• Writing

    The Craft of Writing Fiction: How To Tell A Story (Part 2)

    The way you tell a story can vary just as the personalities of writers will differ.  Yet there are some things a story must have, despite the fact they can come in different boxes, so-to-speak.  There is the old construct of a story that many of us learned in school, and while it’s reductive, it’s not a bad place to start when you’re looking at the structure of a story.   In school, we learned that a story has a beginning, a narrative hook, rising action, climax, falling action, and a conclusion.  While, again, this is simplistic, it’s not a bad idea to keep this in mind. Stories need structure…

  • Non-Fiction Of Note,  Reading

    Books About War: Nonfiction Reads About Heroes and The Hell of Battle

    As we near Memorial Day, I was asked what my plans were by a coworker.  My response was, “I’m going to do as little as possible.” He said that’s not a bad plan but “remember why we have this holiday.”  That hit me a little bit as I think most of us know someone that serves in the military and, sadly, we may know someone who has died while serving.  While both are true for me, and the need to remember why we have Memorial Day is of the utmost importance, it got me to thinking about books. There are a flood of books relating to war, military service, and…

  • Reading

    Fantasy Literature: How To Choose A Series Right for You

    Fantasy Literature is as diverse and expansive as the stories it tells so when someone wanders into the aisle of a bookstore and sees the options of Fantasy Lit, it can be overwhelming.  There are classics, like Lord of the Rings and more contemporary works like A Song of Ice and Fire, also known as A Game of Thrones, or series like The Stormlight Archive or The Wheel of Time.  So, there are countless options in the genre but some of the reads or even the series can be overwhelming.   In that case, if you’re new to the world of Fantasy then it’s important to know what you’re getting…

  • Reading

    Summer Reading: What Books Are Best For The Summer Months

    If you Google “Summer Reading” you’re getting pages of articles, lists, school requirements, and blog posts about the best books to read on the beach, during your summer vacation, or just during these sweltering months were few sane people will be outside for long.  So, the question of what to read for the summer is subjective and varied, but for your summer, I would suggest you make a challenge for yourself. Obviously, your reading speed is going to dictate your reading list (and my suggestions) but as someone who has done a few challenges over the years, it’s important to pick a challenge you’re going to enjoy.  Don’t make reading…

  • Banned Books

    Banned Books: Challenge to “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”

    It was recently reported that the Westmont Hilltop School District in Pennsylvania faced a challenge to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.  The report came from a variety of sources but the Tribune-Democrat reported, “… the president of the school board, said that each of the many complaints he’s received about the book fell into one or more of three categories – complaints about the foul language it contains, complaints that its profane use of God’s name offends Christian sensibilities and complaints that it includes a negative portrayal of a character with autism or a similar disorder.” Now, in the past we’ve seen that…

  • Nonfiction of Note,  Writing

    Nonfiction of Note: The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

    I really enjoy books about writing but not “How To” books on writing.  Rather, I really enjoy books about how actual writers write. The practices, the techniques, the habits, and all that are fascinating to me and can be inspiring for those who have trouble sitting down at the keyboard or finding time to put their story onto paper.  However, there are a lot of variations of this type of book and some are much better than others. There are letters from writers to others that talk about the craft, there are memoirs that tell a great deal about authors and writing, and there are some books that, sadly, border…

  • Writing

    The Craft of Writing Fiction: How To Tell A Story (Part 1)

    Telling a story involves a lot of what we’ve covered in past articles, like setting, characters, and plot.  However, crafting a story is something that many are unable to do well and there are many ways this could be helped.  There are some cases, though, when being unable to craft a story is something that can’t be corrected. Yet, aspiring writers have to know the art of a story or else there will be nothing put on paper and their work could be full of inconsistencies or plot holes or unreadable.   Now, we’ve mentioned this before, but there are different types of fiction.  There are literary works and genre…

  • Reading

    Quitting A Book Before Finishing: Is It A Good Practice?

    I believe I’ve mentioned this before but there are times when I’ve wanted to stop reading a bad book but continued on because I thought it would be beneficial.  For me, as a wannabe author, knowing bad writing and storytelling is just as important as knowing good, so when you recognize bad and dive deeper into it, it’s more likely you’ll know when you’re writing something bad in your own work. Yet, not everyone wants to be a writer so is it still a good practice to stop a book?  My answer is: Yes! In years past I would have given you a different response but as I’ve gotten a…

  • Reading

    The Debate Between Audiobooks and Physical Books

    I’m going to play devil’s advocate here and choose a side in a debate that, for some, is no real debate at all.  There are numerous readers who feel a need to choose between physical books and audiobooks simply doesn’t exist and both are very reasonable and, to an extent, equal methods for delivering a story.  However, I have to wonder if one is not better than the other. I recently mentioned that I have trouble with audiobooks but love podcasts.  For me, listening to a story, an audiobook, while cleaning or walking or driving to work is something I just can’t seem to do and still maintain a connection…

  • Reading

    Podcasts: Alternative to Audiobooks?

    I have to admit, I rarely listen to audiobooks.  I don’t know what it is but I’m not a fan of being read to despite some great audiobooks (and readers) out there that have produced great content.  I feel like I just can’t get as much from listening to a book as I can reading it but, hey, that’s me. I know numerous people who are on the audiobook bus and love shopping, cleaning, driving, or whatever all the while listening to a book. Yet, I am someone who loves podcasts.  If I’m cleaning around the house or out for a walk, I love listening to podcasts, so I started…