It’s been a while since people have cared about Mumford & Sons. The band hasn’t released anything since their Wilder Minds album in 2015, so they’re old news in pop culture. But their newest album, Delta, reminds the world what they offer.
One of the reasons I love this band so much is because their lyrics tackle many aspect of life that are rarely put to music. Most importantly to this post, they show the beauty of long term relationships while still admitting there will be problems.
Muse of Nightmares, the sequel to Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, is a fascinating story. I wrote about the phenomenal writing in the first book here, and that was still present in Muse. But what stood out to me even more this time was how rich the world was.
Not only was one culture fleshed out, but there were three or four societies developed, with their strengths and weaknesses. Not only was there one secret hidden in history, but there were several, answering or complicating the problems in the present. These multiple cultures and contexts gave the world an incredibly fleshed out feeling. There are few worlds that feel as real to me as Weep does.
Hey guys! I have a secret: I’m tired. (I know, ‘same,’ right?). My life has been super busy recently, in great, exciting, ways. I’ve grown a lot as a person in the past six months and I’ve learned some cool stuff, but that means I don’t have extra time or energy for everything I used to be able to do- even in the writing department.
It’s nearing the holidays, and I have the sneaking suspicion I’m not the only one feeling like this. It’s easy to get frustrated with yourself and your limitations, but I’ve been thinking about burnout and tiredness recently, and I approach it differently. Rather than seeing it as a sign you’re failing as a creator, I see it as proof you’re succeeding as a person.
The other day, a friend and I were arguing about what genre a certain movie was. This was part of an ongoing debate we have about the differences between horrors and thrillers, a debate we take far too seriously (as writers do). This conversation got my brain mulling over a variety of topics, including “does genre even matter?”
As someone who’ll read pretty much everything, from current middle grade fantasy to classic literature to theological arguments, it can be easy for me to dismiss the importance of classification. But then I’ll read something that reminds me just how important your expectations are when going into a story.
One of these books is I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells. I loved it. Lots of people loved it. But those who didn’t generally shared the same complaint: it was not the story they signed up for.
Spoiler ahead that shouldn’t really be a spoiler, hence the point of this post. I’m not just saying that, either. Wells himself has said on the podcast Writing Excuses that it was a bit of a marketing misstep. Continue reading
I was scrolling through an old music app I used when I was young (pre-highschool, I think- now I rely on Spotify). I could rate each song individually, and so I saw got to see my 5-star music of that day. There were many songs I didn’t even remember, but as I listened to them, the lyrics came to life again. It reminded me how much I could love even the cheesiest of songs, and how we can’t always control when a piece of art enters our lives, and how much of a difference the context of our current life affects how much we enjoy something.
At long last, The Citizen has arrived!
The Citizen is the second book in the Lost Empire trilogy by E. B. Dawson (here’s her website). I absolutely adored the first book in the series, The Traveler, which I wrote about here, and couldn’t wait to see what happened next to Anissa (especially after that heartbreaking cliffhanger). Let me say: The Citizen did not disappoint.
Was it a perfect book? No. Was it highly polished and have all its pieces in place? Again, no. But it has something better- it has a certain spark that made me forget about critiquing it and instead get swept away in the story.
No spoilers ahead. You can read The Citizen‘s summary on Amazon.
By now, I’m sure you’ve listened to Trench
a million times. I really like almost all of the songs (to be honest, “Jumpsuit” is the one exception currently), but “Pet Cheetah” in particular stood out to me as relevant to writers.
One of the first posts on this blog was about “Kitchen Sink,” a favorite Twenty-One Pilots song and one that’s excellent for any writer struggling to find meaning in what they do. While “Pet Cheetah” doesn’t have the same depth, it’s still a fun, encouraging song for artists struggling with writer’s block- and succeeding.
Self-published stories are only growing in popularity. Instead of going the traditional route of querying agents and editors, and submitting their books to publishing houses, many writers are opting to do it themselves, printing their books and distributing them through places like Amazon or Barnes & Noble on their own. The authors are often called ‘independent authors,’ or just ‘indie authors.’
There are mixed feelings about this indie trend- some people think it’s the best way to share an original vision with readers, while others feel that the lack of ‘gatekeepers’ produces low-quality works.
While I can definitely sympathize with both sides of the argument, I keep finding myself buying more indie books. I like the rawness of the writing in many stories, I like the flexibility of length, and I like the community around it.
The 100. On the surface, it looks like a ‘cool,’ ‘edgy’ story riding the wake of The Hunger Games‘s popularity, following teens in too much makeup. But as the show progresses, that impression quickly falls away.
Yeah, Clarke’s mascara is a little much at this point, and the ratio of leather to other fabrics is a bit skewed, but that’s far from the focus of the show anymore. Instead, The 100 concentrates on its characters, pushing them to, and past, their breaking points. It shows just how far humanity can fall, and how none of us are blameless. By season 5, characters who used to be the closest friends are actively fighting against each other. Dark? Yeah, you could say that.
And it’s not just a gimmick, either. The character progression is solid, the breakdown of their moral codes are understandable. These characters still feel like the same people we cheered for in season 1, despite every awful thing they do. The 100 has a lot to teach writers about crafting the path from hero to villain.
(Spoilers for Season 5 ahead)
Ant-Man and the Wasp was the latest Marvel movie, and one that I didn’t want to exist. After Infinity War, I just wanted Avengers 4, even if it means I have to wait a year before a new movie. (*whispers*And is anyone else getting superhero burnout? No? Just me? Okay then…)
But I had to see the latest Marvel release, and I ended up pleasantly surprised. Ant-Man and the Wasp was funny and entertaining, with flashy characters, strange powers, and cool costumes. And from a writing perspective, it made me think about the differences between a protagonist and a main character.