you imagine the kind of strength it took to choose to love that stepmother and those stepsisters? To forgive them? To refuse to give way to bitterness and harden her heart?


Cinderella is strong. Just because she had a broom in her hand instead of a sword doesn’t mean she’s weak. She is one of the strongest female protagonists I have ever known.


Speaking of brooms…

 

PROBLEM #2:
WASN’T SHE A LITTLE TOO
OBSESSED WITH PRETTY DRESSES?


Cinderella? You mean the girl who slept in ashes every night and wore rags? No, I most certainly do not think she was too obsessed with pretty things.


Cinderella was not afraid to get her hands dirty. And she worked hard. In most of the movies, all the servants were let go, leaving Cinderella to take care of EVERYTHING. By herself. And she did. She kept that household going and didn’t give up when it got too hard. She didn’t whine about a broken nail or getting dirt on her skirts. She did what she had to do. No matter how horrible things became.



Yes, she liked pretty dresses. But who on earth wouldn’t be excited about getting dressed up nice for one night (or three, depending on which version we’re talkin’ here) after being in rags day after day after day?


I love Cinderella’s femininity. I love that she wasn’t afraid to get dirty but also enjoyed pretty things. You should never, ever, ever be ashamed of being girly.


My favorite color is pink. (It wasn’t that long ago that my blog theme was pink. You guys remember that?) And a lot of people would blanch at that. Apparently pink these days is an evil, forbidden color and is destroying girls everywhere???? Yeah, no, I don’t understand it either. God made pink, people. It’s a gorgeous color! And you think I’m going to be shamed in liking it? Do you think it’s wrong to enjoy dressing up pretty and being girly? Noooo. God made females to be feminine. He wants us to embrace that.


And hey, I can wear a frilly pink skirt and watch a Marvel movie at the same time. So there.


And yes, I know I was talking about Cinderella here. I am actually getting to a point! And it is this: People are hating on Cinderella and the whole “princess culture” in general because I guess liking sparkly ball gowns is wrong?


Being feminine is not wrong.


And guess what? Princesses aren’t all about sparkly ball gowns. (In fact, Hayden Wand did a spectacular post on this very subject of the “princess mentality” and you should all go read it.) The majority of Cinderella isn’t centered around the glitz and glamor.  Its true focus is on the grit and grime, the cruelty of humans, and the strength to rise above it and choose goodness.



The stepsisters were too obsessed with pretty gowns and the shallow things in life. Cinderella was not.


Which brings me to…

 

PROBLEM #3:
ALL HER DREAMS CAME
TRUE ‘CAUSE SHE WAS PRETTY?


Is that the message of Cinderella? Because, after all, she arrived at the ball all decked out and beautiful, caught the Prince’s eye, and lived happily ever after. So the message is you only get things you want if you’re gorgeous?



In Grimm’s version, it states the stepsisters were very beautiful girls. But Cinderella got the Prince, not them. Because, sure, Cinderella was beautiful on the outside, but she was even more beautiful because of her beauty within. (I know that’s cliché, but it’s true.)


Now, I’ll be the first to admit, the Prince’s character needed development…a lot. (Another thing Disney fixed so wonderfully in their live action movie. Kit was perfection.) But fairytales aren’t big on details. They’re very short stories after all. But still, I personally believe what really drew the Prince to Cinderella was the goodness shining out of her. She wasn’t like the other girls. She was different. Not focused on the glitz and glamor. Not shallow and conceited.


The very core of the Cinderella story is that true beauty is found through kindness, goodness. Through gentleness, patience, love.


No, Cinderella’s dreams did not come true because she happened to have a pretty face. Think about it, I highly doubt a fairy godmother would have helped a girl who sought to poison her stepfamily. And would the Prince have been drawn to her if she had chosen anger and bitterness, and harshness oozed from her being?


It was because Cinderella chose love over hate that she got her happy ending. The story of Cinderella is much like the Christian walk should be. Where we choose to reflect Christ-like behavior, and though it’s not easy, and there is much suffering through the journey, it’s so worth it. Because, in the end, as Cinderella got her Prince, we receive our Prince of Peace.



I’m not saying the Cinderella story is perfect. The plot holes. Oooh, the plot holes. (Why did the glass slippers not disappear at midnight when everything else did?) And in the Grimm’s version the stepsisters cut off their toes and heels to try to fit the glass slipper on their feet. (I personally like Perrault’s version much better.) Fairytales can be messed up, guys! They’re too short and illogical and seriously morbid a lot of the time. But they also have hidden gems of wisdom within their words. Because that’s the original point of fairytales, to teach children lessons about life. To teach wisdom and truth and good vs. evil.


To me, the character of Cinderella reflects all the qualities we are called to be in Ephesians 4:1-3:


I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.


I have admired Cinderella since I was very, very young. Because I am prone to anger, I can get bitter. I speak my mind during times when I really, really should have just stayed quiet. And I can be horribly selfish and shallow. And so I always looked up to Cinderella’s patience, gentleness, and grace. Because of her I strive to be a better person. And isn’t that what all our heroes and heroines should accomplish?


I was so, so proud of Disney for choosing to keep the gentle essence that has always been Cinderella instead of turning her into this tough girl female protagonist that is typical for modern day media. Her quiet strength is refreshing.


Now, don’t get me wrong, female warriors are perfectly fine. And I love the feisty ones. I literally just a few weeks ago talked about my favorite types of characters and listed the feisty girls as one of my top favorites.


BUT. I really, really don’t like how the sweet, gentle characters are disappearing. How femininity is looked down upon, and how kindness is considered “weak”. Hating someone is easy, but choosing to love…that’s where true strength comes in.


I want more characters like Cinderella. I want characters who inspire me to rise up and live in “gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.”


And that’s why I believe Cinderella is a good heroine.



~ ~ ~


ALL RIGHT, GUYS. This was probably my most opinionated post to date. (I hope you didn’t mind. But Cinderella and this issue has been on mind since I was like…5 or something, so. This post was bound to explode out of me eventually.) Which means I’m now dying to hear YOUR opinion. (I don’t bite, I promise.) What do you think about Cinderella and heroines and this day and age of not having Cinderella-like protagonists anymore? I WANT TO HEAR ALL YOUR THOUGHTS. (Also, important here, who else thought the live action Cinderella movie was complete and utter perfection???)


P.S. If you did actually like this post, back in April I did a post about my thoughts on the Beauty and the Beast story. Who knows? Maybe I’ll turn this into a whole Christine’s-opinions-on-fairytales blog series. Because…I really love fairytales and have a lot of opinions apparently.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

10 (Not as Well Known) Fantasy Books To Add To Your TBR



Yes, it is Saturday and not Monday. BUT DON’T WORRY. I haven’t completely lost my mind. (Though I usually am doing good if I even know what day of the week it is…) I’m purposely posting my weekly post a couple of days early. Becaaaause… Today is the 63rd birthday of the publication of The Fellowship of the Ring! To celebrate and to end The Silmarillion Awards you may have seen sweeping the blogosphere this month, Jenelle Schimdt and many others are throwing a big fantasy celebration today in which we can rave about Tolkien and/or fantasy on our blogs or anywhere on social media! Thus the Saturday-instead-of-Monday post.


Last year I did a post on what Tolkien means to me, and around the same time also posted about how fantasy is infinite and why I love to write it. I didn’t want to repeat myself, sooo I decided to go in an entirely different direction this year.


Instead, I’m going to pile up everyone's TBRs (“to-be-read piles” if you aren’t sure what I’m talking about) with delightful fantasy books. Because it’s not like your piles are already so large they’re probably going to crush you any day now. Nooo. You need even more books.


YOU’RE WELCOME.


I’ve purposely chosen to not list the over popular books, because, well, you all already know about Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Peter Pan, etc. (Though if you haven’t read those then WHY ARE YOU READING MY BLOG??? GO READ THOSE BOOKS INSTEAD.) Annnd I would list Howl’s Moving Castle but I’m pretty sure I manage to squeeze my utter unhealthy love for that book in every post I write, so… I’ll try to stick to some I may not have mentioned here before.


There are so many amazing books in the world, and as hard as we try, we don’t always know about all of them. Thus I’ve chosen some not quiiite as well-known and/or pretty obscure books to share. Because some books just deserve more love than they get! I’m also making this a variety of different types of stories so there will (hopefully) be something for everyone.


(And because I’m nice, all titles link to their GoodRead’s pages.)


. . .

 

THE BEAST OF TALESEND
By Kyle Robert Shultz


I just read this a few weeks ago and OH MY GRACIOUS, GUYS. THIS BOOK.

Imagine a 1920s detective story set in another world where fairytales is the world’s history instead of boring politics. Then add a grumpy detective who is determined that fairytales aren’t actually real, a mad girl who happens to have magic, and the grumpy detective’s happy-go-lucky brother all working together to stop a crime lord from ruining the world. And there you have this story! I KNOW, RIGHT?


It was seriously one of the most unique and FUN settings I’ve ever read. AND THE HUMOR. This book is chock full of hilarious mishaps. But it’s also just fascinating! I loooove 1920s detective settings. I always have. So add that in a fantasy world and you make A VERY HAPPY CHRISTINE.


Oh, and did I mention this was a BEAUTY AND THE BEAST RETELLING???? Because YES. It’s probably my favorite B&B retelling to date!


Just…just read this story.

 

BEAUTY
By Robin McKinley


This probably isn’t all that obscure, but I never really see anyone talk about it? SO HERE I AM TALKING ABOUT IT.


I’ll be honest, I haven’t read this in…probably a decade or so? o.O BUT. I do remember absolutely loving it.


This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling as well (I’m obsessed, okay?). But what’s kind of neat about it is…it’s not exactly a retelling but more a novelization of the very short original Beauty and the Beast story. It’s like the actual story but lengthened and elaborated into a full novel. Which I thought was fantastic! Because I, for one, always wish fairytales were longer than like…3 pages. Not to mention wish they were sooometimes a bit more logical. Heh. So with Beauty, you get just that! The Beauty and the Beast story in a lengthened, logical format. Not to mention it has this slightly dark, chilling feel which I love. Especially for fairytales.


If you’re a fan of the Beauty and the Beast story or just dark fairytales in general, I’d definitely recommend this one!

 

BONES OF FAERIE
By Janni Lee Simner


I had never heard of this, but one day my best friend and I were secondhand bookstore shopping (like we do) when she found it and thought it looked intriguing. She read it right away and then proceeded to yell at me to read it as well (like good bookworm friends do). So I did. And then I understood why she demanded I read it.


This book was fascinating. I read the whole thing in one day (something I sadly can’t do much anymore these days, but I could not put it down!).


What absolutely made this book shine was the worldbuilding. The gist is, faerie folk came into the world and there was this huge war between humans and faeries, and it devastated both sides. So now people are living without much technology and lots of the world is taken over by faeries. (Such as trees that come alive and try to eat people, and all sorts of fun.) The world just had SO. MUCH. EPICNESS. I was blown away by the worldbuilding.


Honestly, the story itself was almost too simple for the huge, fascinating world it was set in. It’s mainly a story of a girl going on a little quest to save her village. And it’s good. But, it also was so simplistic. I wanted this humongous, epic series to go with this world. (Though it is a trilogy and I haven’t read the other two books yet, but I think they stick with the simple storyline as far as I can tell.)


Still, the story was fun, the writing beautiful, and the world so dangerous and creepy and intriguing. Fair warning though, it is quite a dark book. It’s not exactly the feel-good book of the year. There’s a smidge of domestic abuse, and, if I remember right, a guy isn’t dressed in one scene. But otherwise it was clean and fine.


I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who loves evil, creepy fae and chillingly dark and unique stories.

 

A DRAGON’S GUIDE TO THE CARE AND FEEDING OF HUMANS
By Laurence Yep & Joanne Ryder


This one is a bit different because it’s intended for a much younger audience. BUT THAT’S NEVER STOPPED ME FROM READING A BOOK BEFORE. #NeverGrowUp And, come on, look at that title! Do you seriously think I’d pass up a book with that title? I THINK NOT.


The story follows Miss Drake, a rather disgruntled but perfectly ladylike dragon, and her new "pet", the clever but reckless Winnie. It’s set in our world but where dragons and all sorts of magical creatures and things exist. Just no one knows it because the magical creatures are good at disguising themselves. Such as Miss Drake can shapeshift into a human. (GIMME A SHAPESHIFTING DRAGON ANY DAY.)


Since this is juvenile fiction, the storyline was pretty straightforward, but really, it added to the charm of the story. And, unlike a lot of books meant for a young audience, this one did not skimp on character development. Miss Drake and Winnie’s relationship grows throughout the story. And there was even some emotional depth as they both had to deal with losses in their lives.


The whole thing was absolutely precious and fun. AND THE ENDING. The ending was PERFECTION.


If I had children, I’d totally be reading this out loud to them. But hey, even in my 20s I adored it. I think everyone occasionally needs a cozy, juvenile read now and again. This one is perfect for that.

 

DRAGON SLIPPERS
By Jessica Day George


I read this book years ago and it became an instant fave. It’s just FUN. It takes a ton of fairytale cliches and flips them over. Such as the damsel in distress refusing help from the knight in shining armor and leaving the dragon’s den herself. XD


Our main character, Creel, is not a force to be reckoned with. BUT she is not a warrior. Instead, she escapes mayhem using her wits, and she’s a seamstress. That’s her thing, she loves to sew, and makes gorgeous dresses and things. I loved how we had a heroine who was both strong and yet still feminine.


The whole story itself is such a fun ride. We go from dragon dens to quaint dress shops to castles and everything in between. And the spin on the dragons themselves was my FAVE. Instead of hoarding gold and jewels like everyone expects, these dragons each hoard something different. One collects slippers, another collects dogs…like, live dogs. Yes. A dragon with a brood of dogs, it’s the BEST. Each dragon has their own interest! There’s just so much fun stuff going on!


This story is for all those who enjoy light, fun, and unexpected fairytales. (Also I remember liking the sequel Dragon Flight just as much. I haven’t read the third book yet BUT I NEED TO.)

 

ENTWINED
By Heather Dixon


All right, so I kinda think everyone has heard of this book. I don’t think it’s obscure at all. But I had to add it to the list juuuust in case someone out there hasn’t read it. BECAUSE EVERYONE MUST READ THIS BOOK.


This is a 12 Dancing Princesses retelling (which is my 2nd favorite fairytale after Beauty and the Beast #FunFact), and probably my favorite fairytale retelling I’ve ever read. THAT’S HOW GOOD IT IS.


The thing about a lot of 12DP stories is it can get overwhelming because there are essentially 12 main characters. But this book magically balanced every single princess perfectly while still giving them each their own personality, and not even confusing the reader on who was who!


The world was fantastic, the magic system was one of my favorites, and the VILLAIN. Ooooh, the villain. Literally one of my top favorite villains of ever. He was CREEPY. But…just…AGH. THAT VILLAIN.


The whole story was just gorgeous and so vivid. I could see everything. Sometimes I’d forget I was even reading. It all felt so real. Each and every character was lovable in their own way, the storyline kept me glued to the page, and the writing made me jealous of its pure gorgeousness. It had a slight dark feel which, as we’ve established, is my favorite for fairytales. And yet, at the same time, it had a ton of light and downright hilarious moments. It was the perfect balance! I honestly don’t think I had a single complaint with this story. And, let me tell you, that does not happen often! This is literally one of my most favorite stories in existence.


BUT. As I mentioned, the villain is soooo creepy. There’s a couple of very chilling scenes and use of dark magic from the villain. I’d recommend this for a slightly older audience (I’d say 15 or 16+) because of that.

 

THE PECULIAR
By Stefan Bachmann


For all you steampunk lovers, this one’s for you!


One day someone brought this to the secondhand bookstore I work at and it looked so intriguing—a steampunk world with fairies? YES PLEASE—I just had to buy it. (Perks of working at a bookstore—first dibs.) I was not disappointed in my purchase!


This one actually sorta kinda reminded me of Bones of Faerie in that there’s a constant feud between humans and faeries (apparently I’m totally in love with the fairies vs. humans storyline???), the worldbuilding is some of the best I’ve ever seen, buuut the storyline seemed a smidge too simple for the epic world. BUT STILL. The plot was still EPIC, even though I feel like it could have been even bigger. (But I’m super picky in that I want a huge, epic, complex storyline so…this is probably just a Christine problem.)


The feel of this story is what really drew me in. It’s so very steampunkish but with all manner of weird fairy folk (TWO OF MY FAVORITE THINGS), and it just felt so…British! I don’t know, something about the style had this witty, snarky British tone which I absolutely adored. And it also had a slightly creepy but intriguing odd feel to it. To me, it so felt like a Tim Burton movie. Dark and weird but fascinating all rolled into one. (Seriously, Tim Burton needs to pick this one up!)


The characters were all odd and lovable and unique, the setting was just so bizarrely fun, and the strange mystery of it all kept me reading and reading. This book was amazing, guys! BUT, make sure you have the sequel, The Whatnot (which is just as good), on hand because THAT CLIFFHANGER ENDING. *collapses*

 

PETER PAN IN SCARLET
By Geraldine McCaughrean


I think I’m an uneducated porcupine, because I had no idea there was an official sequel to Peter Pan until my bookfairy Celti told me about it. But GUYS. THERE’S AN OFFICIAL SEQUEL TO PETER PAN. Apparently there was some big contest for someone to write the official sequel and Geraldine McCaughrean’s story won. AND WITH GOOD REASON.


At first I was suuuuper dubious about this story. I’m a Peter Pan purist and was not sure about someone other than J.M. Barrie himself writing something canon for Peter Pan. Peter Pan was my CHILDHOOD. What if this book somehow ruined it for me???? I’m not a fan of classics being turned into something new. But I thought I’d at least give this book a try. AND I’M SO GLAD I DID.


Geraldine McCaughrean did an AMAZING job capturing the magic of Peter Pan. Honestly, it felt like J.M. Barrie penned this tale, it really did. It perfectly captured his style, humor, and wonder. And the characters were PERFECTION. Wendy especially was precisely the Wendy I know and love. It didn’t try to change anything, it kept true to the characters (most remakes or sequels of classics destroy the original characters, ugh), and felt respectful toward the original story (again, most remakes/sequels/what-have-you so disrespect the original authors). Honestly, I loved every little thing about it. It was a delight, and I happily accept it as canon to the original Peter Pan story.


So if you’re a rabid Peter Pan fan like me, YOU NEED THIS STORY.

 

SENTINEL
By Jamie Foley


This series is a new obsession of mine because OOOOOH MY GOODNESS. IT’S SO GOOD.


Now, this isn’t exactly heavily fantasy in any way. It’s set in a different world where there are specific mental powers, but otherwise it very much feels like our world—cars, cell phones, and the like reign. BUT IT’S STILL SO GOOD.


How do I even describe this book? It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read. It’s like an apocalyptic setting with mind powers and government conspiracies and military intrigue and immense amounts of action and suspense and snarky characters for daaaaays. IT’S SO UNIQUE.


Not only is it packed full of action (seriously, get ready for nail-biting, heart-pounding scenes), it’s got humor as well and the CHARACTERS. The characters make the story. Namely our main character Darien, whose constant confusion on what was going on made me crack up. And JET. JETTTT. He’s officially now one of my top, TOP favorite characters in existence. Basically the opposite of Darien in that he’s always in control, deadly, and serious, but will certainly sass you to death if the need arises. HE WAS THE BEST. And then you team them up and SKDJLFSJLJDF. HILARIOUSNESS.


And did I mention there’s mind powers? BECAUSE MIND POWERS. Mind powers are amaziiiing! Some people could control your emotions, others could make invisible walls appear, others could hurl a striking force. Just…MIND POWERS.


Something about this book actually reminded me of the Final Fantasy video games. I have no idea if any of you play those games, but if you do, I think you’ll like these books! Just the setting and style reminded me of the unique setting those games have. (And I loooove the Final Fantasy games, so that was a huge plus for me!)


But anyway, if you like apocalyptic worlds with mind powers and action galore, GIVE THIS BOOK A TRY. And the sequel, Arbiter, is just as good (and has even more fantasy-type things in it)! Maybe even better. I don’t knoooow! THEY’RE BOTH AMAZING. And I’m desperate for the third book but it’s not out yet. *writhes on the floor moaning*

 

VALLEY OF THE DRAGONS TRILOGY
By Donita. K. Paul


(Yes, I’m cheating and putting a whole trilogy. Shhhh.)


Okay, so I’m pretty sure most of you have read or heard of The DragonKeeper Chronicles by Donita K. Paul (and if not, IT’S ONE OF MY FAVORITE SERIES GO READ IT.) But I hardly see anyone talk about the spinoff trilogy, Valley of the Dragons. I’d actually highly recommend reading The DragonKeeper Chronicles first. This trilogy kind of felt like it was intended more for people who were already familiar with the complex world, even though this is actually a prequel to The DragonKeeper Chronicles. It just didn’t have quite as much in the way of details and explanations of how the world works (Mrs. Paul’s worldbuilding is #Goals). But anyways. THIS TRILOGY WAS STILL AMAZING. If I’m being honest, I almost enjoyed it just as much as The DragonKeeper Chronicles. Which is saying a LOT.


These books have the most lovable characters and hilarious mishaps and epic plots and the world is amazing. I LOVE THESE BOOKS. I honestly can’t even tell you much about them because the plots are all so crazy and unique and fantastic.


Also DRAGONS. Dragonssss. DRAGONS!!!!!!!! Big dragons and adorable kitten-sized dragons (I’m serious) and just DRAGONS. Mrs. Paul is not shy about dragon-usage with her stories. SO. MANY. DRAGONS.


If you like rollicking fun fantasy stories with hilarious and precious characters, GET THESE BOOKS. They’re clean reads and great for young and old readers alike.


. . .


THERE YA HAVE IT. Some fairytales, some steampunk, some mind powers, some dark fiction, juvenile fiction, DRAGONS. And all fantasy! I hope I’ve succeeded in connecting you to some books you may have not heard about (and made your TBR uncontrollable *cackles*).


And don’t forget we’re celebrating the Fellowship of the Ring’s anniversary today! So if you have something Tolkien and/or fantasy related you want to share via your blog or any other social media outlet, GO FOR IT. And you can use the hashtag #SilmAwards2017. Let’s show our dear fantasy some love!

 

TALK WITH ME. Have you heard of/read any of these books? (Because if so I want to flail with you!!!) Did I list any that piqued your interest? And, IMPORTANT HERE, what are some lesser known fantasy reads you love??? (Because I obviously need even more books out of my hundreds that I don’t have time to read. Eheheheheheh…heh heh…heh. *collapses*)

Monday, July 24, 2017

Beautiful People - All About ME!!! *cue scary music* {July 2017}



Well, guys, for once I’m going to do a Beautiful People post not using one of my characters from Burning Thorns.
I KNOW, RIGHT??? IT’S BEEN AGES. So who am I going to feature today?


*pause for dramatic effect*


MEEEEE!!!!!!!


Now before you think I’ve turned into a complete narcissist, I’m only doing this because the Beautiful People questions for this month are centered around the author. So see? It’s not even my choice.


(But really now, over half this blog is me talking about my writing. Oops?)

 

Visit Sky @ Further Up and Further In or Cait @ Paperfury to join the BP linkup!

 


. . . THE AUTHOR . . .


1.) How do you decide which project to work on?


I pretty much force myself to have only one project at a time and make sure I finish whatever draft of that project I’m on at the time before starting another. It’s the only way I ever do actually finish things. And when I get a new shiny plot bunny I’m dyyyying to write, it gives me drive to finish my current project quickly so I can write that shiny new story idea. Alllll this to say, I work on whichever single project I have at the time.


Now, how do I decide which new project to begin is a whole ‘nother thing. Usually it’s just whatever I’m most excited about at the time, or whatever I feel like needs doing the most. Like right now I plan for my Next Big Project to be more edits on Burning Thorns because I want to start pursuing publishing with it.


Long answer short (but you guys know by now I’m incapable of short answers): I start stories that I’m feeling the most excited about, and don’t begin anything new until the first drafts are done. (I’m reeeally bad about writing a gazillion first drafts and never editing, but I’m working on breaking that habit!)

 

2.) How long does it usually take you to finish a project?


If it’s during NaNoWriMo, I do my best to finish within the month. (My record of finishing a book is 22 days.) But that’s only during NaNo. Any other time of the year it takes multiple months. Anywhere from 3 to 6 months I’d say. And to be clear, I’m talkin’ first drafts! If this means finish finish a project—first draft to fully edited—well…I’ve yet to have a full manuscript completely finished. (I seriously have a first draft addiction, guys! IT’S BAD.)

 

3.) Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?


Get a beverage of some kind, sit in chair, put on novel’s playlist, open word document, put hands on keyboard, and— OH. My phone dinged. *rushes to check email* *somehow finds self on twitter* Oh, oh! I should check to see if there’s any new blog posts on my dashboard. *scrolls through blogs* Wait, wait, I was writing. *puts on serious face* *stares at word document for 0.7 seconds* You know what, I need inspiration. *goes to novel’s storyboard on Pinterest*


*3 hours later*


How did I end up looking at funny Doctor Who memes? I just came on Pinterest to get some inspiration! Wait, it’s nighttime? It was daytime last I looked up from the computer screen! Okay, I’m writing. FOR REAL THIS TIME.


*writes 100 words*


Welp, it’s late. Better go to bed.


Oooookay, that’s a slight exaggeration. Maybe? Really, if I have a goal set in mind for how much I want to write that day or how soon I want to get the novel done, I do actually get busy writing and do my best to avoid distractions. Buuuut, distractions and procrastinating does happen. Heh. The main way I get in the writing mood is to have my novel’s playlist going. Nothing makes me want to write more than music that fits my book. It’s so inspirational!

 

4.) What time of day do you write best?


I write my best at night with all the lights out and everyone else in bed. I can fully immerse in my story then. But I actually don’t write at night very much, to be honest. That’s usually when I just want to chill and read or whatever. Most of my writing happens anywhere between 2 and 5 in the afternoon. Really, those are my main “work” hours. Whether it be writing, blogging, emailing, etc.

 

5.) Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?


I…have…no…idea. o.o I aspire to write as gorgeously as Anne Elisabeth Stengl but HAHAHAHAHA. No. No way on this earth I can capture the enchanting beauty with words she does.


I honestly can’t think of a single author whose style has reminded me of my own. What do you guys think, for any who has read my stories? Does my style remind you of anyone? I’d love to know!

 

6.) Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?


I started because I loved stories and thought it’d be fun to write my own. I was right.


Why does one keep breathing? Because they have to. It’s the same with writing for me. I have this insatiable urge to create stories. Stories are 96% if what goes on inside my head. It controls my life, the way I see the world, everything about me. Writing is my oxygen and I can never stop.

 

7.) What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?


Are we talkin’ which novel was the hardest or what scene?


For the novel, I’d say More Purple than Amethysts, the 3rd book in my Colors of a Dragon Scale series. I had some life stress going on during that NaNo and just wasn’t getting into my story as much as usual. Though I still had some golden moments and look back on that story and time with it with fondness. But I’d definitely say it was my least favorite novel to write. It’s really the only novel I’ve written that doesn’t make me all nostalgic and happy-ful thinking about my time with it. Yes, during the writing process I can get stressed and overwhelmed and exhausted. But, overall, writing a novel is the most magical thing to me and memories of writing each story brings a smile to my face.


As far as scenes…well, I’ve always hated writing fight scenes. Which brings the questions whyyyyy do I always include a gadrillion in my stories? I guess I like torturing myself???? I DON’T KNOW. Just…trying to write a play-by-play of a swordfight hurts my brain.

 

8.) Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?


There are quite a few vague ideas rolling through my head that don’t feel quite ready to tackle. But there’s one in particular.


For probably 3 or so years now I’ve had this Arthurian legend story in my head. (Because, really, I never run out of Arthurian legend stories. I’m a total King Arthur fangirl and there’s sooooo much you can do with those legends.) It takes place in both modern times and King Arthur’s day and involves immortality and Arthur’s returning and running from the authorities on motorcycles and all sorts of weird stuff. But it’ll take place in modern day London as well as King Arthur’s time and, for once, I don’t want it to be a fantasy version of those days. I want to make everything as accurate as possible, including London’s layout, which will require immense amounts of research. Like visiting London and writing the novel while I’m there. But seriously, that’s the dream. And just…stuff. I think it’s a deep book, maybe even a thriller, and I just…don’t foresee myself writing it for a long, looong time. It’ll be completely different from my usual stuff. But one day I really want to. It’s already become special to me, and is pretty vivid in my mind. One of those types of stories where I get snippets of scenes in my head quite often, ya know? It just won’t let me go. So…one day. But for now it’s not ready.


I do have a fairly long ramble of it in my writing journal for safe keeping when it does feel ready though. Juuust in case my useless memory decides to discard it one day…

 

9.) What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?


*scratches head awkwardly*


*crickets chirping*


Eheheheheh.


Okay so…I had big plans for 2017. BIG PLANS. Like get Burning Thorns super edited and have a query letter ready and find some literary agents to send it to and be super active on my blog/instagram/twitter and basically DO ALL THE THINGS. This was going to be the year I actually worked toward being a published author.


………….


I wrote one short story back in February and that’s basically the extent of my writing ALL YEAR. I’ve barely touched Burning Thorns, I took two month long blogging hiatuses (something I haven’t done in 4 YEARS). I’ve just barely even been a writer this year!


But you know what? It’s okay. Because, yes, I wrote an elaborate list of 2017 writing goals, but then God said, “Nope, not this year”. And it’s been good. Great. I’ve had lots of changes going on and exciting things happening, all of which I’ve been able to focus on and soak up instead of being cooped up in my room writing. And, not only that, but I haven’t had a writing break this long for, sheesh, 7 years? o.o It’s really helped me gain perspective on things and grow as a person. And, most importantly of all, it’s made me realize something: I love writing. Yes, not writing has made me realize I love writing.


See, for a while there I was really stressed, even to the point that I wondered if I really wanted to be a writer for the rest of my life. But this break has caused me to see that I can’t survive without writing. The longer I don’t write, the more I want to, the more I miss it, the more stories plague me, begging to be written. As I said before, writing is my oxygen. I needed this break to realize that.


So it’s been good. And I really do plan on returning to writing soon. I’m at the point where I’m about to erupt from lack of story making. But that’s so much better than the stressed out, exhausted mess I was at the beginning of the year.


Moral of the story: Let God interrupt your plans. You’ll thank Him later.


Also, never be ashamed of taking writing breaks. They’re a necessity for writers.


(And wow…that got deep and rambly just for a simple question. SOWWY.)

 

10.) Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!


 

 

. . .

 

Well, there you have it. A peek into my writing life. (Though I suspect you all already knew most of these answers since we’ve already established the fact that I talk about my writing life on this blog way too much.) Do we share any similar writing traits? And have you joined the Beautiful People linkup this month??? (Because, ya know, YOU SHOULD.)

Monday, July 17, 2017

7 Book Character Types I Will Never Tire Of



It happens to all of us.
We pickup a new book, begin reading, and then BAM! a new character pops up on the pages and you’re just like “WELL HELLOOO THERE.”


Normally I’d say instalove is nonsense. Buuut let’s be honest here. With some characters, it takes us rabid readers 0.2 seconds to fall in love with them and call them our baby and send threatening letters to the authors that our Baby must never, ever, ever be harmed even whilst we’re reading about them being tortured and probably dying because the best characters always die.


BEING A BOOKWORM IS HARD OKAY.


But we just keep reading anyway because, ya know, BOOKS. Books bring us precious characters to love and adore and fangirl/boy over and cry about and YES. CHARACTERS. 100% my favorite part about reading and writing and just being a fangirl all around. (Even when character deaths leave a permanent scar in my heart.)


For all of us, I believe we have specific types of characters we tend to gravitate toward. The kind that, no matter what, you’re going to love them and their book. ALWAYS. Who cares if the plot is dumb and all the other characters make watching paint dry an exciting activity??? This book has THIS TYPE of character in it so NATURALLY YOU LOVE IT.


I have lots of types of characters I love and adore (really, it’s probably getting unhealthy). But today I’m going to list 7 types that make my fangirl heart putter and give me an uncontrollable urge to hug the book and yell at everyone in the universe to read it.

 

. . . THE ANTIHEROES . . .


If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, YOU KNEW THIS WAS COMING. I’m not exactly quiet about my undying love for antiheroes. *cough* BUT THEY’RE SO INTERESTING.


Antiheroes are those characters who aren’t exactly bad, but definitely not good either. They’re usually out for their own gain, and don’t care how they get it. Sometimes they’ll work for the bad guys, sometimes they’ll help the good ones out, but they’re nooot exactly in the business of saving the world.


So why do I love them so much? Well, for one thing, they’re such an intriguing (and sometimes scary) picture of the human race. Usually, at some point, the antihero has to make a choice: To fight for good or join the dark side. And isn’t that how it is for all of us? We can’t all live in the “in between” forever. We’re either for God for against Him.


I’m also head over heels for any type of big character arc, and antiheroes pretty much always have one. My faaaaaavorite kind are the antiheroes who start out mostly bad but end up joining the heroes in the end. SO MUCH SQUEALING. SO MUCH HAPPINESS. Though the characters who at first are sorta good but then slowly spiral into villiany also greatly intrigue me. (Just not if it’s like a protagonist or something. Don’t get me wrong, I do not condone villainy for our heroes. Pleeease give me heroes that are good and wholesome, people!)


Examples:

Thorne (The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer)
Thorne is kiiiinda an antihero. (And I’m pretty sure you’re all aware of my utter and unashamed love for him. <3)


Damien
(Chasing Shadows and Defying Shadows by Ashley Townsend)

He definitely had some antihero-ness going on annnd, again, I loved him so much.


(I want to say Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender but that’s a TV show and I was trying to stick to book characters… BUT ZUKO IS LIKE MY FAVORITE OF EVER SO YES.)


There’s probably one billion others but antiheroes always = spoilers for some reason so I’m trying to be careful here… (Also most of my favorites are from TV shows for some reason??? Come on, books, gimme more antiheroes!)

 

. . . THE QUIET, SWEET
SPIRITED BABIES . . .


You know those precious babies who may not be found on the front lines of battle carrying a sword larger than their bodies, but they will slay their enemies with their pure GOODNESS. I LOVE THEM. The healers, the encouragers. The ones who choose to sit in the background, but whose love and support strengthens everyone. They may not have a lot to say, but when they do speak, it’s always a kind word to lift one up. At first appearances, they seem weak, cowardly, but they’re truly the strongest of anyone. Not through brute force, but from the peace and kindness they hold inside.


Side note: These are often the characters who cause antiheroes to turn to the good side. Give me a dark, broody, broken antihero guy and pure and gentle precious gal and I WILL SHIP IT SO HARD.


Examples:

Bonnie (The Dragons in Our Midst/Oracles of Fire series by Bryan Davis)
Literally her sweet and kind spirit causes like EVERYONE IN THE SERIES to be better people and just asdkjf;lksjd;lfjksdf. She is #Goals.


Sapphira
(also The Dragons in Our Midst/Oracles of Fire series by Bryan Davis)
Only my FAVORITE character from those books. She’s gentle and kind but also probably the strongest character I know. Period. She suffered so much but kept her sweet spirit throughout it all. I LOVE HER.

 

. . . THE FUN-LOVING ONES . . .


These are the characters who make you laugh and smile even while the world is spiraling into doom and despair. The joke-crackers, the lighthearted ones. BUT they’re not just there for comedy relief. (I can’t stand empty characters who purely exist to make you laugh. Give me some depth, people! Actually Victoria @ Wanderer's Pen did a post recently on how comic relief characters should and should not be written. Everyone should read it! It was my thoughts EXACTLY.)


Usually these characters are loyal to a fault, and can find joy and hope where it seems like no joy exists. They’re also great at making really cheesy puns even while the world is ending.


Examples:

Walter (The Dragons in Our Midst/Oracles of Fire series by Bryan Davis)
(These books have a lot of amazing characters, okay???) Walter is the protagonist’s best friend and has all these traits I named—hope, joy, loyalty. But he also is always there to crack a super lame joke when you need one the most. And we love him for it.


Blaze
(Twinepathy by C.B. Cook)
THIS BOY. GAH. He’s fun, sweet, and will make hilarious comments while saving your life. Everyone should have a Blaze!


Kaylee
(The Angel Eyes trilogy by Shannon Dittemore)
Kaylee is Brielle’s (the protagonist) best friend, and her lightheartedness and witty jokes balance out Brielle’s more serious persona perfectly. Kaylee was one of my favorite parts of these books. She was hilarious!


I’m realizing this type of character tends to always be the best friend to the protagonist. But that makes sense. When you’re saving the world and nearly dying like every three pages, you need a best friend to crack a joke now and again, am I right? I’m alllll for the fun-loving best friends!

 

. . . COCKY DUDES WITH
HEARTS OF GOLD . . .


Wit. Sarcasm. Constantly praising their own skills and good looks. But, deep down, will sacrifice everything to save their loved ones. YOU KNOW THE CHARACTERS. These are like my top, TOP favorite characters in existence. Like excuse me while I go put on a wedding dress ‘cause we’re gettin’ married. Annnd they just happen to be antiheroes quite a lot, soooo… *wriggles eyebrows* (I have a problem, I know.)


BUT SERIOUSLY. I LOVE THEM. These guys usually always have some sort of witty sarcastic remark to throw around at every corner. And sometimes they seem like the most selfish beings alive. But, next thing you know, they’re cuddling a kitten or leaping into battle to save your life even though it musses up their perfect hair. What’s there not to love??? I’m 99.9% likely to adore a book if it has this type of character.


Examples:

Eanrin (The Tales of Goldstone Wood books by Anne Elisabeth Stengl)
Who doesn’t love this silver-tongued, snarky, full of himself hero? I mean, really! He’s heroic, makes music, and still leaves plenty of time in his busy schedule for an hourly sarcastic comment or so. Perfection.


Thorne
(The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer)

YES I KNOW I ALREADY LISTED HIM BUT THOOOORNE. He’s like the epitome of this type of character.


Howl
(Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones)
LITERALLY MY FAVORITE CHARACTER IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE. Period. Howl has it all. Good looks, wit, sarcasm for daaaays. And, at first, you think he’s the most selfish, exasperating jerk to exist. But deep down just… LDSJFLJSL:JDLKJFD. HOWL.


(Those are three of my most favoritest character to exist. I told you I love this type of character.)

 

. . . NICE BUT TAKE-NO-NONSENSE GALS . . .


Jut like the cocky-but-heart-of-gold characters are my favorite fictional guys, these types are probably my favorite fictional girls.


Now I’m not talkin’ the cold-shoulder, super tough girls that seem to be the only type of protagonists we get in YA books these days. (*rolls eyes* Don’t even get me started.) No. These are the girls who are actually very kind and good-hearted, but if you’re acting out they ain’t going to lie down and take it. They can gently care for your wound and sass you at the same time. #Skills They are often prone to having a temper, but their anger is usually righteous anger, because their heart is in the right place. Think Ellie May from The Andy Griffith Show. She was one of the sweetest characters on the show, but she could chew Andy out like nobody’s business. She was great. XD (Yes, I know I said I was just going to list book character. Shhhh.)


Sweet. Spunky. Sassy. These are the types of females I love to find in my books.


Examples:

Imraldera (The Tales of Goldstone Wood books by Anne Elisabeth Stengl)
This amazing woman manages to be both soft-spirited and spunky at the same time. She has a loving, kind nature, but can totally put Eanrin in his place when he needs it.


Cimorene
(The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede)

If anybody is spunky and temperamental, it’s Cimorene. She’s not someone you want as your enemy, but if she’s your friend, you’re set for life.


Sophie
(Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones)

(Like you’re even surprised both Howl and Sophie made it into a post about my favorite character types.) SOPHIE THOUGH. Sophie is certainly kind and wants to help people, but DO NOT make her angry. Calling Sophie spunky is putting it mildly. She’s the perfect match for Howl. *grins*


Annabeth
(The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan)

Who doesn’t love Annabeth’s wit and temper? She’s a sweet gal, but brace yourself for the sarcasm that comes with her.


I’m realizing this is a very common type of female character because I keep thinking of examples. And I’m 1000% okay with that. Give me ALL the sweet, spunky girls!

 

. . . SUPER SHY & AWKWARD CINNAMON ROLLS . . .


Remember how I said the last two types were my favorites of all time? I LIED. Okay, that’s not true. (Yes, I just lied about lying. #Lie-ception) My heart is big enough for MULTIPLE FAVORITES, okay???


BUT THE SHY, AWKWARD CHARRIES. *all the heart-eyes*


Where everyone else is off throwing out battle cries and snarking each other to death, these precious babies are just trying to not trip over their shoelaces. They’re the ones wondering why oh why there must be so many adventures in the world. Can’t we all just get along by staying home reading books and politely ignoring each other?


Every time I come across these characters I want to hug and squeeze them and call them George. THEY’RE JUST TOO PRECIOUS FOR THIS WORLD. Or…whatever world their books happen to be set in.


Examples:

Peeta (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins)
PEETA DECORATES CAKES. He doesn’t want to be sent off to murder teenagers. Just give him a blank cake, a tube of icing, and a quiet setting and he’s happy. HE IS PRECIOUS. Can we all just give this baby a hug please? (Although technically Peeta is neither shy nor awkward since his whole thing was being a good speaker but…he still somehow fits this category????)


Cress
(The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer)

Cress is nearly tied with Sophie as my favorite female character. THAT IS HOW MUCH I LOVE HER. She’s nerdy and adorable and jumps at her own shadow and makes awkward squeaking noises whenever her crush is around. TOO. MUCH. PRECIOUS.


Fun fact: This also happens to be my TOP favorite character type to write. Iavin from my Colors of a Dragon Scales series has this type of personality and he’s my favorite POV to write to date.

 

. . . WHIMSICALLY
CHAOTIC BEANS . . .


There are some characters that defy all categories, which, in turn, creates a category all on its own. YES IT MAKES PERFECT SENSE. (Please just smile and nod and give me the illusion I’m make sense all the time even though I never am.) These little beans can be described by one word: Nonsense. They’re whimsical and strange and sometimes cause confusion and disasters wherever they go, but you’re drawn to them anyway. They’re the types that make you think, “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY’RE DOING BUT I LOVE IT.”


I loooove whimsically nonsensical characters. LOVE. They may be my favorites of all. (I’m aware I’ve claimed every single one of these as my top favorites. I HAVE INDECISION PROBLEMS ALL RIGHT.)


If you still have noooo idea what type of character I’m talking about, perhaps my examples will make all things clear…


Examples:

Peter Pan (Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie)
You really can’t get more chaotically whimsical than Peter Pan. He’s the boy who never grows up. The one who spends all his days playing games and forgets everything and hangs out with fairies and causes trouble everywhere he goes. And we love him.


The Mad Hatter
(Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll)

Do I even need to explain this one???? I adore every version of the Mad Hatter in existence. Always.


Kale
(The DragonKeeper Chronicles by Donita K. Paul)

Kale is sliiightly more lowkey but I’d still say she has some whimsical chaos going. She’s very free-spirited. She comes from some pretty…off the wall parents (i.e. her mother tells her to wear pink in battle because it’ll catch the enemy off guard <---My hero right there), so she really can’t help but have some odd genes.


Howl
(Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones)

Did you really think I’d only list Howl once? HA. But seriously now. Howl is such a strange person. Good luck trying to predict anything he’ll do or say next. And saying he causes chaos wherever he goes is an understatement. (Let’s not forget the time he covered his entire house in green slime…from a temper-tantrum.)


(Honorable mention goes to the Doctor from Doctor Who even though I keep telling myself to stick to book characters and failing miserable so here we are. But, come on, he’s the DOCTOR. He should make a cameo in everything in existence!)


. . .


As you can see, I’m very fond of a looooot of types of characters. If I hear tell there’s one of these characters in a book I’m all TAKE MY MONEY. I MUST HAVE IT. And this is not by any means an exhaustive list. AT ALL. If I listed all the types of characters I love we’d be here until the end of the century. I’m already thinking of types I can’t believe I didn’t add, but this post is getting as long as the yellow brick road. Sooo…perhaps there will be a part two someday???? ‘Cause you guys know I can talk about fictional characters ‘til the end of time. IT’S MY FAVORITE SUBJECT.


But I’m stopping now, I am!

 


YOUR TURN. Tell me one (or 12 billion) of your types of favorite characters to find in books. Do we share any? Or, on the flipside, did I list any you particularly dislike??? (I promise you won’t hurt my feelings! Who knows, I may even do a post on character types I don’t like sometime…?) Let us discuss our favorite fictional babies!!!

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