Conquering Writers Block and Summoning Inspiration: Book Review

I recently finished reading this short book by K.M. Weiland. If you’re like 510s4fkeigl-_sx311_bo1204203200_me, you have some writerly mood swings. One day you feel that your writing is  A+, and another that its only destination should be the garbage can.

Who Will be Helped by this Book:

Either plotters or pantsers will be able to use this book. This book is aimed more at full-time writers, but most of the advice is just as applicable to wannabe full-time writers (which I am one).

What You’ll Learn from this Book:

For one, you’ll be inspired and know that you’re not alone when you feel that you’re writing is worthless and a waste of time.

K.M. Weiland writes about ways to improve creativity, techniques for pushing past writer’s block, and makes you ask the question, “Why do you write?”

You may only think that writing includes the punching of keys on your computer, but you’ll learn how to use downtime to your advantage.

Should You Read this Book:

This a nonfiction book, of course, but I personally found K.M. Weiland’s voice and choice of words very entertaining. Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration is the best nonfiction book I have read for a while. I highly recommend this book!

I was given a free digital copy in return for an honest review.

 

The Giver: Book Review

The Giver by Lois Lowry is certainly a book that raises moral questions in the guise of a 51usrhmubkl-_sx331_bo1204203200_children’s story. It’s a story about a boy, Jonas, who becomes the “Receiver of Memories”, a task which brings joy but also pain.

Characters:

The two most well-rounded character are the Giver and Jonas, for the obvious reason that they are the only ones that can see color and have the memories of ages past. 4 stars

Setting:

The story is set in a utopian community where color, deep emotions, and music have been replaced by “sameness” in return for security. No one is ever hungry, there are no wars but beneath the surface, there is evil.

Instead of stating all this outright, the author did a great job of allowing the reader to discover this along with Jonas, the MC. 5 stars

Theme:

Whether security is worth the loss of feeling and colors. As well as how people can become inured to evil things done in their midst. 5 stars

Plot:

I thought that the midpoint was a little late in the story, and that end of the second act as well as the beginning of the third act were rushed. The very end had a nice tie-in to earlier in the book, but it didn’t seem to be very realistic. 3 stars

Should You Read This Book?

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book that forces you to think things through. I read The Giver as part of my history curriculum and finished it in two days. You can buy it here, though before you fork over the moolah, I’d check your library, since they probably have this book on their shelves.

 

Stronger than the Sword Update

I am almost done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (With the first draft)

Right now I’m in the middle of a dilemma. I wrote the scene where my MC completes his character arc, except that I added in a huge explosion *maniacal laughter* and now I’m torn with letting my characters escape relatively easily or having one final climactic scene. One of the problems is that a scene that I envisioned putting into this book, doesn’t fit unless I keep on going, but if I keep on going, I run the risk of losing readers, since they might think that the main climax is over. Right now I’m planning on putting that scene in, finishing book, look at how everything reads, and possibly cut it during the editing process.

Before this book is ready for any type of reading, I must edit, severely. Several scenes will have parts cut off. Whether I just don’t like it, or I changed the direction of the story (did that at least once).

In case you’re wondering, I haven’t hit my goal of 80,oo0 words. Right now I’m a little below 72,500, so the chance of me reaching my goal is slim, unless of course I decide to keep the above controversial scene I was talking about and I may be short even then, but I’m just going to let the story finish itself out, even if it’s well below my goal.

Once the rough draft is finished, it’s on to editing, Retreat, my Civil War sequel. So, it’s going to be a long time until Stronger than the Sword is ready for publication, and it will take even longer since I am thinking about pitching the book to a traditional publisher.

When I started this Stronger than the Sword, I categorized it as a futuristic, medieval dystopian. Now it seems more a fantasy book, set in a futuristic medieval culture, with the oppressive government characteristic of dystopias.

One dystopian cliche I want to crush is the depressive series ending. In all fairness, I really have only read one secular dystopian series (The Hunger Games), but the last book in that series was terribly disappointing!

Recently, Stronger than the Sword has been a long slog, but the end is finally drawing near!

Keep on writing for His glory, everyone! Have a great Monday!

 

 

 

Structuring Your Novel: Book Review

This book by K.M. Weiland walks you through the classic three act structure of storytelling.

structuring-your-novel-ippy-award-165Who will be Helped by this Book: 

If you’re a writer trying to become more of an outliner, (like me) this book will show you all of the components that your book needs.

But, if you’re a pantser, don’t stop reading, you still may find little nuggets in the chapters on scene and sentence structure.

What You’ll Learn:

K.M. Weiland teaches you how to structure your book, through a chronological journey of a well-written story. From Narrative hook to Resolution, she shows how each part should be used, in order to make your story better.

You’ll learn about possible pitfalls in different parts of the story and how to avoid them. In addition, there are tidbits on characters, character arcs, subplots, and settings.

It’s an extensive book that cover the components of story structure, while also touching on the structure of scenes and sentences.

K.M. Weiland gives examples from famous literature and film at every plot point, illustrating how some of the greats constructed their stories.

Whether you struggle with a certain part of your story, (hook, midpoint, climax, etc) or you just want to overhaul the entire way you write, this book will help you along.

How This Book has Helped Me:

In part because of reading this book, I overhauled the first paragraph of my short story, Go and Steal No More, giving it more of a hook that strengthened the story.

Thanks to this book, as well as K.M. Weiland’s website, I have become more of a story structure critic, looking for and trying to identify structure in books, audiobooks, and movies. Certainly not the best at it, but it’s a fun exercise.

Should You Read this Book?

I recommend buying this book, reading it once through, and then using it as a resource, whenever you’re in the midst of your writing or editing.

If you want to pick up your copy of this helpful book you can visit K.M. Weiland’s website or Amazon.

Thomas Jefferson and Fiction

Here’s a neat post I ran across this evening about Thomas Jefferson and his opinion of fiction.

“We are therefore wisely framed to be as warmly interested for a fictitious as for a real personage. The field of imagination is thus laid open to our use and lessons may be formed to illustrate and carry home to the heart every moral rule of life.”

via The Field of Imagination: Thomas Jefferson on Fiction — Olivia Hofer

The Death of Words

Here’s another short and hopefully sweet post. The finale of my C. S. Lewis Essays series entitled, The Death of Words.

“The vocabulary of flattery and insult are continually enlarged at the expense of the vocabulary of definition.” Unfortunately this is the case, what used to be a name of a class of person’s in a society (ex. villain) are now used as insults.

“But it will really be a great nuisance if the word Christian becomes simply a synonym with good.” This would be truly sad. Other religions have their codes of ethics, but Christianity is special; we have a relationship with the Savior of the world. That’s a truly awesome fact. (Awesome is another word that has lost its meaning, but I think it fits here)

Another C. S. Lewis quote, “Men do not long continue to think what they have forgotten how to say.”

(All excerpts taken from On Stories And Other Essays On Literature; Harcourt Brace & Company; copyright 1982, 1966 by C. S. Lewis PTE Ltd)

Thanks so much for reading the finale of this C. S. Lewis essays series. If you enjoyed this series and would like similar things in the future, please comment below. Adieu, keep on writing for His glory!

Reapers Free on Kindle

Bryan Davis, my favorite author, has made Reapers, a dystopian adventure written by a Christian (what a novel idea), free on Kindle until April fourth. Here’s the Amazon description.

413sw1agtul-_sx311_bo1204203200_Reapers is a dystopian tale with a supernatural twist. Taking place in a futuristic, urban setting, this first book in a planned trilogy will appeal to readers of The Hunger Games and similar fast–paced stories for young adults. Along with a blend of real life and imagination, it delivers action, danger, and suspense through the adventures of three teenagers—Phoenix, Singapore, and Shanghai—Reapers who collect the souls of the dying or already dead and transport them to the Gateway where they will travel to their final destination … or so they are told.

This book is for teens, not for children. The atmosphere is quite dark, but, if you finish this book and read Beyond the Gateway, Reapers Series #2, it will get lighter.

In addition, there is some content for more mature readers. Use your discretion. But, if you’ve read a book like The Hunger Games, this book is probably has less of such content.

Personally, I liked the second book in the Reapers series more, but you can’t get to the sequel without reading the original. 🙂 (Well, technically you could, but I wouldn’t recommend it)

If you’re disappointed with the depression and darkness of the dystopian genre, start this series. It may start similar to others you’ve read, but by the end of the second book, it will be different and so much better.

You can download your free book here or you can visit Mr. Davis’ blog here.

Happy early weekend, everyone! Keep on writing! Now I had better leave and follow my own advice ;).