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Friday, August 22, 2014

Candor Fridays- Week Six

It’s Friday, folks!

Before I start, I feel like I should address this week’s earlier post:

My intention of posting was not to cause pity or concern, nor was I fishing for attention. While I was asking for prayer, I did not expect so many people to express concern about my wellbeing. I’d like to tell you all that while I appreciate your words of advice and encouragement more than I can say, there is no need for you to worry about me. I know this is a darker period of my writing, but I also know that God is faithful and I will get through this eventually.

My intention for posting was simply to be honest with my readers. If this is truly a blog about writing and what it’s like to be a writer, than I owe it to you all to let you know it isn’t always fun and game. And there are times when we’re not too keen on our job. And, there aren’t always days when we can be positive about those times. That and that alone was my reason for posting.

But again, thank you all so much for your responses. As I have said before, I appreciate you, faithful readers.

And, that said, let’s get to down to business (TO DEFEAT THE HUNS!!. *coughcough*):

Rodger Sauer asked: My question is this:  What are your all-time top five favorite character names, and why?  (Book, movie, TV show, etc)

That’s a really hard one- especially since a lot of names I like are more because of the character and less about the name (since reading The Misadventures of Maude March I adore the name Marion for a guy).
But, I've come up with five and a bunch of honorable mentions all the same. Even though it was really hard...

5. Dick Dewy- Under the Greenwood Tree The double “d” thing is just awesome and it’s a really fun name to say. It’s even better when you watch the movie because everyone says it with an English accent and it’s awesome :3 (actually this story in general had good name- the girl’s name is Fancy Day!) 

4. Zacharias Wrench- Goodnight Mister Tom. As many of you know, Zach is the character I would choose to be my best friend out of any fictitious character. I swear it’s not just because of his name, but you have to admit it’s a really cool name. I just love how all the sounds work together and how it’s a mix of normal with different.

3. Lasaraleen- The Horse and His Boy. Lewis in general knew how to name characters, but Lasaraleen is my favorite. It has been ever since I first read that book. It’s just so weird and unusual and fun to say.

2. Templeton Peck- The A-Team. They almost never call him by his name, they always call him Face and I’m really torn about that. I love his nickname, but why waste such a great name when you’re not even going to call your character by it? Also, Hannibal Smith is a name from that show worth mentioning. Hannibal :3 That in and of itself is a great name :3

1. Gavriel Mikolaus (which I always pronounced like "Gabrielle" but with a "v" instead...)- the Life of Faith: Millie Keith series. Words cannot express how much I adore this name. And her nickname, Gavi. I just think it’s the most unusual, but not too weird, name ever. And I love it to pieces.

Honorable Mentions: Nicholas Ransquate- the Life of Faith: Millie Keith series; Amen McBee- The Keeper of the Doves; Kat Royal- The Kat Royal series; Finley Sinclair- There You’ll Find Me; Emmajin- Daughter of Xanadu; Holly Golightly- Breakfast at Tiffany’s; Atticus Finch- To Kill a Mocking Bird; Katarina Bishop- Heist Society (Basically, I like names that are fun to say and roll off the tongue nicely)

And, Lindsay Marie asked: What are some things you've learned about writing intriguing openings to your stories? / What are some of your favorite novel openings?

I touched on the first question during Week Four (http://ivorypalace.blogspot.com/2014/08/candor-fridays-week-four.html). I’m hopefully going to write a more in-depth post on it sometime in the future.

But, as for favorite openings, this is going to be fun! I’m going to do two favorites from a writer’s perspective and two from a readers.

I’ll start with the writer ones:

One of my most favorite openings in terms of good writing/storytelling, is the opening of Heist Society by Ally Carter.

For those of you who don’t know, Heist Society is about a young woman who comes from a family of thieves, turns her back on their ways, but is dragged back into their world when her father is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. It’s a really great book, you should go read it *nodnod*

The thing I love about this opening is that it starts with explaining about the school the main character, Kat, is attending and how she got into it. And then it goes into Kat’s last day there where she’s accused of pulling a prank she knows nothing about. What makes the chapter so spectacular, is that the author never comes out and says that Kat comes from a family of thieves. She never up and tells you that Kat turned her back on her family and their ways for a more “normal” life. She never tells you that Kat is different. But it’s there. Every line, every one of Kat’s thoughts tell you there is something up with her, that she’s not your average teenage girl.

So, yeah, love it. Great book. You should read it. *firm nod*

The second opening, would be that of Divergent by Veronica Roth (which I’m not necessarily recommending. If you have questions about my thoughts on the series, please email me, I’d love to discuss them with you).

This opening is really great because it starts with Tris’s mother cutting her daughter’s hair. Which seems like a horrible way to start your book. It basically goes against every “rule” I have ever been taught as a writer. But, it’s actually a really great scene.

See, like Ms. Carter, Ms. Roth never comes out and tells you things about the world her character lives in. I mean there are a few little things here and there, but for the most part, she shows us her character doing something normal, but also shows us what isn’t normal about it all.

That’s the key. The biggest mistake I think writers make is drawing attention to how different their story world is. They feel the need to put up big neon signs in their writing that say “This is different! This is interesting! This is exciting!” and it turns me off. Especially when the book is in first person and I’m wondering who the main character is talking to that they feel such a drive to explain how different their world is.

Understating the interestingness of your story world, especially if it’s a different or new world to the reader, is one of the most underappreciated techniques out there. If you understate and show us that this is all normal to your character, it makes the reader curious. It makes the ask questions. It makes them want to keep reading to find out more. And that is exactly what you want.

And, the reader favorites (though, as a reader, I love the two openings above as well):

I love the opening to There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones because the epilogue is a callback to that opening scene and so now every time I read that intro I think of the end and it makes me cry (in a good way). That’s another great technique, is to call back your ending to your beginning, to tie the two together. It’s a good scene to start with, but it’s even more wonderful as a reread. Which makes me appreciate Ms. Jones because I feel like she considered her fans and didn’t just write her book for first-time readers. She wrote it for people like me who would love it so much they would read it more than once.

And, the intro to Winter’s Child by Cameron Dokey is some of the most gorgeous prose I have ever read in my life. In general, her prose is amazing, but this intro in particular has really stuck with me. I would highly recommend her fairy tale retellings (her other books look like paranormal stuff so I haven’t read them and therefore can’t recommend them.) She’s really great at putting spins on fairy tales and like I said- her prose=beautiful. So go check her out. Now.

Of course, there are bunches of other openings I love, but I shan't go into them here.

And, that's that. I'll hopefully see you all in Monday with a real post! And, in the meantime, I'll be looking forward to the questions you send me this week! :D

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