Sunday, December 25, 2011

Celebrating the Ultimate Gift

Shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, getting together with friends, fellowshipping with family—what a busy time this is! And today is the day to celebrate. Yet amongst all the busyness, it is easy to forget what we truly are celebrating for.

For unto you is born this day
in the city of
David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord

Under the trees, various sized boxes wrapped with pretty paper and fancy bows sit awaiting to be opened. Yet nothing compares to the gift our Lord and Savior has given us.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes,
lying in a manger.

Though the gifts wrapped in paper with smiling snowmen and ice skating penguins might be appealing to the eye, our True Gift was instead wrapped in swaddling clothes and given to us out of Ultimate Love. Such love that our very Lord humbled Himself to that of a human babe all for us.

And suddenly there was with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly host praising God,
and saying, Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men.

It is not the earthly gifts, baked goodies, decorated trees, or even family we are celebrating this time of year. It is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Ultimate Gift He has given us. His love for us is abundant, infinite! He deserves our celebration.

Glory to God in the highest!

Nativity Scene

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Princess Bride Book Review

The Princess Bride Book CoverSynopsis
A Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure

As Florin and Guilder teeter on the verge of war, the reluctant Princess Buttercup is devastated by the loss of her true love, kidnapped by a mercenary and his henchmen, rescued by a pirate, forced to marry Prince Humperdinck, and rescued once again by the very crew who absconded with her in the first place. In the course of this dazzling adventure, she’ll meet Vizzini—the criminal philosopher who’ll do anything for a bag of gold; Fezzik—the gentle giant; Inigo—the Spaniard whose steel thirsts for revenge; and Count Rugen—the evil mastermind behind it all. Foiling all their plans and jumping into their stories is Westley, Princess Buttercup’s one true love and a very good friends of a very dangerous pirate.


The Princess Bride has been a beloved tale for many years, becoming an extremely popular movie and loved by countless people.

The original book was written by a man named S. Morgenstern though did not become popular until William Goldman got his hands on it. One day, when William Goldman was sick in bed, his father began reading him this book. Goldman had no idea how it would change his life. Many, many years later, having always let his father read this book to him and never picked it up himself, he finally did so. He was most surprised to find the actual story having much more boring and long material than his father ever read to him. It was then he realized that all those years, his father skipped through the boring stuff and went right into the action. William Goldman decided he wanted to do the same for others. With great effort, he made The Princess Bride what we know today, an abridged version of S. Morgenstern’s classic. The “Good Parts” Version, as it is often called.

Before the real story begins, William Goldman goes into a long explanation of all this. I, personally, found it completely unnecessary and do not understand why he could not just give a quick paragraph or two how it came to be. I would not have minded so much if it were not for his actual story. You see, it seems Goldman does not have…erm…good morals. Thus, his long story of how he came to discover what The Princess Bride was like and how he abridged it had some things in it that seemed very inappropriate and could have been entirely avoided.

When I picked up The Princess Bride anxious to read this hilarious classic, I did not expect to have to read William Goldman’s biography first, which is what it seemed like it was.

Once you do get into the story though, his “biography” does not end quite yet. Throughout the entire book he cuts into the story to explain parts he took out during the abridgement process and such things. I did find these parts rather interesting but, again, he does not always attempt to keep everything he says clean which really irked me.

I find it funny though that throughout it all he is always saying how Morgenstern went on and on about boring points, yet when Goldman begins to explain things he goes into ridiculous detail and you begin to wonder if you will ever get back to the story sometimes. He seems to make the same mistakes Morgenstern did even though the original idea was to fix Morgenstern’s mistakes. It is odd. Of course, I am not one to complain about rambling. Heh. Still, if you are veering far away from the actual story with your ramblings, that is when it is time to stop.

If you do decide to read this book, I suggest just at least skipping his beginning introduction entirely and going right to the actual story.

The Princess Bride starts out with the main character, Buttercup, at her farm with her parents. Here, after some time, she discovers she has fallen head-over-heels for their farm boy, Westley. Having also loved Buttercup for many years and overjoyed to learn she feels the same way about him, Westley goes off to America in order to raise money and buy a house for them. Not too long after, Buttercup goes into complete devastation to learn her love was murdered out on sea by the Dread Pirate Roberts. She vows to never love again.

Some time after this, Prince Humperdinck, having to find a bride soon, seeks her out and she agrees to marry him.

The story really picks up when Buttercup is captured by a mercenary and his henchmen, Ingo and Fezzik. Buttercup is whisked into a dangerous adventure as her captors drag her away and a mysterious man in black pursue them.

The entire story is told in an utterly humorous way. Some lines had me very much laughing out loud. Morgenstern was a genius when it came to humor. I found it just as ridiculous and amusing as the movie.

If you have seen the movie, you will find it actually stayed mostly true to the book. The book, as books usually are, was much more detailed than the movie and had a few minor differences, but it was very close. Very often the scenes would be word to word from scenes in the movie. This is one of the first times I’ve ever seen a movie portrayed so closely to the book. That might have had something to do with William Goldman being the screen writer for the movie though, that is apparently what he does more than novel writing.

All in all, I found the plot to be very entertaining, full of high adventure and true love just as it says.

Like I said before, the parts where Goldman is speaking to the reader is not always clean. He even occasionally used a bad word here and there. Not often, but they were there. The entire book would have been so much better and more appropriate for a younger audience if he had not said some of the things he did. I was extremely displeased.

As far as the actual story, it stayed mostly clean, though there were some things that I did not like. One line in particular about God really set me off. It was at least the bad guy that said it, I would have not tolerated it if one of the protagonists had. Still though, I was not happy about it. I remember one bad word Inigo says near the end. There might have been another, but I do not recall.

One thing I did not like was throughout the whole story a main theme was how important it is for women to be pretty. Buttercup was apparently the prettiest girl in all the world and felt she needed to be for Westley to love her. I found this theme very disturbing. Beauty should never have anything to do with true love. Buttercup obsessed with being beautiful for Westley. I do not want young girls reading this and feeling that they must do the same to find true love. We love people for who they are, not what they look like.

Another thing was how woman were portrayed in the story. It was somewhat subtle and I might have been getting the wrong idea, but I just kind of kept seeing these little sentences that made me think Morgenstern did not think highly of women. I cannot quite pinpoint that or come up with an example, there was just something there that I did not like.

The book also had some rather violent scenes. Which, personally, I did not think really fit with the writing. I know it is a tale of “high adventure” but it is also funny and does not really take itself seriously. So throwing in some quite violent scenes in that seemed a little out of place to me. That was my own opinion though. I do not really mind violence as far as books are concerned, but I think a couple of things might be somewhat disturbing for younger eyes.

Now I am making out this book to be horrible. It really was not all that bad (at least the story part, Goldman’s own “biography” at the beginning, one part in particular, I certainly did not like), there was just some things I really wished had not been said or in it. It is still a very good book though.

You’ve got humor, action, romance, evil plots, loveable characters, and all around excitement. It really is quite an entertaining read.

With the mention of lovable characters, let’s move on to that.
The characters in this story are really what make it fun.

The first character you see is Buttercup. Though she is one of the main characters, she is actually one of my least favorite. I still like her, but the others outshone her considerably. Also, I could never really pinpoint what kind of person she was. She seemed contradictory at times. Still, she was a rather brave woman and loved deeply, so I think she had good character inside her.

Next you have Westley. I love Westley dearly. He risked his whole life and will do absolutely anything to save his love. He is smart, strong, loved deeply, and an all around great person. There were a couple of parts though where he addresses Buttercup in a rather bossy manner, which also seemed out of character, but he still proved to be a fine protagonist.

Inigo and Fezzik were my absolute favorite characters. Inigo is the greatest swordsman alive, having become so because his father was killed and he had trained the way of the sword ever since in order to one day avenge his father. Fezzik is a lovable giant who does not posses much…brain power. He has a kind heart and tender soul to make up for it though. He and Inigo are dear friends and will do anything for one another. They made quite a team and all my favorite parts were the ones about those two.

Then you have Vizzini (the mercenary who captured Buttercup with the help of Inigo and Fezzik), Prince Humperdinck, and Count Rugen, all three the antagonists of the story. They all proved to be good at being evil, but also humorous in their own way. I liked each of them (as villains that is).

The story does not really focus on huge character building. It really does not focus on anything deep. It is just a ridiculous tale with ridiculous people. That is what all the characters are, ridiculous. And I loved every minute of it.

I barely have any complaints as far as the characters go.

Appropriate Ages
As you have probably gathered, there are some mentions in this book that are probably not best for a younger age group. As well as some violence. There was also this one scene where Buttercup had a few horrific dreams that were somewhat disturbing, dreams though they were.

I’m trying to figure out what age group Morgenstern meant for it to be in the first place, and, honestly, I am not really sure. I am pretty positive adults will like this story if they are looking for something humorous as well as adventurous. Teens will certainly like it. I would not go any younger than that though.

Perhaps around 14 or 15 would be the youngest I would go. It really just all depends.

With everything aside, The Princess Bride really was an enjoyable read that got me quite a few laughs. I loved the off the wall humor Morgenstern threw on every page while also providing a very entertaining story.

I deeply wish it was just the story without Goldman’s constant little commentaries throughout it. Without that it was almost clean, but still not quite to my liking.

Still, I have to admit, it was a fantastic story and I think Morgenstern had quite an ability to weave a fun tale and Goldman did a good job giving us just the “good parts”.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Green with Env…er…Excitement!


That is how I’ve felt today since 4 PM. Utterly ecstatic. Why? Because NaNoWriMo is officially OVER!

Ending this month at 100,050 words and I am finished with NaNoWriMo 2011.

NaNoWriMo 2011 Winner Badge

Remember how I said I was going to try to write at least 2k words absolutely every single day this month? Well, I did it! I’ve never written every single day for 30 days in a row before. I am quite excited.

On the NaNo site they have little word count widgets you can put on your website or forums signature or wherever you want to show off your progress. One of the widgets is a little calendar that colors in each day. If you write a lot that day it will be green or if you did bad it will turn red. From the beginning of the month, I thought it would be really cool to have every day of the calendar green, thus making me decide to write 2k every single day.

Well, here is my little calendar…

NaNo 2011 Calendar Counter

I did it. And goodness is it a relief to have that done.

I’m speaking like I did not enjoy doing NaNo. What an absurd thought. I had a blast!

*takes a moment to reflect over the crazy month*

The first few days were a little rough. I was having a much harder time getting into it than I did my first time last year. After the first week though, my story began to grow easier to write and more interesting, making me enjoy myself more. By the twelfth day I found myself hitting 50k and, as you saw, spinning merrily in the winner’s circle. The third week proved to be one of the best. My story was really into full swing and for some reason I felt this great passion and was enjoying nearly every minute I wrote. This last week was much the same, except, unlike most of the month, it was a rather calm week for some reason. Most days I wrote 3k and just really enjoyed myself. Then today, the very last day, I wrote my 2k words then felt like dancing. It was over. I made my goal, had a lovely month, and could now relax.

So, what now?

The exact same thing I’ve been doing.


It is true. I have yet to reach the end of my novel. I am getting there and hope to make it within this next month or sometime in January. I want to finish it soon and hopefully get back to editing another one. Now, though, I can just relax and not feel pressured to write every day. When someone asks me to do something with them I can finally answer with an, ”Okay!” instead of, ”But…I have to write.” Which is what I’ve been saying almost every day this month. Hurray for freedom!

Still, it has been a fantastic month and I do not regret doing it a bit. I very much look forward to a third year of  another insane month of writing. That’s right, NaNoWriMo 2012, I’m looking at you.

But first…

Sleep. For NaNo allows for no such trifle as sleeping.

Favorite Writings of the Day:

Naidren laughed himself. "Nyria is probably the most impatient person in all of Aerigethel," he explained. "She once told me sitting and waiting was the most torturous method of torture in all the world."

"Torturous method of torture?" Rem looked most amused.

Nyria shuffled uncomfortably. "I'm not the best at analogies," she murmured.

I fear it is true. One day Nyria said this gem about Ferrleth the dragon:

Nyria grew serious again. "Just think about it. Ferrleth has the kindest heart of any dragon we know and yet possesses the bravery of a...dragon."

"You know, you are not the best at making analogies."

"Stop it. We are not discussing my ability to compare things."

Oh, Nyria, I do not know what I am to do with you.


Now that NaNo is over I hope to talk about more interesting things on this blog. I know reading about my NaNo updates has probably been a most torturous method of torture indeed. Hopefully my failure of a brain will work hard and come up with some interesting posts. If not, well…thinking is overrated anyways. Winking smile

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving – The Lord’s Blessings Abound

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Whenever this time of year starts rolling around and we begin making plans for Thanksgiving, I cannot help but run through my mind all the things with which the Lord has blessed me. I am a constant complainer. I easily get dissatisfied with things. I can be so spoiled. Then I stop and realize what all God has really done for me in my life. He has blessed me in unfathomable ways. His love pours out on me everyday, beautifully and endlessly.

And I remember The Cross.

God loves me, you, everyone in the world, so much that He gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Now that is something to be thankful for.

In the rut, busyness, and commonplace things of life, it is easy to forget what the Lord did for us, is doing for us. Every day He is blessing us. Everyday He pours out His love for us. Everyday He shows His ultimate mercy towards us. And yet we often forget.

As we celebrate this holiday with friends and family, let’s take a moment to stop and remember Who blessed us with these people, Who made it where we live in this country, Who provided that beautiful turkey and all that food we are allowed to eat and enjoy, Who gave His life so we can fellowship with Him.

The Lord blesses us everyday.

And I am so thankful.

Thomas Kinkade-Autumn Lane

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Working Muse, Excitement, Flowing Writing…

…I don’t understand.

Just suddenly, a few days ago, my writing became easy and I’m having so much fun doing it. What is happening? Surprised smile

I’ve made a promise to myself to write 2k words every single day this month. To make myself actually do it I always write 2k before I let myself even touch the internet. This is hard…very hard. But it gets the 2k written every time. Unfortunately, I am usually just trying to get those words finished as fast as possible and get on with my life (a.k.a spending the rest of the day on the internet, eheh). But something hit me just the other day, and I do not even know what.

I’ve become so excited about writing. Each morning I wake up and greatly anticipate when I get to start writing that day. Even after I hit those 2k words I want to continue writing more. I’m having so much fun.

Why could this not have happened on November 1st onward?

But I will not complain. I just hope it stays this way until I finish my book. Winking smile

Today I have hit 70k words, which is rather exciting. Unfortunately, I am only a little bit past halfway of my book. But on the not so unfortunate side, my story has hit a point where I think all the rest will be much more exciting and fun to write. I think this is partially why I’ve been having so much fun writing. While I was enjoying writing my story for the first half, this next half proves to be a whole lot more easier and fun to write and, hopefully, will stay that way to the end.

So what are my characters doing? Well, they just finished fighting in a huge battle where my male main character almost died giving his sister, the female main character, hysterics. See? Fun stuff! Heh.

I cannot believe the halfway point of NaNo has come and gone. We are almost there, Wrimo’s, just keep on trekking. Only 11 more days starting tomorrow. November 30th will be here before we even know it. Make those characters happy and write!


…I think my character wish I would stop writing at this point. Whoops.

Favorite Writings of the Day:

Strong arms grabbed Nyria from behind and she tried to push them off. "No, no! I need to help Naidren!" The arms pulled her farther and farther away. "No! Naidren! Naidren!" she screeched. She kicked and pushed and screamed as she was dragged out of the room. Her head began to throb again making her vision grow dark. The last thing she remembered was shrieking out her brother's name as a door closed in front of her, blocking her view of him.

Nothing funny to share I fear. Everything I wrote today was dreadfully dramatic…

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Spinning Merrily in the Winner’s Circle

As of today I am an official NaNoWriMo 2011 winner.

My thoughts?

Spinning Enchanted GIF

 This afternoon I hit 50k words and, to be quite honest, am most ecstatic.

I still plan on writing all month. My goal was to write at least 2k words every day this month, and I plan on sticking to that. Maybe I can just be slightly more relaxed now. Winking smile

Though I’ve been a bit more stressed out than last year’s NaNo, this one thus far has been quite enjoyable. I’ve hit the part in my story that I’ve been waiting for and I think it might be even more fun to write from this point on. My characters have resulted into having pillow fights and chasing chickens though, but, you know, what can you do?

I hope everyone is having a lovely almost first two weeks of this wonderful month, NaNo or not. ^_^

Favorite Writings of the Day:

"Do you always make it a habit of chasing chickens?" Rem asked with amusement.

Nyria smiled up at him. "I don't exactly make it a hobby."

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halfway There and Going Strong

Side Note: I’ve decided I am going to try and update my NaNo progress here on my blog regularly and bore you all with it. Maybe it will help me actually post on this poor, very often neglected blog of mine, and it is initiative to keep writing. Plus, I am never really thinking about much else in November, so I don’t know what other things I can blog about. So you shall be bored with pointless updates this month! Yay!

Despite promising myself I would not go as crazy and spend so, so much of my time writing this NaNo like I did last year, I have been doing it anyway. Still not quite as much as my obsessive insanity last year, but still.

I hit 25k words today marking the halfway point.

Navi Sleep Time
This is not a good thing.

I keep telling myself to stop writing. It is okay if I am not spending absolutely every second of everyday doing it. That I need fresh air and to see my family and do more productive things, but I am always in a bad habit of ignoring myself, and thus I write…and write and write.

Maybe now that I’ve hit halfway I’ll take it more easy. Knowing me though…probably not. I don’t know why I torture myself.

Despite all this, I have been enjoying NaNo. The first couple of days were rather difficult because I was running on practically no sleep and having a hard time getting into it, but now my story has really taken off and I am having a lot of fun. Today I found writing easy and very enjoyable. I’m hoping it will continue that way.

My characters are also behaving a thousand times better than they were the first few days. Maybe they were just reflecting my emotions. Today I have been quite happy and content, and so have they, while the other days I was tired and they grew grumpy. Which makes me think of something I never have before, do our characters often act the way we do on certain days? I suppose our writing might be different depending on our moods, so it would make sense our characters might as well. Something to think about.

The first NaNo weekend is upon us. For all you readers who are doing NaNo, this is the time to really boost those word counts. Weekends are a beautiful thing. So grab that coffee and write!

Hope you all have a very writerly weekend!

Favorite Sentences(s ) of the day:

"I do not think that was the best way to reassure him we are not going to escape," Naidren commented to his sister dryly once Tylvan was gone.

"Well, I do not think keeping us hostage while our cousins are in probably great danger is very dragon riderly of him."

"Dragon riderly?" Naidren repeated, looking at her with amusement.

"Yeah. You know, respectable, helpful, kind. That is how dragon riders supposed to act, and he is not acting dragon riderly at all."

"That is an interesting way of putting it. Or should I say very interestingerly?”

That was much longer than just a sentence or two (maybe I should call it “Favorite Writings of the Day” instead. Hm…), but I could not help sharing it. You know it is bad when your characters start making up words. O.o

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sleep? That Exists in November?

No sleep, little to eat, fingers already crying out for mercy, and eyes literally burning inside their sockets (if their still inside their sockets properly that is).

First day of NaNo equals success!

I stayed up until *cough*2 in the morning*cough* last night because I was determined to write 2kCoffee Cup2 words before I went to bed. I managed it, not easily, but it happened.

I got a later start than I would have liked today, wonder why? *coughity cough* But I had an ideal day for writing the entire time. A lovely Fall day, the house entirely to myself, and my characters screaming at me to really get them going. So I wrote and wrote and wrote and managed to end the day with 7,052 words. My goal was at least 5k today, so I am quite pleased. I was secretly wishing that maybe I would push myself to 10k because last year I made it to 9k the first day, but that is not happening. It is days like this that I wish more than anything I liked coffee. Sleep beckons. Boy does it beckon.


Tired Kitty

Huh? What? Ahermher. Where was I?

I will probably not write that much for the others days except for maybe an occasional one here and there. I just like to go all out the first day. It especially helps because it gives you some room for breaks and a little bit of a cushion for those days that you cannot find time to write or your muse is just refusing to flow.

As far as my story, it is going all right I suppose, except I’ve used “upon” probably 30 times so far. It is worse than “slightly.” I’ve thanked myself a thousand times today for making an outline. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t. O.o Better not to think about that.

My characters are not behaving themselves very well at all though. They are not being nearly as nice and considerate as I would like them to be and they are annoying me to no end. I’ve never had characters behave so badly before. But, alas, such is the life of a writer. There are always going to be some. I am only two and a half chapters in, so maybe they will straighten themselves out in the days to come. Otherwise, I fear I might have to do something dreadful to them…I do hate torturing my characters. I can be such a pushover as far as they are concerned. Tsk tsk.

Despite the characters’ behaviors, today has been quite a success. I look forward to the rest of the month!

Onward and upward!

Favorite Sentence of the Day: (This idea just popped in my head, it might be fun to do during the month.)

“He looked down at his own dragon but the bright pink scales nearly blinded him worse than the midday sun.”

Oh, did I forget to mention my characters have pink dragons? Winking smile

Monday, October 31, 2011

When the Insanity Begins…

In only 1 hour for me the clock will strike midnight marking November 1st and the insanity will begin. What insanity you ask? Why, National Novel Writing Month of course! If you have no idea what I am talking about you can check out a post about it here or the official site here.

It is a tradition for many participants to start writing the moment that clock hits 12 AM. Being the crazy person (or person-ish thing) I am, of course I am going to stay up late! It is one of the most exciting parts of NaNo—counting down those dwindling hours, your fingers itching to begin writing, your characters awaiting with anticipation to come alive, knowing thousands of others are doing the same thing right along with you. Such thrill!!

I’m simply ecstatic!

All that planning and anticipation is about to collide into one month of utter insanity with a loud boom of typewriters, pencils, pens, and keypads working away.

At this point in the NaNo stage NaNo’ers are usually something like-

Excited Tangled GIF

But then, with such rigorous writing and time consumption, near the end of the month we usually look something more like-

Merlin Tired GIF

Despite it, NaNo is an utterly fun experience, no sleep, life wasting, and all!

I am not sure if I will be posting more in order to keep up with my NaNo progress on my blog, or post less because, you know, I’ll be writing like crazy, it could go either way.

Whatever this new month of crazy writing brings, it is going to be fantastic!!

Happy NaNo’ing!!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Beautiful People: NaNoWriMo Novel

Beautiful People ButtonThanks to an awesome person I know from the NaNoWriMo site named ZNZ and her fantastic blog (which you should totally check out) Jotting Down Notes, I have discovered something called Beautiful People. Two lovely bloggers, Sky and Georgie, started this some months ago. Every month they give out a list of questions for bloggers to answer about their personal story characters. You can do the same character each month or choose a different one each time. If you would like you can check out the FAQ for more information.

It is such a wonderful idea and I’ve been meaning to do it for months, but am not actually getting around to it until now…

This month will actually be different from their usual questions, because this time instead of asking questions about your character it is about your NaNo novel (or any other novel if you are not participating in NaNoWriMo) since NaNoWriMo is coming up. If you want to join in you can find the questions here or here.

Let’s begin!

1. Sum up your novel in five words, or less.
High fantasy dragon rider novel.

2. Novel title?
More Pink than Sunsets

3. Sum up your main character(s) in one word.
Naidren: Protective.  Nyria: Rambunctious.

4. Advice for newbies in three words?
Forget life. Write.

5. Tell us about your secondary characters, how do they affect the story?
They affect the story quite a bit actually. First you have an uptight king who orders the characters to be kept inside his city and put under watch because he fears they are enemies, thus putting the entire story into motion. Then there is the bitter girl who claims it was their fault her sister died and in the end becomes a major ally. Of course, then you have to have the charismatic boy who probably will sweep the main girl off her feet in the end (but I don’t want to tell him that yet, can’t let him get a big head, now can we?).
Those secondary characters sure can be busy little things, can’t they?

6. Do you plan on staying up till midnight on the 31st?
Absolutely! Who can sleep when your characters are banging your head like an anvil demanding you start writing about them the moment you are allowed to? *glares at Nyria*

7. How many years have you done NaNo?
This shall be my second year.

8. What came first, characters, or plot idea?
This is technically the second book in a series I started last NaNo, so I already had it all planned in my head. But for the first book a single character popped into my head and from there a crazy long series formed itself.

9. How much prep do you do before November?
Lots. You can read all about my planning process on my previous post. Although this year, since it is the second book in a series, I’ve not had to do as much planning as last year.

10. Now be honest, how do you really feel about NaNo?
One word: WHEE!!!! I cannot even express how much fun I had last year and how much I learned doing it. I am exuberantly excited about yet another month of insane writing!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Step by Step Guide to Outlining a Novel

Being as how NaNoWriMo is sneaking upon us, I thought I would write about my personal way of outlining a novel.

In the writing world there are two kinds of people, the Pantsers and the Planners.

Pantser is short for “Seat of the Pantser.” Basically that means one writes by the “seat of their pants” and does not plan a thing.

Planners is a rather obvious term. They are those organized people who actually sit down and plan out their characters and story line.

You must know something, I have always been a Pantser. I have a general idea of a plot in my head, sit down at the computer, and write, having just as much knowledge as a reader would as to what is going to happen next, save for maybe a few scenes vaguely rippling across my brain. So I am sure you are wondering why a Pantser would be writing a post about outlining a novel.

You see, being as how I am a high victim of writer’s block, last year in October I decided I should actually plan out my novel I was to write for my very first NaNoWriMo. This way I would not get writer’s block since the whole point is to write as much as possible in 30 days, which means writer’s block is a very bad thing during NaNo. I literally spent the whole month planning to ridiculous degrees, and actually found it quite fun. Now as far as if I like planning or pantsing better, I could not say. They both have their perks. But this is not about which is better, this is a guide to my style of outlining which I am going to begin now before I get too rambly. (Oh…too late.)

Step 1: Plot Description

First things first, it is a good idea to have some general idea of what your plot is going to be about and write it down. Basically, this would be like a rough draft of the descriptions you see on the back of books. Just a quick description of the general plot. With this written out, you have a guideline to what this story is about which helps with the rest of the planning process.

Step 2: Map Making

As you know of course, I write fantasy, and with fantasy comes different worlds. Though I’ve always had a general idea of what my many different fantasy worlds were like in my head, I had never actually sat down and put it to paper. Not until last NaNo that is.

I decided it was important to start out making the map first, because it is sort of like a guideline to the story, where the characters are from, who is going where, etc. And I found I was right. Once I had an actual map to look at, it made the rest of the planning far less difficult; plus, it gave me inspiration of ideas. As I looked at forests I thought, “Maybe they can meet up with trolls here.” Or, “Oh, I’ll make a castle ruin here that they will explore.” Or things like, “This character can be from a small village in this area.” All sorts of things like that kept happening as I put my map together.

The map can be as simple or complicated as you like. I went into great depths for my NaNo map, but I made a map for another story over the summer that is much more simple. Basically, it is a guideline, so just making the high points of the story on your map works perfectly fine.

For ideas, I typed in “Fantasy Maps” in Google images and found all sorts of neat things which helped a lot being as how I had never made a map before. There are some really great things on the internet, so if you need help with making one, your favorite search engine is your best friend.

Now, if you are not a fantasy writer, Google Maps is an awesome place to see exactly wherever your story takes place. Or if you write historical fiction, don’t forget that the internet is infinite and you can almost always find wonderful resources there.

But whatever you write, I find having an idea of the layout is super helpful to story making.

Step 3: Races and Species

(If you do not write fantasy or fantasy-like things, this part will usually not apply to you.)

After a map was in place, I decided I needed a clear idea of all the different races and species. I knew I was going to have different kind of elves, some dwarves, humans of course, and lots and lots of dragons, but past that I was not sure what other curious inhabitants would make a place upon my pages. I love all the classic races (elves, dwarves, etc.) but it is fun to make some of my own as well. So this step came to place.

What I did was put together a list separated by the different races (the humanoid type) and species (animal kind). On this list I gave information on each kind of race and species.


Appearance: Here I would put a general idea of what they looked like.
Life Span: How long they usually lived. (Ex. 2000 years)
Habitats: The different places in the world they were known to live.

I would make a list like that for each race and species, which helped tremendously while writing the story, especially knowing the many different places each race or species is known to live (which is another reason to make the map first thing).

Step 4: Places

This step is not always really necessary all the time, but for my NaNo story I found it probably more helpful than anything else. Again, this is more for fantasy novels, but it does not have to be completely.

Basically, I put together a list of all the different important places in my fantasy world, using the map as a guideline, and writing out a list (much like the “Races and Species” list) as to what the places are like, the names and races of the rulers there, what the emblem or flag of that land looks like, and so on.


Position: Mid North
Capitol: Vheldrioth
Rulers: King Norvarmen and Queen Issendel Imendor (Humans)
Races: Humans, Elves, Half-elves, High Elves, Dwarves, and Sefral
Species: Dragons, Goblins, Ogres, and Trolls
Main Inhabitant(s): Humans
Flag: A classic sword facing down with a silver shield behind it on a shining red background.
Synopsis: Immengoth is a rather wealthy and respected land. Humans dominate though other races are around here and there. It can be somewhat cold.

And so I would do the same thing for all the main places in the worlds or high points in the story. I found myself going back to my list over and over, seeing what the flags in one land look like, wondering which are the main inhabitants in another, etc. I cannot express how useful this was to me.

Step 5: Character Creation

This is my most favorite step, creating characters. Being as how the characters are the basis of the story, this is probably the most important step of them all, though not always the easiest.

The first thing to do, of course, is figure out what your main characters are like, what their names are, what they look like, where they’re from, all of that. Just like the Races, Species, and Places, I make a list that is usually referred to as a Character Sheet or Character Bio. Mine cover all the important highlights of the characters such as their name, age, personality, and their history or background story.


Name: I usually like to put their full name here and also any nicknames that they might have.
Gender: This one is obvious.
Race: Another just for you fantasy/sci-fi writers (elf, human, dwarf, etc.).
Age: A rather important point I would think.
Appearance: Here I try to be as detailed as possible because I like really clear pictures of my characters. Some might not really go into much detail about their characters’ appearances, so it is really up to you and your style.
Personality: Another thing I attempt to go into detail with. I like to know what my character is like in order to know how the story will flow because of their personality.
History: I have always been big on deep character back stories, so this part usually takes me the longest. I find it very useful to know though once I have started actually writing my story. One more reason why it is nice to have the map, because I usually add where the character is from here.
Weapon(s): This, of course, just depends on what kind of story you write. My characters often have a sword or bow around, so I find adding this necessary for me personally. I also like to go into detail as to what the weapon looks like and where it came from.

With that type of Character Sheet, I make one for each character and find it exceedingly useful. Of course, there might be different points for different writers. Like many would not need the “Race” or “Weapons” part. Others might have other points they need to add or might not like to go into as much detail as I do. Just have fun with your Character Sheet.

One thing though, characters have minds of their own, no writer could say otherwise, thus sometimes what your write on your Character Sheet might end up being completely different from how the characters ends up really being in the actual story. This happens all the time (stubborn characters), but the Character Sheet is really just a rough guideline, nothing is ever set in stone, especially as far as writing goes. Some people might not even want to write down what their characters’ personalities are like because they enjoy seeing the character form upon the pages instead of being planned out, which is also a really fun way to do it. Always do whatever feels the most comfortable to you, because that is how your best stories will unfold.

Step 6: Outlining

Here is where the big part comes in. You have a general idea of your plot, a map, a list of different races, species, and places, and your main characters all planned out. Now for the actual story planning.

So many people outline so many different ways that the possible forms are endless. Being as how I’ve only ever outlined one and a half (I’m currently working on outlining my NaNo, so yes, half) novels I do not really know all the different methods, so I will just give you an idea of what I do.

Like everything else, I like to go into detail. This happened because of the first reason I decided to plan out a novel, to defeat writer’s block. Thus I decided that I must plan out pretty much every event, chapter by chapter. Usually I just write out a few paragraphs of all the happenings for each chapter, going from chapter to chapter in this way. I do not try to be fancy, I’m just basically making notes for myself, so the writing is messy and awful, but I do at least know what suppose to happen in each part. So for each chapter you will find something such as…


Chapter Thirteen

MMC (male main character) gets wounded (in the arm?) by someone. MMC and FMC (female main character) are unexpectedly rescued by a boy about their age who hurriedly takes them back to the castle. The boy introduces himself as [Name Here] and a squire of Immengoth. They are grateful for his kindness. He leads them to the king in order to report what happened in the city.

After much discussion (MMC's arm being fixed during so), it is decided the two are going to have to stay within the barracks for safety, the city is now too dangerous for them. Of course, they insist they just be released, but the king will still not allow it.

The boy offers to take them back to their room and has some kind words and possibly information for them. They are surprised to find he was born within their homeland and knows it to be of very kind people. They wish to speak some more but he is called away.

End of Chapter Thirteen

And so it goes on with each chapter. It takes much time, but if you like to plan or just need your novel thoroughly planned (like in my case) it becomes extremely useful.

Of course we must remember, just like how characters are not always as we plan them, stories have a tendency to turn in different directions than we thought as well. Outlines often get changed as the story is written, and in the end the whole novel may be completely different from the original outline. Inspiration comes while writing, so do not be afraid to veer away from the outline if need be.

As an original “Panster,” actually following an outline and knowing what was going to happen next was an entirely new experience for me. I found the outline very useful, but I still enjoy writing by the seat of my pants a lot, too. They both have their perks.

Step 7: Write!

Once the outline is done and you’ve put the finishing touches to all your planning, it is finally time to write! You now have all the essential “tools” to look back on in order to help you story flow smoothly.

You may have other things you wish to do, or steps you do not want to take. Like I have said, it all depends on the author. Some steps can even be done out of order or all together. This is what I did with a story I outlined over the summer, I might would be working on character creations while also putting together a map, or researching (which is definitely another step some might need to take depending on the story) while planning all the different places. And one thing I also did was skip the actual outlining chapter by chapter thing entirely. I do enjoy pantsing, perhaps a tad more than outlining, so I thought it would be helpful to plan out the characters and everything, but just not the actual story. I do believe that was so far my favorite thing to do. Though writer’s block is much more of a threat, is it such fun writing a story when you do not know what is going to happen next; plus, I am more comfortable doing it that way since that is what I’ve always done until last year.

Just always remember, stories are much like real life. Things usually never go as planned, characters are often not what they seem (or do what you say, *glares at charries*), and enormous, drop off cliffs with pointy rocks at the bottom are still dangerous.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

In the month of November, over 100k people do one crazy task: Write a 50k novel in 30 days. This is called National Novel Writing Month, or, as usually referred to, NaNoWriMo.NaNoWriMo Badge (cropped)

NaNoWriMo started out 13 years ago by a small group of people who wanted to try their hand at novel writing. This formed into the official site where anyone can join in on the insanity of writing 50k words in only 30 days. It quickly grew into a sensation and now has thousands and thousands of participants, not only national but international, every year.

50,000 words in one month. A crazy goal, but doable, and quite fun!

So why is this fun you ask? Let me sum NaNo up for you and you can see for yourself.

NaNo consists of sitting down and staring at your screen for endless upon endless hours, straining your eyes to the point of blindness. Hiding in your writing places for days on end until your family and friends begin to think you have disappeared from the earth, or just gone mad (which every NaNo participant is, so this is not far from the truth). Forgetting that eating is essential to stay alive (I mean, as long as you are feeding your characters then that is all that matters, right?). Wearing your fingers down until they scream for a reprieve or just shrivel up altogether to the point of incapacitation (until next November of course!). Consuming so much coffee (or other such beverage (I don’t like coffee)) that you grow a permanent twitching in your left eye. And then, after all that work and abandoning your entire life for a whole month, you find your novel to be a complete mess of blurred words and random sentences.

Doesn’t that sound fun?!

See, didn’t I tell you? Nothing better than that!

Okay, okay, while my summary of NaNo is very true (*cough*), that is not all NaNo is about.

NaNoWriMo is a fantastic program that helped me with my passion for writing tremendously. It is so much fun knowing you are doing the same crazy task with thousands of other people around the world. It gives you such a feeling of accomplishment to know you made it to the “winner’s circle” and wrote that much in only 30 days. You will find your imagination flowing like never before. The possibilities are really endless.

NaNoWriMo Badge 2011They offer all sorts of things. There is a NaNo store where you can buy really neat NaNo’ing things like NaNoWriMo pens, books, mugs, bags, etc. If you donate to the program there are some nifty donor goodies waiting for you. Throughout the month of November they get authors (often famous ones at that) to send out pep talks to keep you moving forward. There is also a Young Writers Program (YWP) for those who are younger than the NaNo participant required age (13 and up) where they can set their own word count and join in on the fun. For the past 2 or 3 years they have had a place called CreateSpace offering to print your novel in actually book form if you make it to 50k words, which was very nice. And the cool thing is all those who make it to 50k are winners, giving you a deep feeling of pleasure because of it. There is just so much there.

I had known about NaNoWriMo for a few years, but did not actually participate until last year. I cannot even express how much fun I had. After planning out my novel all throughout the month of October (which is a new thing for me to do, I have never actually planned and outlined my stories before), I was eagerly ready to begin writing come November. Being my first NaNo, I went a little…erm…overboard. I quite literally abandoned my life and made it to 50k words in the first 9 days, then finished off the month with exactly 111,500 words. It was a fun way to charge into my first NaNo, but hopefully this year I will not go quite as crazy. I’ll never regret doing it though. NaNo has helped me so much with my writing.

I have always loved to write, but ever since last November my passion for it has never been so strong. First of all, I found that I actually could finish a book within a reasonable amount of time, while before it took me years to ever get around to finishing my stories (most of which are still not finished). Second, I rediscovered how fun writing is. After November I soon finished up my NaNo novel, over the summer I wrote a 100k novel, and now I anxiously await November to start another. Writing is practically all I want to do and talk about these days. (Obviously. I intended for this blog to be about a bunch of different things and now it is just about writing!) And this is all thanks to my wonderful experience with NaNoWriMo.

The website ( has all sorts of information, a large forum, and everything to get you ready to write, write, write!

I very much look forward to a 2nd year of NaNo’ing!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Writer’s Block

Things are going so well with your story. You are writing and writing. Inspiration is literally shooting out rainbows from you head to your fingers, sparkling on the way down. You have such fun. What a great story. What an enjoyable thing to write. What fantastic characters and plot. All is going so well.

…And then it comes.

Writer’s Block.

The bane of my existence.

It comes out of nowhere. A giant blockade full of barbed wire, duct tape, and sometimes even fire, rising up like a ten foot thick, steel wall blocking that rainbow midsentence.Splattered Stone Wall

All that inspiration is gone. That wonderful plot: Gone. Those interesting characters: Gone. All the magnificent things that you thought were about to happen: Gone. All that is left is confusion, frustration, and a dead rainbow splattered across that seemingly impenetrable wall.

It is the down falling of us writers.

Want to know why I have not posted anything for weeks? You probably have guessed the answer by now. Yep, writer’s block. It has hit me hard. In every area, from blog posts to stories. I’ve been completely dry. I’ve just been staring at that steel wall blankly, hoping by some miracle it will fall down and let my rainbow continue its delightful flow to my fingers.

Unfortunately, no matter how much you hope it will work, just staring at the wall does not always help. Sometimes it does. Just a little time is often all it takes for it to crumble into little pieces and let your muse flow again. But sometimes it doesn’t.

SledgehammerSometimes it takes a sledgehammer and chainsaw to pull it down bit by bit. You have to pound that wall with all your might. It may seem impossible, but it can be done.

I have quite a few “sledgehammers” and “chainsaws” I use to tear that wall apart and conquer that evil known as writer’s block.

-Go on Walks
This helps me tremendously to get over writer’s block. I often get inspiration being outside and alone, walking around and thinking about my story. I almost always conquer writer’s block this way.

-Take a Shower
This might be just me, but pretty much all my ideas have formed in the shower for some strange reason. My mind is always going during showers and when I start thinking about my stories all sorts of ideas pop up. It is much like taking walks, so I suppose getting alone and just thinking works wonders.

-Listen to Music
Music can do all sorts of things to our muse. We listen to a sad song and it pulls on our heartstrings and brings a sad, dramatic scene of a story to mind that we realize we must write. We listen to a happy tune that makes us laugh, and a prank our characters should play on each other comes to mind. We hear soundtracks from battle scenes of movies and realize we must make an epic battle scene of our own. It just goes on and on, and helps a lot! Instrumental music and movie soundtracks help me the most.

-Write Nonsense
This might be odd, but it does often help. If you just sit down and start writing anything and everything that pops up in your head, you might very well find inspiration starts to form. I started a whole story by doing that once. Plus, it is quite fun!

-Talk to Your Story Characters
I know what you are thinking, “Whaaa?” Writers are strange beings, okay, I will not deny that for one second. (*lightbulb* Blog post idea! Huh? What? Oh…just thinking (typing?) out loud. Ignore me…) Having “conversations” with your characters often brings up ideas to break down that wall into one great heap. My characters have often whispered ideas into my head. *still not denying I’m crazy*

-Watch Epic Movie Trailers
This one may sound strange (or not, compared to the previous one) but it does wonders. Nothing gets me more roused up than watching an epicsauce trailer for a movie or show I like. Being as how I write fantasy, I love to go to YouTube and watch Lord of the Rings or Narnia movie trailers. They are so exciting and thrilling, they get my mind whirring with all sorts of ideas and ready to start writing again.

Well, where else would inspiration come from than a book? Reading something, especially a book the same genre as you are writing, brings all sorts of ideas and inspiration. Not copying what you are reading of course, but just getting ideas. It helps tremendously.

So, you see, breaking down that evil wall of doom and despair known as writer’s block is actually possible. It might not seem it, and often it takes more of a heart-wrenching swing of that sledgehammer instead of just a tap of the finger to make it topple over, but it is possible.

We can defeat writer’s block! We can conquer it!

Grab your sledgehammers, writers!


Wall and Rainbow

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dear Slightly,

You are a fine word. There are many uses for one such as yourself. Adjectives have a high ranking in our English vocabulary and you have proved yourself as one of the best.

But I think it is time we part from one another.

Yes, dear Slightly, it is true. As I edit my book, I find you scattered all across the pages. Paragraph after paragraph, sentence after sentence, there you are, often multiple times. I do not know if it is you or I. Is it my own lack of ability to use other words to describe my sentences, or have you grown arrogant, demanding you be overused? Perhaps it is both our faults. Either way…this must end.

There are other words that need love, too. You cannot let your synonym family waste away and feel alone as you clutter the page with your own self. Somewhat, Vaguely, Faintly…these are all members of your own family who have been abandoned.

I must replace you, dear Slightly, with others. There is no other way.

It is not all your fault though. I, myself, grew very fond of your useful ways. But I am afraid it got out of hand. You are everywhere, to such a point that my eyes have grown tired of the very sight of your eight letters pushed together all across my pages. This must end.

Please do not be mad. Do not abandon me completely. I promise you will find a place across my pages where you will be loved. I know you wish for many places but it cannot be so anymore.

I fear this is the end of our many times together.

Goodbye, Slightly.

Your Shamed Over-User,

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Dragons of Chiril Book Review

The Dragons of Chiril CoverSynopsis
Tipper is a young emerlindian who’s responsible for the upkeep of her family’s estate during her sculptor father’s absence. Tipper soon discovers that her actions have unbalanced the whole foundation of her world, and she must act quickly to undo the calamitous threat. But how can she save her father and her world on her own?

The task is too huge for one person, so she gathers the help of some unlikely companions—including the nearly five-foot tall parrot Beccaroon—and eventually witnesses the loving care and miraculous resources of Wulder. Through Tipper’s breathtaking story, readers will discover the beauty of knowing and serving God.


The Dragons of Chiril is an allegorical, Christian, fantasy novel and the first book in The Chiril Chronicles trilogy written by Donita K. Paul. This story was first published as The Vanishing Sculptor, but later rereleased as its current name, The Dragons of Chiril.The Vanishing Sculptor Cover

Donita K. Paul wrote another series before this called The DragonKeeper Chronicles that takes place in the same world. While The Chiril Chronicles is actually set in an earlier time than the DragonKeeper one, I highly suggest reading The DragonKeeper Chronicles first. The Dragons of Chiril is a fantastic book but it appeared to be made for those who have already read the other series in my opinion. While it is its own story, there are many things that are not explained in as much detail as in The DragonKeeper Chronicles. Besides, The DragonKeeper Chronicles is fantastic! Perhaps I shall do a review for it someday.

This story is set in a fantasy world with all kinds of unique races and creatures. You have emerlindians, o’rants, mariones, tumanhofers, kimens, and that only includes the human-type races. Not only this, but with odd fruits, strange names, new kind of trees, and even peculiar bugs much different from those on Earth, the reader really feels as if they are in an entirely different world. Donita K. Paul does an absolutely stunning job with her world building. Again though, the types of races and way the world works is not explained much in this book, most likely making some readers that have never read The DragonKeeper Chronicles somewhat confused. Also, you will find a few familiar and lovable faces from the DragonKeeper series in this story.

Donita K. Paul probably is one of my most favorite authors. Not only can she make interesting races and an astounding world, but she weaves together a very entertaining story. Her books are not dark nor dramatic, you’re probably not going to find yourself crying or upset, most likely you will be laughing throughout the book instead. There is one word that explains her writing: Witty. Her stories are so very, very witty. And just downright fun!

When you have conversations like-
“Absurd bits of absurdity.”
”Nonsensical bits of Nonsense.”

Or comment such as-
“It’s starting already. Lost a memory. Next it’ll be something I really value…like my hat.”

Or a chapter called “Baa!” and the next “Baa-Baa-Boom!”

You know it has to be a good book!

The story is set in the continent of Chiril where a young lady named Tipper and her grand parrot guardian, Beccaroon, are trying their best to maintain the upkeep of Tipper and her parent’s great estate, for her father mysteriously disappeared many years past and her mother is in an unhealthy state of mind. With no means of money, Tipper has no choice but to sell her father’s famous artwork. She has no idea what a mistake this is.

Her father now returns after so many years, with a strange old wizard and librarian with him. Tipper is thrown into chaotic confusion as these three men attempt to explain to her that her father’s life as well as the balance of the entire world lays upon three of her father’s statues, three statues which she had sold.

This group of peculiar ones are forced to set off on a quest to find the three statues. Unfortunately, this is no walk in the park.

Evil forces stand in their way while the world itself is going into disarray…all because of three missing statues.

All the while, the questers are learning of the almighty love and power of Wulder, the God figure of this beautiful, allegorical tale.

I am not even sure I can express in words what a fantastical ability Donita K. Paul has with weaving characters. I can go on and on and on.
The characters of her books are ones that make you laugh and smile as you turn every page. Her characters are unique, and that is an understatement. She also usually throws in lots of them, keeping the story interesting and all the more fun. Yet even with so many running around the place, no two are the same.

The main character in this particular story is Tipper (don’t you love her name?), the strong-willed heroine who, though is stubborn and often makes mistakes, tries to do right. “Excitable” and “Tenderhearted” is what one of the characters always refers to her as. Most of the story is from her point of view, but the readers do often get a peek through Beccaroon’s eyes, a near five-foot tall parrot who is determined to stay dignified and regal no matter the circumstance, yet has a deep love for his ward, Tipper.

Many others fill the story with fun and intrigue, including a crazy wizard who thinks far too much of his hat, a renowned artist, a prince of dragons, four little dragons as well as big, and more.

One of my most favorite characters was Tipper’s mother, Lady Peg. Her mother is a bit…erm…out of sorts I suppose you can say. I love her because everything that comes out of her mouth is utter, hilarious nonsense. In most books, having a mother with a confused mind might be portrayed as sad and depressing, in this book it is humorous and fun.

For example, one conversation of Lady Peg’s goes-
Lady Peg’s husband: “I know, dear one. But someday your father will relent.”
Lady Peg: “He never will. I don’t think so. Not at all. As I understand it, he will have to lend us something first, and then that something could be re-lent. As it is, he’s never lent us so much as the time of day, and he can’t re-lend that even if he had the first time, because lending the time of day is such a confusing trial. Trial and error, you know. Error always comes with the trial of lending the time of day, and the clocks are never at quite the same time after that.”

Didn’t I tell you her writing was humorous? Nearly every page is filled with conversations such as that and ridiculous comments from the bizarre but lovable characters.

Out of all the books I’ve read, Donita K. Paul’s is my number one vote in unique characters. Her stories are worth reading for the characters alone.

Other Material
So we have a great plot, humorous characters, and incredibly witty writing, what else does the author bring to us? A lovely way to share the love and care of God, yet in a way that is easy for everyone to understand without sounding preachy.

In the land of Chiril no ones knows of the Creator, Wulder. When Three of the characters come to Chiril from another continent, Amara, they spread the word, bringing the knowledge of Wulder to this land. The way she told the tale in this fashion made me smile. It was beautifully done.

One thing I do question in these books is the use of magic. I usually try to stay away from magic, especially in reading. This world focuses a lot on magic, but the thing is that it is a different world where things would work differently, and the characters often thank Wulder for their abilities. This particular book does not have nearly as much magic as The DragonKeeper Chronicles, which focuses on it immensely. The main source of magic use is one person, and he does not do spells often. Still, I am not entirely sure where I stand on this. But I will not go into all my personal beliefs now. It is still a lovely book.^^

Appropriate Ages
I believe Donita K. Paul writes for a younger audience more so than older teens and adults. Like I have said, her stories are full of fun and humor. There are some battle scenes and deaths, but she rarely goes into great detail, and everything is always kept so light that you barely think much of the unpleasant stuff.

It is hard for me to say if adults would enjoy this book as well, because I, myself, still enjoy Dr. Suess books and fairytales. Hehe. So I am not the greatest judge on such things. I think they will though. I honestly believe nearly every age can enjoy her books.

I’d say probably around 10 years old and up for this one, though perhaps younger depending on the person.

This book brings lightheartedness and smiles to its reader. Unique characters, an interesting plot, a fantastical world, and a hunger for more—The Dragons of Chiril has it all. For a fun read I highly recommend it.

I very much look forward to purchasing the next book, Dragons of the Valley!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This is Going to Take a While…

I must admit to something. I have not started editing until just last night. But, on the other, more optimistic, hand: I started editing last night! ^_^

In my defense, I have been sick and feeling quite dead for the past few days. I could barely pay attention to the screen in front of me, which is no state to edit in. I would probably have made my book worse if I tried to edit like that. <--Valid excuse!! *cough*

Anyways, I did begin editing last night. And you know what? I edited for 45 whole minutes! You know how much I got edited?




One page.

Yep, 45 whole minutes and just a few paragraphs edited.

This…is going to take a while.

So, why did it take me that long? Well, for this book I am very determined to make it well written. I want clever words and flowing sentences, a nice story and interesting read. When I started this book I promised myself I would put 110% into it, and so that is what I am going to do. So yes, I spent 45 minutes editing a few paragraphs, criticizing every single word and examining  each punctuation mark until the poor little things squirmed. Tedious work indeed, but I think it is good for me. Plus, I actually quite enjoyed myself.

I shall continue on. Wear out my backspace button to its limits and choke my brain to its final thinking capacity. But at least I shall have a book that is edited!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Swords of the Six Book Review

Swords of the Six CoverSynopsis
After being betrayed by his own greatest warriors one thousand years ago, the great white dragon hatches six human daughters, with his own dragon blood flowing within them, from eggs. Arming them with the very swords of the traitors’, the daughters are trained in the ways of the sword.

Six daughters, dragon blood flowing within their veins, are now sent off alone to bring one of the traitors to repentance, or justice.

Later, Ilfedo, a man of the woods, meets up with Dantress, the youngest but most powerful of the daughters, making their fates intertwine.

Betrayal and love circles this tale together until a great sacrifice brings it to a close.


Swords of the Six is a Christian, fantasy novel written by Scott Appleton. It is the first book in The Sword of the Dragon series.

I stumbled upon this book not too long ago while browsing through our Lifeway book store with my little sister. My sister and I immediately spotted it and both snatched it up in awe. What drew our attention? The cover. That beautiful, beautiful cover. Plus, it had a dragon on it! So it had to be good, right? Then, I flipped it over and found that Bryan Davis, my favorite author of all time, wrote a very positive review for it. When I open it up I found Wayne Thomas Batson, another author I like, also wrote a review for it. Plus, the description sounded intriguing. So that was it, we had to have this book. Unfortunately, it was not all I hoped for.

This book had great potential, but came short in many areas.

First, the grammar needed much work. When I first started it I thought some errors were missed during publishing, but was surprised to see this was just the style the author writes in, making it very difficult to get through. I am a total grammar Nazi, so I just had a really hard time reading this book with all the mistakes. Commas were missing all over, jumbling sentences together that forced me to reread them a second time or two in order to understand. In a great deal of parts, suffixes were misused. Some words ending in ed often needed to be ing words, and vise versa. The way the paragraphs were parted were often a bit strange. One of the greatest things that bothered me was his use of but and and. On a very constant bases, sentences began with but or and. I am perfectly fine doing that occasionally, but nearly every other sentence? No.

Second, the story in general was a bit bland. There was no great plotline, no thrilling suspense, no epic climax, nothing drove it anywhere. It was just one little scene after the other where you kept thinking something epic was going to happen, but it never came.

Third, there was not enough detail. I was often quite confused during some parts and just was really hoping for more explanations on things, thinking maybe they would come later, but they never did. I think the story really could have gone into much more depth.

One other thing that bothered me was there were scenes that were literally copied and pasted from earlier. Twice I saw this, one of which occurs quite a few times. There is a reoccurring dream one of the characters has, and each time, the dream is written exactly like the first time. I have no problem with the reoccurring dream, it was part of the story, but I think each time it could have been explained differently or just said it was repeated, not copy and pasted about four times I think. Not the end of the world, but just annoyed me a bit.

Now, this is not to say this book was all bad. There were some great messages within it and definitely a few interesting parts. I know it is getting a wide audience of fans, so this might just be my opinion. The author explained that this book is more of a prelude or prologue, if you will, to the rest of the series. I suspect things will go into more detail later and perhaps have a much more grander story line, so I am certainly not going to completely forget the series altogether. This story probably is more of a prologue to all the rest.

The story immediately begins right in the middle of a great battle scene against a fierce dragon. I was actually captivated during the first part with the exciting battle scenes and treacherous characters that come as the battle ends.

After an ending of traitors killing the good, the story moves to a thousand years later in the great white dragon’s grand palace where six eggs are about to be hatched. Out of these eggs comes six human daughters, the dragon’s blood flowing through their veins. The idea of a dragon being a father to six humans girls seemed intriguing and fun to me.

When they are a few years older, the white dragon bestows three rusted swords to each of his daughters, explaining these are the swords of the six traitors that betrayed him a thousand years ago. Now his daughters must learn to use them in order to put an end to the traitors, who have apparently cheated age with the use of magic (or at least I am pretty sure that is why they have lived so long. It did not go into great depth of that yet.)

All the first few chapters I found rather interesting, putting grammar flaws aside. I felt as though the author was building up a great plot. To my disappointment, the book did not get anymore exciting after the first chapters.

Soon after getting the swords, another timeframe jumps to the girls being near 17 years old. Now having grown greatly talented in swordplay, the dragon sends out his daughters to find the first traitor, Xavion, and put an end to him. Strangely, this is where the story does not really get anymore interesting. Though they do go find the traitor, nothing much really happens.

The book splits into two parts, and near the middle we jump to the second part that more covers the story of Ilfedo, a man who lives in an untamed wood. This part I was not exactly pulled in to. I felt more like I was reading a pioneer story than anything, which I do not like, especially when I am expecting a fantasy story with dragons.

So here you have much pioneer-type stuff, for most of the rest of the book is about Ilfedo.

The ending seemed a bit drab to me, and somewhat predictable. Not much of a climax or anything. Although it did give off a good message about sacrifice. The author has a good heart and I am pleased he uses his writing for the glory of God. I will always give points for that.^^

One thing I did mostly enjoy in this book was the battle scenes. Starting from the very beginning, there are quite a few conflicts placed here and there that were nicely written. The use of the six swords also interested me greatly. The swords, in the hands of the girls, had certain abilities and were used much throughout the story.

Though you do not see much of them, the villains I rather liked. You have rather scary winged humanoid creatures, devastating dragons, a powerful witch, some giant serpents, down to terrorizing bears, all of which played a good role and made for interesting fight scenes.

The setting of the book was very magnificent and fairytale-like. From the dragon’s magnificent palace to ruins of an once enormous fortress to the greenery of a fine forest, the lands seemed very enchanting and beautiful. I would have liked to have been given more of an explanation of the world it is set in, but being as how this is the first book I suspect more of that will come later.

There were definitely some Christian messages within the book, the greatest being that of the love of sacrifice, which was told beautifully. A strong contrast over good versus evil set the book well I thought, amongst other things here and there that I was pleased to see.

Though there was no great flaw with the characters I think they could have been better. As each of the six daughters hatched from their eggs, I was looking forward to getting to know each of them, but unfortunately did not get much of the chance.

Dantress is the main character and heroine of the story, as well as pretty much the only one you get to know very well of the six. I could never decide if I liked Dantress much or not. At some points I did, other times I thought her maybe a bit too perfect, while other times I was disappointed in her. It seemed like her character was a bit inconsistent.

The other daughters did not seem to have much personality, two of which I especially did not know what they were like at all. One part in the story made me very disappointed in these five girls, though they seemed to have a good heart throughout most of the book.

There were some characters I did rather like a good bit. The white dragon I was fond of, as well as his friend, a wise shepherd. Then there was Specter who was probably my favorite in the whole book. Ilfedo I did not have much of a problem with either, I think he was a fairly good character, although his character almost did not fit his lifestyle to me. Another somewhat inconsistent one.

All in all, the characters were fairly well done, but I think they could have been a lot better. Being as how this is more of a prelude to the rest of the series, I will not judge the characters yet, they might just need more “screen time”.

Appropriate Ages
With talking animals and a fairytale scenery, it would seem this book would be appropriate for the young, but I actually do not believe it is. While yes, there are some lovely places, the battle scenes can get quite gory. The entire theme seemed a bit more for an older audience, yet the writing and story I would think would point to the younger, so it is hard to say with this one.

The fights are definitely gory and the villains are very treacherous. My 13 year old sister desperately wanted to read it, but because of these things, and because she cannot handle gore very well, I decided she might should be just a little bit older.

I am in quite a quandary what ages to suggest. I do no think the young should read it, but adults might not find it greatly interesting either. I am thinking perhaps 14 or 15 years old and up for this one. It is all more in the matter of opinion of the person though.

I feel like this whole review is all negative, which I feel really bad about. This book did have some interesting things in it and a good message. I know it has a wide audience of fans, so I would not completely dismiss it.

As mentioned before, Swords of the Six is only a prelude to the rest of the The Sword of a Dragon series, which means there is most likely much more story, character development, and epic scenes to come. I am not going to quit the series here, think it can be an interesting story, and I think it might get to be that way. I honestly do not think I can give a proper review until I really have read the rest of the series. The second one, Offspring, is soon to be released, or perhaps already has been, so hopefully I can get my hands on it and see how this tale plays out.

Honestly though, I think it was worth the buy just to have that cover on my shelf. I mean, have you seen it? It is gorgeous!!

To put my opinion all into one sentence, I think Swords of the Six had great potential, but it was not ready to be published yet.

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