I did it! #BookBingoNW2016 I blacked out my summer book bingo card!

A scanned image of my completed seattle public library bingo card with little images of each book cover in each space.Last post I mentioned that I took on the challenge of Seattle Public Library’s Summer Book Bingo. It took some serious binge reading, but I finished and read an eclectic array of books that I am excited to tell you about.

The books and their categories

 

Cookbook or Food Memoir Green Smoothie Recipes For Weight Loss and Detox Book by Jenny Allan

You’ve been meaning to read  Lexicon: A Novel by Max Barry

#We need diverse books Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan- this book has a lot of interesting information about Myanmar (Burma)

Collection of short stories Wild Child: And Other Stories by T.C. BOYLE

From your childhood Freckle Juice by Judy Blume

Prize-winner  The Paying Guests Sarah Waters- this book was an Amazon Best Book of 2014

Set in a place you’ve always wanted to visit Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel by Pascal Mercier

Recommended by an independent bookstore The Ultra Thin Man: A Science Fiction Novel by Patrick Swenson- I met Patrick Swenson at an author talk at the Sumner library. At first, I found the chapters switching from third person to first person confusing, but once I got used to it and got into the story, I really enjoyed this space adventure.

Banned  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Collection of poetry  Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (Pitt Poetry Series) by Ross Gay

Young adult book  No Use For A Name by Penelope Wright – I met Penelope Wright at the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference. I enjoyed this book, but would have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t concerned for young readers reading this subject matter. I wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing it with teens I know.

Translated from another language Hurramabad by Andrei Volos

Non-fiction  Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story by Ursula K. Le Guin- For anyone looking for good writing exercises, or ideas for your writing critique group, I recommend this book.

Novel  The End Game (A Brit in the FBI) by Catherine Coulter

Local Author { [ THE ISLAND ] } Ely, Marian ( AUTHOR ) Jun-24-2013 Paperback by Marian Ely

Written by a SAL speaker  Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Reread  The Hollow by Agatha Christie

You finish reading in a day  The New Neighbor: A Novel by Leah Stewart

Read out loud Big Trouble by Dave Barry- this was a fun read on a car trip to California. I am a big fan of Carl Hiaasen and his influence is very apparent.

Out of your comfort zone Midnight in Ruby Bayou by Elizabeth Lowell- this was more romance than I usually read.

Memoir  I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai. My thoughts on this book, Kim and Hurramabad can be found in my last post.

Written more than 100 years ago  Kim (Macmillan Collector’s Library) by Rudyard Kipling

Recommended by a friend My Sister’s Grave (The Tracy Crosswhite Series) by Robert Dugoni- Robert Dugoni was the featured speaker at PNWA16. He was a moving speaker and I really liked this book.

For my FREE space, I am supposed to recommend a book to a friend, so to all of you I recommend The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. If you have already had the pleasure of reading it, I recommend Night Train to Lisbon: A Novel by Pascal Mercier.

I hope you get a chance to enjoy some of these books. This list has a little bit of everything.

Happy Reading.

Creating Fictional Worlds: Not just Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Creating Fictional Worlds: Not just Sci-Fi and Fantasy

from empmuseum.org

I recently visited the Fantasy exhibit at the EMP museum in Seattle. In addition to the fun and inspirational drawings, costumes, and interactive computer exhibits, they displayed J.R.R. Tolkien’s hand written timeline. It was kind of him to reiterate the point of my previous post (Ha. Ha!). It also spoke to a related aspect of organizing one’s writing: World Creation.

Creating a world for the characters to walk around in is not just part of fantasy writing. Every story, even if it happens in present day down the street, is within a world created by the author. Any imagined world needs history, culture, language and architecture. And don’t forget the microcosms within this world: The symbols and colors, rituals, beliefs, or antitheses of set beliefs that influence and drive the inhabitants of this novel world. An author can leave a lot up to the reader, but everyone sees the world through his or her own perception. Defining everything in a unique world including its history, music, traditions and ceremonies, even if the setting is one’s own home, can help to close the gap between the author’s intentions and the reader’s perception.  Every genre, not just fantasy, is a place for world building. Spend some time creating a world for your characters. Draw it, paint it, and build dioramas if so inclined. Write, or listen to the music, research or create the traditions and ceremonies. I recently got excited about a microcosm in my story, leading me to think, for the first time, of the possibility of a spin-off series. The exhibit inspired me not only as a writer, but as a costumer and artist as well, so if you want to read more about it you can head over to the inspiration page of my creativity website mbercreations.com.

from art nerd seattle

Creating a world for the characters to walk around in is not just part of fantasy writing. Every story, even if it happens in present day down the street, is within a world created by the author. Any imagined world needs history, culture, language and architecture. And don’t forget the microcosms within this world: The symbols and colors, rituals, beliefs, or antitheses of set beliefs that influence and drive the inhabitants of this novel world. An author can leave a lot up to the reader, but everyone sees the world through his or her own perception. Defining everything in a unique world including its history, music, traditions and ceremonies, even if the setting is one’s own home, can help to close the gap between the author’s intentions and the reader’s perception.  Every genre, not just fantasy, is a place for world building. Spend some time creating a world for your characters. Draw it, paint it, and build dioramas if so inclined. Write, or listen to the music, research or create the traditions and ceremonies. I recently got excited about a microcosm in my story, leading me to think, for the first time, of the possibility of a spin-off series.

The exhibit inspired me not only as a writer, but as a costumer and artist as well, so if you want to read more about it you can head over to the inspiration page of my creativity website mbercreations.com.

Nobody’s Perfect

Want to make me not at all interested in a character? Describe him, or her as beautiful and rich. I gave up on Mary Higgins Clark’s mysteries in middle school because I just couldn’t care about the plight of the wealthy, beautiful people any more. Isn’t it enough that they cover the screens of our T.V.s and movie theaters; that they create enough scandals to fill tabloids week after week? Honestly, do they have to pollute our fiction as well? This last week, I read a novel which included a very beautiful woman planning her wedding. Her father was a billionaire, of course, who had two helicopters. She went to have a moment to herself in a bar, but she had to keep refusing drinks from strangers because she was so beautiful. Then when her fiancé saw her before the wedding she was even more beautiful. Really? There was more beautiful to go? What did that add? One thing Americans learned through the economic collapse was that only 1% of the population holds the wealth. Now think of how many of those people would be described as beautiful. I would say the fictional population is a pretty skewed subset of our population.  And the perfect character problem does not only reside among the beautiful that are wealthy. There are also the perfectly skilled. Why would I want to read a story about a person who went to battle school and never lost a battle from his first day? Why would he go to battle school when he had nothing to learn? These perfect characters have nowhere to go and nothing to overcome which makes for a boring story. But worse than that, there is just no relating to them. I realize that some people like to fantasize about being some mass produced beauty aesthetic with unlimited resources and adoration, but when those stories are over the reader is left with an empty feeling of ineptitude. As a writer, one wants to hook the reader by creating ways for the reader to relate to the characters. Give your character some adult acne, back pain, a car that breaks down when it is least convenient, bills that are always due and an out of work family member on the couch and your writing might resonate with the not as privileged 99.75%.