May 25, 2015

"The moment there is nothing to be said, Your Highness, I promise I will not say it" In other announcement.

Hello Dear Readers,

As you can see, our Blog has not been very active lately, but that's only because we-being teenagers-have had a lot on our plates lately. School work, college stuff...the list is on going. But, I am here to tell you that the Shadow Dwellers (as we've come to call ourselves) will be able to resume Blogging soon. So please just bare with us. :)

Also, we are pleased to announce that we are adding four New Bloggers to our group, and they will be making their appearances very shortly. We are looking forward to working with them, and hopefully you are excited to read what they have to say!

So please keep checking in, we have not abandoned you altogether, because, like Reepicheep, we have far too much we still need to say. :D

~Ria Faith

May 7, 2015

R.I.P. & Resurrection: Talking about Editing and Revising

(This was actually supposed to be up yesterday but my internet went out so I'm putting it up now. :D)
My post today is going to revolve around two quotes that I came across. I love sitting and looking at quotes about writing and just about anything else and these two just happened to fit my current situation perfectly, so of course they inspired a Blog Post. :) The first one is this:

Yeah. Anyone who is (or has) editing/rewriting their Novel, knows what I am talking about. You read through it with your red pen in hand and before you know it, this Character is taken out, this scene gets cut, a chunk of plot needs re-worked…..and pretty soon you are butchering your baby. *cue the gasps, heart-shattering and fainting*

But, as time goes on, you fill in those plot holes, and fix up that scene and new characters come in and at LAST, you have a new story. :) So, Authors are murderers and life savers...add that to our list of awesomeness. :P

I am currently editing my First Nano Novel from back in 2013, and I feel like both of those (murderer and life-saver) at once, so seeing this quote made me excited and it now resides on the home screen of my iPod.

This next one is something all of us have gone through probably, and gave me that “YES SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS” moment:

UGH. Don’t think this needs too much explaining. Ya’ll know what I mean. :) It took me a long time to get past the above stage and into the excited “I am redoing my Novel” stage that I am in now.

So now that I’ve shared those fun and painfully true pics, time to get down to the suggestions I have for coping with and even getting past them.

1). Put the Novel Down.

I wrote Draft one and then moved to Draft 2, which was more of an editing process because I banged that bad boy out for my very first Nano Session and got over 50,000 words. I completed that, and then looked at it in satisfaction. I went and got it bound and handed it off proudly to Beta Readers. They read it, gave me their notes and feedback and after I had assembled my Note Binder, I left it alone. I actually don’t think I picked it up again for close to a year. My eyes were opened….to a lot. :) I tried restarting it a few times, but I felt so overwhelmed my motivation wouldn't ignite. But after a while, I didn’t feel quite so downhearted about it, and when I picked it up for probably the third or fourth time, I was rested and ready to tackle this again.

2) Listen to music

Listening to music can get me so excited about my Characters. I have yet to find the perfect song for my FMC but I found a song for my MMC, and a song for the FMC/MMC romantic relationship. I listen to them often and they make me so happy. :)

3) Work on Profiles

I went online and I found a detailed Character profile and am filling it out for all my characters. While this is painful as well as helpful, it’s so worth it, because I see what i have and what I don’t, and I think about how much more awesome they are going to be when I’m done.

4) Roleplay!

If you can Roleplay your book Characters, then snap that opportunity up! I never had an interest in it, until my (awesome) Beta-Reader suggested I try it to help me with my FMC and I am quite glad that I did. First of all, it’s so much fun. Second, it keeps me thrilled with my characters, seeing how they interact with other “people” and sometimes the things that they do surprise me. A lot of what I’ve learned is going into this next Draft to help me make them better. I RP with a great group of friends, so I highly suggest getting your writer buddies together and setting that up.

So there you have it, a few tips to hopefully help you along with any editing or revising blues. Just keep yourself excited and interested in your Characters, it will help you go a long way.
~Ria Faith

May 4, 2015

Orphan Train: That Which Left My Heart Crumbled Into a Thousand Little Pieces on the Floor

The author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be delivers her most ambitious and powerful novel to date: a captivating story of two very different women who build an unexpected friendship: a 91-year-old woman with a hidden past as an orphan-train rider and the teenage girl whose own troubled adolescence leads her to seek answers to questions no one has ever thought to ask.
Nearly eighteen, Molly Ayer knows she has one last chance. Just months from "aging out" of the child welfare system, and close to being kicked out of her foster home, a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvie and worse.
Vivian Daly has lived a quiet life on the coast of Maine. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.
The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more she discovers parallels to her own life. A Penobscot Indian, she, too, is an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past. As her emotional barriers begin to crumble, Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life - answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

Oh, Orphan Train. How you have left me in a fit of tears. Why, why would you do this to me? Don't I at least deserve that answer after all the pain you've caused me?

As you can see, this book was quite the emotional roller coaster. No, it's not one of those super action-packed books with incredible plot twists around every corner. It's a more emotional read that details a journey. There are incredibly tough situations explored in this book that Christina Baker Kline tackles extremely well. But just a warning: There are some things that happen in this book that are not for the light of heart. Vivian goes through some really trying times. Just a forewarning. 

Now, onwards with my two lists!

What I Liked:

  • The writing style is absolutely phenomenal! It's so mature and graceful and elegant, and it fits the tone of the book so well. I just adore it so much!
  • There were two settings that this book flipped between- the historical told from Vivian's point of view, and the modern day told from Molly's point of view. Now, I definitely liked the historical better, but I kind of think that was purposeful. The main plot did take place in the historical side of things. However, that said, I never was trudging through one of the setting's chapters just to move on to the other story-line. There was a really nice balance between the two, in my opinion.
  • In the historical story-line, much of it is told from a young Vivian's point of view. The last quarter or so of the story, however, is told from an adult Vivian's point of view. I was not expecting to like this transition. Usually, when characters go through such large age jumps in one book, I find myself stuck in the original age, and can't picture them as the new age. However, Christina Baker Kline made this transition go really smoothly. I was completely surprised and impressed. 
  • As a teenager and young adult, Vivian is more innocent than the girls around her. Portraying this innocence in a character can easily make the character sound immature. However, I never found this to be the case with Vivian. She was actually rather mature- just innocent, and that's a good thing. :-)
What I Didn't Like:

  • Honestly, this isn't really a dislike, but it's the only thing that I can really put my finger on that is in any way semi-negative. The ending was a teensy-tiny bit rushed. I would have liked to have spent at least a little more time with the events that took place in the ending, but it was alright. I also am not fully-satisfied with the resolution of the romantic subplot. Still, I don't dislike it. 
  • Also, I saw a direct connection in the resolution of Molly's character arc and things she had spoken with Vivian about. I wish Kline would have referenced this directly in the resolution of her character arc. To me, it would have brought the whole thing around full circle even better. But that's kind of nit-picking. :P
Overall, I absolutely adored this book, and I would totally recommend it. I would give it a solid 4.5 stars, because I really enjoyed it, but at the same time, it wasn't perfect.