Tuesday, September 27, 2016

An Announcement and An Apology

Hi!  This is Grace.

So we are terrible at posting, apparently.  College, and all that.  Busy life.


But, because we needed more useless stuff to do with our lives and another thing to worry about and remember, we made another blog!  Because we're obviously not bad enough at keeping up with one!  This second blog is a little different in nature, however, and I shall explain that.  But here's The Blog!

So as writers, we sometimes get frustrated and tired of following the rules.  This is a story, written in chapters and/or episodes that doesn't entirely follow a strict plot, but we sort of know where it's going.  There's three of us writers, and we shall be posting new chapters whenever we have some writers block to beat, or just feel like writing something silly.

When I say this story is going to break the rules, I mean it.  There will be plot holes, breaking the fourth wall, characters coming back from the dead for no reason whatsoever, stereotypes running rampant through the streets, everything!

So enjoy, y'all!  And there'll be a real post here eventually.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Spock Cries For His Writings


Uploaded by greenwood3089

You Want to Go Home and Rethink Your Love Triangle

Hi!  It's Grace again.  This post has nothing to do with the last one, or with September's challenge.  So if you were hoping for a monologue on children's literature, you can sit there and be disappointed because that is not what you're getting today.

Today you are getting what could be the start of a series!  Consider yourself honored.  This series could be offensive to those people who are easily offended, but we also want to make a point.  It is called "You Want to Go Home and Rethink Your _______".  That is a Star Wars reference, for those of you who have no idea where we got our title from.

As you might have guessed, this is a series about things that we don't like in books.  This post particularly is about the infamous Love Triangle.  This is something that is becoming annoyingly common in YA fiction these days, and from my point of view it doesn't usually have a whole lot to do with the story.  Some examples:

Image result for love triangle humor

DISCLAIMER:  If you are prepared to fight to the death for your favorite love triangle, understand that I am going to beat the crap out of your love interests and you might leave being very angry at me. 

Now that's over with, here are some things that make me hate love triangles and basically romance in general:

1. When they are the only things that keep the plot moving.
You see that picture up above the disclaimer?  This is what I'm talking about.  Take one minute and do a little exercise with me.  Remove the love triangle in your story.  You can keep the protagonist, but remove both love interests.  Do you still have a good, coherent plot?  Okay, you can keep your triangle, if you really must.  
2. When the protagonist can't decide between the two.
Yes, let's put two people in a story who are competing for a girl's heart (because heaven forbid I guy can't choose between two girls.  That would be sexist!) and you're going to suspend the romance because the girl can't decide who the heck she wants to end up with.  Both guys are totally awesome in their own right, and she knows she should make up her mind soon, so it takes all her time and energy to figure out which one is better.  Lots of stress and sleepless nights, people.  

I guess my main problem with this is that she doesn't tell them to back off and leave her be.  She totally leads both of them on and keeps them guessing, favoring one for a chapter and then giving the other a great big kiss.  If she just stepped away and maybe tried to solve this problem on her own when she wasn't supposed to be saving her kingdom, I might be a little more okay with this aspect of the love triangle. 

3. When the timing could have been a lot better.

4. When the girl risks her entire mission to save a guy she doesn't even know she likes.
Thousands of people are going to die and you go back for Chris?  Really?  But you said three paragraphs ago that you liked Joe better!  Now everybody you've worked so hard to save is going to be taken prisoner and it's all your fault because you have to be fickle and can't make up your mind!  Remember that famous quote from Star Trek?  "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or of the one".  GET IT TOGETHER.

5. When all they really are is a love interest.
Character development?  Nope.  Big plot point?  Nope.  Really flat guy who stupidly chases after a girl who can't make up her mind about anything?  Yup!  

That was a very passionate post about why I don't like modern fiction.  I would probably like it a lot better if people came up with more creative ways to put romance into their stories.  I don't have a problem with a little on the side, but be reasonable, people!  If you have any ideas, I will be in my hobbit-hole and tea is at four.  

~ Grace Weiser

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September's Short Story

Summer is almost over!  For some of you that's a sad thing, for others (like me) who detest the hot, humid summers of the East Coast U.S., summer going away means you can finally pull out those sweaters and boots you've been saving and go read in a hammock while the cool breeze makes sure you don't get to hot under that afghan.  Ahhhhhhhhh fall.  I'll be so happy when the trees turn my favorite colors and I can stop sweating and feeling like I have to swim through the air.  

Anyway, September means another short story!  This month's category?  Children's fiction.  

Now if you've been paying attention to what I write versus what Faith writes, you'll notice that I tend to prefer older books.  The same is true here.  The classic Winnie the Pooh books by A.A. Milne (not Disney's butchered remakes.  I'm talking before TV was even invented here) are some of my favorite children's stories of all time.  I also love Raggedy Ann and Andy, The Velveteen Rabbit, books by Thornton W. Burgess (if you don't know about him, he wrote darling books about animals), The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Borrowers.  In other words, if it's old and British I probably like it a lot.  

One thing I've noticed about a lot of children's literature today is that while you have the occasional really well-written children's story, most of them don't have much to them, and a lot of the books I've seen go somewhat like this: Middle-schooled kid is average and not liked by many people.  Middle-schooled kid has one friend as a sidekick.  Middle-schooled kid does something and goes on some kind of adventure that most middle-schooled kids would never do and would probably get their parents in trouble for doing it.  

See what I mean?  There aren't very many original stories out there for kids to read.  If you like the story I described above, then you have the entire library at your disposal.  For this month, though, I'm going to try to give you some help on writing something different.  Here are my tips:

1. Keep it appropriate.  
This is the most important.  You're writing for a kid, not a teenager or a young adult.  Cut the romance and basically everything you can think of beyond PG.  I know this is a no-brainer for most of you, but I'm saying it anyway.  

2. Don't make it too simple.
Kids are smarter than we take them to be.  They can generally understand things that they can't yet read for themselves, so unless you're trying to write a reader, don't let overly simplified vocabulary and a boring plot tie you down.  Don't make the story as involved as you would for a teen, and I wouldn't recommend adding a stunning plot twist, but don't cut out all the interesting stuff because you don't think they'll understand.  

3. Make it funny.
Kids love to laugh.  Give your character a goofy best friend, or insert a bumbling chef.  Don't purposefully belittle anything too much or the parent won't like you, and no dark humor, please, but put something in your story to lighten the mood and make your little reader giggle their little hearts out. 

4. Add an element of imagination.
One of my favorite things about children's literature is the fact that not everything is regimented and determined.  A painting of a ship can come to life and sail you to Narnia and that's perfectly okay.  Stuffed animals and dolls can have adventures when you leave your room, and wild animals can talk and have wonderful personalities.  Kids are so much better at imagining things than adults, and you can take advantage of that.  In fact, do take advantage of it and make your story as fun as possible!

If you want to do a little "research" on some good children's fiction (none of these are short stories) some newer books that I've read and liked are The Lost Track of Time by Paige Britt, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (it's a very long book so don't try to read it out loud), and the Hero's Guide trilogy by Christopher Healy (this one makes fun of the traditional fairy tales.  It's nothing like Disney and it's awesome).  

So there you go.  My favorite children's books and some advice for writing your own.  Have lots of fun, because this shouldn't be hard.  

~ Grace Weiser