December 2010


Either they are going to be friends, or one is intending to attack the other.

The wonderful thing about stories is that they can contain many sorts of unlikely friendships like predators and prey being the best of buddies and never wondering how the other might taste. For example, there’s the friendship of the lion and the tuna (plus his school of friends who can construct a breathing aparatus out of kelp) from “The Other Guys” that you would have to pause if you want to attempt to catch all the jokes and references. There’s the homunculus and the forest brownie from Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke (admittedly, they were at each other’s throats at first. But they did become buddies in the end!) Here are a couple other examples:

  • Tommy and Petra in The Calder Game by Blue Balliette (though admittedly, their friendship was a little bit inevitable seeing as they both had Calder as a friend).
  • Lord Umber and the woman in charge of his accounts (though she is more like a terrifying aquaintance you don’t want to talk to) from Happenstance Found by P.W. Catanese.
  • Twig and the Banderbear (reading the description you’d have thought it would tear him apart as soon as it saw him or at least impaled him on its tusks when he pulled that bad tooth out) from Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart.

My point is that even though some of my above examples weren’t very good (I had some good ones, but I couldn’t remember the title or character names which annoys me) you can get away with highly unusual friendships in stories. Heck, Kendra Kandlestar and the unger who actually turned out to be ________ managed to strike a friendship that was so endearing and yet so frustrating at times that you love it and remember it forever! By the way, that example was taken from Kendra Kandlestar and the Door to Unger by Lee Edward Fodi. Ratchet Ringtail is definitely my favorite character out of those books!

You have to wonder where good authors get some of these ideas. Some seem obvious from the start and others are less obvious but guessable. I find some seem completely impossible but still end up happening. How do authors write those sorts of things? How are they able to choose the right words that will convey the characters of the pair/group, in such a way that they’ll be utterly lovable (in one of the many definitions of lovable) and also thoroughly memorable?

How would you make an unlikely friendship (one that doesn’t revolve around lovestruck werewolves and glittery vampires deciding “Hey! You ain’t half bad!”)?  Personally, I’d make a situation where a light elf and a dark elf were forced to work together. They’re supposed to be opposites right! It wouldn’t be a romance setting so “opposites attract” wouldn’t apply. Another example of unusual friendships would perhaps be a griffin and a horse, seeing as they’re enemies (can you believe that hippogriffs were supposed to be just a ‘scholarly joke’?) It wouldn’t exactly be original, but hey! It could happen … right?

Post Script: One more highly unlikely friendship would be myself and a chicken. How I love their wings and not in an I-want-to-pet-you-way!

What is one of the more unlikely pairings you have created or read that made an impression on you?

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So, I did get to posting this a little late, but better late than never! The best book I have read this December is As You Wish by Jackson Pearce. That link is to my not-so-small and not-so-obsessed review of it. My interest in Jinn only exists because of how well his character was written…I promise! I’d been waiting to read it forever, got it for Christmas and then promptly read one hundred and eighty pages during the day (which was an accomplishment seeing as we had visitors) and finished the rest the next day. Needless to say, I was very pleased with it and it is now under my “To recommend BUT never to lend” set of tags. Sisters Red is also in there seeing as it was also written by Jackson Pearce and I absolutely admire her. Now excuse me while I go compose a rough outline for a comment to be posted on her next video. I want to ask her to explain exactly how one goes about getting a critique group started like hers (critique group discovery for absolute n00bs, I guess it could be called).

Teach me your mystical drawing skillzzzz....

Okay; you know in my About page how I mention Rihokshahas and a warning about smoking ravens? Well, you will finally get proof that the smoking raven does exist! Thanks to the spectacular drawing skills of my friend, Ember, I now have a smoking raven banner. :D All I did was send her a Cartolina e-card and she offered to either make an e-card for me, or do a banner for my blog. So I chose the blog, and then she made the most perfect banner in history by following my vague guidelines of  “oh, I would love to have an image of a smoking raven writing something.”  Of course, she did ask me things like, “quill or pen?”, “what sort of pipe should the raven be smoking?” and “what background colour and size?” I think the green smoke was a particularly nice touch. :P Makes me wonder what he’s filling his lungs with, exactly? XD  Thank you so much, Ember! And I trust your blog is successful – that’s because you are doing what all successful people do: you keep at it! :)  (I’m already subscribed. ;))  [The raven above is bowing his head reverentially in thanks to you:]

If you fall, you will make many children unhappy.

The first thing we learn about Christmas, is that there is a rather large (possibly just big-boned though, if he’s anything like Obelix), generous old man who has nothing better to do at the end of a year than to give children toys (not that we’re objecting). Now, I’m not exactly sure if his ability to get into people’s houses could be considered a quirk or not, but let’s not think too much about that. Let us think instead, about St. Nick/Santa’s character. For example, he is a jolly old man who might or might not employ his house-entering talents (heaven forbid Santa be accused of breaking and entering) for burglary on all days other than Christmas Eve.

I am supporting this theory with the knowledge that when you’re a kid, and your house has no chimney and you start panicking about him missing your house, your parents tell you that he either magics himself through the mail slot, warps into the house, is given a spare key (or he could just be an expert at lock picking) or any variation of those stories. And for those who do have the chimney, has anyone ever wondered how exactly he manages to get inside those ultra tiny ones? I mean come on! He has to get inside, wiggle his way down to the fireplace (which he can only hope isn’t burning), then actually manage to climb out of the fireplace and hope no one is going to throw a Campbell’s Soup can at him.* Then, he has to squirm his way back up the chimney, pop out the top like a cork out of a bottle, dust all the soot off his clothes and out of his beard, and then jump in the sleigh so he can go to another house and do it again. How does he get this done in just one night?

Of course, the post wasn’t originally going to feature so much Christmasy content, it was going to be about character quirks. Here are a few examples of good quirks (in my opinion):

  1. King Bumi’s eye twitch and snorting laugh (he’s from Avatar: The Last Airbender)
  2. A person’s head moving slightly from side to side and their tongue darting out every time their brain-cage starts moving the other way (it would be even better if that tongue happened to be slitted)
  3. Sketching in midair to think things out, and tapping on an imaginary keyboard while talking

Those are just three examples of what I think would make brilliant character quirks. Honestly, those are cool ones. Another one I considered was a character compulsively going up to people and telling them “You look nice,” or “Your hair is lovely,” or “Your eyes are gorgeous!” or “Love your makeup” etc. However, depending on the character’s personality, this might just be annoying rather than flattering. ^^’

Another character quirk (in my opinion) would be using obscure words to convey how happy they are. And I think that’s about all I have to say on this subject, so there’s my two cents. :P Also, before this post is over, I was just wondering what sorts of quirks you readers find interesting in characters? Like what sorts of quirks you like in a character, what sorts you don’t like, what sorts border on superpowers…. whatever. To repeat what I said earlier, what sorts of quirks you readers find interesting in characters.

As You WishAs You Wish by Jackson Pearce

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How to describe “As You Wish”? In one word, it is stupendous!

In another… outstanding!

In yet another, it’s outrageous (but only because Viola actually got mad at Jinn in the movie theatre). Using more than one particular word though? Give me a minute to tap my chin and attempt to look thoughtful.

Now, when I found out about Jackson Pearce (I still forget how that happened exactly but I don’t particularly care) I had mislaid my library card. So seeing as I couldn’t read her books, I watched her online videos. Not only do they make me laugh but they also impart wisdom on occasion. So when I found “Sisters Red” in my local bookstore when I went there for my birthday this year, I got it and read it and loved it! Two Little Red Riding Hoods running around waving a “Kill the Werewolves!” banner (okay I exaggerate, just one did that). Who wouldn’t be interested in this literary jewel? Yesterday morning for Christmas I unwrapped “As You Wish” and immediately started screaming!

Why? Because I had been looking for it forever … (maybe not forever but since I found out about Jackson Pearce a short while ago) and read that it was about a genie and a girl falling in love and that most certainly sounds fantastic to me. For some unknown reason, I seemed to think it would be like “Sisters Red”. It’s a good thing time machines haven’t been invented yet because if they had been, I’d have gone back to give my past self a kick in the pants. With “Sisters Red” I was hooked pretty-much immediately but “As You Wish” started with me feeling curious about the first sentence. By the end of the first paragraph, I was laughing as was my Aunt, my Grandmother, my Mom, and basically anyone else I showed it to. I couldn’t really read during the visit but I did manage to get one hundred and eighty pages in before my sister and my Mom mainly finished with what they wanted to say to our Christmas company. In those first hundred and eighty pages, I found that not only is “As You Wish” drastically different (what with the whole absence of any one-eyed sisters in red capes running around trying to kill characters) but I loved it even more than “Sisters Red” which I had not thought humanly possible. Even though I have never been in a situation that Viola has been in, I connected with her quite well with most of my internal dialogue during the book being “oh you poor girl, come here, let me give you a hug then let’s go out for some hot chocolate with whipped cream”.

Of course, I did have my moments where I got upset with Viola but if I told you those parts this would be a review containing spoilers, so let’s switch to Jinn. Otherworldly Jinn. Handsome Jinn. Mouthwateringly gorgeous Jinn… before I go on with the titles and possibly embarrass myself if I haven’t already, I should probably take an axe to that particular branch of this review. Jinn was not (to me at least) your typical love interest character. I mean sure, the genies you usually read about are either lamp-bound, stuck in some other world where they’re all the same and they love annoying magicians (think Bartimaeus) or other such stereotypes. Bartimaeus did create what Disney didn’t with what I thought of genies but I think Jackson Pearce replaced Disney so Bartimaeus is now balancing against Jinn. Jinn is funny and impatient to head home but even better…he is a florist! Or rather, someone who works for the florist. The way his friendship with Viola and Lawrence developed and how his feelings for Viola grew, were very well written. I find myself wishing that I had just so happened to sidle into the book and knock Viola into a cupboard so I could get a kiss from Jinn or something while his eyes were conveniently closed so he wouldn’t notice the switch.

The plot, the execution of the plot, the character growth and the overall moral theme was coupled with my previously monumental respect and admiration for Jackson Pearce and it skyrocketed into one of the tallest buildings in my head after completing this book!

All I can say is that I fervently hope there will be a sequel and that seeing as I have loved these two books, I can’t wait to see what her next book, “The Damn Historical Novel” turns out to be like.

Oh Jackson, let’s do lunch!

View all my reviews

 

Chuck Norris does not use spell check. If he happens to misspell a word, Oxford will simply change the actual spelling of it.

Christmas morning is the day where spelling errors are seemingly acceptable because no one else is paying attention to what you are doing. Everyone is much too busy adoring/reading/touching or figuring out how long the presents are going to last. I will probably end up in the reading category if I get any of the books I have wished for on my list. Seeing as this will probably be posted automatically before I’m awake, since I can never seem to get to sleep immediately on Christmas Eve and it happens for me much later. I still don’t know what I’ve gotten exactly. However, yours truly is probably bouncing up and down in excitement at the thought that I’m finally getting to know just what the heck has been wrapped and taunting me until the big unveil.

Let us all take a moment to hope that we all got some form of candy (and for writers, let us hope your stockings got filled with chocolate and coffee to fuel your sudden writing fevers).

Seeing as you probably want to get to your family members so that you can enjoy Christmas, let us end the post here so that you may do so.

A very warm “Merry Christmas!” to all who celebrate it!

To those who celebrate other holidays, may your’s be just as joyous! I wish you all the very best of everything life has to offer.

When I wrote the post on how she terrorized my poached egg, I remembered a very short story I had written for school revolving around the Baked Alaska she made in the ancient times where cavemen roamed the earth and she had to contend with dragons in her oven if she wanted to actually bake anything. This time is also known as the birth of her blog, which some people seem to believe actually happened in the twenty-first century (how ludicrous). So I decided that it would be a perfect reblogging opportunity, and crawled through the dusty archives (a.k.a. simply put “baked alaska” in the search enginge) and finally found it under miles of dust. I probably won’t stop sneezing for a year, so you had better appreciate the effort. :P It’s also from the days where I mainly ran the blog Chaos of LCD & KenKaniff, which later became & Co.

While You Wait: A Tale of Baked Alaska This entry is a contribution from my sister (she has her own blog, co-run, called Chaos of LCD & Kenkaniff), who had to choose a natural disaster to write about for an assignment for class and she chose the one she knows best: me when experimenting in the kitchen. She wrote it around the time I was making baked Alaska. Hope you enjoy. A nat … Read More

via ♥ Z’s Cup of Tea

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