The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  fantastica on 7/22/2012, 4:15 pm

chris is a very visual person. the books srceams movie adaptations through and through. the story is action based, not so much character based, that's why it would work easily in a movie or tv or cartoon. I said it in another thread that 4 yrs of college majoring in english literature would probably do him a lot of good in terms of learning the craft of writing as a pro. what he does have is the raw talent of story telling. that's not easily learned.

I am almost 2/3 through but since I haven't finished yet I will reframe from more comments and won't read all your smart ladies' spoilerish reviews yet. neutre

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  brisallie on 7/22/2012, 4:23 pm

^
You're right Kim. Though I'm just in chapter 3 due to lack of time, I'm agree with you that this book could be a good movie adaptation. Actually It have been so easy for me picture each scene in my head like if were a story motion.

Umm I don't know if it just me but when I read the physical description of the twins and Mrs Bailey, immediately came to my mind the sister and mom of Chris respectively. In addition (probably this's an spoiler) Mrs Bailey is a nurse, wasn't his mom a nurse?

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  fantastica on 7/22/2012, 4:26 pm

^ yup.

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  Delight on 7/23/2012, 11:22 am

ColferGirl wrote:You have no idea how relieved I am that you wrote this....I actually started a post about my thoughts on the book last Thursday, since I finished reading it quickly, but I had several critical comments about it so I was afraid to post my opinion...and you posting yours made me feel better about posting mine. (I have the self-confidence of an ant unsure )

Haha, you shouldn't be afraid to be critical of Chris's work. We may be fans, and we're probably biased to some degree no matter how hard we try not to be, but that doesn't mean that we have to be completely blind in our devotion to him to the extent that everything he does is perfect and flawless Smile

Besides, there is no doubt that some aspects of the book can be improved upon. To think that Chris 'can't do better' is wrong. Chris can definitely improve and do better, and we wish to see some growth in him as a writer in the sequel.


ColferGirl wrote:
On that note, while the characters were all very fanciful and entertaining on a base level, there wasn't much character development.


Hm... you do have a point there. I suppose I would consider Froggy the character with the most character development, in the sense that he managed to overcome some inherent fears and change for the better in the end.


ColferGirl wrote:I really liked her character and the motivations and background Chris gave to her, and how the Magic Mirror ended up being her lover, and I especially liked the twist that she got to use the Wishing Spell for herself (so technically, the villain succeeded in this story in a way...to be followed by greater tragedy).

Yes, I like the Evil Queen's backstory too. It managed to provide an origin story as to how she acquired her skills in magic and poisons, and why she was so obsessed with preserving her youthful appearance. It also explained why the man in the mirror had the tendency to speak in sentences that rhyme.

ColferGirl wrote:His writing style was simultaneously very visual and empty of detail at points; sometimes I could picture something perfectly (Froggy's house, the perspiration dripping down the glass of the Magic Mirror), or not at all (Goldilock's fight scene with the Huntress).


The Goldilocks fight scene with the Huntress definitely feels less epic than it should have been. Not only that scene though, but all the fight scenes in general failed to suck me in as a reader. For example, the previous scene where Goldilocks fought off the wolf pack was adequately described (so that at least I know what is happening), but it wasn't 'exciting' enough for me.

ColferGirl wrote:His voices for the Magic Mirror and the Evil Witch at the gingerbread house are my favorites so far, I never thought I'd hear either of those voices ever come out of Chris's mouth, and when they did I was so surprised and happy that my grin practically split my face, I was smiling so hard. Smile

Gah! This makes me want to listen to the audiobook even more! If only I've exercised a few brain cells and actually knew to order both the book and the audiobook together when I made my order online.

Sigh... what's done is done.
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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  brisallie on 7/23/2012, 12:27 pm

@Colfergirl

I'm just starting the chapter where Alex fell into the Land od Stories but I wanna ask you something about writing style, actually more visual than technical.

Spoiler:
... He completely startled her. Alex lost her balance and fell headfirst into the book!
"AAALLLEEEXXX!" Conner cried out to his sister...

I understand he wanted to emphasize the scream, but isn't visually How could I say? Too much. It wouldn't have been better to put lots of exclamation marks instead?

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  ColferGirl on 7/23/2012, 1:49 pm

Delight wrote:

Haha, you shouldn't be afraid to be critical of Chris's work. We may be fans, and we're probably biased to some degree no matter how hard we try not to be, but that doesn't mean that we have to be completely blind in our devotion to him to the extent that everything he does is perfect and flawless Smile

@the bolded, ain't that the truth. fanny2

But thanks for the reassurance, Delight. neutre

Delight wrote:

Hm... you do have a point there. I suppose I would consider Froggy the character with the most character development, in the sense that he managed to overcome some inherent fears and change for the better in the end.

Yes, I'd agree that of all the characters, Froggy probably expressed the most development. Red Riding Hood also had a little, since she did finally try to make amends in the end, although her apology left much to be desired. Razz


Delight wrote:

The Goldilocks fight scene with the Huntress definitely feels less epic than it should have been. Not only that scene though, but all the fight scenes in general failed to suck me in as a reader. For example, the previous scene where Goldilocks fought off the wolf pack was adequately described (so that at least I know what is happening), but it wasn't 'exciting' enough for me.

I agree, they were lacking. And on the one hand I wonder if the fights were so undetailed because Chris was trying to keep the story very PG for his children audience, as you mentioned in your other post, or if it was a writing flaw on his part. This is one instance where I think the story would benefit greatly by a movie adaptation somewhere along the line to portray these fight scenes better. But, if Chris writes TLOS similar to how J.K. Rowling did Harry Potter - the books get darker as the characters get older and the targeted audience grows up - then maybe we'll see more detailed, epic fight scenes in future stories.

Delight wrote:

Gah! This makes me want to listen to the audiobook even more! If only I've exercised a few brain cells and actually knew to order both the book and the audiobook together when I made my order online.

Sigh... what's done is done.

You should definitely try and get it someday, it's definitely worth it, it's sooooo good. hapitgh Since I'm not familiar with audiobooks I'm not sure if it's Grammy award worthy, but I certainly enjoyed it immensely. He also did half of an entire chapter in what sounded to me like a British accent of sorts (???), and then he did different dialects (???) of British for the characters that spoke during that segment, and that was really neat and impressive too.

I'm talking about the "journal" voice and Hagatha and the Tradesman for anyone who's also listening to the audiobook, and may be able to clarify what those accents were, since I'm not totally positive - I just know I liked them.

brisallie wrote:@Colfergirl

I'm just starting the chapter where Alex fell into the Land od Stories but I wanna ask you something about writing style, actually more visual than technical.

Spoiler:
... He completely startled her. Alex lost her balance and fell headfirst into the book!
"AAALLLEEEXXX!" Conner cried out to his sister...

I understand he wanted to emphasize the scream, but isn't visually How could I say? Too much. It wouldn't have been better to put lots of exclamation marks instead?

I can't explain what he should have done without being a bit long-winded...so I'm sorry in advance for this following writing lesson, since I'm sure you just wanted a short, simple answer. ooppss

Spoiler:

In literary fiction, you wouldn't want to visually emphasize that word at all. In the writing world literary fiction is the "highest standard" of literature, so to be a "pro" you usually aim to write - on a technical level, not a personal artistic style level - like the literary masters (Raymond Carver, Ernest Hemingway, etc.). However, writing is also tricky in the sense that, like all art, rules can be broken to suit your personal style - but only if you know what they are to begin with.

So, the way Chris should have written that - as taught by creative writing classes - would be;

"Alex!!" Conner screamed.

or, less commonly but still used, an italics emphasis

"Alex!!" Conner screamed.

The rule for dialogue in writing is that the words being spoken and/or the event surrounding that dialogue should already imply to the reader how much emotion is in the words or how they should be said, and if you need extra emphasis on top of that, you change "said" to whatever word would appropriately express that emotion.

Conner's sister just fell into a magic book, maybe to her doom. We already have our implied surrounding event that this is a desperate, scary situation. So writing that sentence like this:

"Alex!!" Conner screamed.

instead of "ALLLLEEEEEEEXXXXXX!!!" Conner cried out to his sister.

does the same job just as effectively. You can imagine based just on the word "screamed" that Conner is crying out Alex's name desperately and loudly; you don't really need to see the visual of AAALLLEEEXXX to understand. Also, it's already implied by him screaming Alex's name - his sister's name - that Conner is crying out to his sister, so you'd eliminate the "to his sister" part as well. And if you still wanted an extra visual oomph, you'd add the italics; George R. R. Martin of Game of Thrones fame writes his shrieks, yells, shouting, screams, etc. that way, through simple italics and an appropriate word replacement for "said."

However, even though this is how you "should" write, not all writers do, of course. I've read wonderful books like the Chaos Walking trilogy which completely disregard that rule and write shouting in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS for emphasis, even if you're technically not supposed to, and it worked for them (but that writer also played around with capital letters in several ways throughout the entire trilogy, sometimes for plot reasons). But in Chris's case, who wasn't going for a cool stylistic choice with capitals, I think it would have been better if he'd gone with a simple italics or no emphasis at all, since the surrounding event already leads you to imagine that Conner would have cried her name out desperately.

Writing lesson over. ooppss
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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  fantastica on 7/23/2012, 1:59 pm

one day maybe that ubiquitous "lol" will appear in chris' book. nowadays people spend so much time writing informally online where all kinds of "wrong" styles are used it's hard to go back to the formal rules. sometimes I dont even remember which is right and which is wrong. I learn all kinds of bad grammar and bad writing online. Razz

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  ChrisColferFan1 on 7/23/2012, 2:00 pm

I have not brought the book yet,but plan to soon. Question for any one who as the audiobook.About how many voices did Chris do for the audiobook?

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  ColferGirl on 7/23/2012, 3:11 pm

fantastica wrote: one day maybe that ubiquitous "lol" will appear in chris' book. nowadays people spend so much time writing informally online where all kinds of "wrong" styles are used it's hard to go back to the formal rules. sometimes I dont even remember which is right and which is wrong. I learn all kinds of bad grammar and bad writing online.

There's no such thing as a wrong style of writing....but there is such a thing as bad technique. Your writing style can be wonderful, but your technical writing skills can suck. They're very different things. hapitgh

It's just like how rap, country, pop, rock, etc. are all different styles of singing, but none of them are "wrong" styles. However, the technical skill and technique of those singers can vary from excellent to awful.

FanofChrisC&MaxA1 wrote:I have not brought the book yet,but plan to soon. Question for any one who as the audiobook.About how many voices did Chris do for the audiobook?

He literally tried to do a unique voice for every single character - so, 70 or so voices. Some of the voices sound slightly similar in nuance, but each one has at least some small difference to differentiate the character from another.

But I'd say most of the character voices, particularly in the fairytale world, are vastly different. Goldilocks sounds nothing like Red Riding Hood; the Evil Witch sounds not even remotely like the Evil Queen; the Magic Mirror is awesomeness personified and sounds like no other thing, period; the wolves have a guttural, rumbly sound to them unlike the other creatures; Alex and Conner themselves clearly have different voices.
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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  ChrisColferFan1 on 7/23/2012, 3:43 pm

ColferGirl wrote:

He literally tried to do a unique voice for every single character - so, 70 or so voices. Some of the voices sound slightly similar in nuance, but each one has at least some small difference to differentiate the character from another.

But I'd say most of the character voices, particularly in the fairytale world, are vastly different. Goldilocks sounds nothing like Red Riding Hood; the Evil Witch sounds not even remotely like the Evil Queen; the Magic Mirror is awesomeness personified and sounds like no other thing, period; the wolves have a guttural, rumbly sound to them unlike the other creatures; Alex and Conner themselves clearly have different voices.



Okay thank you.

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  fantastica on 7/23/2012, 3:48 pm

I have listened to many audio books before (mostly NOT in English). you don't have to have a unique voice for every character. heck even in movies where each character is played by different people, if you just listen to the vocal track and not look at images, you may not be able to distinguish most guys from another. I mean most guys sound very similar voice wise. so are most females. I am going to buy the audio book now since I just finished the book. I love it, even if it's not technically a very sophistigated product. Chris has a natural gift in story telling. the book overall is fun to read. i am looking forward to read the sequal when it comes out.

p.s. like I said before this book screams movie adaptations. sometimes I feel that chris is merely describing a movie played in his own head. in situations where he doesn't go very much in detail (say the battle scenes), i guess it's because he's not seeing (in his head) too much detail himself, or from what I heard his original version was a probably twice as long so he had to cut down a great deal out of it during revisions.

movies aside, this book can definitely be turned into an interactive video game, where the challenge is for the player to collect the various items while escaping from the chasing enemies.

@colfergirl, thanks for the explaination/clarification. Smile


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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  brisallie on 7/23/2012, 6:54 pm

ColferGirl wrote:...

I can't explain what he should have done without being a bit long-winded...so I'm sorry in advance for this following writing lesson, since I'm sure you just wanted a short, simple answer. ooppss

Spoiler:

In literary fiction, you wouldn't want to visually emphasize that word at all. In the writing world literary fiction is the "highest standard" of literature, so to be a "pro" you usually aim to write - on a technical level, not a personal artistic style level - like the literary masters (Raymond Carver, Ernest Hemingway, etc.). However, writing is also tricky in the sense that, like all art, rules can be broken to suit your personal style - but only if you know what they are to begin with.

So, the way Chris should have written that - as taught by creative writing classes - would be;

"Alex!!" Conner screamed.

or, less commonly but still used, an italics emphasis

"Alex!!" Conner screamed.

The rule for dialogue in writing is that the words being spoken and/or the event surrounding that dialogue should already imply to the reader how much emotion is in the words or how they should be said, and if you need extra emphasis on top of that, you change "said" to whatever word would appropriately express that emotion.

Conner's sister just fell into a magic book, maybe to her doom. We already have our implied surrounding event that this is a desperate, scary situation. So writing that sentence like this:

"Alex!!" Conner screamed.

instead of "ALLLLEEEEEEEXXXXXX!!!" Conner cried out to his sister.

does the same job just as effectively. You can imagine based just on the word "screamed" that Conner is crying out Alex's name desperately and loudly; you don't really need to see the visual of AAALLLEEEXXX to understand. Also, it's already implied by him screaming Alex's name - his sister's name - that Conner is crying out to his sister, so you'd eliminate the "to his sister" part as well. And if you still wanted an extra visual oomph, you'd add the italics; George R. R. Martin of Game of Thrones fame writes his shrieks, yells, shouting, screams, etc. that way, through simple italics and an appropriate word replacement for "said."

However, even though this is how you "should" write, not all writers do, of course. I've read wonderful books like the Chaos Walking trilogy which completely disregard that rule and write shouting in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS for emphasis, even if you're technically not supposed to, and it worked for them (but that writer also played around with capital letters in several ways throughout the entire trilogy, sometimes for plot reasons). But in Chris's case, who wasn't going for a cool stylistic choice with capitals, I think it would have been better if he'd gone with a simple italics or no emphasis at all, since the surrounding event already leads you to imagine that Conner would have cried her name out desperately.

Writing lesson over. ooppss

I was expecting a shorter answer but I like how this turned into a lesson about how write according to literary rules or sth like that. Personally I don't care if people use italics or capital letters to emphasize something, because is still visually bearable but
Spoiler:
AAALLLEEEXXX! as I said before it was aesthetically and literary too much,because as you have pointed the sentence that came after that explained very well that poor Conner was desperated.

However, each writer has their own style and honestly nowadays most of them are influenced by internet, so as Kim said, something we forgot how to write properly because on internet you're free to write as you want. But still I think when is about books you have to respect some rules. That what my teacher of Literature taught me at school.

Today I read more pages, though I couldn't read more than I wanted to. And personally I like this paragraph:
Spoiler:
"Conner" Alex whispered close to him. "Look around at this place! It's like we're having our own Lucy and Mr.Tumnus moment!"...

Love the Narnia reference wub

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  Delight on 7/24/2012, 10:56 am

ColferGirl wrote:
Yes, I'd agree that of all the characters, Froggy probably expressed the most development. Red Riding Hood also had a little, since she did finally try to make amends in the end, although her apology left much to be desired. Razz

Red's apology scene is one of my favourite scenes in the book Smile

It's almost endearing, how unrepentantly obnoxious her apology was Razz

ColferGirl wrote:
I agree, they were lacking. And on the one hand I wonder if the fights were so undetailed because Chris was trying to keep the story very PG for his children audience, as you mentioned in your other post, or if it was a writing flaw on his part.

That's a good point you've made there. Glorfindel had mentioned before that she can't judge a Glee singer's true vocal range based entirely on what was demonstrated on the show. The singer may have been able to sing in a range greater than what was shown, but was just never given the opportunity to demonstrate it.

So, in this instance, maybe Chris could write more detailed fight scenes, but out of consideration for his young audience, he may have chosen to simplify things and keep things gore-free.

TLOS is not even a YA book, so there will need to be some limit to how much violence can be depicted.

ColferGirl wrote:
You should definitely try and get it someday, it's definitely worth it, it's sooooo good. hapitgh Since I'm not familiar with audiobooks I'm not sure if it's Grammy award worthy, but I certainly enjoyed it immensely.

The audiobook is sounding better and better. I think there aren't that many authors out there who can narrate their own book and come up with a distinctive voice for each character, especially when there are so many characters. It's quite amazing to think that when Chris imagined these characters, he also created, in his mind, their own voices and accents.

ColferGirl wrote:
There's no such thing as a wrong style of writing....but there is such a thing as bad technique. Your writing style can be wonderful, but your technical writing skills can suck. They're very different things. hapitgh

*Listens intently and takes down notes*

What would you consider a poor 'technical writing skill'? Can you give an example?
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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  fantastica on 7/24/2012, 11:52 am

^ u r so funny delight. it's true there are so many things we can learn from this forum, whether it's music or creative writing.

i don't think chris is the type who enjoys blood and gore in movies or in writing. he seems too "clean" for me. If I were him I would write really disgusting things, having someone's eyeballs poking out, or milky juices spilling out one's skull when crushed (not that I have actually seen any, but i can "foresee" it). Since he's not hte kind who likely watch a lot of fighting movies it maybe hard for him to envision a truly epic battle scene. on the other hand, it's perfect for chldren's book. people like me will only give readers nightmares (because I love to).

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  valkeakuulas on 7/24/2012, 6:07 pm

Without reading anybodys opinion previously posted (selfish, will return to them) so here's what I got from reading The Wishing Spell:

I enjoyed it tremendously. Slowed down to read and actually read each sentence: I tend to speed read with little understanding of the actual finer points of stories.

It was a children's book and I'm known to grab few YA novels every now and then for my reading list and this one fits quite well amongst all the ones I've read. What I took from the book first hand is the amazing characters that were rampart in the book. But Alex is still my favorite and perhaps that is because I felt her mind was the most explained and dwelled in and I know I would have loved her if I was around ten-twelwe yo.

And yes you can see what might happen about the fathers storyline, but even that happens only half way through the story. And despite that there were quite nice suprises along the way, I had not guessed where the fairies tears would be found for the second time. And that time frame slowing down is nicely explained and fits the story.

I do not want to analyse the book too much because the experience overall was nice and I do read to be entertained and for my enjoyment. The language or grammar was not noticable or out off place for me, so can not really talk about that either. But in all, Chris is a storyteller and can only progress further. And the way he writers females is amazing and refreshing, these fantasy novels for YA are so often dominated by teenaged boy characters even though the sad fact is that girls read more. I can only wait for SBL but I can see him creating more of these women, girls and wise-cracking boys in the future. Four stars for a good start.
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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  valkeakuulas on 7/24/2012, 6:52 pm

Delight wrote:
ColferGirl wrote:
I agree, they were lacking. And on the one hand I wonder if the fights were so undetailed because Chris was trying to keep the story very PG for his children audience, as you mentioned in your other post, or if it was a writing flaw on his part.

That's a good point you've made there. Glorfindel had mentioned before that she can't judge a Glee singer's true vocal range based entirely on what was demonstrated on the show. The singer may have been able to sing in a range greater than what was shown, but was just never given the opportunity to demonstrate it.

So, in this instance, maybe Chris could write more detailed fight scenes, but out of consideration for his young audience, he may have chosen to simplify things and keep things gore-free.

TLOS is not even a YA book, so there will need to be some limit to how much violence can be depicted.

The fight scenes are probably PGed down to their rightful level. I was even astounded how unexpectedly and visually Jack was "allowed" to be stabbed by the Huntress and the actual death of the Huntsman. And that Thornbush Pit with the skeletons was giving even me shivers. So maybe there were some discrepancies in the visual aspects of storytelling, which ColferGirl I agree, a good editor could notice and ask for coherence.

About the evil in the book: my personal pet peeve in picture books, that I read at story hours for kids, is the fact that wolves are always the bad ones in fairy tales and stories. Usually it's wolves or foxes so Malumclaw and The Big Bad Wolf Pack was a bit of a difficult idea for me. I get that basically every fairy tale Chris used has a bad wolf in it in some form or another so using wolves is a valid point, it's fabel tradition.

And another side note (these just keep rising) what about the lacking of the Three Little Piggies from this story despite the fact that their houses are clearly visible on the map on The Red Ridding Hood Kingdom? I'm thinking whether they were included in the version sent to Dorman? He better include the Three Little Piggies for the next book! That is one of my favorite fairy tale. Smile

OT: I would like to see a childrens story where a cute little hedgehog or a fluffy bunny would be terribly evil. Twisted Evil I thought the Big Pink Bear in Toy Story 3 was terrifying just because of that.
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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  fantastica on 7/24/2012, 7:54 pm

too bad big bad wolves are bad through and through. next book chris may want to explain that they are not bad, just hungry and try to survive. I love wolves. they are my favorite doggies. it's the human that I hate because we destroy everything along our path, including wolves, and we enslave those like horses for our own benefit. human are truly evil. I hope one day chris will realize it and write it in a book - humans are hte source of true evil.

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  Divalicious on 7/24/2012, 8:20 pm

We already know from previous interviews that Chris has characters for his world who didn't get exposure. I am sure with the fact the three little pigs are on the map, they'll be in the next book, just like the little woman in the shoe-who is a boozer.

I am also partial to wolves, and hope for their redemption as well.

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  brisallie on 7/24/2012, 9:06 pm



To be honest I haven't read the fighting scene yet, I mean I have only read the first encounter between Goldilocks and the wolves, but it seems some future scenes are gonna be slightly gory humhum . Overall I think and feel that children has been exposed to violence in books since a young age, I mean if you re-read the classics; the witch wanted to eat Hansel and Gretel, then according to some versions- most of them I believe- the wolf ate Red Riding Hood's grandmom, probably the difference is those scenes have never been explicitly told and is supposed they have been sugarcoated compared with the original text.

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  ColferGirl on 7/24/2012, 11:30 pm

Delight wrote:

*Listens intently and takes down notes*

What would you consider a poor 'technical writing skill'? Can you give an example?

I can give you three examples of poor technical writing off the top of my head. A disclaimer though, before I start.

Disclaimer: All these examples are from what I've learned in my college writing classes and also in how-to-write books from published, famous authors - like Stephen King - who say these are all huge writing flaws. However, there will always be someone who disagrees with these rules and think the flaws can be used for a good reason, in moderation, and sometimes they are right. Occassionally they can work. Overall, you should try to do any of these flaws as little as possible, and all the "best" writers don't do them. (Of course, what the literary world considers the "best" writers and pieces of fiction isn't necessarily what the average reader would consider the best. That's where opinions come in, especially if you're someone who reads for the sheer enjoyment of the story and ignore - or don't recognize - amazing writing styles or writing craft. Everyone has different favorites, but the "literary best" are stories and authors who have exceptional styles and craft.)



First example of a poor writing skill = Using "Passive Voice" instead of "Active Voice".

When you write, brevity and clarity are the most important. You want to be as clear and concise as possible, and use as few words as possible to do it. This makes writing flow better, makes it less cluttered, and makes it easiest to understand. A writer doesn't want confusion to get in the way of someone enjoying their story. Passive Voice sentences use a lot of words and are unclear, and harder to understand, while Active Voice sentences are the opposite. Therefore, Active Voice is preferred. (And it's considered bad form to use mainly Passive Voice because of this)

Examples of a Passive Voice sentence = The man was bitten by the dog.

By then, the soundtrack will have been completely remixed by the sound engineers.

Examples of an Active Voice sentence = The dog bit the man.

By then, the sound engineers will have completely remixed the soundtrack.




Second example of a poor writing skill = Using cliches.

There are different types of cliche, but in technical writing terms, a cliche is an overused way to describe something. Examples being;

"She was light as a feather"; "He ran fast as the wind"; "The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife"; "Her hand was as cold as ice" etc.

In good writing, the author is expected to be able to come up with a more original, creative way of describing something instead of relying on these old cliches as a crutch. If I ever used any cliche whatsoever in my writing classes it would be marked down by an instructor, and I was told to try describing it again in a fresh way. If you're a good writer, you should be able to describe things on your own.




Third example of a poor writing skill = Abusing - and basically just using - adverbs.

Adverbs are modifying words, and more often than not, they are unnecessary because the word they're describing already inherently has that quality/meaning. Examples, the adverbs are in italics;


"Get away from me!" Mark growled angrily.

Sarah darted quickly away from the policeman.

Mylie smiled joyously.


In each of these cases, the words right before the adverb already inherently implied what the adverb was trying to say. If someone's growling at you, then they're angry - the reader understands this from the dialogue, the situation surrounding the dialogue, and from the word "growled". Adding "angrily" is being redundant, because it's obvious the character is mad.

Same with darted quickly - if you're darting, that verb already means "to move quickly", you don't need an extra quickly to make that clear.

The third example is a bit more ambiguous and will rely on the context of the scene as well (since sometimes people smile because they're sad, or beng impish, etc.) But if the scene is a pleasant one, if that character is happy, then of course her smile is from joy. "Joyously" then becomes an unneeded filler that's cluttering your writing, thus it should be removed.


Anyway.....I hope that was something of what you were looking for, Delight. neutre I love writing and reading, and I love discussing both, so I don't mind sharing what I know about them from a formal standpoint.
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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  fantastica on 7/25/2012, 12:07 am

oooh, thanx a lot for the lesson! sure very helpful even though I am not Delight. Smile I should pay a lot more attention to my post writing from now on. when writing poorly becomes a habit, it's hard to correct.

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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  Delight on 7/25/2012, 6:35 am

fantastica wrote:it's true there are so many things we can learn from this forum, whether it's music or creative writing.

We've had Glorfindel to teach us all about music and singing, which was awesome.

Now we're lucky to have ColferGirl to show us some ropes in creative writing neutre

I also have an interest in storytelling, mainly in the form of pictures/comics or written stories. My dreams of becoming an author or comic artist died years ago because of my laziness and lack of perseverance, but writing stories is still something that gives me a great sense of satisfaction when I'm motivated enough to do it.

valkeakuulas wrote:
About the evil in the book: my personal pet peeve in picture books, that I read at story hours for kids, is the fact that wolves are always the bad ones in fairy tales and stories.

I have a soft spot for wolves too. One of the best fantasy characters I've encountered while reading various fantasy novels out there happens to be a wolf-- 'Nighteyes' in the Farseer trilogy.



Also, the 'Big Bad Wolf' in the Fables graphic novel series happens to be a nice guy too.

valkeakuulas wrote:
OT: I would like to see a childrens story where a cute little hedgehog or a fluffy bunny would be terribly evil. Twisted Evil I thought the Big Pink Bear in Toy Story 3 was terrifying just because of that.

It has already been done. The villain in the Hoodwinked cartoon was an evil bunny. fanny2



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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  Delight on 7/25/2012, 7:01 am

ColferGirl wrote:
Delight wrote:

*Listens intently and takes down notes*

What would you consider a poor 'technical writing skill'? Can you give an example?

I can give you three examples of poor technical writing off the top of my head. A disclaimer though, before I start.

Thanks for the tips in creative writing neutre . I've read one or two how-to-write books quite some time ago, and those examples you've quoted sound familiar.

ColferGirl wrote:
When you write, brevity and clarity are the most important. You want to be as clear and concise as possible, and use as few words as possible to do it. This makes writing flow better, makes it less cluttered, and makes it easiest to understand.

I think sometimes new writers fall into the trap of trying to make sentences too lengthy and fancy, in order to 'impress' the readers. It's actually the concise and clearly written sentence that wins points.

The Active voice/Passive voice thing was something that I had struggled with before. I was overly fond of writing sentences in the passive voice, thinking that it sounded better.

ColferGirl wrote:If you're a good writer, you should be able to describe things on your own.

I can see examples of Chris trying to describe things in his unique way in the book. One that struck me was the magnet and paperclip one.

ColferGirl wrote:Anyway.....I hope that was something of what you were looking for, Delight. neutre I love writing and reading, and I love discussing both, so I don't mind sharing what I know about them from a formal standpoint.

I really appreciate the time you took to explain things in such detail for me neutre .

When you're back from seeing Chris on the book tour, I'd like it if you can elaborate a bit more about what you mean when you said that a writer can have a wonderful writing style but bad technical writing skills. I've always assumed that those two go hand in hand.
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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  Glorfindel on 7/25/2012, 9:19 am

I haven't started reading LoS yet, because I just came home yesterday, and I have a zillion other things to do before I can sit back and enjoy this book (like watching all the new interviews of Chris). fanny2
Although I'm tempted to start reading LoS, so I can comment on it quickly, I decided to wait till I'm less busy in a couple of days, and not rush through it. A book can only be read for the first time once, and I want to savour every moment I have exploring Chris' book, taking it slow, because it will probably be over too soon anyway.
I've sort of skimmed over this thread, to not get spoiled, but I wanted to share this with you:

My 14-year old daughter snatched LoS out of my hands as soon as we got home from holiday (gladly I got 2 copies, and the audiobook). She started reading in it immediately, and even though we had a long and tiring journey home, she couldn't put the book down and read and read in her bed, going to sleep much too late.
Remember: she is Dutch and has had only 2 years of English in high school. But she can understand the writing perfectly and thinks it's a wonderful book. She is very enthusiastic about the story, wanting to quote parts of it to me (but I won't allow her so I stay unspoiled). She is laughing a lot while reading and loving the (sarcastic) remarks and the fairytales characters' futures as Chris invented them.

It's wonderful for me to see her enjoyment over this book, because she is part of the audience Chris was aiming for. My daughter loves reading and can be very critical about what she reads, so that's even extra praise for Chris.
Of course: the editing problems that are mentioned by others don't get noticed by her because she is not a native English speaker, but I think that if something about the writing/pacing of the book would irritate her she would tell me.

My other daughter (who is 10) wants me to read the book to her. I will do so, but will have to translate while I read out loud. That might be challenging, but fun! But first I want to read it myself!!!



The only downside to the book so far is that in our copies the map is missing. But I copied and pasted a picture of it and printed it in a small format, laminated it, and now we use it as a bookmarker.



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Re: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell Read and Discuss thread!

Post  Glorfindel on 7/25/2012, 9:23 am

And then there's this:

Audio of the The Magic Harp’s song - Chris Colfer

Oh Chris: Zing, went the strings of my heart. wub


(Why do I get the feeling I will be making a voice review about the audiobook at some point?)

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