May 22, 2013 by Kiersi
I had an amazing time at the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Oregon conference this past weekend. I learned craft from Laini Taylor (author of Daughter of Smoke and Bone), middle-grade humor from Bruce Hale (the very prolific middle-grade author of the Chet Gecko series), and attended a special session on story and character arcs by HarperCollins editor Andrew Harwell.
The main lesson I came home with was in regards to character. Of course, I picked up a lot about writing for a middle-grade audience, which is invaluable to the point that I can’t express myself in words, and writing as a reader experience. But mostly, I started thinking long and hard about character. (more…)
Category How-to | Tags: Andrew Harwell,Bruce Hale,character arc,editing,Laini Taylor,revising,SCBWI,story arc | 14 Comments
April 11, 2013 by Kiersi
For some reason, this question of whether or not to title chapters has come up on Twitter a lot lately. I first debated it last month, when I was revising a book and realizing that my chapter titles really contributed nothing to the book as a whole. They were troublesome to write–they had to be pithy and relevant–and kept changing as my chapter order/content changed.
I tried to think of the number of books I’ve read this year that did or did not use chapter titles; what I figured out? 95% of them don’t.
Okay, well, that’s pretty clear. Most authors are choosing to avoid titling their individual chapters. Books with multiple points of view, such as Beth Revis’s Shades of Earth–that one made sense to me because the narrator’s name (Amy or Elder) is listed at the top of each chapter. So, that sort of takes the place of the title. (more…)
Category How-to | Tags: chapter titles,Daughter of Smoke and Bone,Laini Taylor | 13 Comments
December 24, 2012 by Kiersi
Days of Blood & Starlight, by Laini Taylor
This book gets: ♥♥♥ out of 5
Days of Blood & Starlight, by Laini Taylor – I wanted to like this book. I wanted to like it so, so much–mostly due to the love affair I had with its precursor, Daughter of Smoke and Bone (tapped by Universal Studios for a motion picture). And that is, perhaps, part of my problem with it. High expectations. Unrealistically high expectations.
In a lot of ways, I did like Days of Blood & Starlight. As ever, Taylor’s writing is (at least in prose) totally flawless–gorgeous, in fact. Unfortunately, this book suffered from, well… middleness. The whole novel feels like the soggy middle section of a much larger book. It reminds me of The Two Towers in Lord of the Rings, doing a lot of the necessary world-building, lore-weaving, or whatever that is, at the expense of plot and character.
The story follows many different story strands that, for the first half of the book, only run parallel to each other and rarely cross. Karou spends a lot of time locked in a room, building bodies for Thiago, and surmising and ruminating and generally mulling over her dreary situation. It makes you long for the ray of sunshine timelines–cough, Zuzana, cough–and even for the snippets of war and bloodshed that sneak in.
Category Book Reviews | Tags: book review,Daughter of Smoke and Bone,Days of Blood & Starlight,drama,fantasy,Laini Taylor,war epic,YA | 1 Comment
May 25, 2012 by Kiersi
Okay, normally I don’t get into this kind of thing, but Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone really hit me where it hurts when I picked it up a few weeks ago. (Read one of my rare five-heart reviews here.) Ever since Taylor’s brilliant prose, unstoppable storytelling style and simply beautiful concept knocked me off my feet, I’ve been waiting with a pounding heart for any information about the sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight, to emerge.
Well, my bookish prayers have been answered, and Entertainment Weekly dropped a cover reveal today.
If that doesn’t get you excited for the Daughter sequel, I don’t know what will. And there’s probably something wrong with you.
Category Uncategorized | Tags: Daughter of Smoke and Bone,Days of Blood and Starlight,Laini Taylor | 3 Comments
May 11, 2012 by Kiersi
A Friday round-up.
Relaxing with some yerba maté, Argentinian-style
It’s been a truly fabulous two weeks staying with my parents in Colorado. The high-altitude sun has turned my skin a nice medium-brown, and I’ve finally gotten a chance to spend quality time with my two best guy friends from high school–the ones who made me who I am today and taught me that it’s okay to be a girl who likes to do guy stuff.
I decided to put off my blog post about writing racial and ethnic perspectives in lieu of a more relaxing Friday Roundup. Here are the links that made my week.
A Writer’s Guide to The Hunger Games – Though updates have mostly ceased, writer/blogger Jenna Cooper breaks down the first 8 chapters of The Hunger Games into categories of “what you can learn”: how Collins utilizes dialogue, characterization, tension and more to keep the story moving right along. Learn from a master storyteller!
An in-depth review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone – This Ain’t Livin’ dives deep into the plot of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which I reviewed earlier this week. Check it out for a slightly contrasting opinion, and a great analysis of the Chimaera social stratification. Reminds me of India.
Category Uncategorized | Tags: Daughter of Smoke and Bone,Friday Roundup,Laini Taylor,Suzanne Collins,The Hunger Games | 3 Comments
May 7, 2012 by Kiersi
Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor
This book gets: ♥♥♥♥♥ out of 5
(A perfect score!)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor – No matter your age, gender, heritage or creed, you will love Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Taylor writes brilliant prose, dynamic and painstakingly life-like characters, dialogue that can potentially cause obnoxious outbursts of laughter, and all the while weaving a tale that cannot be put down. Plus, it has monsters.
Aqua-haired Karou straddles two lives: one as a seventeen-year-old high school student attending an arts academy in Prague, and another as the adopted daughter and errand boy of a mysterious, faun-like Chimaera named Brimstone, who runs an inter-dimensional shop dealing in teeth. Yes, you heard me: Chimaera. Inter-dimensional shop. Teeth. (more…)
Category Book Reviews | Tags: book review,Daughter of Smoke and Bone,fantasy,Laini Taylor,monsters,pacing,YA | 3 Comments