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Dreams

3e386d7fe4a1be66264c9c7b604e11ceThe protagonist in your book is there to be the hero (presumably). The protagonist will go through the plot, being sure to grow along the way, and save the world. That is the protagonist’s purpose and the character will probably come to terms with that along the way.

What about the protagonist’s dreams, though? Sure, perhaps they dream of the world being safe or of the Bad Guy reforming, but what did they dream about before being thrust into the hero role?

What your protagonist has always dreamed for themselves will shape the way they carry themselves — body, mind, and soul — throughout the story. Will the dream change along with them as the plot goes further along? Will the dream steadfastly stay in their heart for when everything is all over, to keep that simple hint of normalcy in their lives, even if the plot has made everything change forever?

Which is the better ending, for a protagonist’s dreams to grow with them or to stay the same as they were before the protagonist’s journey, no matter how bittersweet it may have become?

I’ll admit, I personally haven’t given much thought to some of my protagonist’s dreams outside of the plot of their story. It’s something that I want to work on, something that I want to explore about their psyches. What dreams will be put on hold for the plot? Will those dreams be waiting when the plot is done?

More importantly, will the protagonists recognize their old dreams when the plot is over?

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Posted by on August 16, 2017 in Home

 

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Writing Day Recipe

Prep time for this recipe is to clear one day of your calendar free of any social obligations.

Take your obligation-free day and add a light rainstorm to the weather, just enough to gray out the skies and emit a calming pitter-patter on the windows and roof.

Prepare your work station with the necessary ingredients. If you are going for the slow-cooked recipe, a blank notebook and a favorite pen with plenty of ink will do to add plenty of thoughtful flavor. A laptop and power cord generally yield faster results, with lots of bursts of creative flavor.

An accompanying side dish is a steaming mug of either coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.

Optional ingredients include fluffy kittens and sleepy puppies to help stay warm and cozy. Some people also find that soft music also enhances the flavor of the recipe.

Serving size is flexible enough to share with any fellow writers, although those who share a similar work ethic as yourself will most likely enjoy it best. Personal modifications to this recipe are encouraged to gain the maximum amount of writing done.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2017 in Home

 

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“The Thief” Review

“A little danger adds spice to life.” — Megan Whalen Turner, The Thief

“The Thief” Review

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This post may contain spoilers.

I picked up this book during one of my “Let’s buy everything!” moods at Barnes and Noble with Rachel. The title and cover intrigued me. Fantasies with thieves and journeys are one of my book weaknesses.

The story itself stars Gen, a thief that has found himself in the king’s prison for boasting about stealing the king’s seal from the king’s magus. While his boasts may have landed him into trouble, the magus decides that Gen — who claims he can steal anything — will be the perfect thief to bring on a quest to find an object straight out of a legend. The object in question is a stone that indicates who is the rightful ruler of one of the land’s kingdoms.

Told in first-person, we follow Gen along on the quest. Being a thief, he’s not held in high regard among the party of travelers and is constantly monitored by the magus, the group’s soldier Pol, and the magus’s two apprentices, Ambiades and Sophos. For the most part, Gen seems fairly laid-back, figuring that attempting to steal a legendary object is better than being in jail. His narration voice does have a few quips and sarcastic remarks, but for the most part, he seems to be an observer and was easy enough to keep up with as one reads the story.

With that said, none of the characters really stood out in this story. The magus didn’t even have a name other than “the magus,” even if he was the one who orchestrated the entire quest and was, arguably, the second most important character after Gen. Pol was the competent soldier, there at Sophos’s father’s request to keep an eye on his son, and played the strong and silent type a little too well to really keep me invested in his well-being.

Sophos, on his part, was curious and easy-going, eager to learn and seemed to be a better apprentice to the magus than Ambiades. Ambiades resembled a spoiled child more often than not, despite being the elder of the two, but he seemed to get a little more development near the middle of the book… until he stayed behind from the rest of the party at one point, nearly erasing him from the rest of the story. While I had it in my head the apprentices were young — perhaps older teens, getting close to their twenties if not just reaching them — there was a comment regarding a certain someone who Sophos may marry, completely throwing off my mental picture of the character and making me question whether or not their actions throughout the story was justified for their ages or not.

The entire first half of the novel was the journey to the temple that supposedly held the legendary object. History lessons about the lands and the legend itself — with scenes of the group eating, washing, or camping peppered in — was all I read for that first half, feeling as if I were a student along with Ambiades and Sophos. Instead of being interested like Sophos, I was bored along with Ambiades.

The book’s mythology and history is actually interesting, and definite kudos to the author for creating this beautiful world for her characters to live in. However, the first half of the book read more like info-dumping than an actual story. The history was necessary for the legendary object, yes, but I feel as if the author could have done a much better job passing along the needed information. Stories around the campfire are fine, but give me more of a journey rather than a textbook while they head toward the temple.

Once the story hit the midway point, I became much more invested in it. We had reached the temple, Gen had ventured through it, the object was found, then lost. Danger found the party and motives were revealed, as well as Gen’s true plan regarding the quest. He was a bit of an unreliable narrator throughout the story, and reading how everything fell into place almost made up for the textbook half of the story.

To me, The Thief was okay. While the myths and history of the lands were interesting, I didn’t like the way it was all presented, and the characters weren’t as intriguing as I had hoped they would be. Still, I will not rule out the rest of the series. Perhaps I’ll find them in the library when I’m ready to try again to dive into the author’s world.

“The Thief” gets a 3 out of 5 stars.

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2017 in Book Reviews

 

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Unreliable Narrator

5afdbdea6cc6a977f741dda64897c4b6Have you ever read a story from the villain’s point of view? Ever tried to write one? What about a narrator that doesn’t tell the reader all of the truth? The narrator may not lie, not really, but they may not tell the reader everything that they know…

An unreliable narrator is just as it sounds — a narrator that the reader cannot rely on to tell all that they know. Narrators, either in first or third person, typically are the reader’s eyes into the world of the story. We see what the narrator sees, hear what they hear, remember what they remember. The narrator’s emotions are, generally, what the reader is supposed to feel while following the narrator through the story. This empathy is what keeps a reader invested in the book.

It’s difficult for a reader to empathize with the narrator if the narrator is unreliable.

Figuring out near the end of the book that the narrator suddenly knows something the reader did not or drops the act that the narrator had been performing throughout the novel can be a risky move. On one hand, having an unreliable narrator can keep the reader in suspense — to suddenly have the narrator reveal a grander plan than the reader originally knew can keep the thrill of the story going…

Or it can jolt the reader out of the story, citing that the narrator has gone out of character. It can also annoy the reader to have this narrator that we’ve been emotionally invested in suddenly change. Any empathy the reader had gets thrown out the window.

Then, of course, there are unreliable narrators that are played straight — a character that may have split personality disorder, that may have a troublesome memory, that may be known as a chronic liar. The readers ideally keep reading to see what is going to happen to the narrator, to figure out for themselves what is the truth or not.

Have you read any stories with unreliable narrators? Any really well-written ones, or did the narrator’s unreliability turn you off from the story?

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2017 in Home

 

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Motivational Music

When I’m writing or working on other creative projects, I almost always have something playing in the background, be it music or YouTube videos or streams. Once in a while I get into a little funk because I’m not exactly where I would like to be in life with my more creative pursuits, and while I’m still working towards those goals, I decided to whip up a little playlist on Spotify full of music that I like to blast for some extra motivation.

(Of course Spotify didn’t have all the songs I would have liked to add to the playlist, but what are you going to do?)

Thought I’d share the playlist here in case anyone else would enjoy the music. There’s fifteen tracks, just a little under an hour’s worth of songs that range from softer songs to hard rock. All of them are lyrical — I’ll probably create a playlist full of instrumental music at a later time — and I’m sure I didn’t involve anything with explicit lyrics.

Share some of your favorite motivational music with me too!

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2017 in Home

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Bittersweet Part Five”

Bittersweet
Part Five
First Part | Previous Part

Logan wasn’t quite sure what he was feeling when he woke up to half a dozen texts from Aidan:

8:01 am: Dude, your mom just called my mom. Didn’t even know that she had our number!

8:09 am: Why is my mom asking where you are? Didn’t you go on that senior trip? Shouldn’t you be home by now?

8:15 am: Seriously this isn’t funny. If your mom doesn’t know where you are, and she ALWAYS DOES, then where are you?

8:22 am: Did you run away? Please tell me you’re okay.

8:33 am: Seamus says not to worry about you, that you had contacted him at the beginning of the senior trip, and Carter is cool with that but I’m still really confused. Where are you?

8:37 am: Just please fucking respond and tell me you’re okay.

Logan groaned as he dragged himself off his creaky motel mattress, his back popping like firecrackers as he stretched. Considering how young he was, he could only pray that getting a better mattress in a new place would help his spine not sound like an old man every time he moved.

He glanced back down at his phone, knowing that he couldn’t leave Aidan hanging. Before he could talk himself out of it, Logan hit the call button next to Aidan’s picture on his contact screen.

Aidan picked up on the first ring. “Logan?!”

“Hey.”

“Don’t ‘hey’ me!” Aidan said, sounding as if he had just run a marathon. “Are you okay?”

“I’m alright, Aidan,” Logan said, trying to sound calm instead of inwardly panicking at the difficult conversation he was about to have. “I just moved out of Mother’s house, that’s all.”

There was a pause on the line. “Logan, judging by how she spoke to Mom, I don’t think your mother knows that you moved out. What’s really going on?”

“I, uh, may not have told Mother yet,” Logan said.

Aidan barked out a laugh, one that was the result of nerves rather than amusement. “Wait, wait, wait… What do you mean she doesn’t know? Hang on.” Logan listened as Aidan spoke quietly to his own parents with Logan hearing snatches of the conversation such as, “Yes, this is Logan and he says he’s okay,” and “Dunno where he is yet.”

“So, spill,” Aidan said as soon as he was back on the phone.

Logan took a deep breath. “Well, uh, I didn’t want to go back to Mother’s house, so after the graduation, I took my car to the train station and made my way to Belleview.”

“Belleview?” Aidan’s echo sounded heartbroken. “You’re that far away? Why?”

“It was cheaper?” was Logan’s offered response. “I just… I was able to get a room and a job here that I found last month during that weekend I was sitting in on bank meetings for Mother.”

“B-but…” Aidan took a moment to gather his words, and Logan could just picture his friend biting his lip as he usually did whenever he was trying to carefully think of what to say. “Will we still hang out this summer?”

“Of course,” Logan said. “Aidan, of course we will, I just needed to get away. I couldn’t… I wouldn’t have been able to stand living with her for another summer. I needed to leave her, not you or Carter or Seamus. Please understand that.”

“No, I get it.” It didn’t sound as if Aidan totally did, but Logan would let it slide as Aidan continued talking. “I had just been hoping we could have done more with each other since you guys were all leaving for college in the fall, you know? I really don’t know what I’m going to do without you all.”

“Aidan, you have friends in your class,” Logan said.

“Yeah, but not like you guys,” Aidan said dismissively, and Logan silently agreed. Aidan had tagged onto their friend group since he and Carter had been paired up together for a project in one of their shared elective classes when Aidan had been a freshman and the rest of them were sophomores.

“Well, you don’t have to worry about me next year,” Logan said, padding in his slippers across the motel room to stick the ‘do not disturb’ sign on the outside of his door. “I’m not planning on going to college. Not right away, anyway.”

“Really?” Adian’s voice went up about an octave in his surprise. “But you got accepted to, like, a dozen Ivy League schools—”

“No, I didn’t,” Logan said with a scoff that turned into a chuckle at how much Aidan could exaggerate. “I was only accepted to three universities, none of which are Ivy League.”

(His mother complained all the way up to his graduation day as to what a waste of her money it would be to send him to some mediocre school instead of Harvard or Princeton. Logan said nothing in his defense. Even back then he knew he wouldn’t be going to college.)

“Well, still, getting accepted into some universities is awesome,” Aidan said. “I’m sorry you’re not planning on going right away, but that does mean I can call on you more often than the others during the school year!”

“You would have been able to call me anytime either way,” Logan said.

“I know you wouldn’t have minded,” Aidan said, “but I would have felt like I was bothering you guys, ya know? College is a big deal and you all would have been hella busy.”

“You’re going to be hella busy as a senior, you know,” Logan warned.

“Yeah, right!” Aidan laughed. “I remember how often Carter slacked off! Seamus worked his ass off because Seamus isn’t happy otherwise, and you…” He trailed off, and Logan felt a frown touch his lips. “School was always easy for you.”

(Thank goodness it had been. Way to not mention how Mother made Logan jet off to the nearby cities to get a taste of the business he had been supposed to inherit instead of enjoying his last year of high school with his class, Aidan.)

“I was blessed that way, I guess,” Logan said, trying to keep his tone casual. It didn’t really work when he added, “Um, Aidan, are you or your parents going to tell Mother where I am?”

“Uh, well…” Aidan hesitated. “She did call looking for you, man. I imagine she’s worried that you didn’t go back home after the senior trip. Shouldn’t you tell her that you moved out?”

“She’s probably more worried about our family’s reputation,” Logan muttered.

“C’mon, Logan, she must—”

“Look, please don’t tell her where I am, alright?” Logan interrupted. “I mean, tell her I moved out, but didn’t tell you where, okay? Please?”

Aidan was quiet on the line for so long that Logan had a fear that the pair had been disconnected. Finally Aidan said, “Alright, I promise, Logan. Mom is going to want to know the details, though.”

“I trust your parents,” Logan said, “as long as you trust that they won’t tell Mother the truth. Rather, the whole truth.”

“Fine, fine, I’ll make sure,” Aidan said. “I’ll just have Mom tell your mom that you… Uh, what exactly should I say?”

“Tell her that I moved out,” Logan said. “It’s honestly as simple as that.”

“Your mom isn’t going to be happy with just that as a response,” Aidan deadpanned.

“No… No, she’s not,” Logan agreed. “Better have your mother tell her, your mom can handle her, I think.”

“Oh, definitely,” Aidan said. “Dad would probably get all flustered trying to talk to your mom. And we’ll of course let your mom know that you’re okay.”

(Logan wondered how the hell Aidan was so pure enough to think that Mother still gave a damn about Logan’s wellbeing past the fact that he was heir to the family name.)

“You are okay, though, right?” Aidan’s voice snapped Logan back to the present. “Like, you’re staying in a good place?”

“Um, yeah.” Logan glanced around the sparse motel room after killing a fly against the bathroom sink with his bare hand.

“Gee, that sounded confident,” was Aidan’s sarcastic reply.

“No, seriously, I’m fine.” Logan wiped his hand on one of the towels. “I’m staying at a motel right now, but I’m actually going out later this afternoon to meet with someone about a room in an apartment.”

“In a public place, right?” Aidan asked immediately. “So you can make sure this person isn’t a psycho? Dammit, I wish I was there with you, I can read people like books.”

“You are good with people,” Logan said sincerely, and the warm thanks he received in return made him smile. “I’m pretty sure these people aren’t psychos, though. It’s a pair of sisters, actually, and they have an extra room in the apartment. I met the older sister already, in a public place, and she seems cool. I’m meeting her again with the younger sister at a park today, see how we all get along.”

“Good, meeting in the daytime, I like that. Don’t let them lead you down any dark paths at this park, okay?”

“Aidan—!”

“I’m serious, man, that’s how people disappear—”

“I’m going to hang up on you—”

“No, don’t!” Despite Logan joking, it sounded like there was legit panic in Aidan’s voice. “I miss talking to you.”

“Aidan, I miss you too,” Logan said, trying to keep his voice gentle, “but I’m not that far, not really.”

“I know that, but…” Aidan sighed, then gave off a light laugh that really didn’t sound as if it held any mirth. “You know, I’ve been complaining so much about applying to colleges, enough so that Dad asked why I was so against them. I answered that it’s because college makes my friends go away… I know you said you’re not going to college, but you’re still farther than I’d like you to be.”

“Aidan, you’re talking like we’re countries apart,” Logan said, trying to bring some amount of common sense back into the conversation. “We will see and talk with each other as often as possible, I promise. And, hey, maybe you can apply to a college close to Belleview.”

“You’ll still be there next year?” Aidan asked.

“I…” Logan trailed off, a mistake that made Aidan do that stupid, humorless laugh again.

“Okay, how about this,” Aidan said. “Tell me whenever you decide where you’re going to be next year and I’ll find a college as close as possible to you, okay?”

Logan rolled his eyes in good humor. “Alright, that sounds fine. Hey, do you ask Seamus and Carter about things like this too, or is it just me?”

“The first two colleges I’m going to apply to are their schools,” was the immediate answer.

“Oh, I see how it is,” Logan teased. “I thought I was special.”

“You are very special, Logan,” Aidan said. “Their colleges will be a backup just in case I can’t keep up with you.”

“Keep up with me?” Logan echoed. “Aidan, my friend, you’re leading the way.”

Aidan laughed, a real one this time, into the phone. “Alright, well… Good luck with your meeting with the sisters. I’d better go and let Mom know all about your situation. Text me later, will you?”

“Of course,” Logan said, and the pair said their good-byes.

The phone felt heavier when the line clicked dead.

Did Logan do the right thing? Moving so far away? Yes, he was away from Mother, away from those social and family obligations that did nothing except control his future, but… Would having a secure future, even one he couldn’t make himself, be so terrible if he was closer to his friends?

His cell phone slipped out of his hands and onto the floor with a clatter, snapping Logan out of his thoughts. He shook his head, checked that his phone still worked, and muttered, “Get ahold of yourself. Your life is fine, everything is okay, this is what you wanted…”

Logan glanced at the time and stepped into the shower to be certain that he wouldn’t be late for his shift at the restaurant.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Storytellers

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Posted by on July 27, 2017 in Home

 

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