Saturday, May 10, 2014

3 Things My Favourite Authors Taught Me

THINGS have been happening. So many things. Here's some:

  • I half finished my A to Z Book Review Challenge, although I only ended up doing half the challenge. Yes, I suck, but I like to think that I'll still read the rest of the books on that list... eventually. And I've made a kind of goal to myself to do more book reviews of books I like here, even though I suck at reviewing.
  • The best part of the A to Z Book Review challenge was reading The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, and then I read The Dream Thieves, reread both of them immediately, and then I read The Scorpio Races as well. Maggie Stiefvater has quickly shot up to being one of my favourite authors.
  • I turned twenty! May 3 was my twentieth birthday, so now I have said goodbye to teenagerdom forever. I really should get rid of the "teenager" part of my blog header now, I guess. (Also now I can no longer claim to be a teen consultant for YA authors, ha.) I have mixed feelings about this getting old thing.
  • For my birthday, I got the remaining books in the Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner (Queen of Attolia, King of Attolia, and A Conspiracy of Kings). I've read through all of them and am falling in love with all of them all over again. I'm on A Conspiracy of Kings now, which is fun because I don't remember anything that happened in the fourth book.
  • I also quit my part time retail job, and am starting to work at a daycare for the summer in June, which I'm really excited about.
So part of the reason I failed at the A to Z Book Review Challenge is because I got distracted by my favourite books. I reread Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta and then of course that meant I had to reread The Piper's Son, and I definitely couldn't miss Jellicoe Road. Now I'm rereading the Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. I LOVE rereading, especially when the authors are such clever, intelligent writers. You discover so many things you missed the first time. There was one thing in particular in Jellicoe Road that I realized and it blew me away (and that was like, my fifth reread).

While I'm in the midst of wallowing in MWT's awesomeness, I thought I'd share just a few things my favourite authors have taught me about writing (my favourite authors currently being Melina Marchetta, Megan Whalen Turner and Maggie Stiefvater).

Source (and cover concept art)

1. CHARACTERS. The biggest thing I've learned is that characters need backstories. They need fully fleshed out backgrounds and lives of their own, even if only glimpses of that appear in the book. This makes every character important and intriguing, like Jimmy in Saving Francesca.

2. You as a writer must be willing to push your characters to the limit. You can't hesitate from putting them in the worst possible situations. MWT taught me this lesson so much. She puts her characters through so much, and her books turn out better for it. Looking at my own book draft, I realize how lame I am at pushing my characters to the very edge.

3. There is a lot that can go on behind the scenes, but there is also a lot that can just be said outright by the author and it still works. This works really well in Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Boys when describing her characters. It's perfectly all right to just describe an aspect of a character in a line, and it doesn't diminish their complexity or intrigue at all.

One of my life goals at the moment is basically just to get people to read Melina Marchetta, Megan Whalen Turner, and Maggie Stiefvater.

So go do that. ;)

1 comment:

  1. Hope the comment works this time...

    We care more about characters when bad things happen to them, I find. I still pity horrible characters when bad things happen to them, so empathy for main characters is even more powerful. Also, I need to read those authors. Eventually. I'm getting to it. I feel bad for having the idea to review books in April and then not doing any, at all, but considering what I was doing instead I have no regrets, haha. :) Kudos to you for sticking to it!!


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