Saturday, January 10, 2015

TCWT January Blog Chain: A Reader's Life for Me!

First things first: Me. I was interviewed. By Brett Michael Orr. On his blog. It was awesome (so I have therefore bootlegged that post), and he’s super nice, and I’ve really enjoyed his reviews of the Percy Jackson series lately (as well as reading other interviews, which you should also do) AND SO READ IT BECAUSE I HAD A SENSE OF HUMOR THIS TIME.

My Marvelous Hosts
Second order of business: I totally suggested the prompt for the Teens Can Write, Too! Blog Chain this month, and I don’t know what I was thinking when I suggested that because I am writing this yesterday (forgive the unedited glory of it all) and I’m pretty sure what I will write was not my intention when I thought of it.

“What is something you feel is generally written well in fiction? What is something you feel is generally written poorly?”

I also feel bad, because other people have covered such good topics already that mine seems a little silly. LoveYouDarling spoke about racism, mental illness, and disability. Jasper tackled the science of language itself. Erin stresses the importance of details, coruscantbookshelf discusses religion, romance, and rmysteries (oh look, alliteration!), Miriam opposed insta-lust, Aravis admired battles of good and evil… All of which are pretty deep and important subjects.

And you know what?


Flickr Credit: Lee Morley
So, if you’re like me you own the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and maybe an eye patch, probably not a ship, and if you’re in that pirate mood you say “Arrrgh!” or some witty Sparrow one-liner.

via Pinterest (for all)
And you know what? Pirates is great, but there are books out there and I swear—the ONLY research they have done on pirates was by watching those movies and saying, “Oh, yes. Now I know everything.”

To those books I say this:

These are things I know about pirates:

  • you do not BURY treasure. You SPEND it.
  • you do not make people walk the plank. You SHOOT them. (Or… Well, swords work too. Drowning. Something fast and easy and ensures deadness without a doubt)
  • the ‘Golden Age of Pirates’ is not the ‘Only Age of Pirates’
  • not all pirates took women at every port (see this link, #9)
  • sailing at all (much less being a pirate) was SUPER dangerous in a historical sense; death and injury were more than common (where are my death scenes?)
  • the pirate code was not a literal rulebook *coughSparrowcough* (see the same link, #3)
  • you didn’t always wear an eye patch to cover your socket—if you already had an eye adjusted to the dark you could go above and below decks without crashing into stuff
  • loyalty was not their greatest value
  • pirates were not carbon copies of Long John Silver, ever

I’m not a pirate expert. If you think I’m wrong, then sure, I’m probably wrong. But again and again I run into almost shameful facts put into pirate stories and things. I do not think pirates are the best-written historical figures ever. We have plank-walking and over-the-top criminals or otherwise people who understand the concept of democracy but haven’t mastered the killing-and-slaughtering-other-people bit.

As it turns out, even those of us who are pretty okay with democracy are not perfect. SURPRISE!

I don’t think I will read a pirate book again soon. If I see one, I shall run.

Oh, did you think I was done?

HA. For that was a two-part question, silly one. Because, with the exception of pirate books (of course) I am also pleased to announce that I have something to report on things being well-written.




I’m getting a bunch of books pushed at me and you know what? None of them sound the same. Some use good grammar. Some talk like crazy teenagers. Others are raw and heartbreaking and others are crazy and action-filled and INSANE. We laugh, we cry, we whimper, we dream, we cackle, we start coughing, Mom comes in to see if we’re choking, it’s awkward.

But voice is key, and voice has developed in a cramazing way, especially in what I’ve read lately.

Sometimes it’s addicting and zings, like Alina’s in The Grisha Trilogy.

Sometimes several voices ring out to bring several stories to light—The Twilight Saga and Cruel Beauty come to mind.

It can be laid back, like Elphie’s in Mothership.

Marvel-esque, like Mark Walden's H.I.V.E.

Haggard, like A.C. Gaughen’s Scarlet.

Humorous, like Oscar Wilde, melancholy, like Edgar Allen Poe, trapping, like Neal Shusterman, clipped, like Eoin Colfer. Sarcastic. Bitter. Passionate. Heartfelt. Dry. Thin. Tearful. Dreamy. Romantic.

Guys, these are all books I have laying around my room. And every one is different, and for the most part each book brings something new and something real to the table, so that you feel, so that you see things from a different point of view, and so that when you read you can finish and not know whether to cry because you’re brimming or empty or what.

There are so many.

Those books, I salute for sure.

If you ARE in the chain—be sure to drop me a link to your blog so I know not to miss your post!
If you AREN’T—what do you think are some well-written (or not so much) things you see in writing? And, be sure to check out all the other awesome posts in the chain!

5th While I Should Be Doing Precal

6thJasper Lindell's Other Blog

7thThe Upstairs Archives and Against the Shadows

8thMiriam Joy Writes

9thThe Ramblings of Aravis

10thTo quote Flynn Rider... Hi.

11th – Kira Budge: Author

12th – The Little Engine That Couldn't

13th –

14th –

15th – literallylovely

16thHorse Feathers

17thJulia the Writer Girl

18thButterflies of the Imagination

19thGalloping Free


21st –

22ndThe Road Goes On

23rdClockwork Desires

24th –

25thWandering in a Blur

26thA Note From the Nerd

27thInsanity, Inc.

28thUnikke Lyfe

29th – (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)



    I think that often in books I read, the friendships are rushed and/or are unrealistic. Also, the mean girl always had two sidekicks. The mean girl in my year at school has three.


      I agree with that, also. I think one of the problems is that it's really hard to track down the exact science of friendship, which means it's really tricky to write them. That's for me, anyway. And that is not cool at all, but who's to say a mean girl can't have the entire school at her disposal? These are questions that must be asked.

  2. I agree that pirates are generally not written very well and are often very cliche. I'm not saying that I could write pirates very well either, because of all the misconceptions and pirate stereotypes that I have been surrounded by. There is also the topic of modern pirates, who are very different from the pirates of long ago. Voice is generally really clear in a lot of the books that I read, and I love that. I hope that my books get to that point where the voice just grabs the reader in, but, alas, I don't think my writing is to that point yet. One day...

    1. I agree—there's so much myth to pirates that it's almost impossible to say what is true and what is not. It's awful. :/ Modern pirates are hard to write, too... I read a news story where a bunch of pirates on a rowboat tried to attack one of the British navy's warships. Big mistake.

      Voice is definitely something we all have to work at. Always and forever. And it's HARD. But we'll do it, because positive thinking. :) Keep at it!

  3. I will honestly say that I did not expect pirates to crop up. But pirates are never ever ever a bad thing. And it's not at all unimportant or un-deep (oh, dear) -- I totally know the feeling when books portray something you love in an inaccurate way.

    Voice, interestingly enough, is one of the hardest part in my writing, especially since I use several POVs and strive to make the voices different. It's, like, so hard, and I admire the beautiful voices in literature so much more.

    1. I've been nurturing the idea since Wednesday and even though it was unexpected I was glad to write it. But I'm glad you think so—I spent a lot of the day self-conscious about this post. XD

      Voice is hard. I haven't attempted a separate POV book in years, but it is incredible what other writers can do, you know? I just sit there and think. "The cat played with the yarn. Dot ate food. It was great." and that is a very boring voice to have. Alas!

  4. I'll keep in mind your pirate list, since I'll be writing a pirate story myself. :) I'm not necessarily recommending this but I thought the pirates in the novel "Captain Blood" were done very well! I haven't read any modern pirate books yet.

    I absolutely love all you've said about voice! Some voices are so beautiful***cough***The Book Thief***cough*** that they make me want to cry. Yeah ... it does make for awkward situations in public.

    1. Good luck writing your pirate story! I haven't heard of Captain Blood, but I might have to see what it's all about. :) And I haven't read modern pirates; I've read future vampirates, though.

      I liked The Book Thief, to some degree, and it was absolutely interesting. For me, it's Neal Shusterman, and awkward is right! :)

  5. I love your info on pirates! I've rarely read a book where I felt the pirates were believable, and now I really want to find a good one. I'm going to commission you to write an awesome pirate book to make this happen.

    I also totally agree about voices. I love how different characters'/authors' voices are. It's really amazing, and it's one of the things I love about reading. You can't capture the voice in movies and TV shows the way you can in books.

    Great post, and thank you endlessly for the brilliant prompt idea!

    1. Haha, thanks! Pirates are awesome, but they're just super tricky to master! I'd enjoy writing a pirate book, I think, I just need more practice. Maybe someday, eh?

      Yes! And of course, filmography has its own flair and style, but there's something special about the stuff we put into books. It's amazing how much variety we can put into one craft, and yet you're never going to find the same voice in two books (unless they're a series, or something).

      Thanks for putting in the hard work to make this happen! :)


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