Tag Archives: Under the Dome

Booker Award: I Am a Bibliomaniac and Proud Of It!

Thanks to my blogging buddy, The Other Watson, I have been nominated for yet another award. I am so happy to accept this award as books are vital to my existence as a writer and human being. My love for books has transcended hobby and soared to a life time commitment. I respect the art of writing/storytelling as one of the finest arts known to all of life.  Receiving the Booker award is truly gratifying, as I strive to write my own stories.

First, I must once more thank The Other Watson for nominating me for this award as he sees so much promise in my blog. We ironically started out blogs within days of each other, and we have been great support for one another.

Next, I’d like to nominate other bloggers for being as book fiend-ish as I am.

1) Wings and Water-One of my dear friends has a fantastic blog about her writing journey speckled with bits of politics, and fun topics of discussion. She loves fantasy books with her entire being, and will be a published fantasy writer someday.

2) Write to Perfect-This a fantastic blog dedicated to insightful advice/tips on writing. Of course, these are the stepping stones, which have made our favorite books great. It is only fitting that I should choose a blog that helps writers to create great books for us to read.

3) mywithershins-This blog is a lovely little outlet for an amazing writer. She has tons of tips for writers after having two novels published. Her ideas are interesting and fresh, with extremely well-written posts. Please check her out because it is definitely worth the trip to her page!

4) 101 Books– Since I received the Booker Award, it is only just if I nominate another blogger who appreciates books in all of their glory. He aspires to reading the 100 greatest books according to Time magazine, which has become the center of his blog. He has witty, interesting posts that always keep me coming back for more.

5) wanton creation-The man who nominated me deserves even more face time. His blog is full of  creative ideas in addition to his love of books/writing. He always makes jokes, and he has plenty of anecdotes to pull you in to each post. I suggest reading his blog at least once.

Now onto the main event–MY 5 FAVORITE BOOKS!

The following are five books that I have deemed well-written and entertaining for anyone who loves a story that will capture your heart.

1)  Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire- This dark novel follows the life of the Wicked Witch (Elphaba) throughout her life as she struggles to fit in with the people of Oz when she was born for something more extraordinary.  I fell in love with Maguire’s writing after I experienced the musical that was made from the book of the same title. The story you know from the movie The Wizard of Oz is not the whole story. Maguire gives us the dirty, and sometimes scary details of what happened before Dorothy came to Oz. In my opinion, one of the best books to expand upon an already popular story in an inventive way.

2) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury- This book is one of the most fantastic pieces of writing that I have ever purchased. The late Bradbury created a horrifying and realistic future where books are illegal and burned. It depicts the life Bradbury thought would come to pass if television became more popular than books. It subsidiary themes include love, censorship, and the power of knowledge. I will always hold this book close to my heart because I hope one day to create a novel that rises above my expectations, and inspires other in this field.

3) Being a Green Mother by Piers Anthony-  As one of the seven books in the Incarnations of Immortality series, this book should not be read outside of the series. While it is alright as a standalone, it is truly phenomenal as part of the series. What begins as a book about a woman trying to find her place in the world, it soon becomes a mystical place where ordinary people can become incarnations of the world such as Gaea (Mother Earth) and Thanatos (Death). It is a complex plot intertwining characters throughout 8 novels, and I hope that you enjoy it also!

4) Under the Dome by Stephen King- Ah, the man of my nightmares and dreamscapes. Stephen King may be known for gruesome horror fiction, but what his fans truly love him for is the character development he slaves over to achieve in every book. With around 6-8 central characters, the book creates a story that will never bore you. What would happen if you were trapped under an invisible dome and cut off from the world? Would people start killing because there was no one, but local people to enforce? The realistic quality of King’s writing allows your mind to melt with his ideas as if they were your own. His books are always exciting and hair raising, but this one tops them all!

5) Ender’s Game/Xenicide by Orson Scott Card-  My all-time favorite series to be published is the Ender series by science fiction writer, Orson Scott Card. He has mastered the genre of science fiction in these two books with gifted children, aliens, politics, and love. It is a culmination of what it means to be human in a world where aliens can potentially destroy the entire race or vice versa. Card flawlessly creates a world that you will get sucked into and love up until the final book (I have yet to read).

I can’t explain how much each and every person should read Ender’s Game, the first book in the series. If you can appreciate science fiction in any sense, you will most likely fall in love!

 

Hope you check out these books and the wonderful bloggers who have made a name for themselves through their fantastic blog posts. Happy reading/writing!

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What the Protagonist Does For You!

Thanks to the wonderful blog of Chuck Wendig, Terrible Minds has given me inspiration for my post.

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/02/14/25-things-you-should-know-about-protagonists/

For high school students learning English/literary terms is the bane of their existence. Two of the most common terms are protagonist and antagonist. What do most kids think this means? Protagonist-good guy. Antagonist-bad guy.Sadly, some of these kids grow up to adults thinking that these are the real definitions. I would love to go smack whatever idiot who started spreading this definition around because it gives readers the wrong idea when they reference a book’s characters. It’s also important for writers to understand an intimate definition of both these terms.

Protagonist is the chief character that is altered by the people/action in the story. The stereotypical definition might include the fact that the protagonist is the primary character in the story, but that is the closest thing it has to accuracy. The antagonist is more misunderstood than the protagonist. They get the reputation of being the bad guy or the one that opposes the protagonist. Again, the definition is dead wrong. Antagonist actually represents a character that changes the people/action in the story. They are typically the secondary character, but don’t have to be.

While most people will disagree with these intricate definitions, they represent a detailed understanding of the characters. Either in literature or contemporary writing, the characters need to be carefully designed to flow in the plot. Feel free if you want to write a hero that only does good, and a bad guy directly opposite him that tries to thwart him. However, writing anything other than a medieval fantasy/comic book doesn’t fall into this format. For everything else the definition above applies. It’s simple and helps alleviate any limitations when creating your characters.

The link above will take you to a post titled, “25 Things You Should Know About Protagonists,” which happens to agree pretty well with my definition. The blogger goes on to describe other aspects of the protagonists you should keep in mind while writing.

Your protagonist doesn’t have to be loved all of the time. That’s what makes them realistic. It’s good to have your protagonist do something unconventional or mean. You don’t want to make the reader hate them, but sometimes it might happen.

This is what happens when your protagonist isn't karate chopping zombie ninjas

There is something about a boring protagonist that ruins the entire book. If you can’t get the reader caring about the protagonist, you don’t have an audience. To me, a protagonist just needs to be a person you would want to know or have known. Whether it be a person on television or a personality trait from a neighbor, take ideas from real people. It’s profitable. There are insanely entertaining people right outside your door. If they have a cool story to go with them, better for you!

If you look back at my definition of the protagonist one thing is clear. There MUST BE CHANGE! Whether it be from the antagonist or self-reflection of the protagonist, change moves the story along. People like to see change because that’s life. Just like Hamlet finding the courage to stand up to his father (albeit after most of the play and sending his girlfriend to suicide); he changed himself for the better of the story.

One of the most exciting things on this list is number 12. Are you an innie or an outie? The blogger describes inner and outer stories. It represents the action going on inside the head of the protagonist compared to the one happening outside of the character’s head. What the post did not discuss is the way p.o.v factors into the story development. Whether it be internal monologue in one chapter or the entire novel from first person p.o.v., there is a difference of inner/outer story because of the p.o.v. A writer that choses p.o.v. doesn’t have as much inner story untold. According to the post, the inner story isn’t detailed as much as the outer story, but with first person you see the story from the character’s inner thoughts. There are so many options you have the chance to pick what p.o.v. is perfect for your story.

The post goes on to describe the other options you have writing your protagonist. You can create multiple protagonists (see Stephen King’s Under the Dome where he writers upwards of 8 protagonists in one book) where the writer isn’t limited to just one protagonist. It may seem like overkill or suicide to write more than one, but sometimes the story requires more than one. On the other hand, you can create a protagonist that ends up being the fake one, throwing off the reader the entire time! These ideas allow the writer to have some fun with the story and the reader.

Sadly, the toughest part of writing the protagonist is that you have to hurt them. Psychologically, physically, or any other -cally the protagonist has to hurt to truly make the story worthwhile. Once the readers begin to sympathize (or hate) the protagonist, you have the opportunity to fortify their idea of the protagonist or drastically change it. You get to control how the reader feels about the protagonist by the end of the story based on how they are hurt.

The end of the post gives the most important tips when writing the protagonist. It starts with the reality that you can’t have a perfect, ideal protagonist. It doesn’t make a good story to have someone who never fails or has flaws. It’s boring and predictable. I realize that people may want to write those kind of characters, but you shouldn’t. It’s not fair to those characters, you, or the story.  What’s even more important is putting YOU in the protagonist. The best possible resource we have to make a realistic protagonist is yourself. Hopefully you know you well enough to pick pieces of you to give to that protagonist. You can improve a flat character greatly by putting the best/worst parts of you into it.

Ultimately, the goal of the protagonist is to relate to the reader, even if the protagonist is vastly different than most of the readers. As long as the readers see a little of themselves in the protagonist, there is a basic connection that is made. This can take you through the entire book if you make a good enough character. You don’t have to make one for every person out there because we will always find something in common with other human beings. The important part is that you remember these tips and try to put some of you in the story, too.

Happy writing!

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The Author Near and Dear to My Bleeding Heart

The inspiration for a writer can come from many places, but a sure fire way to know why a writer writes can come from his or her favorite author. Upon looking at me or some of my writing, you would never guess I am a huge fan of  Stephen King, a master of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. His career has astounded me and given me hope for my career. He spent most of his life writing and doing at least two unrelated jobs to support his family. His short stories were published in magazines until 1973 when his first novel, Carrie, was published. It was then that his writing career became an ongoing one. He would continue to write novels, short stories, and collections for decades.

I first read King in high school. We read his novella Apt Pupil and Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.  I was immediately drawn to his ability to develop several main characters in extreme detail. From that point on, I vowed it would be my life’s goal to read everything he has written. So far, I have only made a small dent in the huge list of works he has written.

However, the books I have read encourage my own writing and keep my opinion of King positive. From his first, Carrie, to his most recent book, 11/22/63, King continues to surprise and horrify me.

For the haters, he doesn’t invoke shock and disgust lightly. There is a delicate nature that you must place horrifying terrible things. The fact remains that the readers of 2012 are not phased by gore and pain anymore. What would horrify and scare people 40 years ago when King was first publishing is not going to affect the readers of today. It’s sad that video games and action movies have made violence and killing more acceptable, but the horror King artfully places in his books is not appreciated by most of the public.

To me, there will always be a shock to what King writes because humans need to be shocked at what could possibly happen to them. Although his supernatural elements (time travel, magic, demons, ghosts) elevate the story to a different level, the underlying themes to his stories ring true in all of us. Kujo,  fighting for your life against a rabid animal. Under the Dome, minus the mysterious electrified dome, the fear of a town cut off from the rest of the world is a very real possibility. Those elements are what make King’s stories terrifying. They could in one way actually happen and that slice of reality neatly tucked in between vampires  scares the crap out of readers.

That’s what I love about him. He understand the human condition so well that he uses our worst fears or qualities against us. He reminds us that life is not all puppy dogs and rainbows. That bad things happen and only you can change the  outcome of a bad situation. Every story I read of his gives me the drive to create the world like in the Dark Tower series or focus on place as he does with his home state of Maine.

Although King has met criticism by many, he is revered and loved by more for his dedication to the craft. After reading his memoirs On Writing, I told myself I would be just like King. Writing every day until I die. The funny thing about writers is that we need to write to survive, and even in the face of almost death we still find a way to write. In 1999, King was hit by a van and subsequently decided he might retire. It was difficult for him to sit down to write and his energy wasn’t high.

Yet, a few months after finished physical therapy he was writing the memoirs I just previously mentioned. He has continued to grace the shelves virtual and physical with insightful stories of human life. I hope that he has many more ideas left to write because I don’t plan to stop reading him now. He has written over 50 novels under his name and Richard Bachman. He has published almost 10 collection and even some non-fiction.

King has and always will be my inspiration for writing. I will use him as encouragement, for advice, and a guide through the tough world of writing.

Have you read Stephen King? If so, what books? Did you like his stories, why or why not?

A collage of King's amazing works of art. Not my collection, but someone with a lot of money

Below is the list of books I have checked of my very long list:

Misery

Carrie

Black House

Cell

The Dark Half (most of it, had to return it to the library)

Gerald’s Game

Lisey’s Story (about half)

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Apt Pupil

Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption

Under the Dome

11/22/63


 

 

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