Tag: Books

Character Interview: Roran Brance

Character Interview: Roran Brance

Today’s character to interview is the main character of Dark Queen Rising, and you may recall that he was mentioned in Clissa Hiara’s interview.

Roran: *comes in and takes a seat across from the interviewer* Good morning.

Interviewer: Good morning. How are you?

Roran: I’m doing well. How are you?

Interviewer: I’m doing quite well. Shall we get started?

Roran: *nods*

Interviewer: What is your name?

Roran: Roran Brook Brance.

Interviewer: How old are you?

Roran: Twenty-three.

Interviewer: Do you have any siblings?

Roran: I have a younger sister named Aria.

Interviewer: What is your job?

Roran: I’m a council member in the Trell Province.

Interviewer: Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Roran: I’m an introvert, but I love people.

Interviewer: What is your favorite food?

Roran: Freshly baked bread. My mother is the baker in Autherion, and her bread is the best.

Interviewer: What is your favorite color?

Roran: Golden brown.

Interviewer: Why?

Roran: It’s the color of fields and fresh bread.

Interviewer: Do you prefer books or movies?

Roran: Books.

Interviewer: What is your favorite book?

Roran: The Lord of the Rings.

Interviewer: What is your favorite animal?

Roran: Horses.

Interviewer: Why?

Roran: They’re beautiful, powerful, and useful.

Interviewer: Is there a job you’d rather have than the one you have now?

Roran: I’d rather go back to working on the Brance farm.

Interviewer: What are your hobbies?

Roran: Reading, gardening, and horseback riding.

Interviewer: What traits do you look for in a potential wife?

Roran: Kindness, generosity, a love for God, and a good cook. *smiles at the last one*

Interviewer: Which of these is the most important to you, kindness, intelligence, or bravery?

Roran: Kindness.

Interviewer: And honesty or selflessness?

Roran: Honesty, but selflessness is a close second.

Interviewer: What is something you can never leave the house without?

Roran: *lifts his wrist to show a leather cuff* I got this from my dad when I was twelve. It didn’t fit me then, but I’ve grown into it.

Interviewer: *nods* That’s the last question. Thank you for your time.

Roran: You’re very welcome. *smiles and shakes the interviewer’s hand before leaving*

Farewell to July

Farewell to July

Hey guess what! This makes three monthly wrap-up posts in a row! Hooray!

July’s Writing

July was Camp NaNoWriMo, as most if not all of you know, and my project was to finish The Heart of the Baenor. I did not accomplish that goal, unfortunately, but I still made my 20k goal and even upped it to 40k and won that. I started the Dark War Trilogy, against my better judgement, and I’m really loving it so far. I adore the characters, as with many of my stories.

In addition, I started a dystopian story that I’m keeping on a back burner as something to work on when I’m really stuck with something else, and I began a collaboration story with my best friend set in Wonderland, which we’re both really excited about. The basic premise is that key Wonderland characters are dying, and the eight MCs have to take their places, which begins with a quest for relics for each of them. It’s really fun.

July’s Reading

I’ve read a lot this month. I finally managed to get to my library, which resulted in a stack of books to read, and I’ve finished all but one of those.

The first thing I finished was High Druid’s Blade by Terry Brooks, which is the first in his latest trilogy, I believe. He may have started another one since. It was really good, and I gave it four stars on Goodreads.

After that was Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, which was excellent. Five stars for that one.

Next was Enclave by Ann Aguirre (Ann without an E! D:), which got three stars. It seemed a bit too much like Maze Runner for my taste and finished on a sufficiently tied-up ending, so I don’t plan on reading the next one.

I also read Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, which was pretty good. Four stars.

Before Red Queen, actually, was The Giver by Lois Lowry. I absolutely fell in love with that one. It’s one of few books that made me feel. I nearly cried near the end, and that’s something that happens even less than feeling in general at books.

I also read Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, which I technically finished in August, but most of it was read in July, so I’m listing it here anyway. I’ve been trying to get a hold of this one for a long time so I could read it, and I was finally able to get it from my library. It’s usually checked out the times I go to the library. :P I really liked this one, too, and gave it five stars. There were a few things I could have done without – sporadic language, some suggestive dialogue, gore that went a bit farther in-depth than it needed to – but overall it was really good. There was a love triangle, but it was well-handled and I could tolerate it, even though the MC gravitates toward the wrong one, in my opinion.

If you’d like to see reviews of any of these books, let me know and I’d be happy to write them. :)

Goodbye March (Massively Late)

Goodbye March (Massively Late)

Well, it’s halfway through April and I haven’t written a March overview yet. Sounds like me. Well, better late than never, right?

March’s Reading

The first book I finished in March was Spindle, which I had started all the way back in January or February. It wasn’t my absolute favorite, but it was pretty good.

I also finished The Last of the Mohicans, which I hesitate to add since it was a book I read for school (and it’s also mega, mega boring), but I read it, so it’s on here anyway.

March’s Writing

Rebellion Ever After was my main project in March. My aim was to get it to 60k before April, but that didn’t happen. I got to 40k, though, which is good.

I also wrote a short story in March to go with it, and that was a lot of fun. It follows one of the MC’s dreams as she’s asleep in her stasis chamber, and she’s the only one there except a SRV-droid, so there’s a lot of description and not as much dialogue as I usually write.

April’s Writing

Since it’s halfway through April already, I’ve already gotten some writing done. Namely I’ve written 32k in my Camp Nanowrimo novel, The Heart of the Baenor. This story is really interesting to write because I’m specifically working toward putting in more description and internal dialogue since those are things I tend to struggle with in my writing. The description part is made easier by the fact that HotB takes place in Kaloris, which I’ve fleshed out considerably more than some of my other storyworlds. The well-developed world also helps with character development and so forth.

Other Fun Stuff

I’ve been working on editing my book House of Mages, as you know from January’s wrap-up/February’s welcome, and working toward getting it ready for publishing. Well, I got a cover on March 22nd and I’m sooooo happy with it! It’s perfect! And it was a premade one, so it didn’t cost as much. I got it at The Book Cover Designer.

Now I’m looking toward getting an editor for when I finish my third draft, which I haven’t even started yet because I haven’t finished my second draft. I really need to do that.

Anywho, who wants to see my beautimous cover?

Tadaaaaaa! Oh yeah, and I finally settled on a pen name: R. M. Archer, as you can see above. ^-^ I’m so happy about all of this! It’s amazing! I could be published before the year is out! *squee!* Yeah, I’m happy. ^-^ And in honor of this momentous occasion, how about an excerpt from House of Mages? Just a short one.

**************************

They walked through the tunnels for several minutes before emerging on the surface. But it wasn’t anything like an earthly surface. The ground was black, the sky was stone-like with stalactites hanging from it, and the whole atmosphere was penetratingly dark.

The castle that loomed in front of them was especially dark. Whatever material it was made of seemed to absorb what meager light there was, and the towers were like cold stone claws that would reach down and crush or impale her at any moment. The gates were bent outward like ribs, and the small dank breeze seemed to make them shift like there really was a beating heart behind them.

Lian shuddered.

“Do we have to go in there?”

“Of course. That is the Conqueror’s castle.”

Asphodel led the way up to the gate and Lian followed, trying to seem more courageous than she felt.

As they passed through the gates and walked up to the front door, Lian tried to quiet her rapidly beating heart. It felt like a caged animal trying to break free, making her feel like her chest would explode.

She survived the walk to the front door however, despite almost running into Asphodel when the demoness stopped suddenly to pull the bell rope. Its gong was eerie and melancholic almost causing Lian to shiver again.

The door slid open soundlessly and the two of them entered, passing through several corridors. The only sound was that of Asphodel’s heels clicking on the odd black floor.

******************************

This is one of my favorite parts of House of Mages. There’s actually description! Anyway, I hope you liked it. :)

This post has gotten kind of long, so I’m gonna go now. See ya!

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The Maze Runner Series: A Lesson In How Not To Write

The Maze Runner Series: A Lesson In How Not To Write

I read the Maze Runner series probably sometime in September. I can’t remember exactly, since this whole year has kind of gone by in a blur for me and I can’t remember exactly what happened when, but I think it was in that ballpark. Anyway, I read it after watching the first two movies (a terrible mistake for a reader, I know), and after accidentally reading spoilers (just a hint: never look up a book or movie on Pinterest before reading the entire series). Let me just say that after watching the movies I was severely disappointed. I NEVER say that when I read the book after watching the movie. Never. But the book was terrible. Another thing I never say: The movie was better than the book. And now I will stop complaining and actually tell you WHY these books were so terrible. I tried to keep it spoiler free, but it’s really vague that way, so spoilers for those who have already read it will be in parentheses and colored white; select them to read.

1. Dislikeable Characters

Three things you need for a good story: An interesting setting, a good plot, and perhaps most important of all is likeable characters. The Maze Runner had an interesting setting, no plot, and characters I wanted to punch for the majority of the series. I’m not even kidding. The main character and the love interest were quite possibly the most annoying of all.

Lesson number one from The Maze Runner: Make your characters likeable.

In the entire series I liked three characters. Three. And out of those, two died. Which brings me to my next point…

2. Unnecessary Character Deaths

Oh my gosh. You really don’t want to get me started on this one. In the first book alone, four characters died. Three of those four were significant characters. Was there any reason for their deaths aside from dramatic effect? No. Nothing in those deaths moves the story along, except for the first one, which was the one with the insignificant character. But the deaths of significant characters? No use. No reason. Just drama.

Which takes us to book two, the Scorch Trials. Only one character (that I can remember) died in this book, but I’m nearly sure that others did as well, given the fact that it seems James Dashner’s favorite hobby is killing off characters. This one was another major character, and another death that was mostly useless. The death had a lot more purpose in the movie, and I commend the screenwriters for fixing this.

In the third, two characters (again, this is just who I can remember) died, and again they were important characters, and again only one of them has any significance to the story.

Lesson number 2 from TMR: Don’t kill off characters unnecessarily.

It’s actually kind of funny timing, considering that at this time I was considering killing off one of my own characters and had been told it was unnecessary… (P.S. I did not kill the character.)

3. Disproportionate Emotions

All of what is mentioned in this section is in regard to the main character, Thomas, and most pertains to character deaths.

First, there’s the fact that Thomas considers one particular character to be extremely annoying (said character just so happens to be one of the three likeable characters in the entire series) (Said character is Chuck). When said character dies, Thomas beats the guy who killed {character} to death and then is emotional over {character}’s death for the entirety of the next book and into the third. What’s up with that?

Second, in the Scorch Trials Thomas meets a character who he just immediately trusts, right away, no rhyme or reason to it, just trusts him. This can happen sometimes, but it’s not super common and in this instance it’s just completely unbelievable. (This character being Jorge.)

And then there’s that one character, let’s call them character A (Teresa), who Thomas just connects with right away. Their connection is really weird. I can’t really explain it without giving stuff away, but they’re pretty much best buds from the start and then A is a jerk and stuff happens and Thomas still is nearly fine with being best buds with A! All that A did and you’re still only marginally distrustful? What is up with that?

Third, when one of the characters dies in the Death Cure dies, it’s a very emotion-heavy scene. They literally kill him in the most painful way possible for everyone involved. I’m not even exaggerating. How long does Thomas mourn him? Two chapters, maybe five. HELLO! He just died the most painful death possible and you brush it off just like that while you mourned the “annoying” character for a whole book and a half?! Where is your heart, man?

Lesson number 3 from TMR: At least make an attempt at getting emotions right? Please?

4. The Scorch Trials

Yes. The entire book.

Lesson number 4 from TMR: Never write a book in which your reader doesn’t know who to trust and who not to trust from one scene to the next. That’s just not cool.

Yes, I just put the lesson before the explanation. TMR did the above. Don’t ever do that. It makes your reader want to throw the book at the wall and leave it there. Don’t do it. Just don’t.

5. The Conclusion

Or lack thereof. At the end of the trilogy, nothing was explained or resolved. As a friend of mine put it, “It felt like my mom had been hinting at a really, really great Christmas present and I wasn’t sure what it would be but I knew it would be amazing and then it was just some hand-me-down clothes.”

The Two Good Things About The Maze Runner

Remember those three likeable characters I told you about? And remember how I said that the series had some interesting settings? Well the settings were well developed, and two of the three likeable characters were downright loveable (Newt and Chuck). If Dashner had fixed all his other mistakes, it would have been a good book. As it stands now, The Maze Runner is a terribly written series with some good ideas and characters thrown in just to keep you from throwing your book across the room at two o’clock in the morning.

So in conclusion, read the Maze Runner if you wish, but analyze it from a writer’s perspective and take notes.

 

The Book-Room Challenge

The Book-Room Challenge

So several of my friends from the Christian Teens Together! thread on the NaNoWriMo website have done a challenge called the Book-Room Challenge in which they describe three of their books as rooms, and I’ve just been nominated by Leila of Inspiring Ink’lings. Thanks, Leila!

Rules:

  1. Describe three of your books as rooms. They can be finished or unfinished, but they must be your own.
  2. Write one of your favorite books to read as a room.
  3. Tag five other people. (This one’s going to be tricky for me.)

The Lowlines

You open a dark walnut door and step into a dimly lit room. Daggers and swords lay on a low oak table that is surrounded by three mismatched chairs, one tipped, one with a broken leg, and only one standing completely upright. There is one window in the very back of the room, but curtains cover it, the rod broken and crooked, and a thick layer of dust blankets the glass.

The floor is cracked hardwood that creaks and groans with every step, and the walls are covered with torn wallpaper that someone tried to hide with black paint. On the right wall is a bulletin board covered with faded, torn papers and photos, and on the left is a gun rack, which is now abandoned save for one pistol.

You dodge a piece of falling plaster and glance up at the crumbling ceiling and step over to the window, glancing out. The only things you can see are dead grass, a twisted oak tree, and a plank swing, one rope snapped to leave the swing dangling awkwardly.

 

The Half-Elves

Stepping through a pine door, you’re immediately refreshed by the bright sunshine streaming through the windows and the potted plants placed in the corners of the room. The whole place smells of the forest, like walking through a Christmas tree lot. The fir wood table in the middle of the room is adorned with a white lace tablecloth and topped with a pair of gold candle holders, each with a simple white candle inside it.

A bow rests against one of the five fir wood chairs, strung, but without its quiver. There are no other weapons in sight.

There’s a window on each wall, and each has white lace curtains tied back to let in the most sunlight possible. Out each window you can see vibrant green grass, trees, woodland animals, and bright birds that can be heard singing all the time.

 

The Wisdom Keepers

This room is most likely the fanciest in the house. White marble floors, elegant white paneled walls, and gold candelabras gracing the walls. A long table sits in the very center of the room, covered in a white silk tablecloth and decorated with silver candle holders every few seats, the white candles inside already lit.

The table is set with china plates, golden goblets, and pure silverware. A feast is set along the center of the table, containing any food you can think of. Turkey, pheasant, pies, cakes, potatoes, carrots, apples, just to name very few.

The right wall is open to a balcony, allowing the room to flood with light, also aided by three golden chandeliers hanging over the table. On the other three walls, elegantly woven tapestries hang, lending their rich, vibrant colors to the otherwise neutrally colored room.

 

There are so many books I love to read, but Dreamtreaders is the one that I always list as my favorite. Whether it really is my absolute favorite or not is impossible to tell.

Dreamtreaders

When you walk in, you’re first bombarded by the mess. Books, blankets, papers, and all sorts of things are strewn everywhere. But you can make out the desk against the left wall, the bed against the right, and you can see the sliding glass door in the back wall that leads out onto a tiny balcony. The walls of the room are black, decorated with swirls of dark color. Behind the bed is painted a navy blue clock tower with a dark gold face, and against the desk is propped a midnight blue surfboard.

The bed is dark walnut wood, with blankets of an almost black green, and a well is carved into the footboard. The desk is the same wood, with a ragged old doll sitting on the far corner.

The air in the room smells musty, and the light filtering in through the door is dim and almost green-tinted. A storm is coming.

 

Nominees

Most of these will probably be repeats since I have no idea who to nominate. No one is required to do the challenge.

Grace at My Corner of Grace

Halfblood Cheetah at I’m Only Human

Mandy at Jumping In the Puddles

Rubix at The Sea Calls Us Home

Janie at Catmooslane