Eona: The Last Dragoneye

Eona is the final book of the two-part series, Eon. Like the first book, I enjoyed it quite a bit, despite it having a bit of a slow start. The level of discovery I felt in this novel was akin to the first, although it was for a different aspect of the book. Let me explain.

In Eon, there was a lot of discovery regarding Eona herself, the world, and its politics. I found all of these, tied together, very enjoyable to read about. But in Eona, things are mixed up a bit. Instead I found myself learning a lot about how the world’s magic worked, Eona’s magic in particular, and developed an interest in the development of her relationships with others (romantic and otherwise).

Through the first half of the book, everything was very promising. I couldn’t put it down. But near the last half… *sigh* I felt as if I were let down a bit. Unfortunately, this isn’t something I can really explain without spoilers, and since I don’t want to provide any, what it comes down to is the direction of the story.

I really liked Eona’s relationship with Ido in particular. It developed exceptionally well throughout the book, until about half-way through where I felt things went sour. Excellent characterization and development kind of went down the drain, replaced with some cliche bullshit I really was surprised to see. In the end, because of all of this, I found the ending very predictable. Not exactly a favourable end to what started as a splendid journey.

All of that said, however, the series was still a fun read. I’m glad that I happened to pick it up and that I ended up reading it.

Have any of you read Eona? What are your thoughts on it, most notably how it ended?

~Erynn

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Taichiren’s Update #3

Hello everyone!

I’ve been a bit neglectful of my blog again, but for good reason. Unfortunately, I’m not quite in a position to talk about it yet… but the hope is that sometime early 2016 I’ll be able to tell you guys all about it. It’s something I’m SUPER excited about, and though I can’t really talk about it, I wanted to write an update on Taichiren’s Heart, as it is somewhat related.

So, as you may have guessed by my lack of updates on the book, I’ve finally made the decision to put it aside for now. It’s not because I don’t want to write it and more because it needs so much work before it will ever be in a publishable state (if ever), time that I would rather put into more promising projects. Of course, this more ‘promising project’ that I have in mind is what I hope to be revealing early next year!

As for Taichiren’s, I haven’t completely abandoned it over the last few months. The story and the characters drift through my mind every so often, and in August, I believe, I wrote a short story about one of the side characters, Laecsam Batede. The story is him in his years of being a young, rebellious elf who did not agree with the ways of elven society. It follows him after he has decided to go to Myrusi’s Arena, a place no elf has stepped foot in decades. There, he finds out what has kept them all away.

I’ve debated doing a bit more cleaning up on the short and giving it away, but I’ve been hesitant to do so because I’m not sure I want to get anyone’s hopes up on the series being written any time within the next ten years.

What do you guys think? Would you like to read this short story, even if there might not be any follow-up for some time?

~Erynn

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

I really have no idea when I bought this book and its sequel, Eona. It would have to be at least two years ago now, quite some time before I moved and added them to my to-read list.

After reading hundreds of YA novels, I’ve really come to expect very little from them. Generally speaking, I find the plots boring, I don’t like the characters, and the romances more often than not annoy me. The worst part, however, is that I find a lot of the Fantasy YA I’ve read over the years are just YA with a touch of fantastical elements here and there, not really a YA story taking place in a fantasy world, like what always want to read.

Though of course Eon, like all books, had its ups and downs, I was quite pleased with the characters, the plot, and the world. I’ll start by talking a bit about the world itself, as that’s what I most often find the least pleasing about YA fantasy.

We look at the world through the eyes of Eon, who is basically a slave in a monarchical society. She has few possessions, even fewer friends, and no place in the world. Of course as her position changes, her outlook on her surroundings changes, but it’s really the evolution of that viewpoint that brings the world to life. It’s difficult to explain this without providing spoilers, unfortunately, but let me try to articulate it in a way that’s similar to what happens in the book.

Let’s say that the story begins in a small, 10×10 room. There are no windows, no doors, and no ways to speak to the outside. This is the extent on Eon’s outlook on life and knowledge about the world around her.  But then some time through the story, one wall to her room is knocked down. She can now move from her small 10×10 space and into another room that had been connected to hers all along. As she explores the additional space, she comes to suspect that there is much more to everything than she can see, and so she carefully goes about knocking down the other walls on her own.

Exploring the world like this– through the eyes of a character that really knows about as much about it as you do– was quite fascinating, and I feel that it really allowed the world to build up into something very rich and versatile. Even through the final pages of the book, where I had already guessed what the ending would be, I thought the world was beautiful through both description and discovery.

I’ve decided that I’ll save talk about the book’s characterization and plot for the post on the sequel, Eona, so I’m going to use the rest of this post to talk a bit about the writing itself.

In all honesty, I liked some parts of the writing, hated others. I thought the beginning was a bit slow (although it provided enough to keep me interested in learning more, albeit quite annoyed) and that there was a lot of unnecessary information thrown in here and there. In the end, however, the good outweighed the bad. I loved reading about the dragons, the magic, the characters, and the environment… I found that a lot of words were weaved together beautifully.

So that’s all for now– you’ll get the rest of my thoughts once I get to the Eona post.

Have you read Eon or plan to? What are your thoughts on the book?

~Erynn

How I Became A Writer

My earliest memories of writing are from Elementary school. I don’t remember much about those days, honestly, but I know it’s where my road to becoming a writer started.

During school, I would sometimes go out of class with the counselor to write stories. Well, this would have been over 10 years ago now, so she would have done the writing and I would have been telling her what to write. I don’t have any of those stories now, nor do I remember what they were about… but I can imagine that they were cute and innocent stories, much unlike what I write now. Still, the memories are there, and I think that’s what’s important.

Fast forward to middle school, where I wrote my first book. It was crap, of course, as is most 11-year-olds’ writing, but it was mine. I think I wrote a bit about this event on my blog before, but I’ll recap regardless.

I didn’t attend much during middle school. I was “sick”. But I still did my school work from home and handed it in when I actually did go to class. I had an English assignment where we were to write a short story. Nothing fancy, just a short story. But I wrote a couple pages and then just kept going and going and going… and I handed that in as my “short” story. Hah. My teacher wasn’t offended, though, fortunately enough. In fact, he wanted to nurture my desire, and what he called talent, so it was something I continued to pursue in the future. So with him and one of the teachers’ assistants, I worked on the computer to expand on the story, though it never really got anywhere.

At the start of highschool, where I got big into anime, I started writing fan fiction. I don’t want to talk much about it… as everything I wrote was terrible and is still out there on the internet for people to see. NO I will not willingly show it to anyone.

Around grade 10 was when I finally had the opportunity to take an art course. I excelled at the sketches, didn’t bother doing much else. I would draw, but when I ran out of things to do or got bored of drawing, I would write. That’s where I wrote my second novel. I still have the original draft and it’s something I want to rewrite in the future, but I don’t foresee me getting into that for a long time. It’s story about magic, desire, and death.

Finally, at the start of grade 11 is when I started getting serious. My boyfriend dabbled in some writing, mostly for his English classes, but he had a few pieces that I found rather interesting. Most notably, he wrote a scene (I’m hard-pressed to actually call it a story, but I’ll explain that in a moment) about a warrior who met a she-demon. She showed the warrior a future, captivated him, and took him as one of her followers. It didn’t take me long to discover the story was about our relationship. I was the she-demon, he was the warrior. This story is something I want to go into more detail in a blog post sometime in the future, so I won’t say much more about the story than that. Regardless, from there, I wanted to take that piece that he wrote and turn it into a book. And we did, somewhat. Together, him and I wrote about 15 chapters about the demoness and the warrior. This is something we wanted to continue writing together, but it became impossible because of school and the fact that him and I wrote at completely different paces. This is something that I’ll probably finish in the future. There’s an interesting story behind this, so stay tuned for a post about it.

November that same year is where I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time. I barfed up another novel, what I’ve often referred to as Taichiren’s Heart, which ended at about 97,000 words first draft, my longest manuscript yet. I knew it was bad (I had learned much by writing it, but still had much to learn), but I finished it with the hope of rewriting it after letting it sit until the summer. I wrote out an outline for the second draft, but I never really got around to doing it. So, there is book #3 that I want to go back to and rewrite into something publishable.

About half way through grade 12 was when I gave up on all my plans to do something other than writing. I think I intended to do some network security thing, but in the end, I really didn’t think it was me. Writing was. So February 2014 I opened my doors as a freelance writer and over the year took on several projects. I struggled at first, but over time I figured out what I was doing, and by the time it mattered I was making enough off my writing to live.

I think my history is a bit colourful, even though I didn’t really consider myself a writer until just before my first NaNoWriMo.  But now you know how I became one.

What about you guys? How did you guys become writers?

~Erynn

 

The Heir

I read the first three books as they came out and honestly wasn’t too impressed. I mean, the writing wasn’t particularly bad and I liked the world it was set in, but I found the story unbelievable. It interested me enough to keep reading, though, so I guess it’s got that going for it.

The Heir, the fourth book in the series, takes a step back from the original characters in the first three books and gives us a new set to read about. I think the protagonist… whatever her name is… is a decent character, built better than all of the characters from the first three books. I don’t think she’s the best character, either, but it felt like she was closer to a real person than I expect to find in most YA novels.

Well, the novel itself is about the romance. I’m honestly not much of a romance reader, but I find that they’re a good break from fantasy when I need to read something different. I found the romance in this novel atypical, but in a good way. It’s a bunch of cliches mixed together to form something interesting.

Not much else to say about the novel. I’m looking forward to the next one though it unfortunately doesn’t come out until sometime next year.

~Erynn

I Bought a PS4

Hey guys, sorry for not posting much of anything this month. I’ve been rather busy and though I’ve had my blog on my mind, I’ve had to slog through other things that had me push it to the side for a bit. But, things are starting to slow down, and so I shall resume writing regular posts.

At the beginning of July I bought a PS4. My boyfriend and I have wanted one for some time, and planned to get one in the near future, but I decided that I needed something that I could use to get a break from the computer. It worked great, actually. Even better than I thought it would.

See, my problem with working on the computer is that if I’m itching to do something other than work, I hop on League of Legends and play a couple ranked matches (and proceed to scream inside at how terrible everyone in Platinum seems to be) to refocus myself before going back to work. But the nature of the League ranked system would have me playing 2-3 games in a row, which is about an hour and a half depending on the length of each match. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I were able to just play one match at a time, but that really only would have been possible if I won each time because of the frustration that builds up from losing a match that should have been won.

Putting that aside, that’s where the PS4 comes in. I’m a huge RPG fan, which are easy to play in quick bursts and put down for a while to do something else. Essentially, they’re perfect for when I need a quick brain break. It’s true that I didn’t need to spend $700 on a PS4 and some games to play a good RPG, but remember that I wanted to be able to take a break from the computer, too. So, now instead of working for an hour or so and spending an hour and a half playing league, I’ve been working for about two hours at a time, and then taking a fourty-five minute break to play whatever game I’m fancying at the moment.

Since I love to talk about video games about as much as I do about writing and books, I’ll write some posts about my experieces on the PS4 as the year progresses. For now, all I’ll tell you guys is that I have The Last of Us, Witcher 3, Elder Scrolls Online, and Bloodborne. There are a couple other games I’m interested in getting (Horizon Zero Dawn comes to mind), but these will occupy me for now.

Actually, before I wrap this post up, I want to talk a bit about the PS4 itself.

Honestly, I’m not much of a console gamer. I had a PS1 a super long time ago and played the original Spyro games, I had a PS2 where I watched my family play other games like Jak and Need for Speed, and I got an original Wii for Christmas a couple years back that I never really got to use all that much.

So, I’ve never really experieced a “smart console” before now. Being able to connect to the internet and watch anime or Netflix without connecting a computer to my TV is a huge perk. I don’t see much of a use in the browser feature for anything else but watching anime (as Netflix’s selection is limited and the crunchyroll app is only useful if you have a premium sub) because a computer is much more functional. Those are my thoughts, at least. I haven’t tried much else yet.

Do any of you guys have a PS4? What are your thoughts on the machine itself?

~Erynn

Different Types of Magic

Different stories call for magic to be used for different things. Because of its versatile nature, there isn’t really a limit to what magic can do. The limits are put in place by the writer of the world, who will have decided to do so for a variety of reasons.

If you’ve read several different fantasy novels, you’ll likely have noticed that no one really uses magic for the same reasons. Some authors will make magic purely an offensive entity, where it’s used for fighting or to fend off those using magic to attack. And while this is probably the most common type of magic, it’s far from all that’s possible.

Personally, I like it most when a story allows magic to be used for pretty much anything. This means that the magic isn’t really limited by the author’s desires, but more by the physical limitations of the user, the world, and the user’s strength. When magic is used to enrich a story like that as more of an everyday tool rather than a sacred ability that’s only used when absolutely necessary, it makes magic feel more real.

Anyway, onto what this post is actually about. What kinds of magic are there?

Honestly, I don’t think you can make a list of the different types because magic in fiction is just that, magic, and it’s not really limited to anything but what the writer tells it to be. You want magic that does the opposite of what you tell it to do? It’s possible. Or maybe you want magic that can’t do anything more than grow flowers from nothing– that’s possible too.

On the other hand, you can divide magic by its use though the list would still be extremely long. An example would be like I said somewhere above, combative magic. That’s an enormous category; there are so many ways that someone could use magic to benefit them in a fight. But there are still a couple thousand completely different things magic can be used for.

Let’s see… there’s also magic that you could use to help with everyday things, like brushing your teeth, cooking, and cleaning. Or… a little bit trickier would be magic that alters your physical capabilities, so things such as eyesight, strength, etc.

If you keep the possibilities relatively normal, I mean, more or less what you’d find in our world, magic wouldn’t be as versatile as we know it to be. But as soon as you start thinking of magic in a full-blown fantasy world, what you can do with it quadruples. You’ve got telepathy, healing, flying… Magic could be somehow attuned to different elements, and there’d be people around that could start fires with a simple touch, or talk plants into growing faster. Then you’ve got the people who can make it rain, snow, or grace the world with sunshine.

You know, I’ve read quite a few books and have always loved fantasy. But even after reading a dozen or so books in the genre, I’m fully aware that it’s only a taste of what’s possible and what people have already written. Saying that, I want more. I don’t think I’ve read anything yet with an incredibly unique magic system or someone who has used magic in a completely outlandish way. I’m dying to see something that’s different than what’s considered “normal”.

How about you– what do you think about magic and its many uses? Have you read any books with an amazing magic system or know someone who has given magic an entirely new use?

~Erynn

Do You Re-read Novels?

There are hundreds of new books published every year, many of which we will never read. At least a dozen of them are added to my to-read list, which is already over three hundred books big.

I’ve been reading fifty or less books per year, and last year I read a grand total of twelve. If I ever get to the end of the list, it will be many years from now.

It’s true that a lot of the books I read I enjoy immensely. Many of the ones that I truly like I think about for days after I’ve finished reading. Even once the newly-finished-book phase ends, I think back on them from time to time.

But there’s only one book I’ve ever had the urge to re-read.

I can definitely understand the desire to re-enter worlds you love and follow your favourite character’s adventures. There are many I’d love to explore again from a different perspective, but with the amount of books out there and the new ones that are always coming out, I don’t believe re-reading books is practical.

It’s simply better to remember that world as it was when you initially read it. If you really need to jump back into the book, there are alternative ways to do it. You could re-read certain passages or chapters that you liked in particular, or visit fan forums that discuss the books.

Personally I don’t do any of this, but I’d do it before I made the decision to re-read an entire book.

That’s my stance on this, at least. I don’t plan to re-read a book any time soon.

What about you guys? Do you re-read books?

~Erynn

What Makes a Great Antagonist?

One of my favourite things about writing and creating stories is throwing a good antagonist in the mix. This is because it’s not always the protagonists that bring the story to life– a good antagonist that genuinely frustrates you or makes you sympathize with them can build the story, too. When the characters go out to deal with the bad guy, you want the reader to be interested in the protagonist’s adventure, don’t you? At least for me, if I don’t care about the antagonist, the main characters lose a bit of their charm, too.

If it’s so important, then, what makes a good antagonist? Personally, I find that it depends on the type of story you’re trying to tell. Since I write dark fantasy with magic and plenty of killing– right and wrong are skewed and so is our perception of the antagonist.

There are a couple things that work, in my experience, to bring out some really interesting antagonists. For one, I like stories where the antagonist isn’t necessarily “evil”. They’re a person (or a collection of people with a similar mind) that think, act, and believe differently than the protagonist. And sometimes, instead of making them some crazies that want to kill everyone for no discernable reason (aka people who are obviously crazy and you have no reason not to fight against them), having the antagonists be people who just don’t agree with the protagonist can be exciting. It can make you think: Why don’t they agree? If the protagonists are so good, why doesn’t everyone follow them? Even better, sometimes a well-crafted dissenting party that you’re supposed to be against can win you, the reader, over to their side and have you thinking that maybe the protagonists aren’t right after all.

Sometimes, it’s a matter of perspective.

I think one of the best ways to make a good antagonist is to make your story more grey than black and white. When even your antagonists have to consider the moral consequences of their actions, you know you’re making something more than “this guy is good and this guy is bad”.

An example of this, in my own writing, is that there are essentially three different antagonists. One of them is a “player” in the other two’s game and becomes a separate antagonist later because she doesn’t align with either the protagonists or the other antagonists. She fights against everyone, and not just to save her own skin– she’s doing it for what she thinks is right. She doesn’t want to rule or control the world, but instead has her own list of reasons. This character isn’t the purest of people, but the reasons why she fights might even be reasonable to sway you to her side.

That’s not to say that an antagonist that is obviously evil can’t be exciting to read about, but I think there are a lot more variables that you need to get right with if you want to be successful doing this.

Ask yourself things like…

Why is this person “purely evil”?

Does this character still have enough traits to be interesting, even if my readers can’t really sympathize with them?

There are, of course, many other questions you could ask yourself while building an antagonist, but that should be a good start.

What kind of antagonists do you enjoy reading about the most? What kind do you like to write about?

~Erynn

Lauren Ipsum

“A story about computer science and other improbable things.”

I picked up this book on request of one of my clients, who said they wanted me to write them something that felt similar. At a glance, it was a children’s story with a bit of an educational twist to it, but I found, upon venturing into the little world the author created, that it was much more than that. And I’m happy to say that I read it.

Alright, so I admit I’m a bit of an idiot when it comes to coding and pretty much anything that has to do with computer science. It’s just not my thing. I assumed that, even though it was intended to educate children on such subjects, that I probably wouldn’t understand it. But I was wrong about that too. The language it used made the explanations very approachable, and the computer science “logic” was always explained in a real-world situation (or as real-world as you’re going to get from a fantasy world adventure).

So I actually learned some things. That was an interesting experience. The book was short, but interesting, even if I didn’t have much interest in the subject it was trying to teach.

Have any of you read a book you didn’t expect to like much, but ended up loving it?

~Erynn