Inspiration Dice Story Helper #21

Inspiration Dice Story Helper #21 | Paperback Lover

Yellow = Genre
Red = Plot
Green = Action

Genre: fantasy historical fiction
Use these Story Helpers to build off of what you came from the Monday prompts. Don’t worry about them not matching up. The great thing about your brain is that it will find a way to make something work. Have fun with it, don’t fear what comes. Fear is the root of writer’s block.

Remember: Even if what you come up with doesn’t make sense, keep it and come back to it later. If your muse is like mine then it most likely enjoys giving you puzzle pieces that need to be fit together over time rather than the whole story all at once. You never know what will connect your pieces together, so don’t trash something just because it doesn’t seem to go anywhere right away.


Photo Prompt #45

Photo Prompt #45 | Paperback LoverSource: Rene Aigner

Write what comes to mind. If a story doesn’t come to you, start by writing a description of what you see. Where is this place? Why is this place important? What time of year is it? Who lives here, if anyone does? What is nearby? What isn’t seen in this photograph?

Remember: Even if all you come up with for now is a description, keep it and come back to it later. If your muse is like mine then it most likely enjoys giving you puzzle pieces that need to be fit together over time rather than the whole story all at once. You never know what will connect your pieces together, so don’t trash something just because it doesn’t seem to go anywhere right away.


Word Jar Story Helper #3

Word Jar Story Helper #3 | Paperback Lover

For this story helper, use the three words however you want. Plot points, ideas, objects in the setting, MacGuffins. Whatever your muse dictates.

Remember: Even if what you come up with doesn’t make sense, keep it and come back to it later. If your muse is like mine then it most likely enjoys giving you puzzle pieces that need to be fit together over time rather than the whole story all at once. You never know what will connect your pieces together, so don’t trash something just because it doesn’t seem to go anywhere right away.


Music Prompt #31


Start by listening. You don’t have to listen all the way through, but do give yourself some time to really listen. Close your eyes, if you’re comfortable doing so, put on your headphones, and listen. Allow yourself to really feel the music and immerse yourself in what you’re hearing. Once you’re ready, start writing.

If you’re having trouble coming up with a story, start by writing a list of words the music makes you think of. Is it calming, energetic, creepy? Does it make you think of a specific place, person, or genre? What type of person can you imagine listening to this kind of music?

Remember: Even if all you come up with for now is a description, keep it and come back to it later. If your muse is like mine then it most likely enjoys giving you puzzle pieces that need to be fit together over time rather than the whole story all at once. You never know what will connect your pieces together, so don’t trash something just because it doesn’t seem to go anywhere right away.


Photo Prompt #44

Photo Prompt #44 | Paperback LoverSource: “Project L: Part 52 – Midsummer in the city”, Photo Tour.net

If you can’t think of a story, then, instead, focus on learning who this character is. Consider who this person is? Where are they going? What are they doing? How do you imagine they walk? Talk? Do they have a speech impediment? An accent? Where are they from? Are they local? A tourist? A time traveler? Where is this place? What time of year is it? Who lives here, if anyone does? What is nearby? What isn’t seen in this photograph?

If it helps, here’s an exercise that a professor taught me that is really helpful for character development.
Consider these facts about your character:
– Name & Age
– Where do they live?
– Three (3) personality traits
– Their favorite drink
– Shoes of choice
– One thing they can make with their hands
– The first time they realized they they were bad at something

Remember: Even if all you come up with for now is a description, keep it and come back to it later. If your muse is like mine then it most likely enjoys giving you puzzle pieces that need to be fit together over time rather than the whole story all at once. You never know what will connect your pieces together, so don’t trash something just because it doesn’t seem to go anywhere right away.


This One Summer

This One Summer

by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki

started: March 8, 2018 | finished: March 14, 2018

Following Rose as she transitions from tween to teen, This One Summer focuses on what it means to be a girl trying to figure out for yourself how the world works, as well as, how the world can shape teenage girls.

Entertainment1 star
I could have easily read this in one sitting, but I somehow managed to make myself pace it out to a week. Mariko & Jillian have a way of presenting the material in a way that makes you want to stay in their world as long as you can. This is a very slow and quiet book, if that’s not what you’re into, you will not enjoy it. Luckily, those are the books that I love the most and I was entertained the entire way through.

Story1 star
The story seems to be a point of disappointment or even contention when it comes to reviews on goodreads. There are a lot of people claiming that there is no plot or that nothing happened. I could not disagree more. No, there’s not a lot happening on the surface, but there is a whole lot happening psychologically. We see while Rose navigates the summer around wanting to be a part of the world that is the late teens/early twenties group of locals who frequent or work in the convenience store near the cabin, but also wanting to spend it being a kid. She wants to be grown-up, but she doesn’t understand what that means yet. She tries out watching horror movies, attempting to impress the convenience store clerk that she has a crush on, she tries out using their language, primarily in the word “slut”, which gets her into trouble with her mom, she tries out understanding and imagining sexual situations which only confuses her more. The entire time, she’s surrounded by childhood, by Windy, her friend who is 10, by the cabin that her and her parents stay in every year since she was little, by the actual grownups reminding her that she is not yet one of them. She’s on this precipice and she’s teetering along it the entire summer.

Another thing that I keep seeing claimed is that there is no development on Roses part, and to that I have to say: read between the lines. No, Rose never says anything to the amount of “I was wrong. I’ve learned my lesson.” There’s no philosophical espousing to show her working through the summer problems (probably because she’s 12 and how many 12 year olds sit around espousing philosophically?). However, at the end, she begins to shift. It’s a quiet shift, yes, but a shift nonetheless. She learns the truth about why her mother is depressed and there’s a hint that her mother may finally talk to Rose about it once they leave. She digs a hole with Windy because it’s what Windy wants to do and we see that they’re coming back together. She sees that the guys in the convenience store are just kids, not unlike her. She genuinely hopes that Jenny is alright. But, most importantly, we see her getting ready to leave, her bag is too heavy. This a metaphor. She is weighed down by the summer, by what happened, and, in the end, we see that she has left all the things that she had collected that summer, a pile of rocks, sticks, and items that she found on the ground, mostly at the teens’ campsite that she and Windy stumble upon. She is moving forward from this summer by leaving behind all the things that were weighing her down. And the final line, “Maybe I will have massive boobs. Boobs would be cool.” She’s still looking forward to growing up, but now that growing up is about her and who she will be. As well, it’s something that is far off, something that hasn’t happened yet. She’s waiting rather than trying to make it happen.

Character1 star
This seems to be the second thing that a lot of people on goodreads don’t like: Rose. Rose seems to have rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, and I get it, but, at the same time, I don’t. Rose is a typical 12 year old going on 13. She believes that she understands how the world works, even though she doesn’t. She believes that everything is black and white, even though it isn’t. She a flawed character because most 12 year olds are flawed in that they’re still figuring out empathy and that just because a cute boy says something that doesn’t mean that its true. What makes this so poignant, and probably why people are so turned off by it, is that at the beginning of the book, we like Rose. We see her as a fun kid who’s just enjoying the summer. Then we see the truth, that she’s flawed, that she doesn’t get it, that she is still a kid who wants to believe that she’s grown up without actually understanding what that means. This is a very real depiction of what it means not just to be 12 years old, but, more importantly, what it means to be a 12 year old girl.

I do have to bring up another person’s review where they said:
“I don’t know how old both girls are in this graphic novel – don’t recall it being mentioned – but they were very immature. Too immature. They’re always talking about grown-up stuff – sex, babies, blowjobs, parents, boobs – and giving their opinions which sometimes are, yes theirs, but also most of the time unnecessary and seldom accurate.”

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU TALKED TO A 12 YEAR OLD? And I don’t mean in a family or large get together setting where adults are around either. 12 year olds yearn to be grown up, they’re nearly the magical 13, the year that everything’s supposed to change and they’re a teen, which, in a 12 year old’s eyes, is practically adulthood. They talk about what they think are grown up things that they are just starting to learn about or beginning to enter their peripheral. They don’t understand any of it yet (because, of course they don’t) but they want to believe that they do, they want their peers to believe that they do, because that would make them cool, that would make them grown up.

Writing Style1 star
The writing style is quiet and simple, often allowing the images to really get the idea across. We hear Rose’s thoughts when we need to, but for the most part, we are simply there with her. However, the writing is never a second thought to the art. Both are balanced wonderfully and are what make this book so great.

Art1 star
So, the art. My GOD the art! It is amazing. I love supporting graphic novels that utilize an art style that separates itself from the typical comic book or manga style and this book definitely falls into that category. The settings are amazingly detailed and realistic, the character designs are great, the atmosphere and mood that is create—it’s all wonderful!

Total1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star

This book is both beautiful and well written. The story is both simple and complex. It’s a book that I could tear apart and analyze to death. At the same time, I’m confident that a kid could get just as much out of it, at the very least it can begin some very important conversations about growing up and what it means to be female in a world that prefers the male view. Yet another book to add to my when-I-have-a-disposable-income-again list.


Inspiration Dice Story Helper #20

Inspiration Dice Story Helper #20 | Paperback Lover

Yellow = Genre
Red = Plot
Green = Action

Genre: mystery thriller
Use these Story Helpers to build off of what you came from the Monday prompts. Don’t worry about them not matching up. The great thing about your brain is that it will find a way to make something work. Have fun with it, don’t fear what comes. Fear is the root of writer’s block.

Remember: Even if what you come up with doesn’t make sense, keep it and come back to it later. If your muse is like mine then it most likely enjoys giving you puzzle pieces that need to be fit together over time rather than the whole story all at once. You never know what will connect your pieces together, so don’t trash something just because it doesn’t seem to go anywhere right away.


Music Prompt #30


Start by listening. You don’t have to listen all the way through, but do give yourself some time to really listen. Close your eyes, if you’re comfortable doing so, put on your headphones, and listen. Allow yourself to really feel the music and immerse yourself in what you’re hearing. Once you’re ready, start writing.

If you’re having trouble coming up with a story, start by writing a list of words the music makes you think of. Is it calming, energetic, creepy? Does it make you think of a specific place, person, or genre? What type of person can you imagine listening to this kind of music?

Remember: Even if all you come up with for now is a description, keep it and come back to it later. If your muse is like mine then it most likely enjoys giving you puzzle pieces that need to be fit together over time rather than the whole story all at once. You never know what will connect your pieces together, so don’t trash something just because it doesn’t seem to go anywhere right away.

Tracklist

Epic Scottish Music

0:00 – Scottish Clan
3:21 – William Wallace
6:50 – Celtic Warriors
10:06 – Pirates of the Coast
13:35 – Hoist up the Sails
16:44 – Dragon Riders
19:55 – Haunted Scottish Castle
23:25 – Hill Fort
26:49 – Barbarian Raid

Beautiful Scottish Music

29:53 – The Highland Tavern
33:05 – Scottish Festival
36:28 – Gaelic Feast
39:42 – Minstrel of the Misty Woods
43:24 – Dawn of the Fairies
47:02 – Scottish Fen
50:26 – Magic Glen
53:40 – Vale of Wishes
56:46 – Nightdream Meadow
1:00:17 – Isle of Skye


Through the Woods

by Emily Carroll

started: March 7, 2018 | finished: March 8, 2018

Back in 2015, I remember coming across this book online and lusting after it for a long while, but, being a broke literature major at the time, my money went towards required reading rather than OMG-I-NEED-THAT reading and Through the Woods faded from my peripheral. Fast-forward to last week when I went to the library as I do ever Wednesday to write and there this beauty was on display right next to the table I always sit at as though greeting me with angelic voices singing around it. Okay, so that’s a very obnoxious way of saying that I snatched it up as soon as I laid eyes upon it. And all I can say is, “why does this book keep entering my life when I don’t have money?”

Featuring five creepy stories and stunningly haunting imagery, Through the Woods is the graphic novel that I needed as a weird, horror-loving teen. Though none of the stories are can’t-walk-down-a-dark-hallway-afterwards scary, they are unsettling enough to satiate both horror fans and those who just want a good Halloween read.

Entertainment1 Star
I was actually surprised how each story was able to hold my attention and make me want to know what was going to happen next. Even if I already had a feeling what was coming, I was still consistently and steadfastly along for the ride.

Story1 Star
Since this is a collection of stories, I thought it would be best to talk a little about each one.

“An Introduction”

This story depicts the narrator as a child and the fear she felt of the darkness at the edge of her bed at night after reading. The story is short with less than 100 words, but it serves its purpose of getting the reader into the scary story mindset.

“Our Neighbor’s House”
This story follows three sisters whose father sets out in the dead of winter and doesn’t return home after three days. Though they were told to go to the neighbor’s house on the fourth day if he didn’t return, the oldest of the sisters insists that they stay before beginning to act strangely. This story plays with the fears that come with isolation and has one of my favorite pages that just encapsulates that mood of the story perfectly.

“A Lady’s Hands are Cold”
Playing with “Bluebeard” themes, this story depicts a young woman who is married to a rich man and who begins to hear an eerie song coming from the house at night. This story flips some key ideas on its head with wonderful effect. Plus, it features this stunning spread.

“His Face All Red”
In this story, a man’s brother isn’t his brother, and he knows this because he killed his brother. Though this story never really give you an answer, it’s the very concept that makes this one creepy. Plus, this story utilizes silence beautifully.

“My Friend Janna”
“Janna” takes the seance story to a new level when the girl pretending to communicate with spirits becomes haunted by a spirit that only her best friend can see. This is another story that doesn’t end with an answer, but it doesn’t really need one, the concept itself being what makes the story.

“The Nesting Place”
The longest of the stories, “The Nesting Place” features Bell, a fearless girl who doesn’t believe in monsters until she is confronted with one. This story falls more into the body horror category of creepy. The story itself isn’t all that creepy, but the almost cinematic visuals are what make it.

“In Conclusion”
Rounding out the book, we return to our narrator in “An Introduction” as she makes her way through the woods to her mother’s house. This story is a bit of a turn on the typical Red Riding Hood stories with an ending that is creepily philosophical.

Character1 Star
I had a bit of trouble with this one, since you’re not really in any of the stories long enough to, so I thought, really get to know the characters, but the more I thought about, the more I realized that I was kind of wrong. Though the characters are never explored or fleshed out, you do get a quick glimpse of who they are as a character which aids in the further telling of the story. So, no, the characters aren’t three dimensional people, but they don’t really need to be for this format to work.

Writing Style1 Star
While the writing style is sparse, it works in Carroll’s favor here. Good visual horror isn’t in what’s said, but rather what isn’t and Carroll definitely embraced that.

Art1 Star
The art in this book is stunning! The use of color, space, text, and speech bubbles added so much to the story. Much like with the writing, Carroll understands how to use visuals in her favor when telling horror. The images alone make this book worth cherishing.

Total1 Star1 Star1 Star1 Star1 Star

I loved this book and had to stop myself from finishing it in one night. It’s quick enough that nothing drags, the visuals stunning, and Carroll obviously understands what makes creepy creepy. I’m definitely going to purchase this book once I’m back in a place where I can freely throw money at amazon.


Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables

by L.M. Montgomery

started: February 26, 2018 | finished: March 7, 2018

Let me start off by saying that I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did. When it was chosen as the February read for the Read Women group, I was admittedly disappointed to be reading a kid’s book and saved it for the last minute to read. My god, was I wrong.

For those few who, like myself, passed over this book as a kid—Anne of Green Gables is about a middle-aged brother and sister, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, who decide to adopt a boy to help them with work around their property. By mistake, they receive a girl instead: Anne “with an e” Shirley whose wild imagination, curiosity, and tenacity often get her into trouble. Though the book is mostly focused on Anne’s coming of age in Avonlea, there’s also a lot of focus on Marilla and Matthew as the experiences of parenthood change them for the better.


I was entirely entertained by this book, which was a complete shock to me. Between the characters and the events, there was never really a point where I was bored and the pages went by more quickly than I wanted them to at times. Though it isn’t exactly an action packed story, the events and development of the characters keep you wanting to move forward.


On the surface, there isn’t much of an overarching story to Anne of Green Gables, it’ more of a slice of life story made up of a series of vignettes showing Anne grow up, but, in truth, this is the overarching story. The reader watches as Anne shifts from an untamed orphan girl to an educated teen that everyone in the community respects. Though she does become more subdued in the later chapters of the book, we can see that she is still the same Anne, it’s just that now she has carved herself a place in the world around her.

The primary thing that I love about the story is the fact that there are lessons to be learned through out it, but the reader is never beaten over the head with them nor are they ever preached at. The reader learns the lesson through Anne and by watching her work through the lesson herself and grow from it. It helps, as well, that Anne never deals with anything lightly and every lesson is just as entertaining for the reader as it is helpful for Anne’s development.


The thing I loved most about this book was the treatment of the characters. Every character is flawed in some way and yet they each have their own arcs and developments. I enjoyed Anne as a character thoroughly and, much like Matthew, fell for her from the moment the ride back to Green Gables began. Her imagination and persistence to get through whatever life threw at her won me over entirely. At the same time, I loved Marilla, even if she is a bit too hard on Anne in the beginning, then again, it was exactly what Anne needed as she grew older. Matthew was just wonderfully endearing and I loved the dynamic between him, Marilla, and Anne. Even Anne’s classmates, who don’t have arcs that are nearly as pronounced as Anne, are still three dimensional characters with wants and goals of their own.


Though Montgomery’s writing style isn’t as poetic as I usually like, the words take a back seat to the characters and allow them to breath life into the narrative. Had Anne not been as tenacious, had Marilla not had the same grit, had Matthew not had the same heart, had Anne not had such reverence for the world around her, the book wouldn’t have been half as good as it was. At the same time, the writing was never dry or without wit, but it is the characters that give this book life (as it should be).


If Montgomery’s characters grabbed my attention, her descriptions held it firmly in place. Despite Montgomery never describing anything with poetics, Anne’s ability to view everything around her with such passion amplified the settings and descriptions in a way that poetics weren’t needed.

Overall, the best thing about this book is the fact that it’s well written despite being “for kid’s.” Something that bothers me is the dismal of poorly made entertainment with the excuse of “it’s for kids.” That just shouldn’t be an excuse. Just because something is made for kids shouldn’t be a free to not but the same thought and care into it that you would if it was for adults. Anne of Green Gables never falls into this trap. The book was clearly written with care and intention without being bogged down with being didactic or talking down to the reader. I’m a bit sorry that I never read Anne as a child, I don’t doubt I would have been the better for it, but what am I to do about it.