On Writing Emotionally Charged Scenes

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This is me currently. I’m sitting in a coffee shop in New York City and writing my second book. But I needed to stop and take a minute to discuss how much writing can take it out of you, specifically when writing an emotionally charged scene.

So I’m getting myself back into the routine of hard core writing and not just editing and yes you do have to work up to it, but also, it seems like I’m at a really emotion filled part of my book, and it is draining me like nothing else. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. But you know when you finish a good book and it’s been all the feels and you’re like what is life? It’s not that it ended badly or that you are actually tired, but you need a moment to recover. Writing an emotional scene is like that.

I write a few pages, and I have to stop for a bit to let myself process what’s happening. I hope this is a good sign–that my writing is moving. Most people say that if you feel it, your readers will feel it too, but I don’t think this is always the case. You have such a deeper attachment to the book than a reader could ever have, and, at the same time, I am so familiar with it that I have the whole thing memorized and it’s hard for it to feel fresh. This becomes a problem in editing, particularly, which is why writer’s are advised to put down a first draft for a while before editing, but I wonder to what extent it can happen while writing the first draft. I don’t have the answers here. Just a thought.

Point: I love writing moving scenes, and I hope they move you, the reader, too.

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Review – The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle

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The book The Hidden Oracle, by Rick Riordan, takes the reader on a ride through classical mythology (about which you can tell from the picture that I am quite a nerd). This book is from the viewpoint of Apollo, the first (to my knowledge) of Riordan’s books that follows a god and not a demigod. However, in this book, Apollo has been forced to live a live of a full human – shocking – and he must go through certain trials to regain his admittance to Mount Olympus (P.S. I saw a funny fact/joke the other day concerning Mt. Olympus, which is that the mountain was totally climbable and yet as far as we know, no one tried to climb it to see if their gods were real. That is all).

This book was really funny as all of Riordan’s stories are, due to his ingenious usage of colorful metaphors and similes that are beyond relatable. The characters and plot is about as complicated and deep as any other of his books, which is to say that they tend to have somewhat surface level interactions and thoughts. This may be somewhat forgivable because of the target audience, as it is middle fiction… maybe I’m naive to believe that books for all ages can show complexity in a less obvious manner than Riordan does, but I do. Not only that, but his plots are similar from book to book, and sometimes they drag on. Generally speaking, he brings all the different aspects into play, but these aspects could be introduced in a less repetitive manner.

On a more positive note (because I do like his books, I promise), at this point in Riordan’s writing, the world has been more expanded than ever, encompassing the four mythological cultures about which Riordan writes: Norse, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythology. SO, in this book,  you see snippets about Camp Jupiter and Camp Half-blood, and you deal with several characters from that series, including the man (or demigod) himself, Percy Jackson. These books are no longer just a series, but a whole universe like marvel or dc.

All that to say, the story is fun and that’s great, but Riordan’s real accomplishment here is the amount of mythology he has managed to portray. I’ve read two of his other books (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer and The Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid), and both of those are obviously based on mythology, but for some reason, it feels like Riordan was able to include more facts about mythology in this book that can be distinguished with ease from the fictional aspects of the story.

Apollo himself is hilarious and snarky and I hope to God that his character is actually completely like that in real mythology. I could look it up… Hm…

The last notable aspect of the book is that LGBT is handled in an interesting way. In the world of the ancient Greeks, being gay was normal and accepted, and as Apollo is an ancient Greek god, this viewpoint is reflected in his small comments, and (I think) Riordan even relates it back historically. This isn’t to say that Riordan’s other characters are not accepting of the LGBT community, but that it was made a point in this book.

All in all, I give this book a 3.3/5 stars.

Review of Username: Evie

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I don’t often read graphic novels, though I have gotten into them only recently. I am learning to love them more and more. This novel, Username: Evie, by Joe Sugg, I heard straight from the mouth of the man himself while watching his YouTube video the other day where he announces his new one that he’s publishing this fall:

It’s called Username: Regenerated, the sequel to Username: Evie.

I will be buying that ASAP, because I loved Username: Evie way more than I expected to. It took until the last bit of the book for me to really love it, though. Till then, it had only seemed good, but not to die for. However, it left me emotionally vulnerable which to me is always a sign of a good story!

In Username: Evie, Evie e.scapes (that’ll make sense in the book) to a virtual world created by her father, and it is in this world that she grows into herself. It is a coming of age graphic novel, but it is one with which we can all identify.

The idea is original, touching, and relatable. It’s also obviously British and I adore that. As for the art in this book, it is beautiful, and Joe Snugg really has a gift. I loved loved loved it.

Yes, there are some cheesy moments and some minor issues I have with it, but that’s life, isn’t it?

I gave this book a 5/5 stars on Goodreads because you don’t get much in the way of specificity on there, but in reality I probably give it a 4.5. I rarely do that. But it was simple and beautiful and effective. A plus, Joe. A plus.

Macbeth Review

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Before we start, I don’t pretend to be an expert on Shakespeare. Not in the slightest. If I’m being totally honest, it’s been years since I read Shakespeare. If I hadn’t come across these beautiful covers at Barnes and Nobles for only 8 bucks (not an endorsement, but really, buy one), then who knows when I next would have read it. BUT I did, and I appreciated his writing way more than I thought I would.

The plot is one we know well: Macbeth learns of a prophecy given by the weird sisters (the classic “double, double, toil and trouble” girls), that tells him he shall be king, etc. etc. Well, we all know that prophecy more often than not is self-fulfilling, and the play proceeds in a fairly predictable way. Murder, murder, more murder. War. Death. And with that:ba2c5030a3d9f544796fe9f44be321888f7bd29a183ddefa2a56422d96f4fd9a

All in all, the plot is alright, but what makes Shakespeare beautiful is something that I didn’t appreciate in school when I was forced to read it (which inevitably takes all the joy out of a story), which is THAT WRITING. Shakespeare was basically like:make-my-writing

Except replace writing with prose. Because, dang, that prose is beautiful. Say what you will about the plot, how flat the characters are, etc. etc. etc.–all excused because of that dang prose. And while the plot was predictable it was still enjoyable. I wanted to watch it play out, which is really what matters.

The lesson to the book is think like a chess player and don’t pay attention to prophecy and you’ll live to see the next day. The lesson is don’t let selfish ambition motivate you to murder people. The lesson is all fine and dandy, but as a writer, let me tell you, it is a joy to read that prose.

4/5 stars. Must read. Excuse me while I buy more Shakespeare.

Mortal (#2 in The Books of Mortals) Review

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The Books of Mortals series is based in a world where every emotion but fear has been wiped via alchemy to attain Order (and might I say, I love this concept). The main character, Rom, discovers a vial that restores full and normal life as we know it, and it begins to cause a revolution. This book–SPOILERS if you haven’t read the first, Forbidden–concerns the restoration of the Sovereign, Jonathan, to the throne, in an effort to restore life to the world.

The idea is fantastic, for how is it best to create order than create a fear centralized around earning good standing in the afterlife–that existentialist dread that we humans normally try to stave off–obtained by following the laws of the land. If anyone has read the Old Testament, yes that should sound oddly familiar. This series is Christian fantasy; at times it doesn’t seem like it at all, and then at times it is screaming at you. I am a Christian, and yet at times it feels so preachy, that if I want to read that, I’ll read the Bible–so preachy, in fact, that it is also probably not a good witnessing tool, which may be its intention. ESSENTIALLY, it tries so hard to be Narnia or Tolkien, but it falls short.  My favorite parts of the book are the parts where it does a good job and doesn’t feel exactly like the Bible. Those parts made me like the book. It’s all about subtlety, people.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the rest of it.

I love the characters. I care about Rom, I really do, as well as Feyn, another main character who’s roll in the story is even more central than Rom (but spoilers). And they’re all pretty believable, which is a mark of good writing.

On that note, the descriptions are AMAZING, vibrant, enthralling. You don’t want to put the book down almost because of those alone.

So parts of the book were great, and parts simply weren’t (the ending I might put in the weren’t part). Will I read the third book in the series? Yes. Partially because I already have it, and partially because I want to find out what happens. My overall rating: 2.9/5 stars (evidently I can’t quite give it a 3, but it wasn’t a 2 that’s for sure).