Towers of Terror: Les Miserables

The setting is France. A man unjustly imprisoned is finally released. A young woman, long cared for by the man as a father, finds herself in love. The one she loves is a noble hiding himself in the masses because of his politics. Her love is saved from death by an unrequited love.
The story we find ourselves describing could be either our 1042 page giant or its Dickensian counterpart. Both Les Miserables and A Tale of Two Cities feature similar plot points. Les Miserables is often abridged due to Victor Hugo’s tangents on everything from a fifteen chapter section on Waterloo to a fascinating diatribe on nunneries in the 18th Century. Victor Hugo was a Renaissance Man with a deep understanding of almost ever topic he wrote about.

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Finding Your Writing Space

The ideal place to write is different for everyone. For some it is Starbucks during the midmorning rush, others enjoy long summer days with a notebook in a park, and some want the dark of night and a typewriter. The truth is you don’t need a special place, you need a functional place. If there is a way to get words on to paper, you are in a writing space. But it may not be your writing space.
When you have the option, creating your writing space helps short circuit your brain. When you sit down, you are focused, prepared, and able to delve into your writing.

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Towers of Terror: The Lord of the Rings

I do not enjoy being manipulated. When a piece of literature goes down a list checking off trigger points to cause me to do something specific, like cry, I get irritated. You know when it is happening and the feeling is tainted. It tells me the author’s focus was not on telling the best story he could, but on eliciting responses from the reader like a lab rat. One of the best things about long books is they have time to build gently, to work on their characters and show natural progress. The Lord of the Rings is a well written story, it makes me feel deeply, but it earns it.  Continue reading “Towers of Terror: The Lord of the Rings”

10 Books for Young Adults

Young Adults are interesting people. I’ve taught them; I’ve been one (the horror!). One of the saddest thing in the literary world is the way we tend to write down to children and then to teens. For children, it comes across as condescending; for young adults, it is insulting. For the most part, they want answers to their questions.
Here are ten books that are constructive and exciting reads. They deal with hard topics and don’t shy away from the truth about death, abuse, war, racism, faith, and love. They handle these things exceptionally well, beautifully, even. They will leave the reader thinking and growing, but also driving for the next page. These are good books, important to read and understand.
Warning: None of these books contain an illicit love affair or love triangle that adds nothing to the story, gives poor expectations of romance, and tantalizes with it’s dehumanization of characters.

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Why Spellcheck is Hurting Your Writing

Using spell check is one of the most convenient things in our world. As a self proclaimed grammar nazi and a fastidious wordsmith, the right word at the right time is vital, but I have never worried too much about spelling. It was always something I did mostly right. When I didn’t, there was a safety net.
That is, until I got a typewriter.

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