How NOT To Write An Antagonist: A Creative Writing Cautionary Tale

How NOT To Write An Antagonist: A Creative Writing Cautionary Tale.

via How NOT To Write An Antagonist: A Creative Writing Cautionary Tale.

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Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer (4/5)

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I bought Cinder from B/N on a book store haul a while ago. I’d been trying to get my hands on a copy of the book for a while, and I knew it was a book I’d have to own. I had been told that a novel I’m working on currently (a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin in a futuristic world) sounded like Cinder — Check out its blurb on my writing blog: Tangled Inkspills.

The premise of Cinder is basically this: Cinder is a 16-year-old mechanic working in the city of New Beijing. She’s talented, hardworking and self-sacrificing — She singlehandedly supports her stepmother and two stepsisters. But Cinder happens to be a cyborg and therefore a second-class citizen. (She’s often reminded of that by her stepmother.)

Pros:

  • The futuristic Eastern setting brings a fresh twist to the timeless Cinderella tale.
  • The house robot, Iko, has a very unique, quirky and girly personality. It’s impossible not to love her. She adds flavor to the dialogue.
  • Cinder is a mechanic and a relatively strong female protagonist.
  • The story is very well-paced.

Cons:

  • Prince Kai is a very stereotypical love interest, and all throughout the novel (evil me) I was screaming, “Don’t fall for him, Cinder! Don’t fall for him!”
  • Cinder is kinda self-deprecating…She doesn’t see her own value and often refuses to believe things…
  • The plot twist is quite predictable.
  • Deep themes are not fully exposed.

Overall, Cinder is a nice action-packed story for teenage boys and girls alike. I can’t imagine this spreading into the adult market since it’s somewhat limited in the scope of “deep themes.” I feel like there are themes/issues that are only briefly touched on…But that’s ok. I liked Cinder anyways. It was a very fun, well-written and well-paced read.

I’m actually extremely happy that this is a quartet of books. I know I will definitely be reading the next 3 just to see how Marissa Meyer works 3 retellings of different fairytales into Cinder’s world.

Bookstore Haul

I have some 40+ books on my to-read list…but I just had to get more from B/N on Saturday. I had some gift cards accumulated from writing contests. 

Books for me:

1) Tuesdays at the Castle (a children’s book that seems really good, I’d love to write MG of this premise)

2) Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales (read “The Little Peasant” to my brother last night. It was quite dark, satirical and funny. A whole village commits suicide…)

3) Cinder (I have been told that the novel I’m working on for NaNoWriMo seems to have elements inspired by this book)

Books my little brother picked:

1) Warriors book (I used to love this series)

2) How to Train Your Dragon #2

3) Ship in a Bottle Building Kit (his fourth choice of kit, which I finally approved of…)

Book for the parental units:

1) How to Make Sushi Kit (I love sushi and want to eat sushi. 😛 So I suppose it’s really for me…)

Book Review: Parallel Heart by J.L. Robinson (1/5)

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From page 1, I did not get along well with Parallel Heart. The prose contained glaring grammatical errors and the voice  just seemed off. It felt stilted and dense — as though it was trying too hard to be witty, descriptive and aloof. I would know. I wrote similarly (although in a more child-like tone) several years ago, toying around with big words and awkward sentence structure. Writing needs to flow, and when it flows well enough, it will make the reader comfortable enough to stay for about 50,000 words in the novel’s world.

Parallel Heart could not make me stay. It had a potentially very interesting premise — an unhappily married man longs to escape into a parallel world with a lover who may or may not be real. I thought, “This is interesting,” in my head when I read that the novel is based on the author’s love of quantum mechanics and explores the concept of parallel dimensions and blurred realities. All of this sounded new, fresh and different.

But I just couldn’t get into it. I tried very hard…the voice (as well as plot, characters and developed) just came off as stale. I’m sure Parallel Heart, given a liberal editor, time and a different direction, could’ve been something real special. But it just wasn’t for me… Again, all this is my own opinion. Perhaps you will think differently!

Leave me a comment below and tell me what you think of this review/book.

Using Your Character’s Senses To Show Your Story-World, by Kashmira Sheth

This is something I never thought consciously about. So glad I found this article!

Writing Teen Novels

As a writer, many of us see the story unfolding in our head. When we start putting those scenes down on the page most of them are written out as what our main character or our narrator ‘sees’. I love what eyes can see and the type of sensory details it can provide the readers but it is important to remember the four other senses too.

In real life we experience many things with sight but at the same time we also gain knowledge of our physical world through the other senses. It is important to write stories that not only use the sense of sight but also employ sound, taste, smell and touch to make the physical world of the protagonist richer and more complete.  For example, if there is spilled sugar in the kitchen our character may not see it but will experience it with other senses. How she…

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Camp NaNoWriMo Day 9 Update

I’m at 7052 words! I seem to have caught up after my late start! 🙂

My writing is very rough. The dialogue is just flow-of-the-mind stuff, I need to flesh out the settings later, and the descriptions will definitely be reworked later. I have some themes of character development in my head, but I’m not far enough along to have too much about it.

At this point, I’ve also started plot-skeletoning. That is, I use fragments to describe what is going to happen in the scene or chapter. I haven’t actually written out the chapters, but I’m counting that fragmented plot-outlining as part of the wordcount.

I’m also feeling a little uneasy… I don’t know if the novel I picked to write is the right one. I mean, I know the big action hasn’t started yet…but if I’m bored with it, it means readers will be too. I know it’s probably too late to switch novels now, but I’m definitely thinking about other novels and wondering if they would have been more interesting choices.

Camp NaNoWriMo Day 8: How Rough Is Your Draft? (Poll)

Hello!

It’s Day 8, and I’m at 5349 words. I started two or three days late (and missed a day here and there), so I’m trying my best to be on schedule with my goal of 25,000 words.

I’ve been noticing…er, my rough draft is extremely rough. I have whole sections that I skip if I don’t feel like writing them at the moment. I actually insert “notes” instead telling myself what scene I skipped. I assume I shall go back later.

What’s your novel draft like?

Camp NaNoWriMo Update: Day 7

All righty folks. I added in the beginning chapter that I’d written before camp began (I think that’s ok since it’s…you know, kind of an essential part of the novel) and hammered out some 1000 words and my word count is now at: 3425 words!

Contemplations: A lot of my writing is word vomit at this point. I think Camp NaNoWriMo’s no-edit rule will be good for me. It’ll make me blast out half a novel without thinking much about the intricate word choices and stylistic preferences. It’ll be a really terrible first draft of a novel (which means I will have accomplished my goal), but it’ll give me something to work with. And that’s what I need, isn’t it? I need something to work with.

My buddy Inkspelt is at 3000 words as well. We are both doing internships this summer (our introduction to the 9 to 5 world that awaits us soon in the adult world.) Inkspelt drafts during her internship and writes a little bit at home each day. When I heard the word draft, I kind of panicked. DRAFT? Oh dear…I don’t draft.

I just word-vomit onto the word document. Yes, it’s a rough draft…but I think my rough draft is extremely rough. At times, I just insert a certain plot point that should happen (even bullet points!). I’m also writing the whole half-novel in one word document. I usually separate things out by chapters and meticulously edit/outline each chapter. I’m being far crazier at camp, and I think we’ll see what the results are.

How is your journey at camp coming along? Are you outlining? And where is your draft on the polished to very rough continuum? What are you writing about? Post me a comment below and lemme know!

Song: Masters in China by Priscilla Ahn

Every word of this song is…is…wonderful. It’s written like poetry, and this kind of poetry can only be sung by Priscilla Ahn. Masters in China brims with whimsicality and conjures such a lovely mood.

Man, this song deserves more views…

Song: Masters in China by Priscilla Ahn

Every word of this song is…is…wonderful. It’s written like poetry, and this kind of poetry can only be sung by Priscilla Ahn. Masters in China brims with whimsicality and conjures such a lovely mood.

Man, this song deserves more views…