• Reading

    Are Happy Endings Better Than Sad Stories?

    Now you may be thinking, “What a dumb question.  Of course a happy ending is better than a sad one.”  Here me out though. I will say, I love when a book or story ends and everything is neatly wrapped up, everyone is happy and all’s right with the world but there are some benefits to books that have some serious sadness about them to the point where a happy ending isn’t really possible. I believe I was in 5th grade when I read two books, back-to-back that broke my heart.  A Taste of Blackberries and Bridge to Terabithia were crushing but I loved them, and still do, despite their…

  • Writing

    The Craft of Writing Fiction: Characters (Part 3)

    We’ve talked a bit about the motives of a character but I want to focus more clearly on this aspect of writing here.  Characters are one of the legs that hold up the chair that is your story. Without great characters you have a story that could possibly tumble over, fall flat, or just fail to draw in your reader.   Even a captivating setting or premise is going to lose its hold on a reader if they don’t care about the people in the situation.   What can go a long way in making these characters people that a reader cares about is their motivations.  The motives of a character…

  • Reading

    The Short Story: A Beautiful Way To Tell A Tale

    Authors from Flannery O’Connor to Stephen King have all published works of short stories and there are countless compilations of short stories from specific authors to collections of works that were published here and there by various writers.  Some people may miss these as a novel is a time commitment and there are many who like to take their time reading a book or will devour multiple novels throughout the year. Yet, a short story, or collection of stories, may not fit together like a novel but are their own kind of magic that shouldn’t be overlooked.  Short stories can be a few pages, or even a single page, or…

  • Banned Books

    Banned Book Review-The Goosebumps Series By R.L. Stine

    When I was in school we were required to read books, which were given a point value, and in order to get a good grade in English, we had to meet a set number of points by reading and taking tests on books.  Now, I liked reading but having to read so as to earn points provided a mental block for me, because as a stubborn man, when I have to do something, even something I may want to do otherwise, I tend to buck at the assignment. However, the wonderful Goosebumps books by R.L. Stine saved my skin when I discovered a treasure trove of spooky and fun reads…

  • Writing

    The Craft of Writing Fiction: Characters (Part 2)

    Characters are obviously vital to any story and while some aspects of a good story or novel can be endlessly talked about, characters are something that have so many levels and pieces, are so varied and unique, that they can’t be put into a simple category.  However, there are some universal pieces of a character that are always better than others, and while we may have covered some of this in previous articles, it’s worth repeating. Characters must be unique, driven by motive, and understandable. Obviously, you want a unique character, which if you take the time to think about your characters, can be accomplished without needing a divine muse…

  • Reading

    Finding Books For People That “Don’t Like To Read”

    I know a few people (maybe more than a few) who say they don’t like to read.  They’ll check out magazines or watch reality shows but they are opposed to reading a book or two.  Mind you, some have a very few books they like from when they were younger or they claim that school (college mostly) took their love of reading or some people say they simply have no time for such fanciful pursuits as reading for fun. However, I believe that any non-reader is that way because they’ve yet to find the book that is the spark which ignites their imagination and leads them to pursue other books.…

  • Reading

    There Are Two Types of Readers: People Who Read The End Of A Book First!

    I’ve learned of a disturbing trend in my circle of friends.  There are people out there, perhaps in your very neighborhood, your friends, possibly even people in your house who read the ending of a novel before they begin!  I know, I was shocked too. However, there are people who have to know how a journey ends before they begin. While this took me as a surprise and made me question why anyone would do this, I started thinking that there are some merits to this method of reading but I don’t think I am entirely sold.  The reasoning behind this is books take time and obviously no frequent reader…

  • Writing

    The Craft of Writing Fiction: Characters (Part 1)

    In any story you have a few elements that are vital.  Obviously, the first of these elements is the character.  This can be anything from a cast of lovable folks to an anti-hero you don’t really like but want to succeed or it can even be someone so absent from a story that all you know is they’re telling it.  A character can be a human, alien, a sock, or anything you can imagine but they cannot be dull or flat. Characters are so fun to write but they’re difficult to create sometimes.  People tend to categorize people and that can bleed into writing, and as a result, you get…

  • Reading

    The Benefits Of Reading Poetry: Do People Benefit From Classic/Contemporary Works?

    I find a lot of people believe that poetry is a niche and perhaps only a select section of the public reads it.  Maybe professors or poetry majors in college, or even tortured students in high school are the only ones that subject themselves to the rigors of poems.  However, like literature, poetry can have its perks and benefits. While enjoyment is at the forefront of reading poetry, there are additional benefits to reading poems and while some may have horrible memories of reading old poems in high school or college, contemporary poetry is far and away more evolved.   While I enjoy old poetry, the artistic language and creative…

  • Writing

    Take Time To Write Everyday; The Benefits Of Types of Writing

    While I’ve been talking about writing fiction over the past three weeks, and where to get started, I wanted to take this week to speak more broadly about simply writing.  There are different styles and types of writing so even if you aren’t able to create some great work of fiction, there are other writing avenues worth exploring and you may find many other benefits beyond creating a fun story. A novel, short story, or even a poem can allow for great levels and opportunities for expression.  While new writers might not want to attempt to create a book on the level of something like War and Peace, there are…