Huge Book Giveaway

I’m not sure about you, but I love giveaways, and this one is huge! Some authors are giving away twenty-one of their books. They’re YA fantasy authors, so if you’re into that genre, you should definitely check it out here!

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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 ;).

Describe the Days of the Week as People

Kellyn tagged me, so here goes. I’m going to describe the days of the week as of they were people.

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Monday: Monday is a businessman on an airplane trip. Well-dressed, refined, and let’s face it, a wee bit cranky. His stomach rolls both from the airplane and the under-cooked sushi he ate for lunch. Unless he can somehow take a nap, someone is going to face his wrath.

Tuesday: Tuesday is a frazzled homeschool mom. She was supposed to bring her four kids to the local co-op, but now her newborn needs his diaper changed and the other three kids, all under the age of five, are running in circles around her. She is going to need more than a few a prayers and a couple of iburprofen to survive.

Wednesday: Wednesday is the contented, yet still unsure college student who just completed his first semester of college. So far so good, he’s still keeping up his GPA, but his next chemistry class is going to be a big doozy. Then again, his thoughts are centered on the pretty brunette who smiled at him during lunch.

Thursday: Thursday is the girl who’s head is always in the clouds. Instead of doing her schoolwork, she doodles pictures of dragons and castles in her notebook. Characters that nobody ever sees dance in her head. People think that she’s juvenile and whimsical, but this girl has a precious gift—imagination.

Friday: Friday is the father that comes home from work, bone-tired, but when his children greet him at the door, he smiles. He keeps a day of frustration pent-up even when supper is a little late, or the kids toys are still littered across the living room floor.

Saturday: Saturday is the couch potato who lays in his easy chair, remote in one hand, chips in the other. He belches and scratches his oily, blond hair with his remote hand. Credits from the last season of the hottest reality television show roll across the screen, but instead of getting up, the middle-aged man, with more than a muffin-top decides to watch an earlier season off of Netflix.

Sunday: Sunday is the twenty-something man in a tuxedo and tie, back erect, ready to use his white-gloved hand to usher guests into his apartment building. He hopes that someday he’ll be able to quit his day job and pursue his true passion, writing.

Thanks for reading. This was an enjoyable brainstorming exercise, I tag Alyssa, Rose, and if you want to join the fun, consider yourself tagged!

It All Began With a Picture

This is a very short post, as this was an extremely short essay. But if you’re a fan of the Narnia books, this post may be interesting to you.

At the beginning of the essay, Lewis talks about how difficult it is for an author to tell you how he wrote a book. “It is because a man writing a story is too excited about the story itself to sit back and notice how he is doing it.”

I’m not sure if this is the case with me, but there is an amazing evolution that happens within conception of the idea and even the completion of the first draft.

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For Lewis, the first idea for a story came in the form of a picture. In the case of the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, it was “a picture of a faun carrying umbrellas and parcels in a snowy wood.” This picture had been with him for twenty-four years before he tried to create the book.

While Lewis was trying to figure out the story, “Aslan bounded into it.” The only explanation that Lewis gave for coming up with him was that he, “Had been having a good many dreams about lions at that time.”

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

I hope you enjoyed this small little tidbit. Have a great day and keep on writing for His glory!

Three Techniques for Writing for Children

Welcome to the second installment of C. S. Lewis’ essays and today is Three Techniques for Writing for Children.

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Three Ways of Writing for Children

  1. Writing what children like to read, but not what the author likes.
  2. A story told to a particular child with the living voice.
  3. “Writing a children’s story because a children’s story is the best art form for something you have to say…”

The third option is how Lewis wrote his Narnia series.

In addition, the stories we write need to be enjoyable to not just children, but adults as well. Think about Narnia, his original audience was children, yet I’m not sure if you could classify them as “childish” books. They are simply stories of adventure in a another realm, something readers of any age can enjoy.

When Lewis wrote his essay, fantasy books were being relegated to children by critics, something that he certainly didn’t agree with.

Arguments Against Fantasy Because of the Fear They Could Bring to the Child

  1. The possibility of phobias

Lewis agreed that we should not give children phobias, or an uncontrollable fear of objects. But if critics meant #2, Lewis disagreed.

2. The knowledge that we live in an evil world.

If readers read books which never have good and evil, heroes and villains, aren’t we giving them an unrealistic view of what our world is like?

“Since it is so likely that they will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker.”

I heartily agree with Lewis when he says, “Let there be wicked kings and beheadings, battles and dungeons, giants and dragons, and let the villains be soundly killed at the end of the book.”

Should Books Have Morals?

Lewis says that instead of asking what do modern children need?” We should ask, “What moral do I need?”

In addition we should let the moral grow from the story and not tacked on just to make it a Christian book.

If we just tack one on it, “Is likely to be platitude, or even a falsehood, skimmed from the surface of your consciousness. It is impertinent to offer children that. For we have been told on high authority that in the moral sphere they are probably at least as wise as we.”

“The only moral that is of any value is that which arises inevitably from the whole cast of the author’s mind.”

I’m not sure if I completely agree with Lewis, because I want my books to contain truths that can impact lives. But, in addition, a moral tacked on just for the sake of having one, without it being an integral part of the story, isn’t good either.

The Child as a Reader

“The child as a reader is neither to be patronized nor idolised: we must talk to him as man to man. But the worst attitude of all would be the professional attitude which regards children in the lump as a sort of raw material which we have to handle. We must of course try to do them no harm: we may, under the Omnipotence, sometimes dare to hope that we may do them good. But only such good as involves treating them with respect.”

We have a responsibility to our readers, not to write down to them. Instead, we should just give them a story that speaks to our souls.

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

Thank you for reading. I hope these few points have been enlightening. Essay #3 will be coming out next week. If you want to read the essay search for, On Stories And Other Essays On Literature. Our library has a program where they can order books from other libraries across the state. That’s how I got my hands on my copy, so there’s my helpful hint today. 😉

 

 

Storming: Book Review

Today I’m reviewing a novel I recently finished, Storming by K.M. Weiland

In the high-flying, heady world of 1920s aviation, brash pilot Robert “Hitch” Hitchcock’s life does a barrel roll when a young woman in an old-fashioned ball gown falls from the clouds smack in front of his biplane. As fearless as she is peculiar, Jael immediately proves she’s game for just about anything, including wing-walking in his struggling airshow. In return for her help, she demands a ride back home . . . to the sky.

 

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I enjoyed this book immensely. It was written for adults, but teens can enjoy it as well.

Characters:

Hitch Hickock, the main character, is a courageous pilot trying to make his mark as a barnstormer in Prohibition-era, America.

Jael, a mysterious, ferocious woman, who also has a soft spot in her heart.

Along with these two, there are feuding brothers, a flamboyant showman, a sheriff who’s willing to sometimes bend the law, a mute child, and many more!

Really great character and in addition, the voice of Storming was amazing!

5 stars

Plot:

Hitch returns to his home town in Nebraska, full of baggage, and it takes pretty much the whole book to sort everything out.

Sky pirates take Hitch’s home town hostage and our hero (Hitch) and heroine (Jael) must fight them in order to free the town.

Storming is an interesting story that combines historical fiction with diesel-punk elements. So if you’re expecting a straight 1920’s story, you’re in for a nice surprise.

Before the start of the final climactic showdown, a bomb is dropped! Not literally, just a plot/character twist which raises the stakes.

In addition, several parts of this book are hilarious. Especially some of the scenes with the two feuding brothers.

4.5 stars

Action:

Entertaining scenes both in the sky and on the ground make this novel fly by (pun very much intended).

4.5 stars

Romance:

By the end of the book, a romance springs up between two main characters. There’s a little kissing and a scene where they dance together, but that’s about it. I enjoyed this sub-plot and you probably will as well.

4.5 stars

In closing, I would highly recommend this book, it’s a great read and relatively inexpensive at only $2.99 for the ebook version at Amazon and $3.99 at K. M. Weiland’s site.

At the end of the book, K.M. Weiland includes the link to some exclusive content, something I certainly would like to emulate in some way. Absolutely outstanding writing. I hope I piqued your interest. 🙂 Have a great day, everyone!