August: What Our Editors Are Reading

It never ceases to amaze me just how many book memes are out there, so why not just be out with one now?

Books-Meme.jpg

I couldn’t resist.

It also never ceases to amaze me just how wonderfully inspiring, empowering, and emotional-breakdown-inducing books there are out there. Our editors are reading some of those at this very moment. Here’s what we’re all saying!

Me:

the emotion thesaurus.jpg

I came cross a mention of this book over at Aeryn Rudel’s literary blog, Rejectomancy, and I got it for my birthday earlier this year.

“The Emotion Thesaurus” acts as a very useful kind of writer’s reference dictionary, to help you with finding many different ways for one of your fictitious characters to show their emotions. For each of the many dozens of emotions- like curiosity,  anguish, or conflicted- Angela and Becca detail their definitions, physical signals, internal sensations, mental responses, cues of acute or long-term [emotion], what the emotion may relate or escalate to, and cues of suppressed [emotion].

I highly recommend this book for any fiction writer who uses the glances, smiles, and knitted eyebrows to the point of redundancy.

Rebecca:

incorrigible children.jpg

These last few weeks I finally got to take advantage of the warm weather, and while I was lounging under an umbrella with my feet in the sand I devoured the first book in Maryrose Wood’s series “The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place”. The series follows ‘plucky’ governess, Penelope Lumley, who is hired by the wealthy Ashton family to care for three children they discovered on their property, who the Lord and Lady believe were raised by wolves. The book is clever and self-aware in a way that is reminiscent of Daniel Handler’s children’s literature, and I love the way that Wood fills the world of Ashton Place to the brim with fictional literature and aphorisms from Agatha Swanburne, the founder of the esteemed Agatha Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females. (A favourite Swanburne quote: ‘If it were easy to resist, it would not be called chocolate cake.’).

After studying literature in school for a few years, I often think of young adult novels as a guilty pleasure, but this book was so smart and imaginative that I was absolved of all guilt, and all that was left was the pure joy of reading it. I’ll definitely be buying the next few books in this series.

Katie:

Power-of-Point-of-View

On my first trip to the library this summer, I was on the hunt for the first book in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series, as recommended by my good friend, Joel. I went a little overboard and picked up five books, instead of just the one. As I was looking for Wuthering Heights, I wandered off into a section of writing craft books, and I came across Alicia Rasley’s The Power of Point of View nestled on a shelf. I hadn’t yet read a craft book on point of view, so I decided to give this one a go.

As her title indicates, Rasley’s book delves into all types of point of view and analyzes the impact of each type on reader experience – which, as she declares, “Participation is the ultimate triumph of story writing.” To strengthen her points, Rasley uses an extensive amount of passages from novels to demonstrate the effect of each different type of point of view. She explains that point of view is the soul of a piece of writing. Highly controlled by the author, POV dictates what the readers feel and how they respond to a given text. In a section about blocking character emotion, Rasley advises: “The reader can cry because the character won’t.” The way an author manipulates the POV directly influences the entire dynamic of the piece – yet is a highly overlooked construction while writing a text.

Rasley’s technical advice about perceptional behavior of a character struck me the most. As with real people, each character has a dominant sense, and their experience of the world is dictated by it. If a character’s being is shaped by it, so is the language and perceptions that will be put on paper.  By reflecting this in the text, it makes the character more authentic for the reader. As simple as this seems, it has the power to change one scene immensely.

The Power of Point of View takes a writer’s gut feelings and puts them into concrete words. Rasley’s insights are excellent, delving deep into the mind and motivation of a writer. She encourages fellow writers to ponder the purpose of their artistic choices before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). She encourages writers to branch out of their gut, and explore a second point of view in a scene, which usually leads to the better narrative.

Rasley’s technical advice about perceptional behavior of a character struck me the most. As with real people, each character has a dominant sense, and their experience of the world is dictated by it. If a character’s being is shaped by it, so is the language and perceptions that will be put on paper.  By reflecting this in the text, it makes the character more authentic for the reader. As simple as this seems, it has the power to change one scene immensely.

The Power of Point of View takes a writer’s gut feelings and puts them into concrete words. Rasley’s insights are excellent, delving deep into the mind and motivation of a writer. She encourages fellow writers to ponder the purpose of their artistic choices before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). She encourages writers to branch out of their gut, and explore a second point of view in a scene, which usually leads to the better narrative.

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