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On My Writings Reading

2021 – A Year in Review

I hate writing introductions, so I’m going to keep this brief.

The year may not be over, but if I don’t write this yearly wrap-up now, I’ll probably forget. I tend to forget to do things on time. I’m working on it. I’ll start by summarizing what I did this year and then talk about some of my goals for next year.

2021 In Review

It’s been a year of accomplishment for me. I’ve gotten a lot done and I’m very close to hitting quite a few of my major goals for the year. There’s been ups and downs like any other year, but looking back I can see that even though there were some major downs, I had some big ups.

The first big up for me was that I finally caught back up on my schoolwork after being behind for what seemed like forever. It’s amazing how much stress goes away when you only have a few assignments to accomplish a day. It frees up so much time to do things. Well, my overachiever self decided I wanted to graduate High School a semester early. So, instead of graduating in the spring like most people, I finished school this month. I am done with High School. It feels like a much bigger accomplishment than it is. There’s still a good way to go before I’m done with school, but it’s one step closer.

In 2020 one of my big goals was to read more than I had in 2019. I decided I wanted to do the same thing this year. And being the overachiever/unrealistic person I am, I decided I wanted to double what I had read in 2020. I only read 20 books in 2020. So that left me to read at least 40 books this year. Not too challenging. As of my writing this, I have finished 41 books. And let me say, I have not been bored in my reading this year. I didn’t read many books I didn’t love.

Of the books I read, I have an easy top-five, though I do feel the need to include honorable mentions. They switch their position on the list in my mind quite a bit, but as of this writing, this is how I view them. I may do a post on them later, I may not.

My top five reads:

  1. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  2. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  3. Dune by Frank Herbert
  4. The Murderbot Diaries (Books 1-4) by Martha Wells
  5. The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

Honorable Mentions:

  • Kindred by Octavia Butler
  • The Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
  • Crooked House by Agatha Christie

I read so many more and if I wanted to I could write only about what I read and what each book has taught me. But, alas, that is not the point of this wrap-up. Maybe another post.

Another goal for 2021 was for me to finish writing my first novel. Well, haven’t quite gotten there yet. But, I am only four chapters away from doing that. I may be able to by midnight December 31. While I haven’t finished it, I have written well over 85 thousand words in the book. It’s not perfect by any means. But, as I’m writing the end of it, I must say that it feels like a huge accomplishment. Threads have started to come together. Foreshadowing from early chapters is being paid off (even if it needs to be made clearer in the second and proceeding drafts).

In addition to working on my novel, I worked some more on my scripted comedy show. I haven’t written another full draft of an episode. But I’ve got pretty much the entire first season laid out and the scripts planned. I just need to sit down and write them. I also worked on writing a couple of short stories and planned for my next novel.

2021 was fairly productive now that I think about it. I could have done more and used my time better, but I’ll probably say that every year to some extent.

Goals for 2022

My biggest goal for 2022 is to be a published author in some fashion. Right now I’m thinking that means trying to get a short story published in a magazine. It’s a small step to take, but I think it’s reachable. This would mean that I have to make sure I am doing my best to make my writing the best I can, and doing it consistently. Doing this for short stories would help me to perfect my skills and I can take the lessons learned and use them when writing novels.

But, writing short stories is not all I want to do for a year. That sounds kind of boring, and it won’t feel like I’ve done as much even though I have. I also want to get a couple of more drafts through my first novel. I want to get it to the point where it’s the best that I can do on it without taking it to the next level or someone else. My goal is to do this at the beginning of the year. But, I may take a couple of weeks off from writing at the beginning of the year just so I can breathe after finishing Book One.

I also want to begin work on my second novel (I’ll explain the premise of it more once I finish writing my first novel). I think it won’t be nearly as long as the first draft of my first novel has been. It will also be easier to accomplish because the plot is not nearly as complicated and (as far as I know right now) there won’t be viewpoint shifts. I want to get at least halfway through that book.

  • January to March

    Start and finish the second draft of my current novel (#SotS).

  • April to June

    Start and finish the third draft of my current novel (#SotS).

  • July to August

    Work on planning my second book while writing short stories simultaneously.

  • September to December

    Start writing my second novel.

This is a very loose schedule. I am big on writing when I feel like it. If I’m in the middle of reading a really good book and have a lot of school work, I’m more likely to read than write. It helps me decompress and relax more than writing does.

As far as a reading goal for next year, I haven’t decided to be completely honest. My over-ambitious self wants to set a goal to read 100 books. But, my logical self says that’s stupid and impossible to reach if I want to pass all of my classes and hit my other goals. I want to read at least as many books as I did this year, that’s for certain. But beyond that, I’m not sure.

Overall, 2021 was a pretty good year from a productivity standpoint. Hopefully, 2022 will be even better and I’ll have even more to talk about!

Until next time,

Titus Watson
December 2021

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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!


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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!


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