Categories
Book Review Reading

Book Review: The Last Wish

This is a Spoiler-Free Review.


I decided to take a (very brief) break from reading Sanderson. But I still wanted to read Epic Fantasy (. I like short stories, and I had heard that The Witcher series started off with short stories. And what with the show coming out recently, I decided, “why not?” It was a short read anyway. If I didn’t like it, it’d be over quick. I didn’t go in with low expectations, but I didn’t go in with high expectations either.

But, that book was one of the best fantasy books I’ve read.

The Last Wish is the first book in The Witcher canon. It is a collection of short stories that give an introduction to the protagonist of the series, Geralt of Rivia. Geralt is a Witcher. But what is a Witcher? A Witcher is a mutated human who uses magic to hunt monsters for coin. They travel across the Continent looking for work so that they can make money. Witcher’s live by a strict code for monster hunting that Geralt does his best to follow. The short stories are great page turner’s and there aren’t needless dumps of information (something that can tend to happen in high fantasy books. Not that I don’t enjoy the dumps, but they do drag out the reading a bit). They tell the stories in concise ways giving us small details into the world.

Now, there is a timeline piece that can be a bit confusing at first, but once you get further into the book it will make more and more sense. It is a little bit off-putting at first, so that is something to keep in mind. Push through, and you’ll be fine.

I personally enjoyed the book immensely. It was fun to have a different way of reading high fantasy (fantasy that takes place in a completely different world). I enjoy short stories like Sherlock Holmes. It was entertaining to see my favorite genre mix with one of my favorite styles of storytelling. The characters were also compelling and different from what I’m used to seeing in fantasy. The magic system was a soft magic system that I felt left room for development of other things, such as the monsters. Every monster Geralt came across was unique and it felt like we hadn’t seen them before.

All in all, I enjoyed this book immensely and I would recommend it to those who are fans of the fantasy genre. Someone who doesn’t enjoy the genre may not enjoy this book as much as I did.

If you’ve read The Last Wish, what were your (spoiler-free for the series, I’m still working on finishing the series!) thoughts?


Thanks for reading! If you want to get updates on when new blog posts come out, subscribe to my newsletter, “The Raven,” and be the first to get updates and exclusive updates on my writings! If you want to contribute to the conversation, please comment below! I will try to respond to all comments!


Processing…
Success! You're on the list.


Categories
Book Review Reading

Book Review – The Hero of Ages

Spoilers for The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson to follow!


Well, this review is gonna be tough. I noticed with my last couple of reviews, I haven’t done a very good job of criticizing what the book didn’t do well. I hate to be overly critical of books, but at the same time, it is good to see what they didn’t do right. The other problem with this is, this book does not have a ton that I can criticize. In fact, this might be the best book in the series, maybe even surpassing Mistborn: The Final Empire. I would also like to put a disclaimer before you read this article. What I say here is not set in steel (anyone?), it is merely my opinion of this book. It is not to be taken as fact. In fact, some of my criticisms may have just been things that I noticed, not everyone may have the same issues with them as I did. So, before I keep on rambling, let’s get into this.

The Hero of Ages was a supremely well-done book. Aside from a couple of things, it was a flawless read. The ending was perfect for the characters and it leaves you with the hole that needs to be filled by more time spent with these characters. It does struggle at some times with pacing and certain plot lines being confusing. But, those issues could have been my own due to the fact that I went weeks without reading it at one point.

So let’s get into this! First, let’s look at what I didn’t necessarily enjoy about it.
1. The Pacing – All Sanderson books tend to struggle with this issue, but it does tend to make up for itself in the end. It is still worth pointing out though. The book starts off very quickly with a good amount of action to hook the reader in (though, why are you still reading if you haven’t liked the series so far?). But, as you get into the book, the characters stay in the same place and I got a little bored with it at times and it just felt slow. It’s not that things weren’t happening and the story wasn’t being developed. In fact, these scenes had some tremendous set up for the end. But things felt very monotonous at times. Which leads to my second point here.
2. The Scenes – Don’t get me wrong about this point. Every scene revealed something new and some brought some spectacular action sequences to it. But, there were several points where I felt like I had already read this. It felt similar to previous chapters. Characters were doing similar things, and the settings became similar. Now, don’t get me wrong, these scenes were brilliant at times even if they felt the same. But I definitely feel that this affected the pacing of the book for me as it seemed like it dragged at times.

These were my two big issues with this book. I’m sure that if I reread it, I’ll find other nitpicky issues that I had with this book. But overall, those are the two biggest issues that I had with it.

Now to get to some of the good stuff. Let’s look at what worked in this book for me!
1. The Characterization – This book has some pretty dang good characters. In fact, the characterization may be near perfection in this series. Each character had a completely realistic arc and the ending for all the characters fell in place perfectly. Everyone got the ending that they had been foreshadowed (though where it was foreshadowed, I cannot tell you. I’ll have to reread the series just to look for that piece alone!) and that they had reached a conclusion that fit for each of the characters. Even the surprise ending for Sazed felt perfect. The entire book dealt with his depression and loss of faith, then in the end he regained it in the best possible way. Which leads me to my second point.
2. The Writing – The way this book was written was the best of the entire series. The prose succeeded tremendously. Sanderson really hit his stride in this book. I think one of my favorite lines from any piece of literature comes in this book. In Chapter 56, Spook is talking to Sazed about faith and he answers him in this way: “Faith,” Spook said, “means that it doesn’t matter what happens. You can trust that somebody is watching. Trust that somebody will make it all right.” When I first read that line, I just sat there for a moment. I had to reread it again, and not only did I reread it once, I reread it five times. Not only is this line great in of itself as it is a great explanation of faith to Sazed, but it also foreshadows to the end of the book where they have to place faith in Vin to “make it all right.” The prose and dialogue in this book were just marvelous and I enjoyed it immensely.

As I have already touched on similar highlights in my last two reviews, I’ll briefly cover them here. The setting of The Final Empire is highly unique in this last chapter of the first era and influences several plot points. The plot is also highly original from what I have read in fantasy and is executed to perfection, even if it is rather slow at parts. The ending is a shocker, though well set up.

All in all, this book is one of my favorite fantasy reads. It’s not a perfect book, but it overcomes its struggles and makes for a killer ending. I cannot decide if I like it better than the first book, but both are pretty dang good. This trilogy was a great introduction to the Cosmere and I look forward to reading more of it!

Have you read any of the Mistborn trilogy? If so what were your thoughts? Leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to reply!


Thanks for reading! If you want to get updates on when new blog posts come out, subscribe to my newsletter, “The Raven,” and be the first to get updates and exclusive updates on my writings! If you want to contribute to the conversation, please comment below! I will try to respond to all comments!


Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Categories
On Writing Reading

The Importance of Chapter One (or the Prologue)

So why is the first chapter so important? The first chapter is many things, but it ultimately helps the reader decide if they want to keep reading. As writers, we want our readers to keep reading our story. The first chapter is our best bet at getting them to keep reading.

So, what can we do as writers to keep readers interested in our book? Well, there are a few things that I’ve seen done in other books that are good examples to follow. We don’t need to do every single one of these things as writers, they aren’t rules you must follow. They are just things that other writers have done that helped their book.

The first thing the first chapter can do to successfully keep their reader is to hook the reader. You might ask, “what is the hook?” Well think of it this way, it’s like what a fisherman does. You put something that the fish will want on the hook so that the fish will bite into it and the fisherman can catch the fish. Well, we as writers want to “hook” our readers. Generally, the hook comes in the first couple of sentences. And one of the best ways that a writer can “hook” their readers is by getting the readers to ask questions. Let’s look at an example:

“Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world. A tall Shade lifted his head and sniffed the air.”
-Prologue of Eragon by Christopher Paolini

While this is not technically the first chapter of Eragon, it is the first thing that the reader is going to read so its goal is still to hook the reader. Notice how Paolini is getting the reader to ask questions with these first two sentences. Why would the scent change the world? What is the scent? What is a Shade? Is he human? We want our questions answered, so the only thing to do is to keep reading. Paolini has now hooked us.

The hook also contains action. We as readers can infer that action is about to happen. And a good hook makes us wonder why this action is happening, thus motivating us to keep on reading. This is a greater hook that can carry on for the entire chapter, and sometimes even a good bit of a book, maybe even a series (apparently, the classic fantasy series The Wheel of Time’s prologue isn’t fully explained for a couple of books). This is a greater hook that gets us to finish the chapter, and sometimes even the book.

Let’s look at another example of a hook from a fantasy classic:

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”
-Chapter One of The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

This one gets us to ask questions, but an action scene is clearly not taking place. So how does Tolkien hook us? Well, he makes us ask a big question, what is a hobbit? He goes on to describe where the hobbit lives, but he still gives us very little information on hobbit’s themselves. We as readers keep asking the question, and so we keep reading. This is a good example of using description to hook a reader. Chapter One of The Hobbit doesn’t do much at the beginning of the chapter but describes the lives of hobbit’s, particularly Bilbo Baggins and his family. By the time we have found our answer to “what is a hobbit?” we want to know more about Bilbo, and so we are successfully hooked as readers. This leads us to the next point.

The second thing the first chapter can do to successfully keep their reader is to get the reader to want to know more about your protagonist, especially by teases. You don’t want to give away the whole backstory of your protagonist in chapter one. If you are able to keep teasing the reader, they will want to keep coming back for more.

As I tried to think of an example of this, I thought about the Prologue of Mistborn: The Final Empire. It successfully teased Kelsier, giving us just enough information for the readers to want more of him. Sanderson gave us teases of Kelsier’s backstory while setting a scene that made us fall in love with the character. By the end of the chapter, we’re hooked and want more of Kelsier.

The last thing the first chapter can do to successfully keep their reader is to start the chapter with a bang. I touched on this a little bit in my first point, but I wanted to expound on it a little more. When we as readers are thrown into the middle of an action scene, it can be a little much. So you really have to give a balance of the action and explanation of things. It can draw the reader in, or will turn them away. So you have to be sure to enter in the right place and give just enough information that the reader won’t be too confused. And an action scene doesn’t have to be a sword fight or gunfight, it can be someone driving down the road to the grocery store!

So in summary, great first chapters (or prologues depending on the book) have shown us how to start off books well in three different aspects. They successfully hook the reader at the beginning of the chapter. They successfully tease the protagonist, giving the reader just enough to want to know more about them.

So what do you think? Do you agree or disagree with me? Let me know in the comments below!

From my pen to your paper, may our swords never clash.


Thanks for reading! If you want to get updates on when new blog posts come out, subscribe to my newsletter, “The Raven,” and be the first to get updates and exclusive updates on my writings! If you want to contribute to the conversation, please comment below! I will try to respond to all comments!


Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Categories
Book Review Reading

Book Review – The Well of Ascension

Spoilers for The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson are to follow!


Well, I finished another book. And it was a good one! After the end of Mistborn: The Final Empire, I didn’t think that Sanderson would be able to make the sequel nearly as good as the first one. And while it wasn’t as good as The Final Empire (we’ll get into why in just a minute), it was still one heck of a read. I’ll give him one thing, Sanderson knows how to end a book with a bang!

So what did I enjoy the most about this book?

  1. The Characters – In every book I’ve read by Sanderson, he has not skimped on character yet. While Vin was a very dynamic character and is the center of the story, I enjoyed Sazed’s development more. I think this is because, by the end of the story, he is completely changed and we don’t know what he’s going to do. Sazed starts the book teaching young children all the different things he’s learned that way he can pass down his knowledge as a keeper. But, he’s taken away from it by Marsh (Kelsier’s brother) and he eventually travels back to Luthadel. He is rebelling against what his own people have told him to do. This is the first noticeable point in Sazed’s turn from the Terris religion and people. The second is when Tindwyl arrives and Sazed rekindles his love for her but because of his religion and ways doesn’t think he’s good enough for her. As the story goes on its a bit obvious that Sazed is beginning to doubt himself. His doubt continues to grow both when he Tindwyl dies in the battle and when he figures out what all the writings that he found meant (a big highlight of mine that we’ll touch on in a second) he races to stop Vin from unleashing the Well after Tindwyl’s untimely demise. He ends up failing, and that sends Sazed into what is a deeper depression. He ultimately rejects his people and leaves Luthadel with barely any notice to Vin or Elend. Sanderson pulled my heartstrings with this one because I loved Sazed! He was an awesome character and to see him fall into a depression-like this is heartbreaking. I can’t wait to see what happens to him in The Hero of Ages!
  2. The Writings Sazed Found – This is a minor detail, and The Final Empire may have done this as well. When Sazed travels with Marsh to a place where the Inquisitors had lived, he finds a long transcript carved into the metal. It is a minor thing at the beginning, but in the end, it hits hard. It was true writing stating how everything was a sham. What made this even better was how Sanderson put a line from it at the top of each chapter. Then, at the end, Sazed read the whole thing and realized the truth. He reads the whole thing, unbroken and everything makes sense to the reader and your anticipation and eagerness to find out how it ends grows. It was truly a marvelous plot twist and was one of my favorite things about the book.
  3. The Mist-Spirit – The Mist-Spirit was a weird aspect of the book for a lot of the novel. It was mysterious and I couldn’t figure out what its place was. It had a great pay off in the end, and while I’m curious to see what happens to it in The Hero of Ages, it was a neat part of the book.
  4. The End  – This is probably the most obvious one. The end is better than The Final Empire. If you read Mistborn: The Final Empire and decided you didn’t want to read the rest of the series, you’d be fine because most of the plots are resolved and there isn’t much that urges you to need the next book. The Well of Ascension does not do that. First, I must say that when Vin was going to the Well and Sazed was chasing after her to stop her, my heart was racing. I could not wait to find out what happened. When Elend was sliced open, my heart dropped. I genuinely thought that he would be dead. Then when Vin realized her mistake of letting the beast (or whatever it was) free my heart sank again because she could have saved Elend. But, it turned out that this was Elend’s Pits of Hathsin moment. It is revealed in the last chapter that Elend was discovered to be a Mistborn. There are so many loose threads that have me needing this next book! Though, I am sad that it will be my last journey with Vin, Elend, and the rest of the crew.

There were so many things I liked about this book that they vastly overshadowed the things I didn’t like, but I’ll still briefly mention what I didn’t like.

  1. The Pacing in the Middle of the Story – The book seemed to drag a little bit slowly and delve into the political side of things, and while I understand that this section helped make the end more of a bang, it still was rather slow for my tastes.
  2. Zane – Now I think Sanderson didn’t want us to like him, but I certainly didn’t. Especially after he tried to kill Vin. I wasn’t sorry to see him go at all. I do appreciate what Sanderson did writing the character, and he was well developed, but it doesn’t make me like him anymore.

The book was all around so good! The only reason I didn’t like it more than The Final Empire was because of the slow middle part of the book. But other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Have you read The Well of Ascension? If so let me know your thoughts below! I try and respond to all of the comments!


Thanks for reading! If you want to get updates on when new blog posts come out, subscribe to my newsletter, “The Raven,” and be the first to get updates and exclusive updates on my writings! If you want to contribute to the conversation, please comment below! I will try to respond to all comments!


Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Categories
Reading

Piggy’s Glasses, The Conch, and the Face Paint: An Exploration in Symbolism in The Lord of the Flies

This is a paper I did for my English class, so this article will not be focusing on teaching as much as I usually do in my articles.

Symbolism is a great way to enhance a story that has been used in many novels. Some have been used masterfully and have greatly improved the quality of the novel. William Golding’s novel The Lord of the Flies is a prime example of using symbols to enhance the details of the story. The symbols that William Golding uses are simple objects, but they tend to represent a lot in the novel. Golding uses the symbols in a way that they are not blatant, they are hidden within the story. Each time the reader reads his novel, they will find new bits of symbolism throughout the story. What happens to the symbols is also interesting to note as they can hint at certain things within the story. The novel, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding uses several symbols to enhance the story, including Piggy’s glasses to symbolize intelligence on the island, the conch to symbolize order and law, and the face paint symbolizing savagery.

First, Piggy’s glasses symbolize intelligence on the island. We know that they do because Piggy is an intelligent character. At the beginning of the novel, he is the first one to meet Ralph. He tries to befriend Ralph and though his efforts seem to fail, Piggy still gives him advice on what they should do. In Golding’s novel, Piggy is the one who suggests that Ralph use the conch to call the meeting together (Golding 11). Piggy is also the character who suggests several laws in the book, but they are generally ignored. Piggy is the only one who is forthcoming about laws that could benefit the group in survival, not just help the boys have fun. Howard Babb says that “Piggy is the more conscious of the adult world and of those who might have died in the plane crash” (Babb 11). This is true in the sense that Piggy is the one who is thinking about how to organize themselves since no adults have been discovered yet. All of Piggy’s motivations and actions show that he is an intelligent character, and therefore his glasses represent intelligence. His glasses are also needed to start the fire which is the only way that they know how to get home. Without the glasses, they would not be able to start the fire, and without the fire, they couldn’t send up smoke signals to ships passing by. It is interesting how the symbol of the glasses is used in this. Since Piggy is intelligent and Golding had already established that at this point in the book, they needed to use Piggy’s glasses to start the fire. This connection might not be caught at first glance, but they also seize the glasses from Piggy not letting him have a say in lighting the fire and they end up starting a large fire on the island. Then at the end of the book, the tribe steals the glasses in the middle of the night from Piggy so that they can light a fire. The other boys continuously steal the symbol of intelligence to lighting the fire. These glasses are vital to lighting the fire which is an important part of the community on the island. Then when the tribe of boys forms, they especially need the glasses. Without the glasses, they wouldn’t be able to eat the meat of the animals that they had killed. Another thing that is interesting to note is how the boys always need the glasses no matter which group it is. This shows that the boys need the intelligence to be a tribe. The glasses are most certainly a symbol of intelligence, and they are used significantly throughout the novel as a part of a plot point.

Another example of the excellent use of symbolism in The Lord of the Flies is the conch. The conch represents law and order in the book. Ralph uses it to call all the boys on the island together for their very first meeting. After the conch was blown, the children assembled on the beach and their very first meeting began. The conch was a symbol of order and law from the very first chapter! Without the conch, it most likely would have been harder for the boys to gather all the boys together for the meetings. Another rule the boys make in that first meeting is that the conch is needed to speak during the meetings. This way, the meetings are more orderly and not just the boys arguing over each other. With this rule, there is more order in the boy’s meetings. The rule does tend to be ignored by all the boys whenever Piggy is speaking, especially Jack. As the story goes on, especially towards the end of the book, the conch becomes a key point in the plot. The conch is the only way that Ralph retains control of the boys. He is able to keep his power as the leader for a little while longer as Jack begins to turn the tribe away from Ralph. Then, at the end of the book, during the final confrontation between Ralph, Piggy, and the savages, Jack shoves Piggy off the cliff smashing the conch along with Piggy. It is interesting to see that the most intelligent character, Piggy, is killed when the conch is destroyed. It is a symbol that law and order need intelligence as well. When the conch is destroyed the book seems to play out to where there is no law and order at all. Ralph is forced to flee and hide, and the tribe burns down the island. The conch emboldens the representation of law and order, and once it is destroyed, the law and order disappear.

The face paint in The Lord of the Flies is another symbol, representing savagery on the island. Jack and his hunters are the first ones to wear the face paint and as you read the book, they are the first ones to rebel against the law and order of the island, opting to hunt the pig instead of keeping the signal fire lit. If they had kept an eye out on the signal fire, they would have been able to see and signal the ship that went by the island. It is interesting to see that whenever the face paint is worn, the boys feel a need to kill. First, it was with the pig. The boys would do a chant saying “Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Spill her blood” (Golding 52). They wanted to kill the pig at first, then they needed to kill it. The need to kill is something that savages have, and these boys are savages whenever they are wearing the paint because they discover a need to kill with the paint on. The boys also wear the paint, when they kill Simon. Everyone present for the killing of Simon, except Ralph and Piggy, are wearing the paint. The need to kill comes over the boys again and they begin their chant again. Samuel Hynes notes that when the boys begin their chant this time “(it) is no longer ‘Kill the pig,” but ‘Kill the beast!’” (Hynes 19). The boys have changed every time that the paint is worn. They hunger for blood and hunger to kill, especially Jack who seems to be the ringleader of all the deaths. The face paint is also present on the tribe when the boys kill Piggy and destroy the conch. When they kill Piggy, they all are wearing face paint. It is interesting to note that every single time the face paint is present, an animal or person ends up dying. The pig dies, then Simon, and finally Piggy. Ralph would have been killed as well by the tribe of savages if the navy had not seen the smoke from the island and had arrived. The boys are changed when the wear the paint, they are changed into savages, and the symbol of the face paint makes it very clear.

The symbolism in Lord of the Flies is very prominent and enhances the story with Piggy’s glasses, the conch, and the face paint all being symbols that appear multiple times through the course of the story. These items also play many key roles in the story. Piggy’s glasses symbolize intelligence since Piggy is an intelligent character, and because without his glasses, the boys wouldn’t have an easy way to light the fire. The conch represents order and law because it is the item that was first used to call all the boys together. It also is needed to speak at the meetings that the boys hold. And finally, the face paint symbolizes the savagery with every time a death happens, the face paint is worn by the characters doing the killing. Without the symbolism in the novel, it would have been an enjoyable book, but the reader would not have these small symbols that enhance the story. Every time the novel is read, the reader is sure to find something new in the novel with each read.

WORKS CITED:

Babb, Howard. The Novels of William Golding. Ohio State University Press, 1970.

Hynes, Samuel. “William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.” Critical Essays on William Golding, Edited by Baker, James. G.K. Hall & Co., 1988, pp 13-21.

Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. Perigee, 1954.

Thanks guys for reading! Let me know what you guys think in the comments below!

From my pen to your paper, may our swords never clash.


Thanks for reading! If you want to get updates on when new blog posts come out, subscribe to my newsletter, “The Raven,” and be the first to get updates and exclusive updates on my writings! If you want to contribute to the conversation, please comment below! I will try to respond to all comments!


Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Categories
Book Review Reading

Book Review – Mistborn: The Final Empire

So I just finished Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. And let me say, this is why I read books. It truly was amazing. I cannot say anything bad about the book whatsoever. So let me give a few highlights. But before the highlights, let me give a brief summary.

This will be a spoiler-free review, so don’t worry about having it spoiled.

Mistborn takes place in the Final Empire, but most of the book takes place in the city of Luthadel, which is the capital of the Final Empire. There are two main characters who we are introduced to: Vin, the ska (peasant) girl who has an uncanny ability to use allomancy (magic), and Kelsier who is a Mistborn (someone who can use all aspects of allomancy). Vin joins Kelsier’s thieving crew whose services are bought to help the Ska rebellion overthrow the Final Empire and the Lord Ruler himself. The book has a great Fantasy feel to it and it also feels like a heist at times.

So, here are some of my highlights from the book:

1. The Magic – The Magic was truly an awesome feature. It was complex but introduced in a way that didn’t make it confusing to the readers. Its components were slowly introduced one by one and were demonstrated. May I say, it is a much better magic system than that of, say, Harry Potter. This is because there is an explanation of how it works.

2. The Characters – At the start of the book, you don’t really know how it’s going to go or who the main characters will be. But after the first couple of chapters, it becomes clear. Vin was a great character who demonstrated lots of believable growth. One of my biggest pet peeves as a reader is when a character does something that says they’ve changed and there has been no build-up or demonstration of the character changing, they just changed all a sudden. Vin’s growth as a character was very believable. You also grow close to the crew of the book. The other main character, Kelsier, is a very interesting character to get to know. Kelsier was my personal favorite. His style was fun and his motivations were very believable. As you read the book, be prepared to grow close to the characters. Sanderson does not skimp out on character, that’s a fact.

3. The Setting – The Final Empire is a very great setting. Plus, I can’t really compare it to any other fantasy setting, and I’ve read quite a few fantasy books. The book takes place mostly in Luthadel, but some scenes take place in a city outside Luthadel and farther to the north. It is definitely one of the most original settings I’ve read in a while.

4. The Villain – The Lord Ruler. Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? Well, it is. He is a very convincing villain, and he isn’t even in but a few scenes! Though, his presence hangs over the book like a cloud. There are also several lesser villains that are just as terrifying.

These were just a couple of highlights I had. There are plenty for sure. So do yourself a favor, go read the book! Then come back and comment on your favorite part!


Thanks for reading! If you want to get updates on when new blog posts come out, subscribe to my newsletter, “The Raven,” and be the first to get updates and exclusive updates on my writings! If you want to contribute to the conversation, please comment below! I will try to respond to all comments!


Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Categories
On Writing Reading

Why Do You Need Interesting Characters?


I have been thinking about this topic a good bit lately. Interesting characters. Why do we need them? Isn’t it the plot that keeps us coming back? In a sense, yes, it is the plot that keeps us coming back. But, in another sense, no, the plot isn’t what keeps us coming back.

I recently read Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis. I have enjoyed other works by Lewis, mainly The Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters, but I had never read The Space Trilogy. So, I thought I would give it a shot. Well, turns out, it was a little bit dull. But, being one who has to finish a book once they start it, no matter what, I persevered. Now it wasn’t the most fun book I’ve ever read, but I kept coming back, not willing to put it down. And I can tell you it wasn’t because of the plot, in fact, I kept holding out for the plot to get better, and it really didn’t. But, the character of Ransom kept me coming back. He was a dynamic character who had some really interesting attributes. This character kept me coming back, even with the lackluster plot.

Another example is my current read, Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. Now the plot is amazing, super intricate, and dazzling. It is like nothing I’ve read before. But, the plot may be really good, but it is the character of Vin and Kelsier that keep me coming back. Kelsier is a mysterious character who we keep learning tidbits of information about, which makes him an interesting character to read. We as readers want to know more about him and what he has done, and the little teases fuel the flames of curiosity. The character of Vin is also an interesting character. She has some unique abilities which allow her to do things that people of her status should not be able to do. She is thrown into many unique situations and our curiosity as readers grow as more and more backstory is shown.

So what can we learn from this?

First, I believe that in order for a character to be interesting, they need to be unique. Now, this doesn’t have to be the case for every character ever written. But they need to be unique in some sort of sense. They might be a normal person who works a nine to five job, but a reader isn’t going to read about them working nine to five, they want to read about the thieving that same character does after hours.

Second, interesting characters need to have an interesting backstory. Why does that thief commit robbery? What motivations does he have from his past? The characters that readers don’t care about are the characters who do things with no motivation and no reason. Characters that people care about have had interesting things happen to them and have a good reason for doing things.

Third, the author needs to reveal the bits of information that make up the character’s backstory slowly. If the reader gets all the characters backstory at once, 1) they will get too much information at once with no reason why that information is important, resulting in an info-dump. 2) They won’t have reason to keep reading. If the author skillfully reveals the backstory in small portions, leaving the reader in a sense of suspense. They will want to keep coming back to learn more about the character.

There are many aspects to characters that go into interesting characters. These three points are things that I have noticed lately in my readings in both Mistborn: The Final Empire and Out of the Silent Planet.

From my pen to your paper, may our swords never clash.


Thanks for reading! If you want to get updates on when new blog posts come out, subscribe to my newsletter, “The Raven,” and be the first to get updates and exclusive updates on my writings! If you want to contribute to the conversation, please comment below! I will try to respond to all comments!


Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Categories
On My Writings On Writing Reading

Why I Write Epic Fantasy


I may not have specified which genre of fiction I write yet on this blog. I write epic fantasy. But why? What draws me to that genre first and foremost? Why not historical fiction or romance?

Well, the answer is quite simple. I write what I read. My Dad once told me of an author (I do not know the name otherwise I would give credit) who said that authors write what they read. And in my years of reading and not as many years of writing experience, I’ve found this to be true.

If you have looked at my author page on this site you will have seen that my favorite books are Fantasy/Sci-Fi. I am a huge Tolkien fan and have always loved the books (the films are great too, but you cannot compare the two). 

Recently, I discovered the author Brandon Sanderson. He has been an incredibly inspiring author to me in these past weeks. He interacts with his fans so well. And while I have yet to dive into his books, I have the first book in the Mistborn series lined up and ready to go. 

So why do these things matter?

Well, I really enjoy reading epic fantasy. And what have I begun writing? Epic Fantasy. I also think another thing we can learn from that is that we as authors write what we know. I am very familiar with the set up of epic fantasy because I’ve read so much of it. This makes it easier for me to write because I am more familiar with it. 

Another good point to learn from this is that we as authors need to stay well-read to write better. If we as authors want to incorporate different styles and genres of writing into our books, we need to be familiar with other genres, such as historical fiction, general fiction, mystery, etc. This will help keep our books interesting because we are familiar with various tools of writing.

Now I am not saying to go pick the very first book you see off the shelf and read it. Bookstores will try to sell you what’s popular, but that doesn’t mean it’s a well-crafted, well-written story. It means they want to sell more copies. So I generally check reviews from other sites such as Goodreads or Amazon to see what the general consensus on the book is (the exception to this is if I’ve read the author before). I also want to check and see if other authors have said about it if they’ve said anything yet.

I write Epic Fantasy because I enjoy writing it. It’s also the genre of reading that I’ve put the most time and energy into reading and the genre I most enjoy reading. Now, this doesn’t mean that I need to only read Epic Fantasy to write well. I need to be constantly expanding my horizons in my reading. In fact, my goal for 2020 is to read and write more, and I have quite a few books lined up, and I hope to find many more.

From my pen to your paper, may our swords never clash.


Thanks for reading! If you want to get updates on when new blog posts come out, subscribe to my newsletter, “The Raven,” and be the first to get updates and exclusive updates on my writings! If you want to contribute to the conversation, please comment below! I will try to respond to all comments!


Processing…
Success! You're on the list.