Author: Allison Grace

Christ’s Ready Writers Blog Tour and Interview With Parker Hankins!

Christ’s Ready Writers Blog Tour and Interview With Parker Hankins!

I’m excited to be interviewing Parker Hankins of Pencils and Pianos today!

We are celebrating the launch of the Christ’s Ready Writers website and blog. Parker and I are both writers for the CRW magazine.

Without further ado, here is the interview! My questions are in bold, his responses are in normal text.

Parker Hankins
Parker Hankins

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure! I’m a young writer–aspiring to be a published author–with two finished novels and two soon-to-be-finished novels. I really enjoy reading books and playing the piano. My favorite authors are C. R. Hedgcock and Frank Peretti as big authors but as smaller authors, I have quite a few friends who are writing amazing books. (Like seriously, when they publish, I’m going to be so excited!) Oh, and one of those authors is Amie Woleslagle.

*Amie Woleslagle is the editor of Christ’s Ready Writers.

 

Who or what started you on your writing journey? When?

Well, I started writing about five years ago, which is when I was ten. I always had a love for stories and reading from the time I could make out the words. As I grew up, I read the Moody books series by Sarah Maxwell and that inspired my first book. (It reached twenty six-page chapters. And all the main characters names started with M’s too.) But then I got ahold of Summer of Suspense by C. R. Hedgcock. From there, I learned she had more books and read as many as I could. At the age of twelve, I knew I wanted to write books similar to hers so I started my first novel. That novel was the beginning of my writing “career”, starting the Bryder Family Mysteries series which is still in the works.

 

Wow! You’ve definitely been writing longer than I have! Now the next question is, why do you write?

The main reason I write is to be able to share a meaningful story that can change lives in powerful ways. I want lives to transform and further someone’s walk with Christ. Another huge asset to my reasoning in writing is the enjoyment of my own stories. It’s my own creation, and creating is so neat! (A God-given thing really.) And I can enjoy reading back through my writing, no matter if anyone else likes it.

I love that!

 

I know you play piano. Are there any skills you’ve learned from music that transfer to writing or vice versa? 

Actually, there are some skills I’ve learned from my music. When I arrange a hymn, I’m always working on ways to fit the mood of the words and music, build to a beautiful climax, but still keep my listeners interested in the unique styles incorporated. In writing, it’s so important for you to use word choice, descriptions, and actions that enhance the mood of the story. If you do this it will take the story to a much more powerful piece that pulls the reader in quite well. As I mentioned I always build to a climax in my music, the same goes for a story. I understand a climax from music, so incorporating this into my writing was easy–gradually take it to newer levels and increase the power of the story so that it ends amazingly. The use of unique styles in music could be compared to unique characters with unique quirks, personalities, and other things. It helps the story to become like no others.

I was wondering if I had asked a trick question, but that answer makes so much sense! I hadn’t really thought about it before. Some of my favorite songs have climaxes. Now I’ll have to pay more attention when I listen! 

 

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you do instead?

Well, I guess you can gather that from the other questions, but I would be a musician. (Which I already am.) If I couldn’t do that, I would probably do something with computers.

It wasn’t too hard to guess music, but I’d never have thought computers.

 

Besides the Baker Family Adventures by C.R. Hedgcock, what other books have influenced your writing and/or life?

Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. The books were so unique, yet so amazing! I really enjoyed the elements he wrote in. (After all, thriller is one of my genres.) I loved how he dealt with difficult issues of the world through a very engaging captivating story.

I don’t think I’ve read those before. I love unique and engaging stories!

 

What is your favorite Bible verse/passage? What does it mean to you?

Oh, I really like answering this question because I love the verse I’m about to share. Deuteronomy 33:27a. “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms:” This verse is such a help for so many things. Often times, I can get to where I wonder why all this is happening, or why I made such bad decisions, or why I had this weakness or that. But this brought me to the reminder that Christ’s arms are under us helping us along. All we really have to do is allow Him to guide us. If we let go, He can take us where ever He wants. And then out weaknesses, problems, bad decisions–none of it is a problem anymore. He holds us in the hands that never tire. They’re everlasting, always there for us.

That is beautiful! There are so many verses in Scripture that talk about God guiding our footsteps and being our refuge.

 

After all that talk about music, could you share one of your music videos with us? 

Sure! I would like to share “It Is Well” which I played–and won–at a talent contest in my area. This is my favorite hymn, so I enjoyed it very much. Cool fact about it: I use every key on the piano.

*applauds* That was amazing!

 

And finally, can you tell us what you are writing right now?

Of course. I’d love to! Currently, I’m in the works of major edits on my first mystery novel. It’s the beginning of a youth Christian series. It needs an enormous amount of work, being my first real book, but slowly everything is starting to flow. My second novel–also in the series–is about ready for beta readers. My third novel which happens to be in this series too is at standing at thirty-two chapters–which changes every other day–and will go on for another twenty possible. It’s my longest novel yet.

Now for a change. I’m also writing the first draft of a young adult realistic-sci-fi thriller novel–the start of a trilogy. This book is going well, standing at twenty-two chapters but ready to go on. Inspiration for this comes SUPER easily. Big themes of this trilogy will be depression, suicide, loneliness, friendship, and a light clean romance. I feel this holds the most promise for success out of all my books.

Ooh! The YA sci-fi sounds like something I’d read! Good luck with your writing!

Thank you for joining me on my blog today!

 

Want to find out more about Parker or Christ’s Ready Writers? Then these are the links you are looking for:

Parker’s Blog

Parker’s YouTube Channel

Christ’s Ready Writers blog

Healer’s Bane: Book Review and Giveaway!

Healer’s Bane: Book Review and Giveaway!

Today I’m reviewing this beautiful little book by Hope Ann.

*pauses for you to admire the cover*

Healer's Bane: Book Review

 

Can one girl heal the suffering of humanity?

Kynet was going to die. At least, she was supposed to. That’s what happened when one was touched by the Poisoner.

But somehow, she was still alive—with glowing fingertips and a voice in her head, no less.

Whoever had healed her gave her the power to heal. With her new gift, Kynet tries to save everyone she can, which is not an easy task with the rebellion going on. But soon she runs face to face into her own weakness.

She can’t save everyone.

Overall, I enjoyed this book.

It’s a novella, so it’s much shorter than your average novel. A fast reader probably could read it in one sitting. (I could have if I had a big chunk of time.)

I found the setting very interesting. Hope categorizes it as a “Gaslight fantasy.” I’d describe it as medieval fantasy mixed with steampunk, blasters, and hovering commuters (think Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder from Star Wars: A New Hope). It was very different from anything I had read before in that regard and it took me a little bit to get into the story world, but once I got used to the fact that people used both knives and blasters, I had a wonderful time hanging out in a new world.

The story itself was full of plot twists and one of the last ones actually made me gasp out loud. That’s pretty rare for me to react audibly to a book.

Though Healer’s Bane overall tone is serious, Hope infuses it with just the right amount of sarcasm and humor. Enough to lighten the mood, but not enough to make the rebellion and deaths seem pointless.

Unlike some of her other books, I didn’t catch any allegorical notes.

 

Content Warnings

The whole story is based around Kynet’s magical healing ability. I wouldn’t necessarily categorize any of the magic as “dark,” but there is a clear villain who uses his abilities to kill. It’s a bit like Narnia magic—one side obviously good, the other side obviously evil. But it’s definitely not witchcraft.

It does get rather violent. There is a lot of blood and death. Also, when Kynet heals, she takes the pain herself, so there is description of how she feels afterwards.

Healer’s Bane is free from romance. The relationships are either between siblings (biological and “adopted”) or mentor-apprentice. It was nice to read a book without a romantic subplot. (Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good romantic subplot, but they can be overused.)

It is also free from language. There are a few made up curses, but no profanity.

 

 

And Now It’s Giveaway Time!

You read that right! I’m doing a giveaway!

And you’ll never guess what book I’m giving away…

Healer's Bane Giveaway

Now that you are excited to read Healer’s Bane (at least, I hope you are), you have a chance to win an autographed copy! Plus a bonus bookmark, which is really nice. It’s shiny and double-sided!

Healer's Bane Giveaway

How to Enter

In order to enter this giveaway, you must be subscribed to my email newsletter. You can find the sign up here.

I will be drawing the winner on May 4th, so you can enter until Friday, May 3rd at 12:59 PM.

Only one entry per person.

Why am I doing this giveaway?

I’m glad you asked!

I’m graduating on May 10, 2019 and I set the goal to reach at least 50 email subscribers before that date. As I’m writing this post, I have 43 subscribers.

 

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! 

 

Tune in next week for an exclusive interview with Hope Ann herself!

 

Where’s Glendale?

Glendale learns German
Glendale beschloss, Deutsch zu lernen. Translation: Glendale decided to learn German. I found that tiny German dictionary at a garage sale years ago. I bought it for my American Girl dolls and found it again when I was rearranging my room this week. It’s so tiny and cute!

 

 

Beatrix Potter: Finding Inspiration in God’s Creation

Beatrix Potter: Finding Inspiration in God’s Creation

I don’t know about you, but I tend to think that great writing inspiration comes from something amazing. Something spectacular. Something so out of the ordinary that it hits me over the head, screaming, “HI THERE, I’M YOUR INSPIRATION!”

But not all inspiration comes like that. Sure, there have been a few times that I’ve been “struck by inspiration,” but most of the time, ideas spring from ordinary things.

The famous children’s author, Beatrix Potter, got her inspiration from the natural world around her.

Growing up, she and her brother Bertram were mostly left to their own devices. They owned a wild variety of animals, not limited to: lizards, birds, bats, mice, and rabbits. They even owned a snake named Sally.

Beatrix loved to draw and paint with watercolors. Her most common subjects were her pets.

She also had a fascination with mushrooms (like me) and studied them intensely (unlike me). She painted many of them, even finding a few rare species.

At age 37, Beatrix bought a farm in the Lake District—the very northernmost part of England, just south of Scotland. She called it “Hilltop Farm.”

She loved country life, returning to her land every chance she had. She raised sheep and pigs, planted gardens, and walked the countryside.

Here, she found much of her inspiration for some of her later books. The villagers loved finding their houses (and cats) in her adorable illustrations. I imagine it became quite the competition between them.

 

“But,” you might be saying, “Beatrix Potter wrote children’s books. I’m writing for teens. I’m not writing about bunnies. How does this apply to me?”

Everything we write about flows from God’s creation in some way. Even fantasy creatures.

Think about it, if I asked you to describe one of your fantastical creations, you’d describe it as “dragonlike” or “a combination of a tiger and a shark.”

Aren’t dragons, tigers, and sharks all animals from God’s creation?

It is worthwhile for us as writers to study the natural world around us. Even if we aren’t outdoor people.

Sometimes, the greatest inspiration comes from a walk in the woods, or even just down your street!

Just look at Beatrix.

🐇🐰🐇

Fun Facts about Beatrix:

  • She began her career by painting Christmas cards. She was paid six pounds. (About $8.)
  • When she tried to publish The Tale of Peter Rabbit for the first time, she received six rejections. Back then, there weren’t as many publishing houses as there are now.
    She was determined to get her little book printed, so she “self-published,” hiring a printer to make 250 copies, most of which were bought by her aunts.
    She paid eleven pounds ($14) for them to be printed and received about thirteen pounds ($17) from selling them.
  • She hated drawing people. Once, her brother mistook Mr. McGregor’s ear to be his nose! She much preferred her furry friends.
  • In 1910, she created her very own Peter Rabbit doll. She struggled to find a company to make them, but eventually found one.
    Reminds me of Glendale. Maybe she had a section on her website called “Where’s Peter?” 😋

 

Allison Grace blogs at allisongracewrites.com

Where’s Glendale? Flashback!

Glendale reads a book
Glendale discovered Beatrix’s books at the library a few months ago.

 

Special Thanks to Beatrix herself!

Allison Grace and Beatrix Potter
Thank you for letting me take notes on your presentation for this post!
That’s The Ballgame–A Poem

That’s The Ballgame–A Poem

I wrote this poem a few years ago. It’s still one of my favorites.

 

 

Bottom of the ninth,

Home team down by two.

 

Bases loaded,

Two outs.

 

The first pitch,

Graceful curve,

Low, ball one.

 

The next throw,

Fast and quick,

Swing and miss.

 

A high ball,

Slow and just outside.

 

In the dirt,

Then a swing,

Full count.

 

The crowd is on its feet,

Jumping,

            Roaring,

                        Screaming,

                                    Stomping.

 

The batter grips the bat,

Heart pounding,

Hands sweaty.

 

This one swing,

Just one more,

And the game could be over.

 

The pitcher winds up,

Deep breath,

Flying high.

 

Swing.

Crack.

Foul.

 

The crowd is louder,

Whipped into a frenzy,

Clapping,

                        Shouting,

                                    Waving,

                                                Staring.

 

The pitch,

The batter swings.

Contact.

 

Soaring high,

Into right field.

Up.

Up.

Up.

Past the foul posts,

Past the outfielders,

 Over the wall,

Out of the park.

 

Grand Slam.

 

And because I love baseball, have some photos.

 

Francisco Lindor stepping up to bat. Progressive Field 2017
Francisco Lindor stepping up to bat. Progressive Field 2017
Francisco Lindor again. Progressive Field 2017
Francisco Lindor again. Progressive Field 2017
Jose Ramirez at Spring Training. Arizona 2018.
Jose Ramirez at Spring Training. Arizona 2018.

 

Where’s Glendale?

Meet Rebekah, Avendor's rightful queen.
Wait! That’s not Glendale! May I present to you, Rebekah, the rightful queen of Avendor. *cue applause* I adore her gown, and I’m not a clothes person.

 

Allison Grace blogs at allisongracewrites.com

 

Talk to me!

Do you like baseball as much as I do? Did you miss Glendale this week? What’s your favorite snack to eat while watching baseball (or any sport for that matter)? 

 

On Baseball and Writing

On Baseball and Writing

Baseball season started on Thursday! My favorite team is the Cleveland Indians.

I can be incredibly loud and cheer over the littlest things when I really get into the game.

I’ve also been known to refuse to give up when they are obviously going to lose.

Why am I writing about baseball?

Great question.

I don’t know. 😋

Writing and baseball have more in common than you think. And it’s not just pitches. (In writing, a pitch is when you propose your idea to an agent or editor.)

But without further ado, here are five ways writing and baseball are alike.

 

You have off days

You know those days when you’re watching baseball and your team is on fire? When they win 17 to 3 and your pitcher strikes out 15 batters? It seems like they will win the World Series, doesn’t it?

But then there are those days when they lose to the worst team in baseball. When it looks like all they do is drop the ball or throw it way offline. Then you wonder why you even cheer for them. Because they suck.

But, if you are a true fan, you stick with them.

You know those days when you are writing, the words just keep flowing, you can’t type fast enough, you might even skip dinner to finish the chapter? Those days you declare that the best job in the world is to be a writer. The days when you can’t stop smiling because it’s just coming together. You’re going to take on the world.

Then there are the days getting 100 words on a page is hard. When you just don’t want to write. You’d rather clean the bathroom than open your Google Doc.

I know what that’s like. I’ve been there. I’ve wanted to throw my work-in-progress against the wall. I’ve wondered why I even bother writing because it sucks.

Then I’ve had the days when I can’t stop writing. I write three chapters in a morning (granted, short chapters). I have the days when I dance around because THE CHARACTERS ARE SO AMAZING AND THIS WHOLE BOOK IS BETTER THAN NARNIA AND LORD OF THE RINGS PUT TOGETHER TIMES FIVE!!! (Those are the days everyone backs away from me and gives me weird looks.)

 

It’s a team effort

You can’t play baseball by yourself. You need three basemen, a shortstop, three outfielders, a pitcher, and a catcher. Plus you need an opposing team. And fans. What’s baseball without fans?

And what’s writing without readers? What’s writing without a team of people to cheer you on?

Baseball players have coaches. Writers have mentors.

You can’t write without other people. This might seem counterintuitive at first. Aren’t most books written by one person? And certainly not everyone wants to or can co-author a book.

I’m not saying you have to write a book with someone else. I’m saying you need a community. You need your own crazy fans who come to every home game. You need people to cheer you on even when you’re behind 8-1.

These people can be your friends, siblings, parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. They can be anyone who love you and genuinely care about you, even when your writing sucks.

 

It’s a solo effort at the same time

But even with the greatest fans and coaches, baseball can’t be played without individual players.

In the end, it doesn’t matter if all the fans are yelling and all your teammates have scored before you, it all comes down to you. No one can swing the bat for you, no one can put the words on the paper for you.

You might have a prestigious degree. Maybe you went to the best writing conference in the world. Your writing mentor could be a New York Times Bestseller.

But it all comes down to you. You’re the only one who can write your story.

 

Every player is different

What do you think would happen if an ace pitcher started to doubt his skill after watching another pitcher throw fire? He probably would fall apart.

That’s what happens when you compare yourself as a writer to other writers.

One of my best writing friends submitted to an agent not too long ago. And I’m so proud of her!

But at the same time, I was discouraged because I hadn’t finished my first draft of my first novel ever. She’s right where I want to be some day.

But my writer mentors reminded me of what I have done. And when you look for your achievements, no matter how small, you will be surprised.

Because you’re a better writer than you think you are. You’ve done more than you think you have.

Just take a look.

 

It takes practice

Contrary to popular belief, writers don’t sit down with the perfect novel just pouring out of their fingertips.

No one expects a baseball player to be phenomenal the first time they step up to the plate. But for some reason, people seem to expect that from writers. What’s worse, we writers seem to expect it from ourselves.

You don’t know how many times your favorite player has swung the bat to perfect his stance. Pitchers throw countless pitches in order to perfect their curveball.

Writers write drafts and more drafts and even more drafts. We write things that never see the light of day, and honestly, don’t deserve to. Many writers have “practice novels” no one has read just so they can learn the craft.

Writing, just like anything else, requires practice to become a master. Lots of practice.

 

Here’s to a new writing season of cheering fans, homeruns, and practice. You’ve got this. Someday you will accomplish your dreams if you just keep working. Never give up. ❤

 

Your Turn!

Do you like baseball? Who do you root for? Can you think of any other ways baseball (or any other sport) is like writing? 

Allison Grace blogs at allisongracewrites.com

 

Where’s Glendale?

 

Glendale roots for the Indians!
Glendale poses with part of my mini bat collection. He’s never seen a baseball game, but thinks he would like to… as long as the balls aren’t as big as his head!

 

Glendale’s Florida Vacation (I went too!)

Glendale’s Florida Vacation (I went too!)

At the end of February, Glendale traveled to Florida. He brought his little sister (Aris), his friend (Kare), and my family.

Glendale's Florida Vacation
Getting ready to fly! From left to right: Glendale, Kare, and Aris.

 

Glendale's Florida Vacation
Glendale getting ready to take off from Atlanta! (Neither of us liked that airport very much. Too busy.)

 

After landing in Tampa, we had to drive to Saint Petersburg where our hotel was.

Glendale's Florida Vacation
Aw, Aris and Glendale spending some sibling time together in the car.

 

Glendale's Florida Vacation
That’s Tampa Bay in the background.

 

The next day we got stuck in traffic (very, very common in Florida apparently) on the way to Sanibel Island to go shelling.

Glendale's Florida Vacation
Sunrise on the drive there!

 

Glendale's Florida Vacation
Here’s me looking for sea shells. I’m probably thinking about my characters.

 

Glendale's Florida Vacation
Glendale with a weird inflatable blue gorilla holding a car on the way back to the hotel.

On the way back to the hotel from Sanibel, we stopped at a place where you were supposed to be able to see manatees.

Glendale's Florida Vacation
No manatees. We only saw these little lizards. They were everywhere in Florida.

 

Glendale's Florida Vacation
This tree looked very fantasy-like. Don’t you love the Spanish Moss?

 

Glendale's Florida Vacation
Glendale decided to climb the fantasy tree. It had a sign that said, “Do not climb.” He’s not usually that rebellious. Not counting the fact he’s part of a rebellion…

The following day, we went to Busch Gardens. It poured the entire time we were there. Lesson learned, you cannot dry tennis shoes with a hairdryer.

Glendale's Florida Vacation
Before Busch Gardens we saw this squirrel in a palm tree. If you live in Ohio (or somewhere without palm trees), you’ll understand why it’s funny.

 

We visited a botanical garden (and stayed dry) the next day.

Glendale's Florida Vacation
Guess what these are! Figs! They grow right on the branches of the tree.

 

Glendale's Florida Vacation
Trivia time! What kind of fruit grows on this plant?
a. bananas
b. jack fruits
c. pineapples

 

Glendale's Florida Vacation
Oh look, another lizard!

 

Glendale's Florida Vacation
Treebeard lives in Florida. At least, during February. (See, I’m not entirely uneducated in Lord of the Rings! =P)

 

Glendale's Florida Vacation
Spot the lizard! (Hint: he’s on the right.)

 

Glendale's Florida Vacation
This is me pretending to be scared. We always take pictures like this on vacation.

 

The next day, we drove to Orlando to go to Sea World!

Glendale's Florida Vacation
I was bored, okay? It was a long drive to Sea World from our hotel in Saint Petersburg.

Glendale's Florida Vacation--Sea World

 

Glendale's Florida Vacation--Sea World
Glendale was glad we didn’t sit in the splash zone for any of the shows. He was afraid he would drown.

 

Glendale's Florida Vacation--Sea World

 

Glendale's Florida Vacation--Sea World
Glendale was very excited about watching the Shamu show! (excited for a usually rather stoic person)

 

Glendale's Florida Vacation--Sea World

 

Sadly, it was time for our vacation to come to an end. But the morning before we were supposed to fly home (note “supposed to”), we went back to Busch Gardens and stayed dry!

Glendale's Florida Vacation
This coaster is called Cobra’s Curse. The tower on the left is the elevator that takes the car to the top of the ride. The track isn’t connected in a loop! The cars also spin, so you wind up riding backwards a few times. It’s really fun!

 

Glendale's Florida Vacation
This is Cheetah Hunt. There’s no chain up a hill, it shoots you with air, so you go from a standstill to 60 mph or so in a couple seconds! It even goes upside down! I rode it three times.

 

Glendale's Florida Vacation
Another view of Cheetah Hunt.

 

And then we sat in the airport, realized we couldn’t go home that day, got irritated, and finally got to a hotel. We flew home the next morning, with no more (major) mishaps. Except running through the Atlanta airport from one terminal to the other while having to go to the bathroom.

Now, for the most important things to remember when you go to Florida:

  1. Buy ponchos in advance if there’s a possibility of rain. It will save you tons of money. (My mom did this, and boy, we needed them!)
  2. The Atlanta Airport is incredibly huge and busy, avoid it at all costs.
  3. Even if you go to another state, your characters will follow you.
  4. Add 45 minutes to the projected drive time and then it will be accurate.

Glendale’s vacation tips:

  1. Riding around in a pink purse isn’t very dignified.
  2. Be sure to remind your author to actually take you places. Because she’ll forget.
  3. Take your author somewhere around water and she’ll come up with new ideas.

 

I hope you enjoyed all the pictures!

Allison Grace blogs at allisongracewrites.com

“Inside Me” A Poem

“Inside Me” A Poem

I’d like to share a poem with you that I wrote a while ago. It’s called “Inside Me” and it’s about our Christian witness.

I hope it’s a blessing to you! <3

 

If I asked you to define me,
Would you see what is inside me?

Would you say I’m just a shy girl,
Or a writer,
Or just another face in the pew?

Would you see Who is living inside me?

Click here to read the rest! 

 

I’m a Book Murderer: Why That’s Okay

I’m a Book Murderer: Why That’s Okay

I write in my books and dog ear the pages.

*holds up hands*

Now, don’t go running away quite yet. There are reasons for my crimes.

Some books I’ve written in deserve it. Such as War of the Worlds. *shudder* That book was the worst.

My expression while reading War of the Worlds
My expression while reading War of the Worlds.

Other books are nonfiction—devotionals, writing books, commentaries, etc. It’s a given for me to underline in them, if they’re my books. I don’t write in other people’s books. (In fact, if there are pencil marks in a library book, I’ll erase them. Look at me being a good citizen. XD)

Most of them are books for school, and a few years ago, I was required to annotate (that means write in) them.

But why do I write in them now when it’s not required? Why damage perfectly good books?

 

  1. To Improve My Vocabulary

One of the best ways to learn new words is to read books, such as the classics, Shakespeare, and poetry.

When I read, I like to circle words I don’t know, then look up their definitions in my Merriam-Webster app. (Way easier than a physical dictionary. It’s free too!) Then I’ll write the definitions in the margins. (I typically only do this for literature books and nonfiction.)

If I ever decide to read it again, I won’t have to look up the words.

I’ve also learned new words (jerkin, capricious, withal) and discovered authors have certain words they favor. I distinctly remember that I learned “capricious” from Jane Austen because she used it frequently.

I write out definitions.

 

  1. For My Personal Reference

When I come across a sentence that makes me laugh, description that is interesting (a rarity because I find too much description boring), or something I really liked, I’ll underline it. Either that or I’ll put a little star in the margin.

This is also where I’ll dog ear the page. The books I’ve enjoyed reading the most for school have a lot of dog eared pages.

Oliver Twist has a lot of dog eared pages.
Oliver Twist has just a few turned down pages.

If it’s a book that’s not for school, I don’t write in them as frequently, but I’ll turn down pages so I can find my favorite parts quickly. I’ll also draw smiley faces and hearts in the margins.

 

  1. To Make Them My Own

If you write in a book, you won’t have to share it with anyone else.

That is my evil strategy. 😛

But honestly, it makes each book special. Even if I’d just write out definitions (and I always do more), it’s still uniquely mine. It’s really fun to flip through them and see all the smiley faces or hearts I drew, pages I turned down, and snarky comments I wrote.

A line I loved from Samara's Peril.
A beautiful line from “Samara’s Peril” by Jaye L. Knight.
A funny line from Julius Caesar.
This line from Julius Caesar made me laugh. In this context, “spleen” refers to a bad mood, not the organ. But it’s still pretty funny.

 

 

Things I Don’t Do To Books

I do not crack the spines. At least not intentionally. Cracked books never open right ever again. And the spines…it makes me so sad.

One time I snapped a book in half. It was an old copy of “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” by T.S. Eliot. (It’s poetry about cats.) I had to keep taping the pages back in and one day it entirely fell apart.

But I fixed it with packing tape and now it’s as good as new…if taped together is new.

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats
The book I accidentally broke in half. Oops!

 

I don’t write in books with pen, unless I’m crossing out curse words. I prefer pencil so I can erase mistakes I make.

I also don’t set them on fire. Though there are some I wish I could. (War of the Worlds)

 

I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing in, underlining, and dog earring my books. It’s just something I do–an unbreakable habit. I love my books and I guess the way I show it is by writing in them.

What about you? Have you ever written in a book? Do you crack the spines of your books? Have you read any of the books I talked about? 

 

Where’s Glendale?

Glendale in his speedboat.
Glendale tried out a speedboat, even though he can’t swim. He told me, “it was fun, but I like Orion [his horse] better.” He also would have preferred to have a life vest.
4 Things Every Memorable Character Needs: Guest Post by Bella Putt

4 Things Every Memorable Character Needs: Guest Post by Bella Putt

Today, I have a guest post by a friend from YWW, Bella Putt! Enjoy!

 

Characters are complicated. For some people they come easily, for others they’re more difficult. But no matter how easy or hard they are to create, characters are always complicated.

So much goes into shaping a character’s personality, his life, and the way he thinks. We strive to create the perfect character, wanting him to be as memorable as the characters we read about in our favorite books.

But while we work hard to perfect our characters, it’s often hard to figure out everything that must go into making our character memorable. Today, I’m going to share four things all characters need to be memorable.

 

1. A Goal

Our characters must have a goal. In fact, this is one of the most important things a character needs. We have to figure out our character’s deepest desire. This desire—this goal—will drive the story forward. After all, the whole point of the story is to follow the character as he tries to achieve his goal.

Maybe your character’s goal is to prove himself to others. Maybe his deepest desire is to become powerful. Maybe it’s to save someone he loves. It could be anything, but the main thing to remember is that without a goal, there is no character.

 

2. Motivation

This is what drives your character toward achieving his goal. The best way to find your character’s motivation is to ask yourself, “What is at stake if my character doesn’t achieve his goal?”

For example, let’s say your character’s goal is to save a loved one. What’s at stake? What will happen if he doesn’t save his loved one? His loved one will lose his life. This stake will motivate the character to save his loved one.

Without motivation, there’s no reason for the character to want his goal. A character can’t want something just to want it. There’s got to be a deeper reason. The character must have strong motives.

 

3. Deep Backstory

Your character’s backstory is necessary to the story. After all, the character’s backstory is what influences his decisions. This is often what encourages his goal.

For example, if a character’s desire is to prove himself to others, he might have this desire because he made a terrible mistake in his past and is now looked upon with disappointment. Thus, backstory plays a vital role in the development of your characters.

 

4. A Relatable Personality 

If you want your character to be memorable, he’s got to be relatable. If your character isn’t relatable, no reader is going to like him. The easiest way to make your character relatable is to make him realistic. Don’t make him do things people wouldn’t really do. That said, the character’s desire should be one living people often have. With a realistic goal and realistic motives for wanting his goal, a reader can easily relate to him.

I’ve learned that the best way to make your character relatable is to give him flaws. No one is perfect. All people are flawed in numerous ways, and if your character doesn’t have flaws, no reader will be able to relate to him.

Just like when giving your character realistic goals, you must give your character realistic flaws. Maybe your character is prideful and has a hard time loving others. Maybe he doesn’t respect authority and does only what he wants. Whatever his flaws are, make them realistic. And when your character has realistic goals, motives, and flaws, your readers will easily relate to him.

I hope these four things I’ve mentioned will help you when creating the characters for your story. With a goal, strong motivation, a deep backstory, and a relatable personality, your character will be on his way to becoming a character that your readers will never forget.

 

-Bella

 

About Bella:

Writing is one of Bella’s favorite things to do, along with running and reading. At fourteen, she’s been writing for about six years and hopes to someday be a published author. Her writing projects include a novel and writing on her blog. You can find her blog here, where she writes poetry, shares tips on writing, does book reviews, and more.

https://bellaputt.wordpress.com/

She’s also celebrating one year of blogging, so be sure to stop by and congratulate her!

 

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