Sunday, October 27, 2013
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
My life has been rather hectic of late. Between traveling to
to see my beautiful sister and handsome brother-in-law, and between my work, life’s been crazy. And when life is crazy, the blog gets ignored. Arkansas
But now I’m back and here’s a new post!
M. I. McAllister.
Mrs. McAllister has written books with characters in them that have become my friends over many years…and they’re all animals. Yes, M. I. McAllister writes completely epic stories and centers them around her main character, the squirrel with the pale fur, Urchin of the Riding Stars. But there are many more characters than just Urchin! She created a whole world full of hedgehogs, squirrels, moles, otters, and the occasional swan. This world, rather, island, is protected by magical mists that prevent anyone harmful from entering into the peaceful little world of Mistmantle.
I’m getting carried away talking about her books! Anyway, these books have been near and dear to my heart since my brother bought Urchin of the Riding Stars for me one Christmas long ago. But my very favorite aspect of her writing is how she makes an island ruled by animals and protected by magical mists so real. I can practically taste the warm cider in Brother Fir’s tower, or smell the herbs growing in his room. I can nearly feel the autumn breeze as it clips through the trees of Anemone Wood, carrying the smell of salt from the ocean surrounding the island. I can clearly see in my mind the Castle, the center point of the island, and the beautiful glistening harbor down below it, otters playing in the waves.
And how does M. I. McAllister do it, you ask?
I haven’t the slightest idea.
But one thing is for certain: her books are classics, and no matter how hard I might try, I can’t recreate this feeling of wistfulness in my own little story. This is something that I can’t copy, even though I try to!
Have you read any of Mrs. McAllister’s works? If so, please comment and tell me what you think! Here are some illustrations from her books.
The House of Stories
Thursday, October 10, 2013
There are tons of fabulous books on my bookshelf written by equally amazing authors, and as I looked at the rows of many exciting fantasy books this morning, I realized something.
I want to copy the authors that I look up to so much.
Now I don’t mean copy as in plagiarism, but I mean copy as in finding what makes their story so wonderful, and applying it to my own work-in-progress. There are many authors that I look up to. Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Gail Carson Levine, Jessica Day George, Elizabeth Goudge, M. I. McCallister, Dave Barry, and Ridly Pearson are just a few. Each of these authors has the ability to make me feel whimsical, frightened, enthralled, mystified, and I realized that I personally want to convey their fantastic writing traits in my own story.
In Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s marvelous book series, The Tales of Goldstone Wood, she gives such a pristinely clear vision of when and where her books are taking place. This is something I want to express in my own work. I can easily picture where all of her castles and lands are, what her characters look like, and where the story is taking place, because she herself obviously has a clear vision of the where, when, and who. Before I started my story, I took this into account. I tried to map out in my head where all of my kingdoms will be located, who my characters are and how their paths will cross, and have their paths crossed before? Of course, I am no expert. I only try to copy the authors who I look up to, and hope that my story will turn out alright!
While there are many more traits of Anne Elisabeth’s writing that I admire, the art of making her world feel so very established is what stands out to me the most when I read her books.
So my question for you today is this:
Who are the authors that you look up to? Are there any traits of theirs that you try to copy?
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
One of my characters, Doctor Nicholas Kinkly, was interviewed by the Writer over at A Writer's Ponderings. I know that he would love it if you all stopped by and dropped him (or the Writer) a note! Actually, if you are a writer and would like to let one of you heroes or villains be interviewed, then send an e-mail to email@example.com.