Picked up a Copy of Godsgrave!!

Hey guys!

Anyone who read my previous post about Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight knows that I absolutely adored the novel. So naturally, I’ve been eyeing to get my hands on more of his books and officially add him to my list of favourite authors. A couple weeks ago I managed to pick up a copy of Stormdancer (his steampunk, Japanese-themed series), but I haven’t found the time to pick it up yet. However, last night I went browsing Chapters with my boyfriend and found that GodsgraveNevernight‘s sequel, was released (I also got the second book for the other series, Kinslayer). Maybe I’m a terrible fan for forgetting about the second book… but I’ll use being busy as hell as an excuse to not have gotten around to that until now, hehe.

ANYWAY, I am absolutely THRILLED to have got these books, and now I’m searching high and wide to find some time to read them. I’m looking forward to writing a post about them ASAP!

~Erynn

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Desolace Update #1

So this is my first “official” Desolace update post. I don’t expect this to be a regular thing because Desolace is going very slowly, but I figured since I’m happy with where I’m at, I may as well talk a bit about what I’ve done with it, talk about it, stuff like that.

I mentioned a couple times in previous posts that I worked on Desolace as one of my projects for one of my creative writing classes last semester. By “worked on” I mean I wrote an analysis on some of my plans for the novel in the future, and wrote, re-wrote and extensively edited the first two chapters. I also wrote (not fully edited yet) the third chapter after classes ended and I plan on writing another two of three over the summer in preparation for my next intermediate creative writing class.

My final grade on my writing submission (the two full chapters) was a solid A, which was my goal, so I’m pretty happy with that and hope I can keep it up.

Desolace has always been in a weird spot in the grand scheme of things. Sure I’ve had a good idea of where I wanted to go with it since the beginning, but writing a book is so much more complicated than knowing your characters and plot. Things tend to happen without your consent because your characters do as they damn will please and your world evolves behind the scenes. It gets frustrating, but part of all that is learning how to control the reins and keep things from diverting too far from your original purpose (or knowing when it is appropriate to let it continue).

A couple things I’ve determined from writing these first few chapters is that without an outline (as I prefer) I’m being really particular about the details I add in, and how scenes transition from one to another. Usually, I leave it choppy or whatever and go back and fix it later, but for some reason, with this project, it’s been really hard to move on to the next part if the previous scenes don’t set up everything right. The result has been three good chapters that transition really well from one to the next, but that also makes it slow as hell.

Even without an outline, though, I’ve got the help of the novel analysis that I wrote on Desolace. It helped me solidify some plot points that I’d been thinking about, fleshed out some traits for my main characters and helped me figure out a lot of the why for the novel. So I think the difficulties of writing the chapters so they transition well aside, I’m in a pretty good place to continue writing a good chunk of the story.

I’m considering writing a brief outline just to organize some of the events I’ve got in my head. I’ve had a couple instances already (I’ve got to go change the ending to the third chapter so it leads into something else first) where I’ve rearranged the order of plot points because it made more sense to do it in a certain order. But it’s a pain in the ass to write it out and then realize it’s too early for that, so I figure it would be worth it to write out all the events I have planned and properly organize them in correlation to each other. I don’t want to do anything too fancy, just some bullet points that I can rearrange things visually rather than in my head.

Anyway, I think that’s it for now. Next time I might go into more detail on the characters and what the story is about, but I need to work on accurately summing it all up before I can write anything about that.

~Erynn

 

 

Nevernight

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff was such a good book that I ended up writing an essay on it for my second-year creative writing class. A quick look at the blurb and you immediately think “super cliche” (female assassin bent on vengeance, school of assassins, etc) and I thought this too when I first saw it, but I picked it up anyway because I loved the cover.

Honestly, my essay was probably garbage (it hasn’t been graded yet…) but I went into a lot of detail about the characterization of Mia Corvere, the protagonist, and her experiences. I thought the detail that went into her development was astounding (even more so that I was able to identify a lot of it) and that’s what sparked the idea for my essay.

I’d suggest the book to anyone who likes fantasy, specifically in the young adult/ grimdark subgenre. For most advanced readers you might see a lot of the plot mechanics clicking about as the story progresses, but I found the writing itself very good, so it’s still worth the read.

I hope someone else decides to pick it up. It’s definitely one of my new favourites. 🙂

~Erynn

The Lesser Blessed

I’ve actually been dreading writing this post… because I really don’t know what to say about this book. It’s not that I didn’t like it, I thought it was kind of interesting, but I guess I can only expend so much energy thinking about a book before I just run out of ways to say things.

The Lesser Blessed is the last book I read for my creative writing class this semester. It took place in Northern Canada, I don’t remember the exact location, but somewhere in the Yukon. So, if you know anything about the Yukon, and anything about YA novels, you probably already have an idea of where this is going.

Rebellious children, drugs, lots of sex, fighting, bad parenting, and the like. Personally, I knew about all this being an issue in the North because that’s where my boyfriend and his family are from. But while they’ve experienced it first hand, I haven’t, so I still thought it was amazing to see knowledge like that confirmed through completely unrelated means.

Otherwise, I guess the book was pretty typical. A boy tries to figure out his life, as a young teen, in high school. The only real difference compared to other stories I’ve read is that the protagonist is Native American, and so many aspects of that are incorporated into the narrative through the language used by the character, as well as by their experiences.

~Erynn

 

Skim

So I’ve only got two books left to talk about for my creative writing classes, Skim being one of them. Unlike all the others, Skim is actually a graphic novel and not an actual novel. So even though the story of Skim wasn’t something I was super interested in, I did enjoy reading it simply because it’s a graphic novel and I’m a bit interested in writing those.

EDIT: I’m not sure what happened to the rest of this post, but I don’t really remember what I wrote, so I’m gonna leave it like this. 😛

~Erynn

Some Literary Festival

I’m probably a terrible person for not remembering what it was called and being too lazy to look it up, but the festival itself isn’t really the point of this post so I guess it doesn’t matter. 

Anyway, last week there was some sort of literary festival here in Kelowna. It went on for a couple of days, I went to one reading as part of one of my creative writing classes. Us students had a private reading with Dina Bucchia and Daniel Zomparelli, two awesome poets who also run the “Can’t Lit” podcast.

I think everything they read was from one of their poetry books called Rom  Com. It was a joy to listen to not only because they’re great poets, or because it was my first experience at a poetry reading, but also simply because I was having a shit day and listening to them really brightened my day. 

My encounter with them was a lite embarrassing, though. I’d just entered the building after an encounter that left me a little stressed and dizzy, and I was the only student in the room because everyone had just left to get coffee. My professor introduced me to Dina and Daniel, and I kind of stood there like an idiot, then said hi and reintroduced myself. Rip. I was so out of it that I didn’t even try to make fun of myself for being nervous because I didn’t think about it until later on, when I’d calmed down a bit. 

I didn’t say anything during the Q&A, and I kinda regret it. I had a good question, but I just really didn’t to talk to anyone. So I listened instead. I’ve been thinking about emailing one of them and asking that way, but I haven’t decided yet if that’s what I actually want to do. 

During the Q&A, though, I learned something important about poetry. Since I’m primarily a fiction writer, I’ve got it stuck in my head that everything I write either needs to stay hidden because it’s only for myself, or because if I share it, the writing won’t be worth as much if I want to publish it in the future. 

I don’t remember what the question was or what the actual response was, but what I got from it was that there are some things you write for yourself. And if a piece is emotional enough to warrant that title, then it shouldn’t be reserved to be sold and potentially diminished. It should be used by yourself for whatever you need from it, for whatever reason you felt the need to write it. So in my case, that I shouldn’t be afraid of putting some of my writing out there if that’s what I need it for. 

I guess this applies to fiction as well, but I feel like it’s more relevant to poetry because poetry tends to be more emotional or relevant to our lives than fiction. Not that it can’t be or isn’t, and not that poetry always is or can’t be irrelevant, this is just in the general sense.

So I guess that’s another reason I’ll be posting some of my actual writing–be it fiction or poetry or whatever–here on my blog every so often.

~Erynn

Eleanor & Park

This was the second book I finished this semester for one of my creative writing classes. It’s probably my favourite of all the required readings I’ve had so far.

I read it for my second-year class, so it’s YA, but I actually thought it was pretty good. The story takes place sometime in the 80s, the protagonists being 15 or so. The girl, Eleanor, is pretty poor and also the weird new kid in town that nobody likes just because she’s new and weird.

She was pretty weird, honestly, but that was part of her charm. I really liked her character because she ends up being one of those people who isn’t weird on purpose, she’s just weird because of her circumstances, and I guess it kinda resonated with me. I’ve felt like that most of my life.

Anyway, like most YA, it’s a love story, and I thought the dynamics of that was pretty good. There was no love-at-first-sight nonsense, the girl isn’t some “secretly super attractive girl with low self-esteem” and no “super ridiculously hot dude who has a thousand different chicks all over him but he picks the weird girl for god knows why” thing in it, which I really really hate. Eleanor is some chubby redhead and Park is a short, rather feminine Asian. That might be as far as you get from that cliche.

My favourite thing about this, though, was that the two started feeling something for each other without speaking more than a couple of words to one another. And they basically fall in love over comic books. I thought that was super cute. I even recognized a bunch of the stuff they referenced! 🙂

I was a bit upset about the ending, though. It was realistic, but I found it a bit rushed, and that kind of ruined– for me, at least– what could have been an excellent ending. Oh well. There aren’t any perfect books, anyway.

~Erynn

How I Live Now

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff was the first novel I completed for one of my creative writing classes this semester. It’s a second-year course that switches the genre it focuses on ever time it runs. This time it’s teaching YA, which I guess is kind of convenient because one of my primary projects at the moment happens to be YA.

Anyway, onto the book. I really didn’t think I would like it at first because at the start the protagonist came off as a little annoying and the novel isn’t structured traditionally, so it was a little difficult to read at first. There’s no actual dialogue, it’s all just a part of the narrative– although it’s not too difficult to tell who’s talking once you get used to it.

I guess I didn’t really like the first half of the book because it was 90% characterization, and since I didn’t really like the protagonist I didn’t care about any of her relationships with other characters. But once the plot started moving, the protagonist changed, she became more tolerable, and eventually, I became interested in her and the overall story. It was an unusual experience because most of the time when I don’t like a character up front, I don’t end up liking them at all.

The book was alright overall. It was a short read and I think with the help of the course I did learn a little from it, so that’s a plus. 🙂

~Erynn

Updated Reading List for 2017

Hey, so I just wanted to quickly update my reading list for the year. Now that the new year has settled a bit and classes have started again, I’m starting to fall back into my routine, which will also include 5 or so blog posts per week.

For my 2017 reading list, honestly, a lot of it is the same as last year’s because I didn’t actually read much except for early on in the year and at the end during November and December. And a lot of what I did read ended up being unexpected stuff that wasn’t on my list in the first place. I have, however, started on the Lord of the Rings trilogy and I feel like once I make it through that a lot of other books will follow soon after.

Anyway, here’s the list:

1. The Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R. Tolkien (b1)

2. The Two Towers – J.R.R. Tolkien (b2)

3. The Return of the King – J.R.R. Tolkien (b3)

4. The Maze Runner – James Dashner (b1)

5. The Scorch Trials – James Dashner (b2)

6. The Death Cure – James Dashner (b3)

7. The Kill Order – James Dashner (b3.1)

8. The Broken Eye – Brent Weeks (b3)

9. The Crown Tower – Michael J. Sullivan (b1)

10. The Rose and Thorn – Michael J. Sullivan (b2)

11. The Death of Dulgath – Michael J. Sullivan (b3)

12. Hollow World – Michael J. Sullivan

13. The Pirate King  – R.A. Salvatore (b2)

14. The Ghost King – R.A. Salvatore (b3)

15. Gauntlgrym – R.A. Salvatore (b1)

16. Neverwinter – R.A. Salvatore (b2)

17. Charon’s Claw – R.A. Salvatore (b3)

18. The Last Threshold – R.A. Salvatore (b4)

19. The Gray Wolf Throne – Cinda Williams Chima (b1)

20. The Demon King – Cinda Williams Chima (b2)

21. The Exiled Queen – Cinda Williams Chima (b3)

22. The Crimson Crown – Cinda Williams Chima (b4)

23. The Bane Chronicles – Cassandra Clare

24. A Blight of Mages – Karen Miller (b0)

25. Innocent Mage – Karen Miller (b1)

26. Awakened Mage – Karen Miller (b2)

27. Lioness Rampant – Tamora Pierce (b4)

28. Deadhouse Gates – Steven Erikson (b2)

29. Empire in Black and Gold – Adrian Tchaikovsky (b1)

30. Blood Ties – Pamela Freeman (b1)

31. Deep Water – Pamela Freeman (b2)

32. Full Circle – Pamela Freeman (b3)

33. Shogun – James Clavell

34. Bulfinch’s Mythology – Thomas Bulfinch

35. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss (b1)

36. The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss (b2)

37. The Ask and the Answer – Patrick Ness (b2)

38. Monsters of Men – Patrick Ness (b3)

39. Spotless – Camilla Monk (b1)

40. Chasing Ruby – Camilla Monk (b2)

41. Sword Art Online – Fairy Dance (Part 1) – Reki Kawahara (b3)

42. Sword Art Online – Fairy Dance (Part 2) – Reki Kawahara (b4)

43. A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas (b1)

44. Hamilton: The Revolution – Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

45. Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

46. Truthwitch – Susan Dennard (b1)

47. Windwitch – Susan Dennard (b2)

48. The Painted Girls – Cathy Marie Buchanan

49. The Dark Days Club – Alison Goodman

50. The Siren – Kiera Cass

My goal is only 25 books this year, but I’m keen on staying dedicated to reading regularly this year, so hopefully I’ll be able to clear this list and then some. It’s been a while since I’ve purged over 50 books in a year, so here’s to hoping I can do it!

I’ll be writing a couple posts over the next few weeks about some of the books I read in 2016. I decided against writing up all of them because that’s a lot of work and I read lots of them months ago. There are also a lot of other things I want to write about first. So any books I do post about will be ones that I found particularly memorable.

Here’s to 2017.

~Erynn

A Natural History of Dragons

I honestly thought I made a post about this book months ago, probably in February or something when I read it, but I guess I didn’t because this post was sitting in my ‘drafts’ section, blank. Ugh.

So I’ve got this really bad habit of buying books and then letting them sit around for a long time before touching them, but that didn’t happen with this book because I bought it for a purpose. You know, as an aspiring author, a thousand and one references are needed on a thousand and one different subjects in order to make a thousand and one different things make sense inside a single novel. And you know, more than half of those references get put on the shelf to be read when they’re actually needed. But I picked up this book and was like “hey, dragons, why not?” and so I read it.

It was not what I expected. It was better.

So I guess I was expecting something like lots of diagrams and a bit of lore based on the dragons present in this world, but that has to be the stupidest assumption I’ve ever made about a book. It clearly says ‘memoir’ on the cover, and considering the size and shape of the book, it’s most definitely a novel, not a picture book. Regardless, my retardation aside, it was quite a lovely read.

It had a Victorian era feel to it and I’m a fan of that for whatever reason– don’t ask me to explain it because I don’t even know why; I just do. I especially liked how it was a unique, female perspective from a fantasy version of the era– I’ve never read anything like that before. I suppose females had little say in important matters back then, even–or arguably, especially– the wealthy.

This story had a bit of that, but the protagonist– whatever her name was– only accepted it to a degree. I think for a novel set in this time, that’s pretty typical, almost cliche. But I don’t know, I guess the way this character’s motivations weren’t necessarily wrapped around her lack of freedom, more so she needed freedom as a consequence of her motivations and interests, was a different take on it. Or at least it felt like it.

It was also… heartbreaking. I can’t say too much about why without revealing critical plot points, but the story was unexpected and magical in a way that you don’t often find in stories that lack magic (at least I’m pretty sure there wasn’t any magic– gimme a break I read it almost a year ago). But I guess as someone who sympathizes with animals regardless of their nature, maybe some people wouldn’t necessarily agree with that view.

I say that the novel is definitely worth a read to anyone interested in fantasy on the lower end of the magical scale. I haven’t read the sequels yet to have an opinion to share on those, but I do look forward to reading them sometime in the near future.

~Erynn