“Safety Skills For Asperger Women” by Liane Holliday Willey | Book Review

This was recommended to me by two therapists, and I finally read it! Here’s my review.

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One Tip to Improve Your Foreshadowing

In my last writing post, I discussed the old writing lesson of Chekhov’s gun and it’s flip side, Chekhov’s gun. Today, I’d like to talk about a little idea connected to it that might help improve your foreshadowing.

Let’s start with two ideas straight in our heads. The first being what foreshadowing is: Put simply, foreshadowing is giving some warning or indication of a future event in the story. The second, what I discussed in my last post: You have created the world of your story, so readers will assume you put everything there deliberately.

There are obviously many ways to foreshadow an event, but I’m going to talk about one using this idea that you have placed everything in your story very deliberately, and I’m going to explain it with two examples.

The first comes from Christopher Paolini’s Eragon.

Beside the bed was a row of shelves covered with objects he had collected. There were twisted pieces of wood, odd bits of shells, rocks that had broken to reveal shiny interiors, and strips of dry grass tied into knots. His favorite item was a root so convoluted he never tired of looking at it. The rest of the room was bare, except for a small dresser and nightstand.

This is an often cited criticism of the writing in this series. Paolini takes great care to describe every item here in detail, and yet none of it comes in to play. Not only does it waste the reader’s time, it also has their mind working on what might come back later (as it’s been trained to do), only for that to fizzle out when none of it matters. Thay “favourite item” in particular is a letdown.

Compare that to this famous example from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. In this scene, the characters are cleaning out the seemingly unending mess in Grimmauld Place.

They found an unpleasant-looking silver instrument, something like a many-legged pair of tweezers, which scuttled up Harry’s arm like a spider when he picked it up, and attempted to puncture his skin. Sirius seized it and smashed it with a heavy book entitled Nature’s Nobility: A Wizarding Genealogy. There was a musical box that emitted a faintly sinister, tinkling tune when wound, and they all found themselves becoming curiously weak and sleepy, until Ginny had the sense to slam the lid shut; a heavy locket that none of them could open; a number of ancient seals; and, in a dusty box, an Order of Merlin, First Class, that had been awarded to Sirius’s grandfather for services to the Ministry.

I had to highlight the relevant section of that extract, but that’s good. Here, the locket in question is buried in the middle of the paragraph. And that locket? Well, it’s only one of the items they need to defeat Voldemort, tucked away in the middle of a paragraph like it’s adding nothing but flavour.

Here. This. This is what you can do.

Readers are trained to look for your hints and your clues. So what do you do? You hide them. They should be there, of course, but even in a story that’s not of the mystery genre, your reader should have some hope of working out the twist before it, you know, twists.

A good option for you, then, is to play with their expectations and sneak your clues in where they wouldn’t expect clues to be. That will also help you to use red herrings to your advantage. (More on red herrings another time.)

It’s a simple trick to summarise, and harder than it sounds. Nevertheless, with this little tip I’m sure you’ll improve your descriptions and know how to use them for more than scenery. Remember to use this tip in conjunction with my advice on Chekov’s Gun!

Thank you for reading! As usual, I want to mention my YouTube and Twitter and invite you to follow me there, but today I also want to alert you to a big update that’s coming soon. Keep an eye out!

Review: The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1)

Here’s an awesome review from Jill’s Book Blog! The first book of one of my favourite series from when I was a kid, so check it out.

Jill's Book Blog

78411.jpgTitle: The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1)
Author: Lemony Snicket
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Library
Release Date: September 30, 1999
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Dear Reader,

I’m sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune.

In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.

It is my sad duty to write down these…

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Little Plastic Straw, Where Art Thou?

This is really good. Go read it. That’s all I got.

Little Sea Bear

We live in a society that is growing conscious of the harm we do to this planet and how we can reduce it. And that’s great!

We only have one planet. If this one goes down the drain we and our future children cannot decide to move to Mars or another galaxy far far away. We’re stuck here and it’s important that we are aware of that and look after our planet. Dad and I recycle everything we can, our recycling bags are often full to the brim and I think it is important to help the environment the best we can.

However, I think we have to be mindful that some things have a hidden use that not everyone will be aware of or even consider. Especially if it does not affect us or someone we know, directly.

Lately, plastic straws have been a hot topic in the news…

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The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

The Critiquing Chemist

Rate :5/5
Medium : Audiobook
Overview (No Spoilers) :

I’ve heard so many people mention The Wheel of Time series, however it is usually in context of commenting on the unusual length of the series or Jordan’s unfortunate passing prior to the series conclusion. It occurred to me while reading The Eye of the World that I’ve never actually had someone come out and tell me, “You NEED to read this series,” instead the recommendation was merely implied because it was just that good. At seventeen total books I knew it would be a major commitment to reading this classic series, and I’d expected the plot to be plodding and methodical to allow for the sprawling of so many novels. In hindsight I should have realized that a series that is as touted by so many book lovers would in no way be slow moving.  Jordan’s narrative, picks up and…

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