Friday, August 21, 2015

The Writer's Kiss

   I've been reading recently. I guess that shouldn't be a surprise: a writer must always be reading in order to keep sharp. But most of the time I'm reading fiction, investigating how others tell stories that I might better tell my own. Though, I must admit, sometimes I read merely as a means of entertaining myself. The difference the current reading holds is that I am reading a book about writing: The Writer's Art by James J. Kilpatrick. It's a wonderful book; humorous and educational. I've learned a lot. One of the first points Kilpatrick makes is that writers need to be clear when they write. They should cut unneeded words and simplify any wordiness. This reminded me of the KISS acronym: Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Interview with J. Grace Pennington

   Today I have an author interview! I haven't done one of these in a long time and I hope to do more of them in the future. Grace is having a blog tour for her upcoming book Implant and she graciously agreed to an interview to help promote the book.
   First, a bit of background: J. Grace Pennington has been reading stories as long as she can remember, and writing them almost as long. She is also a prolific medical transcriptionist, amateur musician, chocolate eater, daughter, sister, friend, and laundry folder. She lives in Texas, and if she was part of the Implant society, her role in the rebellion would probably be monitoring current events and correspondence in the computer center.
   Now, on to the interview!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Dune and Doing Difficult Deeds

Last week I went to the beach.While there, I did what any self-respecting person does: I read. One of my favorite reads of the week was Dune by Frank Herbert. It felt strangely appropriate. I'd heard lots of good things about it and decided to check it out. The buzz was true. It was like Tolkien in the way it so richly painted the world, yet unlike Tolkien in the way it took such little time to explain the world to the reader. Reading Lord of the Rings recently made me realize how much time Tolkien takes in explaining things to his reader. Herbert does the opposite: he gives the bare minimum for the reader's comprehension. And even then, comprehension doesn't dawn until halfway through the next chapter.
However, for all the beauties of the writing of the book or the plot of the book, that's not what I want to talk about. There's something very specific that Herbert presents in this book that caught my imagination and that is this: an easy life leads to poor people. Not necessarily poor in terms of wealth, but poor in terms of quality: intelligence, strength, and vision. It is those who are faced with all sorts of hardships that become the best, strongest, and most envied among humanity. This caught my attention specifically because I am entering college. How do the two relate? Well, college is hard.