The Raven Cycle: a feeling

The Raven King cover - Book IV of The Raven Cycle, by Maggie StiefvaterIt’s been less than a week since I’ve finished the final book in this series, but the series has stayed with me. As most people found, when Book III came out (Blue Lily, Lily Blue), I read it too quickly, didn’t enjoy it enough. So when The Raven King finally arrived, I knew I had to re-read the series despite how much I wanted to read the Raven King. I wasn’t disappointed. If I hadn’t re-read, I would have missed the masterful technique that went into telling this story. I missed Gansey being the main character — he wasn’t supposed to be, in the end; he was the glue between all the pieces — but I got to appreciate Adam’s development into who he was meant to be. I got to watch Ronan come to terms with who he is and where he came from. I watched Blue accept her fate. I let Noah go. This group, so tightly wound together, unravelled and grew up.

The story follows a dead king sleeping on a magical ley line, and the people trying to find him.

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Like new.

Mitsubishi. Chevrolet. BMW. Mercedes. Porsche. Subaru.

They slid by and by and by. Never overtaking, never speeding up, just lapping. Lap after lap of the circuit.

She turned her head towards the sound. The new car sound. A rumble that resonated through — no, across — the ground, and up, vibrating the constructed stadium. The pristine white, the fluoro blue bars and rims, glided into the stadium, its nose at the edge of the circuit.

She knew this was trouble. Everyone knew this meant trouble.

The white car was on fire last week. And yet, here it was, revving. Ready to go.

A vignette, a 100-word drabble, inspired by a mix of The Chainsmokers (feat. Halsey) single “Closer” and Maggie Stiefvater’s “The Raven Cycle” series.

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The hood of the car.

Are we out the woods. Are we in the clear yet.

He sits on the hood of his car. Waiting. Just waiting. 2am. 3am. 4am. The hours come and go and he never moves. His head is bent towards the ground; his eyes never moving from the dirt on the side of the road. Concentrating on nothing; nothing but the time passing him by.

The sun’s first ray shines over the horizon, through the forest behind the car. He turns and waits, watching.

If you and I were there, we would swear she walked out from the tree line. But that isn’t what happened. She appeared, out of nothing at all.

A vignette, a 100-word drabble, inspired by a mix of Taylor Swift’s “Out of the Woods” and Maggie Stiefvater’s “The Dream Thieves”.

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Reflection, in all walks of life.

This week’s Friday Five is all about reflection. Reflection on one’s life, one’s creative process, one’s goals. I don’t reflect as often as I should. I plan and set goals really well. I do things really well. The middle bit, the strategy, not my strong suit (at least, for my personal goals and plans). And then there’s the after: the reflection. I don’t do this very much either.

But I’m trying. It’s why I’ve started to journal every (most) days. I’m making myself accountable — the husband and I sit down each week plan out our goals and then check in again in a week’s time. We’re reflecting on the past week. Life is so busy, I’ve started carving out time for reflection.

ONE. 10 Creative Rituals You Should Steal, by 99u. Creativity is very reflective on its own. In my world: papercraft and novel writing — they’re both reflective art forms. Papercraft, which I don’t actually do, but have a deep admiration for, is all about documenting your life, recording memories. These are reflective acts. Novel writing, something I actually do, is reflective because I put parts of my life in my novels. Charlie & Cub is set where I grew up. I can visit my childhood environment anytime I like.

TWO. Let’s talk about body shape. We actually won’t be — I’m not a health and fitness blogger (yet! ha.) — but it’s nice to see how the ‘ideal’ body shape has changed over time.

THREE. This post sums up my feelings on being a wannabe writer. I went to uni with Daniel, and we weren’t friends as such, but I know we bumped into each other in class and during NaNo sometimes. I’m eternally scared I’m not going to be a published author, and I’ve become so comfortable with that fear that its not the fear that scares me anymore. It’s not even admitting that I have that fear. It’s that I may not lose that fear one day. I won’t need that fear one day. I’m very comfortable being afraid. (Quote from Dawson’s Creek.)

It’s so real that it’s kept me moving, mostly running from it, never ready for it. … I can’t be let off the hook because I just might get the notion that it’s okay to keep running.

FOUR. It’s hard to find real friendship. I’m not quite as old as Rachel (quickly approaching though!), and she hit the nail on the head. At some point, going out every Wednesday night and getting hammered is no longer, a) going to be fun, b) going to make you friends, and c) an option for your life. Once you tick off all those points, what do you do? Rachel is in a similar situation to myself–we moved to new cities when we got married and don’t/didn’t know anyone. The post does not have answers, but it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one thinking about this.

FIVE. Matt Frazier usually writes about health and fitness, which is great inspiration for me. In this post, he talks about ‘great’ reasons to not do something. But, if you have a reason not to, find a great reason to do it.

BONUS. A fun link because it’s all been a bit serious in this post today: charming illustrated character prints! (Example print below.)Bonus link in the Linklove post: Reflection, in all walks of life.

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Family: a Charlie & Cub sequel moment. Image by Flickr user James Niland.

Family: a Charlie & Cub sequel moment

As part of my writing goals this year, I’m writing more creatively. Family is one of (hopefully) many drabbles (100 word stories) that I will publish. Image is by flickr user James Niland used under a CC BY 2.0 license: it is a real picture of the setting that inspired the novels.

This drabble is a mini-sequel to The Charlie & Cub Chronicles. It is part of a collection of moments between sixteen-year-old Theo and Charlie. Family continues on from the drabble Home.

This drabble can be read on its own — out of context of the novels and the other drabbles. Nevertheless, I’m going to hide it behind a more tag: spoilers for characters and ending of series.

Continue reading

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Things children's authors have said this week include quotes by Neil Gaiman, John Green and Garth Nix.

Things children’s authors have said.

This week, I’ve been most intrigued with things children’s authors have said. Some of the quotes are included below, but there are many more gems at the links. Image by flickr user Tim Geers, used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

ONE. Children’s books are never just for children. A Guardian article that brilliantly shows just how important getting children’s books right is: so why aren’t they considered for awards? Neil Gaiman has some beautiful words, below, to say about kids’ stories. (As do many other authors.)

When I’m writing for kids, I’m always assuming that a story, if it is loved, is going to be re-read. So I try and be much more conscious of it than I am with adults, just in terms of word choices. I once said that while I could not justify every word in American Gods, I can justify every single word in Coraline.

TWO. John Green is often attributed quotes that he has never written. This is probably the biggest mistaken attribution yet. But I love the honesty in this video; I don’t watch every video, but I do love it when I come across one that is memorable. This is a memorable vlog.

I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ll never meet.
Not John Green

THREE. Garth Nix gave a super interesting interview with The Hub. He talks about his younger self and a little about infusing his writing with his morals (dangerous ground). A little fact you might not have known about Nix: he grew up in Canberra and…

From about fourteen, I thought I would become an officer in the Australian Army. I planned to go to our military college and get my degree there and have a career in the army.

FOUR. Another Neil Gaiman! He had an interview with the Telegraph as his new book The Sleeper and the Spindle was coming out.

You don’t need princes to save you. I don’t have a lot of patience for stories in which women are rescued by men.

FIVE. YA writers talk about their writing habits and how they create their characters that feel real. It’s a brilliant (long) article that is definitely worth the time.

The defining characteristic of YA literature is emotional truth. Even if we’re not the same as the characters we read, they are all dealing with things—issues of who they are, who they should be, what they should and shouldn’t do—that we all deal with, in their own ways. With The Hunger Games, even if we will never be in Katniss’s shoes, the decisions she makes make emotional sense to us—even when she makes the wrong ones.
David Leviathan

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Theo's happy place. He'll watch the sun rise and set from the very top of this.

Home: a Charlie & Cub sequel drabble

As part of my writing goals this year, I’m writing more creatively. Home is one of (hopefully) many drabbles (100 word stories) that I will publish. Image is mine, taken in December 2013

This particular drabble is a mini-sequel to The Charlie & Cub Chronicles. Charlie is sixteen in this moment.

I’ve got a collection of sixteen-year-old Theo and Charlie moments that are slowly coming together in my head. I might even try to link them through the prompts. So, while this drabble can be read on its own and out of context of the novels, I’m going to hide it behind a more tag: spoilers for setting.

Continue reading

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