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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Writer Wednesday: Mermaid

Hello! It's time for Writer Wednesday, when I discuss another author and his or her book.

Today's pick is Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon. An earlier post featured Turgeon's Godmother and The Fairest of Them All. Turgeon has a unique style that takes a classic fairytale and turns it on its head.

This particular story is a retelling of the Little Mermaid, told through the view of two princesses- a mermaid (Lenia)  and a princess of the Northern Kingdom (Margrethe). Turgeon's tales depart from happily ever after and the sugared stories of Disney that we have come to know and love. It doesn't make Turgeon's tales any less loveable, though. In fact, their deep undertones, as strong as Lenia's sea currents, pull the reader into pools of concern and caring about the characters.

Part of the strength of this book is that Turgeon presents two paths that can emerge. The reader is vested in both. They are mutually exclusive and yet the reader wants both to happen. In order to find out what does happen, you'll have to read for yourself. As a side note, they are also now making a movie based on the book.

Living so near the sea, I found myself thinking of Lenia and Margrethe and could almost picture them coming alive there. That's the power of good fiction.

My best to you all,

Monday, April 14, 2014

Waltz of Light and Sea

I entered Writer's Digest poetry contest the other day, with my first attempt at a triversen. A triversen is a poem of six stanzas, composed of three lines each, where each stanza creates a sentence. It was developed by the poet William Carlos Williams.

Waltz of Light and Sea
By: Megan Easley-Walsh
April 2014

The sea upon
the shore awaits
the glowing dawn.

Beyond the scattered pebbles
craters beckon to
the skipping tides.

Stillness sweeps the sands
and gentle waves
keep time as metronomes.

Beaming light
waltzes across
the opalescent dance floor.

Serenades of seagulls
call out in song
to dancing shells below.

Euphoric notes of water
raise their hands
to the depths of the sky.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday's Quotation to Inspire: Crossing the Ocean

You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. –Christopher Columbus

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Writer Wednesday- Jane Austen Made Me Do It

It's time for Writer Wednesday when I discuss another author and his or her book. Today's feature is Jane Austen Made Me Do It, which is really a collection of short stories rather than a single novel. Each story, all written by different authors, is inspired by one of Jane Austen's novels or her life itself. Some of them are continuations, imagining what happened after Pride and Prejudice or Persuasion. Another imagines Jane Austen at work, speaking with her nieces. Other stories re-imagine Jane Austen for the contemporary reader by placing her within our times.

What's so interesting about this book is that it shows how Jane Austen's stories have been taken into the hearts and the minds of her readers for generations and they have made the stories and the characters their own. One story even looks at how characters are re-imagined and no longer just part of Ms. Austen's stories and examines the implications of that. That was particularly entertaining!

As readers, it is important to have a character that makes an impact in some way. Viewing what makes a character or plot timeless, such as Jane Austen's work, was discussed in Monday's post The Importance of Reading for Writers, which gives seven reasons it's important to read as a writer. As a writer, befriending characters in need of an author, it is my hope that my characters will also find a place in the minds and the hearts of my readers.

My best to you all,

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Importance of Reading for Writers


Reading and writing naturally go together. Not only is reading the effect of a writer's work, though, but it is also what should proceed writing. Writers are some of the most voracious readers! Here are a few good reasons to read if you're interested in writing.

1) Reading actively engages the imagination and creates better thinking. Studies have shown that this can be true for up to five days after reading a novel. Writers of fiction are therefore not only entertainers, but "brain boosters"!

2) Reading alerts you to what is popular in the market. This does not mean that it should be mimicked. It does, however, show types of things that are of interest to readers. Perhaps, more importantly, it can show what is missing from the market. An original is better than a 1000th copy of something already known.

3) Reading classics is important to determine what creates longevity in character or plot. Style changes can cause classics to seem aged or stagnant to their era by their diction or syntax, but there is a reason that certain books remain classics while their contemporaries fade through age. Examine what makes a character, scene or plot unforgettable- and thereby timeless- and remember that. This is also true of themes.

4) Reading enlarges one's vocabulary. Words literally sink into your brain and may insert themselves into your writing. If you're not quite sure if the word was used right- look it up! Chances are, your mind has already supplied you with the perfect word through what you have subconsciously learned while reading.

5) Reading inspires. Laura Ingalls Wilder, of Little House on the Prairie fame, advised reading a good story before writing. I've often heard other writers say that reading a book has inspired them to write. Reading good fiction inspires good writing.

6) When reading fiction, I often hear agents to advise reading within your genre to see what works, what is popular, how it can be done well, what should be included, etc. This is true, but I would suggest reading outside your genre as well. At the root of every story is character and plot. You can still learn about character and plot from a genre vastly different from your own. Even a book that you don't like can teach you something, even if that's just what you want to make sure not to include in your own writing.

7) It's important to not only read fiction as an author of novels, but also non-fiction as well. As an author of historical fiction, this is obvious. I have to learn about the past and its details to write. Even for contemporary writers, though, non-fiction can provide information on a character's career or hobbies or a location for the setting. Or, perhaps, a personality portrait of the character's type can be explored through a book on psychology.

Happy Reading and Happy Writing!

My best to you all,

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Writer Wednesday: The Tiger's Wife

It's time for Writer Wednesday, when I discuss another author and his or her book. The Tiger's Wife is one of those books that I had heard quite a bit about for awhile and was curious to read. Téa Obreht, its author, was the youngest winner of the Orange Award in 2011 for it, which has since been renamed the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.

In her own words, quoted from the Cornell Daily Sun,  it's about, "a family saga that takes place in a fictionalized province of the Balkans. It’s about a female narrator and her relationship to her grandfather, who’s a doctor. It’s a saga about doctors and their relationships to death throughout all these wars in the Balkans."

Part history, part moral, and part magic there is an interesting interplay of story and character. Metaphors exist not only through setting or theme, but in the embodiment of whole characters. This interaction with shadowy figures and the exploration of another culture's beliefs surrounding life and after life, made me think of Yangsze Choos' fascinating novel, The Ghost Bride.

There is also a scene in the snow with the tiger which lends itself to Monday's discussion of seasons as meaning and the backdrop of snow for a theme.

After reading The Tiger's Wife, I was left with a sense that this is the story of what we want to survive. Fairytales, memories, and the people that are most important to us are at the heart of that and link the many and varied threads of this tapestry of a book. Perhaps, the tiger is what we want to survive and we wish to remain the companion of what we hope survives; that is, perhaps, we are metaphorically the tiger's wife.

Your thoughts are welcomed below!

My best to you all,