Peter Green and the Unliving Academy Book Review

Peter wakes up at a train station wearing pajamas and a tie. He has no memory other than his name is Peter. He quickly learns that he’s dead and this is the Afterlife. He is directed to his school. It’s like a boarding school. He makes new friends quickly. He also remembers a tiny snippet of his old life. There is a girl, and she’s in danger. It’s up to him to save her. But he doesn’t know how since he’s dead and she’s alive. (This is what grabbed my attention causing me to request this book for review. I love a good thriller mystery.) Read more...

Author Study: Genevieve Cogman, Writing in 3rd Person

I found this beautiful book called The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. That began this whole fascination with stories about books and libraries. Irene is the main character, and she works for The Library–a place between alternate versions of Earth. There are numerous versions of Earth, most of which contain the usual famous authors throughout time, but sometimes in some versions of Earth, writers like Shakespeare, for example, writes an extra play. These works unique to that world are very valuable, as you might imagine. Irene’s job as a Librarian for The Library is to collect these unique books, which strengthens the Libraries ties to that version of Earth. But it is never as simple as a smash and grab. No. There are Dragons and Fae which get in her way. All the while, the mortal humans are none the wiser. Cogman tells the stories quite well. I just finished book 5. Normally, I don’t read past book 1 or maybe 2 of a series. I tire of series books easily. Cogman is the exception and has captured my heart with her stories. And I want to learn how she does it! more...

Book Review: The Fallen Hero

WARNING! Spoilers for Book 1 Ahead! If you haven’t read book one, you want to do that first. You have been warned! Katie Zhao is a great storyteller, but in the beginning of this novel, I felt very strong echoes from the beginning of the first book. Faryn is living with people that resent her. She is called on a quest. She has to go with the person who hates her the most. Exactly like book one. I was a bit disappointed by that. BUT …if you loved book one and want more of the same, then awesome, this is the book for you! She delivers on that! I can’t help but wonder if she created this echo for a reason which we might understand in book 3.

Archetypes Part 2.5 of 2: The Archetypes

I didn’t anticipate I’d have so much to say about each archetype, so now I give you… Part 2.5 of 2 The Archetypes Continued Warrior/ Hero As you might imagine the warrior is a person who is good at battle and fighting. Prime examples of this in LOTR are Gimli, Legolas, Boramir, and more. They are expert fighters, (and if you watch the movies…beyond reason when fighting the Warg). Eowyn, “I am no man!” But if you think outside the normal boring box, you might also consider characters like Eowyn. She fought in the end and defeated the Witch-King of Angmar, speaking the best line ever written!

Using Archetypes Effectively in Your Writing

First, the definition of Archetype: a very typical example of a certain person or thing. (Oxford Dictionary) It derives from the Greek prefix, arcke, which means primitive and the root, topos, which means a model. So ‘a primitive model.’ So it is like the rough sketch of a character. Archetype sounds a lot like stereotype and I think the two words often get confused, so many think an archetype is a bad thing. The stereotype definition is: a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. (Oxford Dictionary) The definitions are very similar, but the difference is the oversimplification and generalization. Plus, stereotypes are often offensive or demeaning in nature. For example, all boys love sports and girls love dolls. Today people love to stereotype millennials as spoiled, whiny, entitled brats. The good news is that it seems many writers love to turn stereotypes on their heads and push people out of those preconceived notions. As writers, we have immense power to influence how people think and what to highlight about our society. “With great power comes great responsibility” (Uncle Ben, Spiderman) So choose wisely what and how you write. Done right, an archetype is a good starting place. The problem comes when a writer doesn’t add layers. Those layers of personality add depth and prevent the oversimplification of the character. Read more...

Book Review: Diana and the Island of No Return

If you like a fast-paced superhero stories about friendship, trust, and bravery, you’ll love this story. I teach kids age 11-13 and I see them struggling to navigate friendships. In middle school their friend circle expands as they meet new people and with that comes a prioritizing of time that they didn’t have to do as much before. With this sometimes comes a feeling of betrayal when their friends don’t make them a priority. Kids struggle with who they can trust with which secrets and dreams. Sometimes they trust the wrong friends and learn difficult lessons. There is a lot in this story about trust which will resonate with readers in this age group.

Jess Redman Interview!

I was able to get an ARC of Quintessence through NetGalley a month or so ago. I read this book and it is one of my new favorite books! I reviewed it a couple weeks ago here. Are you more of an outliner, discovery writer, or in between the two? I’m an in-betweener. I used to be more of a discovery writer, but now that I’m often writing on a deadline, I can’t be quite as footloose and fancy free. Usually, I think for a long time before I write anything. I just turn over ideas and grow the plot and get to know characters in my head. Then I do some experimental writing to search for the tone of the story, which is very important to me. I usually write third-person, but each story has its own voice and feel. After that, I’m ready to outline. I leave lots of room for the characters and plot to breathe, and I’m not afraid to change the trajectory of the story. My outline helps me see where I’m heading, but I like to blaze the trails as I go. How long ago did you start writing seriously to get published?