Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Some Bookish Background // Bookifying Blopost Prompts

I was perusing pinterest [what else does one do with life?] and stumbled across some 30-day blogpost prompt challenges. I skimmed through a few and, yeah. 

*turn into bookish writing prompts for once a week posts, thus worth 30 weeks; or just use as bookish prompts for blogpost when brainless

They're kinda mind-numbing.  

Sherlock | Cumberbatch | shoot the wall

Sooo, being the genius blogging bookdragon that I am, I shall bookify [yes, that's a word] said prompts [don't tell me you can't find it in the dictionary]. I won't be doing them on a schedule [would I lie to you?]. I might smash some into a post [ok, so I made it up] or allow one to take up a whole post. Whatever I want. Obviously. *ahem* 

1) Introduce Yourself

Hi, I'm Ashley, and I'm a bookdragon. It's been a few hours since I've collected books for my hoard. And I regret nothing.

2) Your First Love 

2) The First Book That You Fangirled Over

So when I was a little dragonling, I was obsessed with the Little House on the Prairie series. I read it multiple times and watched all of the movies and TV episodes [although the TV series is nothing like the books, that's TV for you]. 

 I was talking on the phone with a friend. I'm not sure why? Because I had never talked to anyone except family on the phone. Anyhow, the conversation was basically

me: have you read Little House on the Prairie?

friend: uh, no

me: it's this great series! and it actually happened and, and

friend: i don't really read. . .

me: and the author is Laura Ingalls Wilder, and she has a sister who went blind, and they lived in a sod house one time, and a cow was on the roof! and a snake in the wall! and, and


me: are you still there?

friend: yeah, i guess

me: there's a tv series too! and

3) Your Parents

3) Are Your Parents to Blame for Your Bookish Tendencies?

via GIPHY yes mycroft

My mom has shelves and shelves of books. She unwittingly assigned the dusting chore to dragonling me wherein I book browsed instead of dusted. Some of the books she had collected as a kid. She read to us often, usually series, including the Little House on the Prairie books. [She also read the Bible aloud to us because she's cool like that.]

My dad was the one who read children's books to us. Like Custard the Cowardly Dragon, The Treasure Tree, Dr. Suess books, the Tawny Scrawny Lion [a fave of mine, it had a shiny golden spine, obviously a treasure]. He also did the voices [mom did not do voices?!], so it was super fun when he'd read Commander Toad in Space by Jane Yolen and would do Deep Wader's voice. 

So yes, my parents created a book monster. It was a part of my education [no really, my mom taught me to read].

4) What you ate today

As You Like It

So far, I like it as is.

 I might go read it now. Or sleep.

via GIPHY cat sleep face plant

So are your parents to blame for the book hunting monster that you today? If not, then who would you consider the influencers/parents of your book obsessions? And what was the first book you fangirled over?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Footnotes // new link up

So Emily @ Ink, Inc. and I haven't been idle this summer. We've put our
 heads together to bring you a new link-up! [because the title isn't explanatory enough]

To participate in Footnotes, all you have to do is pick a quote and write a post about it. You can write your thoughts on it, why you like or dislike the quote, why you think it's popular or ought to be. Expound upon it in any way you wish.

Footnotes is held monthly [psst, this one ends the last of August], and we'll give you a prompt that you may choose to accept or. . . well, not.

via GIPHY footnotes

So here's the button

And your prompt

A Quote From An Author

And when you've accomplished your mission, uh, published your post, report back, link up with us!


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Book Sacrifice Tag

Thank you Genni @ Ready, Set, Read! for tagging me with The Book Sacrifice.*bites nails* But books!

1. An Over-hyped Book

[Situation: You’re in a store when the zombie apocalypse hits. The military informs everyone that over-hyped books are the zombies only weakness. What book that everyone else says is amazing but you disliked do you start chucking at the zombies?]

The Fault in Our Stars

Don't hate me. I'm saving you from zombies after all.

via GIPHY, it's ok now

2. A Sequel 

[Situation: A torrential downpour. What sequel are you willing to use as an umbrella to protect yourself?]
 Books don't make good umbrellas. So what's the point?
 Ok, ok.

Raging Star

I think at least? I mean, it's not actually a sequel [I make my own rules]. It's the last of a trilogy. I'm not sure what I think about it. It wasn't awful, but it could've been better. And so much shorter.

3. A Classic

[Situation: You’re in English class and your professor raves about a Classic that “transcends time.” If given the opportunity to travel back in time, which Classic would you try to stop from ever publishing?]  

 via GIPHY Doc, Back to the Future

 Have you not watched any sci-fi movies!? You don't mess around with history. That is NOT ok. One thing leads to another and you risk seeing yourself see yourself and thus creating a time paradox. 

 Sherlock goes BOOM (click to see gif)

I haven't a clue what the implications of a time paradox are, but it sounds catastrophic.

4. A Least Favorite Book

[Situation: Apparently global warming = suddenly frozen wasteland. Your only hope of survival for warmth is to burn a book. Which book will you not regret lighting?] 
James Joyce's Dubliners
It's not awful, but it's not life and breath as a certain professor possibly believes.
Also, my middle grade English textbooks.
Probably my community college history textbook too.

Are we seeing a pattern?

So what book would you chuck or burn in the name of survival? 
[Or just steal the tag and leave a link to your post!] 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Beautiful People // Oddball

Beautiful People is back! I know it's been forever, but I'm linking up with Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In.

If it's important that you know, I'm editing Oddball the First (aka the first book in the Oddball trilogy). But for today, Oddball will answer these for us.

Oddball: Don't act like I do as you say.

me: Do it or I'll tell them what a cute, angsty wittle baby you were.

Oddball: *makes face* If I don't snap out of it in 132 pages, I'll go back and strangle myself.

me: Don't bother. If you don't, I'll knock it out of you in 132 pages.

Oddball: Gee, thanks. Why don't you just get it over with on page 1, huh?

me: Character arc.

Oddball: Whatever. Let's get this over with.

me: *whispers* not too much has changed though.

Oddball: *shouts* I'm sorry, what?! It's seems I can't hear you over the sound of your losing your leverage over my answering these questions.

me: *mutters* just answer the stupid questions.

1) What's their favortie place they've visited?

I really can't say.

2) What's one mistake they made that they learned from?

Just because people hurt you, doesn't mean you ought to hurt others.

3) What was their favorite subject in school? Or favorite thing to learn about?

Yeah, never attended school.

But I loved reading about different cultures and kingdoms. It's fascinating how we're all so different and yet the same.

4) What's their favorite flower/growing thing?

Trees. Trees are good. They give us oxygen to breathe, and they're great for climbing.


5) Have they ever made someone cry? What happened?

Have I made someone cry? Uh, not that I can remember of? If I did, then they didn't cry in front of me. 

6) Would you consider them a reliable or unreliable narrator?

Who are you calling unreliable? I think you might be confusing me with Rocky. He always turns our map upside-down.


7) What do they dream about at night?

I don't really dream, ok? There might be a few nightmares, but . . .

*rolls eyes* Don't "Aaaw, Oddball" me.

8) They've gone out for a "special meal." What would they eat?

Can I just have some chocolate chip cookies? That's good enough for me, right now.


9) What's at least one thing they want to do before they die?

Are you trying to tell me something? Why just one? I don't plan to die anytime soon.

Uh, leave the Border, I guess. Check that. And not come back. Uncheck that.

10) Do they have any distinguishing or unique talents?

I'm spectacular at running away from things. And keeping Rocky pointed in the right direction. I'm also pretty good at pretending to be fascinated with something else when Rocky and Sky kiss. :P  It's better if Peril's around because then I can pretend to pick on her.

But she starts it.

No, really! Promise, she does. 

Have you done Beautiful People? 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Popcorn Reviews // Five Enchanted Roses

I've had this book around the top of my TBR for a while and finally decided to read it. Unfortunately, it took me longer than I had hoped since, well, it was a bit of  letdown.

Five Enchanted Roses is a collection of Beauty and the Beast short story retellings.

I went into this book pretty excited. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairytales, but what I wasn't expecting was the meh writing. Not all the authors wrote the same. But most of them wrote in that style that always makes me suspect the writer believes he or she must write in this manner to be considered a writer. It's that style that's akin to stuffy, old literature that moves slowly and contemplatively, tells after it shows, or just tells and forgets about showing.

Don't get me wrong. I like some classics, but when I pick one up, I expect the style to be a bit long-winded. Occasionally, I find a modern author who does know how to pull off the classical style properly, but not often. [In fact, I beta-read for a friend whose style is YA and classical mixed, and it's done well]. The writing is good, just not my taste.

Also, and this was on me, each story was doused with romance tropes [so annoying]. But since this was a fairytale retelling, I should've expected to see a lot of modern romance tropes. I don't know why I didn't realize this.

So if you like romance/romance tropes, you'll probably love this book.

Although some of the stories renamed the "Beast" or "Belle/Beauty," for the sake of avoiding confusion, I'll call them after whom they represent.

Esprit De La Rose

The first story placed our beloved B&B on a pirate ship? And in an alternate universe of where the Fee punish and banish sailors. The character development didn't seem very realistic for the Beast. But I think that's because his change of heart was a little rushed. The characters were ok. The ships and pirates idea was interesting, but for me that was its redeeming factor.


This story was by far my favorite of all five! Again, the style was not exactly my taste, but the story was good. And I enjoyed the characters. I loved the idea of it, and I definitely want to know more about the world of the story. The Spooks seemed to be people who would protect the townspeople from the evil spirits that lurked in the forest. Also the Beast was different and why he was a beast. The CASTLE was alive! And all the Lonely were like the invisible spirits, I guess, that served in the castle. Even the ending was different and interesting. The world-building made this story stick out.

Stone Curse

This story was also interesting. It varied more in plot, and Belle's origin was different than the traditional Belle/Beauty. The Beast was written well too. It did get rather sappy though, mostly at the end. This could be in part because the ending was rushed. I wish the author would've taken more time with the romance twist at the end because it would've been more believable. I kinda left this one with some dissatisfaction because the ending was wrapped up just so. But that's ok, right? It's a fairytale.

Rosara and the Jungle King

This was probably my least favorite even though it was the most different. The plot was loosely based on B&B. I did like how it took place in the jungle, how the curse came about, and that the Beast was actually a jaguar. Buuuut the whole plot seemed to hang on the second plot event which just so happened to be an attempted rape which the Beast saves Belle from [enter romance trope].

The romance made me wince, but considering that it is romance genre, it's probably done well then? [Don't look at me; I haven't the faintest.] Despite the different setting, the plot and events were a little predictable.

The Wulver's Rose

The Scottish setting was enjoyable as well as the obvious Scottish accent in the dialogue. There were a few other tiny differences. This particular retelling made me realized that in B&B story, the Beast is technically very old, like hundreds of years older than Belle. Sure, he is kept from physically aging and in most stories part of the curse keeps him from mental intelligence. But still, he's had the experience of hundreds of years. And, honestly, that's a little disturbing. I know there's going to be a huge age gap, but a hundred years is a bit much, don't you think?

So yeah, this book was not exactly my cup of tea [except Wither, Wither was great!]. But maybe you might like it? And if you're a Beauty and the Beast fan [as I am], it's at least worth a try!

What's your favorite fairytale retelling, B&B or otherwise? What's your least favorite and why? I'd love some recs!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Wisteria Writer Tag

Thank you so much Eve @ Edge of Night for tagging me for this! It's a lot of fun.

You should definitely go check out her blog, people! She post some awesome poetry.

1. What current story or book are you working on?

I'm editing Oddball the First.

This is how I'm feeling with some of my stories!!

2. What is your favorite genre to write in?

Fantasy. Anything not normal. Anything that can be funny and loaded with dialogue.

3. Have you been published? If not, do you plan to be?

Eh, sorta? This website published one of my short stories.
I do plan to be a published author, yes.  

4. Which aspect of writing are you best at (mood, theme, plot, etc.)?

So these are hard questions.

 Dialogue maybe
 Awkward scenes [not that I have real life experience in this, never]

 Really? I have to smile too? Society asks too much of me.

5. Which part could you improve upon most in your writing?

Not adding too much dialogue
Not making sad things funny
There could always be more dragons. Always.

6. Do you prefer to write fiction or nonfiction?

What is this nonfiction that you speak of?

7. Do you remember the title of your very first work?

Story length

The Surprise.
[It was a stupid, predictable story about a rainbow, if you care to know. I was probably 7.]

Book length

The Sandy Series
I promise it's a fantasy and not some MG school drama. 
[Yes, I know. The title burns your eyeballs. Just run some cold tap water over them. That's what I do.]

8. Are you typically a planner or a panster?

I'm a bit of a hybrid, but I lean heavily on the pantsing side. 

9. What is your definition of a "successful" writer?

 Gee, this is subjective. Sure, by nature of the question of course. But don't go away thinking that what I consider "a successful writer" to be is the firm and immovable definition of a successful writer.
Success is different for everyone. [So by nature, subjective?] Figure out what it means to you. Go on now. Be free!


So for me? Gosh, I know, but I don't know. Like I don't want to tell you.
I hate telling people my "plans." My plans are always subject to change, and they will most assuredly change if I tell them to people. Plans are funny like that. They're like secrets. You tell them to people and everything blows up in your face. End of action movie.

Smaug blowing out windows in 221B Baker Street.

10. What would you say to someone wanting to be an author?

"Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an Artist." Pablo Picasso:

Write a lot, man. Write everything. Read a lot. Read everything.

Experiment to your heart's content.

You don't have to use big words to talk about deep stuff.

Make 'em laugh. [That's a song, by of way.]

Make it worth your time by having fun with it. Have so much fun other people get jealous.

Be addicted to writing [but you didn't hear that from me].

Steal the tag if you'd like!

Do you make a mean outline? Or are you a panster through and through? And what is the title of your first work? Do your plans turn on you when you tell people about them?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Around the Circuit World // of sorts // life update

It's been ages, I know. But guess it! This week I will finish my final exams, and then summer vacation will be on!

I composed half of this post a long time ago, so here's some older reccomendations.

Some excellent Paper Fury posts are Unrealistic Happenings in YA Books. This made my day. Cait's posts always make me laugh. (Her metaphors are the best outrageous stuff of ever.) Also, Should Author's Agree With Everything They Write? Awesome discussion that!

I love iravenwings' instagram account.

Miriam's Motley Crew post talks about coordinating a large cast of characters and everyone's deep love for a quirky cast.

This Penslayer post called Is the Hook of a Great Novel Actually Criminal? is great!

And this instagram post by Maggie S. XD She's awesome.

I recently started follow Andrea's a surge of thunder and enjoyed her post on the ingredients of hype.

So I don't often recommend book review posts. They're not my favorite type of post. But poetree's is definitely worth mentioning. :)

This is my awesome and beautiful friend covering a Third Day song. [Check out her youtube channel.]

Wanderer's Pen has this awesome series called "So Your Character Is. . ." and the blank is filled in an ethnicity, mental illness, you get the idea. In this post, Victoria interviews someone who's blind.

Love, love this post about keeping your eyes on the horizon by Tim Foreman! [If you don't know, he's a Switchfoot band member. And if you don't know who Switchfoot is, then, friend, you've not been here long.Welcome and here's a good taste.]

I wish I could give you all the Switchfoot songs, but instead here's a video about how a theremin works. You know those weird, eerie sounds on old sci-fi movies? Yeah, that's a theremin.

For school, I've actually had a lot of non-book related internet wanderings (like the above theremin). Here's a crazy , but cool article about berserkers. There's a lot of weird theories out there about how they would go into battle rage [I don't fancy the mushroom theory; it's possible but a little far-fetched]. Some people have proposed that it could be some extreme case of something akin to PTSD [I lean toward this theory; it makes more sense]. But since there are no records found on how and why they'd go into battle rage, any possibility is probable since there's little to no way to rule anything out.

I took an ancient Germanic literature course, and we read books like Beowulf. I LOVE Beowulf, guys! If you've not, I definitely suggest reading it especially if you like fantasy.

We also read Icelandic sagas. Soooo much sass. Grettir's Saga had a lot of otherworldly beings like trolls, monsters, and ghosts. But Njal's Saga I think was my favorite. Lots of fate and foreshadowing. The Germanic and Icelandic cultures were revenge cultures, and revenge is fascinating to read about.

One of my friends let me borrow her book Stealing Like An Artist. It's a fun and creative book. It's full of quotes and just looks snazzy.

Also, Layers is a pretty cool blog with comics. Like this and that.

What have you been reading lately? Have you had any interesting internet wanderings? 

Monday, March 20, 2017

inspire me tag

Coming to you from Liz @ Out of Coffee, Out of Mind is the inspire me tag. Thanks Liz!

1) What is one of the most inspiring things for you?

I've been inspired by various things and they don't fit into one particular category well. Sorry to be vague. But that's how it is. 


2) Where do you look for inspiration?

Inspiration comes to those who don't look for it.

Seriously though, I'm never looking for it when I get it. Like when I discovered Oddball, I was hanging up clothes in the backyard [obviously, my brain was five million miles away].

 Rocky and Oddball (pst, Rocky's the one in the plaid):

3) When and where does inspiration tend to hit you?

*cue the various kinds of inspiration mentioned in #1*

So the weird idea was first inspired by this tv series called The Cape. I really enjoyed it, but it died after the first season. The weird idea came from a single scene in one of the latter episodes [which is strangely unrelated to the plot and characters, but there's inspiration for you: impossibly irrelevant]. Also, I wanted to write in first person present tense. And I challenged myself to write scenes that most people would place italics but, of course, with no italics. [I see you rolling your eyes. Stop that.] I had a small fascination with photographic memories and wanted to experiment with writing a character who had one.


I got ideas for this character who loves coffee while drinking coffee and searching through pinterest.



On holidays, my family makes baked oysters, so while I was eating a lunch comprised solely of leftover oyster goodness, this amazing wonderful scene and a bunch of characters hit me in the face.

So the protagonist's name is Oyster. Ok, maybe that sounds lame. But it's not! It shall be awesome because now it actually has some semblance of plot. *ahem*


The Sighting of the Albinos comes from challenging myself to write a dragon story without saying the word "dragon." [In retrospect, this is not particularly difficult as any well-read fantasy lover will know that the words "reptile" and "wings" will likely indicate a dragon.]

Also, writing myself into corners always tends to inspire me to write my way out. I love writing myself into corners [not that I do it on purpose]. It gives me a problem to solve, and my whole world becomes writing.

To sum up, having a problem or challenge to solve keeps me more engaged or inspired to write. Also, food. Having food or coffee does the trick too.

4) What's the first thing you do when inspiration strikes?

Well, considering that I'm usually not expecting inspiration, sometimes I don't recognize it for what it is. I'm the idiot who'll awkwardly hold inspiration in my hands and oo and ah wondering what the heck it is. Usually, it grows and rages at me until I finally write the idea down. 


5) What is the most inspiring song/book/website/etc. that you've found?

Switchfoot is eternally inspirational.

 I recently read Grettir's Saga, and Norse humor rocks.

The Mentalist. Yeah.

Any book or show that has good banter.
Um, the dictionary can be wondrously inspirational.

 *cough* mischief:

6) What's one piece of advice you'd give to people who are struggling with inspiration?

So yeah, I'm totally going to steal Liz's answer. 

 I'm going farther:

Inspiration is not everything. Actually, it's hardly anything. When I read back on my writing, the best words came out of those hard places where I didn't want to write because I didn't have the words. But I wrote anyway [of course I never write stuff like "they did things and drank coffee and Oddball had a cold" haha, ha, stop looking at me like that].

Here's one of my favorite quotes that's sorta, but not really related. I'm not even going to interpret it. Just do with it whatever you will. It's by James Scott Bell: "Talent is overrated. The ability to get tough, stick with it, and produce words beats lazy literary giftedness every time."

Inspiration is such a fickle thing. It's not something that's meant to be sought or waited upon. It just happens, and if so, then that's great. But if not, we carry on and write relentlessly, yes?


Where do you get inspiration from? What do you do with it? And what is one of your favorite inspirational moments?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Popcorn Reviews // The Stardrift Trilogy

So this author contacted me about reviewing her book on my blog. [To think! Me?! An author contacting! This blog doesn't get traffic to warrant that.]

And I was like *shrugs* Sure, man. [Guys, an author contacted me, what was I to say?]

This was about a year and half ago. *hides face* Because life / I'm forgetful / other reasonings that shall be revealed.

The Stardrift Trilogy is a space adventure book with planets that have crazy climates and weird creatures. The cast of characters are on a quest to save various planets from destruction at the hands of some mad villain.

So I didn't like this book. Which is the big reason why it took me forever to finish the whole trilogy before reviewing it. Plus, I have never reviewed a book that I don't like. But I made a promise.

Let's talk about the good stuff first. Because other people might like this trilogy. I haven't actually read many space books [a thing I intend to remedy]. So maybe it's just me? Maybe the genre comes with a certain atmosphere or feel that I'm unused to?

The good stuff.

1) The science is very specific and accurate. The MC, Dahskay, is an astronomer, so there's a lot of astronomical terms. Astronomy is usually one of the few sciences that I have little interest in, but the book made me a little curious.

2) The world-building is very intricate and in-depth. I could tell the author put a lot of work into the world-building. Every planet is different. The creatures on each planet are interesting.

3) Spaceships! So one of the things that I always love about space books and movies is the spaceships. They're just cool, ok. 

 The LEGO movie - Benny - Space Ship! This was the best part of the entire movie.

The Stardrift Trilogy has Lei's ship. Which is pretty awesome because she designed it herself, and other people have tried to mimic what she did but can't.

4) There's a glossary, thank God! I cannot pronounce any names.

5) The prologue is awesome.

The other stuff

1) The plot? It got lost somewhere? I still have trouble pinpointing what it was actually about. Sometimes it seemed really vague even though I do know that the main characters are trying to stop the villain from destroying a whole solar system. I think. The plot doesn't really kick into gear until the third book.

In the first book, Dahskay sees some discrepancies in a star's alignment. So she decides to check it out. Her dad freaks out then let's her go [her parents are bipolar like that], but only if she takes Trotha [he's awful in case you want to know] along so that he can lookout for her.

Then there's this mysterious, dangerous girl [Lei] with a dark past. If Leirrenist were in a George Lucas film, she'd have her own epic theme music. Anyhow, she decides to guide them. And they find trouble. Also, people are hunting them because everyone suspects that Dahskay and Co. are spies [which is absurd].

Second book? Dahskay and Trotha find a transmitted message that they can't translate. Everyone thinks it's nothing, but these two have a weird feeling. So they take the message to a planet that can decipher it. They run into Lei again and team up with her. The message is detrimental to the war in Lei's solar system.

In the third book, the two help Lei with the rebellion and with destroying stuff. And yeah, I probably shouldn't tell you the end.

2) The characters are flat and bipolar. Lei's bad-tempered, violent, and unpredictable. Trotha's pessimistic, annoying, and useless. Dahskay never knows what's going. And her dad rejects the idea of his baby daughter going out into a war zone and in the same breath changes his mind because HOW DANGEROUS CAN SPACE BE, right?

3) Until the third book, Dahskay's "in charge" of the mission. Even though the only thing she does is keep Trotha and Lei from killing each other [literally]. She never knows what's happening; she just goes along for the ride, but everyone insists that she's the leader.

Guardians of the Galaxy (GIF set)

4) I still have no idea why Trotha's part of the team. He causes most of the problems they got into.

5) I could never understand the power status between the characters. One minute the villain is intimidating his advisor. Then within the same scene, he's whining like a little kid to his advisor and accepting the advise given him.

The villain also places all his trust in this kid general who's supposed to be an awesome warrior but now is sick and hallucinates. Everyone thinks the general's going to die while the villain believes the general can single-handedly execute three prisoners.

The general dude, Zarrveck, is sometimes super weak, and other times he's stronger and faster than Dahskay [who is unfit, yeah, but at least she's not on the verge of dying].

6) Zarrveck is always described as "beautiful" and "corpse-like." Corpses are beautiful, guys!


I'm so confused.

7) BUT Zarrveck was the only character who's inconsistencies actually seemed like character development instead of just. . . I don't even know. Except for his fits of physical strength and weakness.

8) The writing takes the long way to explain everything.

9) The world-building is well developed but it's given in these long chunks of info-dumping. And despite the fact that everything was described in complete detail, I still had trouble visualizing it.

10) The dialogue is awful. [That alone can be a deal breaker for me.]

11) Typos and misspellings are everywhere. It's not so bad in the third book though.

And that's all I have to say.

 Raiders of the Lost Tumblr

 Have you ever read a book with bipolar characters? Do you have an good space, sci-fi recs? What was your biggest book disappointment?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Techincal Difficulties // your readers should need shock blankets

I live! So school has been eating my life away, more or less. I could give you all the normal, but unfortunately true, excuses for my absence.

 Did You Miss Me? #Moriarty #Sherlock Series three just ended and I already can't wait for series 4!!!!!!

 But let's not dwell on my absence and instead talk about writing.

Because writing rocks.

["Ashley, what the heck is your title doing?!"
What makes you think I know? I certainly didn't put that there. . .
Yeah, okay, I did. *Moriarty shrug*
Just go with it.]

Let's think about those scenes wherein the character is startled by something. A thing happens without forewarning. You know, suddenly. I often see the surprise given away through the wording.
Like this

Before Darcy could reach the door, it opened and slammed her in the face.

Or worse

Darcy was about to open the door when it opened of its own accord and slammed into her face. 

The words "Before Darcy could" clearly indicates that SOMETHING is going to stop her. And whenever you read a sentence worded with "[someone] was about to [do something]," you know that the character will not go through with what they are "about to do," or else the writer would've had the character "do it" instead of "about to do it." Something is going to interrupt the character, good or bad, small or big, funny or scary. The unexpected is going to happen.

"Ashley, why does that matter so much?"

Well, now we're expecting it. And if we're expecting it, it's not so unexpected anymore, is it? 

"Okay, yeah, but we don't want to jolt the readers."

 Darcy reached for the door. The knob turned by itself, and slam! Darcy staggered back and cried out. Tears blurred her vision and pain throbbed in her nose.

 Literally me. Between 26 seconds of new Sherlock last night, finding nearly naked Hiddleston pics from Only Lovers Left Alive, and the upcoming announcement tomorrow regarding the New Doctor, I'm a fangirl mess!

Why not shock or "jolt" the readers?
[I hate that word, "jolt." But it's commonly used by writers. Whyyyy?]

If you want to give the reader the POV character's experience, then why warn the reader? You're not going to warn the character. If the character is shocked, then shock the reader. Sure, they'll experience some confusion at first, but then so will the character. And as things clear for the character, things will, or should, clear for the reader too.

It's okay to jolt your reader, to take them off guard. If your intent is to have them experience the story firsthand like your characters, then do it. Especially if you're writing close POV. 

Just make the surprise happen like surprises always happen. Without preamble. 


Mildly related to this, be wary of using "suddenly" often. [It's a small pet peeve of mine. So I'm totally not biased.] If something happens suddenly, then there ought to be no time to say "suddenly." Using "suddenly" is a bit like telling us how it happened instead of showing us how it happened. You know?

But as always, there's two sides to this. Maybe you don't want to give the reader the POV character's immediate experience. Maybe you're writing in omniscient POV. Maybe you want to distance your reader from the character. Maybe you want the reader to observe the character's disorientation with full knowledge of what's going on. 


In such cases, giving the readers warning signals might work to your advantage. 

It's not about the right way to write, it's about the right way to write your story. [Which is how we should view most writing "rules." You know, if you ask my small opinion.]

In my last post, I considered writing about the advice I usually give when beta-reading. But instead of writing some post with an odd number of points on it, I could just break it up into multiple posts. You know, and have a writing tips series titled Technical Difficulties because I have no idea why other than it sounds cool. So yeah, this is that. Hope you liked it! Good day. 

I have this insane desire to get an orange blanket to wrap myself in while I watch The Empty Hearse for the first time. I think I will need it...:

What do you think? Is it okay to surprise the reader in some cases? What you do you regularly do to warn the reader or not warn the reader? Any tips?