Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Life in a Fantasy World

As I s-l-o-w-l-y write my first book, I read different books that I hope can give me some insight into what young adults are reading these days. Author styles are so different but one thing many of them have in common is the whole idea of fantasy worlds. Fairies, goblins, monsters, vampires, and the heros that fight all the bad guys and save the day. The current series I'm reading is called The Mortal Instruments and the first book is called City of Bones. Definitely for older teens due to the language and boy/girl tension but still the same underlying theme. Special mortals who have the ability to fight those bloodsucking vampires, howling Children of the Night, poison spitting reptile/scorpion/spiders, and crossbreed monsters who are part human, part weird.

The style in this author's writing that has stood out to me the most is how she uses descriptions. Her descriptions of the places in New York make me feel like I'm a native New Yorker who prowled the city's many streets and alleys for years. Her characters come to life and will more than likely become fantasies for many young teenagers taking the place of Twilight's Jacob/Edward saga. (By the way, I'm totally Team Jacob. Buff, warm, brown guy beats out cold, skinny, white guy any day!) One weakness in the narrative are the monsters. I'm having a difficult time visualizing the nasty creatures. The fear felt by the characters is alive and I can feel my heart pounding faster as the characters battle their way out of seemingly impossible situations. But what they are running from or fighting against, I'm still not sure.

As a writer, I know what I want to write. I have the ideas bottled up in my head. My weakness is descriptions. I should be amazing at it. My mom used to tell me to hurry up and tell my story because I would add so much information into my narrative that it took me FOREVER to get to the point. And now, as I write, I'm having trouble describing my characters, my scenes, my surroundings. I am going to go back to my old habits. See, smell, taste, hear, feel. And pass that information on to my readers. I'll add the sharp, gray fin cutting the water's surface moving in seemingly slow motion but cutting the distance between it and the small, flimsy handmade canoe in half before the girl could pick up the short, plastic paddle. By the time she had the paddle in the water, pulling back as fast as she could, the fin was right at her side. Up close, the fin no longer looked like a smooth triangle of terror. The girl could see the jagged edges where pieces were torn or bitten off. The imperfections did nothing to relieve the anxiety the girl felt as the creature circled.

As the creative juices begin to flow and the descriptions become alive and colorful, I realize the characters in my stories will be ones that I can visualize, whether real or imagined. I may include good guys versus bad guys. I'll think about what monsters I want to add. I might decide to fall into the fantasy trap and write about mythical creatures. Or maybe I'll just write a fantasy love story. The verdict is out.


  1. Hi - just letting you know that you've won one of the complimentary copies of 'Pacific Tsunami Galu Afi' from the Sleepless in Samoa blog. Please email me at LaniWendtYoung@hotmail.com with your address so i can post it out to you.


  2. Hey Chelle!
    I've read this series as well and loved it :) One of things I loved was Claire's quick/humorous dialogue. I think she really hit the nail on the head there and let the characters' personalities come across through what they said. I write as well, and my first was an Urban Fantasy (didn't focus so much on world-building, though; it was more about the characters). Anywho, thanks for stopping by my blog! I had no idea there were so many of us Somoans out there. Great to meet you, and I look foward to following you :)
    Ninja Girl