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Character Profiles January 29, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bride-To-Be @ 1:52 am

Character Profile Worksheet

Basic Statistics

Name: Sela Jergins

Age: 16

Nationality: American

Socioeconomic Level as a child: Middle

Socioeconomic Level as an adult: n/a

Hometown: Cinaville     

Current Residence: Cinaville

Occupation: Student

Income: $0 … her mom doesn’t want her to get a job

Talents/Skills: she doesn’t know it but she has a gift with animals. She discovers it … he mom crushes it.

Salary: $0

Birth order: only

Siblings (describe relationship): n/a

Spouse (describe relationship): n/a

Children (describe relationship): n/a

Grandparents (describe relationship): They live far away, Florida, … disconnected from their daughter (Jeanie) because they didn’t support her idea to be famous

Grandchildren (describe relationship): n/a

Significant Others (describe relationship): Rick, dance partner, could be more there but she is too scared to act on it.

Relationship skills: not a lot, she gets scared when people get to close and want to know the real her because she doesn’t even know who the real her is. People warm up to her easily but once they start to ask deeper questions she backs off.

Physical Characteristics:

 Height: 5’6 .. about the same height at Rick

Weight: 135

Race: Caucasian

Eye Color: green and blue

Hair Color: dishwater blonde

Glasses or contact lenses? glasses

Skin color: white

Shape of Face: oval

Distinguishing features:

How does he/she dress? T-shirts and jeans

Mannerisms: walks with head down, keeps to herself,

Habits: (smoking, drinking etc.) makes lists

Health: doesn’t eat very healthy or workout

Hobbies: doesn’t have any … just does what her mom makes her do, dance lessons, acting lessons, theater

Favorite Sayings: none

Speech patterns: just stumbles

Disabilities: none

Style (Elegant, shabby etc.): causal

Greatest flaw: lack of self esteem, lack of self awarness

Best quality: the softness of her heart

Intellectual/Mental/Personality Attributes and Attitudes

       She isn’t very smart, doesn’t make good grades, could have a learning disability but her mother doesn’t look into it too much.

Educational Background: doesn’t make good grades

Intelligence Level: low

Any Mental Illnesses? no

Learning Experiences: troubles in school

Character’s short-term goals in life: figure out what she wants and what to do about the suicidal thoughts she has

Character’s long-term goals in life: she doesn’t know

How does Character see himself/herself? Stuck, a person without her own dreams because her mothers have been made hers

How does Character believe he/she is perceived by others? Just a normal girl, maybe a bit withdrawn but harmless

How self-confident is the character? Not at all

Does the character seem ruled by emotion or logic or some combination thereof? She is a combination of both she is controlled by her emotions of not being in control but she looks at the option of suicide logically but making a list.

What would most embarass this character? The idea of someone learning about her plan, of someone exposing her situation with her mom

 Emotional Characteristics

Strengths/Weaknesses: Strengths – caring for other and putting them before herself. Weakness – lack of self

Introvert or Extrovert? Introvert

How does the character deal with anger? Keeps it inside

With sadness? Keeps it inside

With conflict? Avoids it

With change? Accepts it

With loss? Accepts it

What does the character want out of life? To figure out what she wants with life

What would the character like to change in his/her life? To gain control

What motivates this character? Her desire to be accepted by her mom for who she wants to be

What frightens this character? Finding out what she wants to be

What makes this character happy? The few hours she has alone in her room before her mom comes home

Is the character judgmental of others? no

Is the character generous or stingy? generous

Is the character generally polite or rude? She can be taken as rude because she doesn’t like to open up to people but for the most part she is polite

Spiritual Characteristics

Does the character believe in God? No

What are the character’s spiritual beliefs? none

Is religion or spirituality a part of this character’s life? Her family doesn’t go to church. Her grandma on her mom’s side is overly religious but they aren’t connected.

How the Character is Involved in the Story

Character’s role in the novel (main character? hero? heroine? Romantic interest? etc.): protagonist for the first part of the book, she is the one who starts the suicide controversy

Scene where character first appears: right in the beginning

Relationships with other characters:

1. Jacqueline Smock – Best friend, but doesn’t want to tell her about the suicide … mainly her only reason for not doing it

2Ann Monroe: — Reporter who covers Sela’s death and follow up stories … doesn’t want to at first but then starts to see a lot of herself in Sela

3. Jeanie Jergins: — Sela’s mom, wants Sela to be famous because she wanted to be famous

4. Dave Jergins: — Sela’s dad … wants what’s best for Sela but is too afraid to stand up for her

 How character is different at the end of the novel from when the novel began: She’s dead. But also her death is given meaning because her dad tries to help other parents that may be in similar situation.

Character Profile Worksheet

Basic Statistics

Name: Jacqueline Smocks

Age:16

Nationality: American … with a hint of Native American

Socioeconomic Level as a child: middle

Socioeconomic Level as an adult: n/a

Hometown: Cinaville

Current Residence: Cinaville

Occupation: Student

Income: 0

Talents/Skills: singing and guitar playing

Salary: 0

Birth order: middle

Siblings (describe relationship): Older sister – Stacie – Doctor in New York, doesn’t see a lot but she sends money to help out the family

Younger – Missy – 10 years old, rebelling because her parents aren’t always there for her

Spouse (describe relationship):n/a

Children (describe relationship):n/a

Grandparents (describe relationship): Her dad’s mom is involved in her future, pushing her to do better, taking her on college visits

Grandchildren (describe relationship):n/a

Significant Others (describe relationship): She has an older boyfriend who is in community college … she plans to go away to college so she doesn’t know if it will work out.

Relationship skills: She is bubbly, fun, doesn’t care what people think, but is caring, she is confident

Physical Characteristics:

Height: 6’0

Weight: 125

Race: 1/16th native american

Eye Color: brown

Hair Color: brown

Glasses or contact lenses? Perfect vision

Skin color: tanner than normal

Shape of Face: oval

Distinguishing features: tall and slender

How does he/she dress? Stylish, indi, dresses,

Mannerisms: loud

Habits: (smoking, drinking etc.) none

Health: runs regularly but eats whatever she wants

Hobbies: beside music, drawing

Favorite Sayings: none

Speech patterns: none

Disabilities: none

Style (Elegant, shabby etc.): indi

Greatest flaw: she thinks it’s not seeing Sela’s

Best quality: her loyalty to Sela

Intellectual/Mental/Personality Attributes and Attitudes

Educational Background: same school as Sela they met in an extra help class … she was helping

Intelligence Level: high

Any Mental Illnesses? no

Learning Experiences: school is easy

Character’s short-term goals in life: get through high school and have fun

Character’s long-term goals in life: go to school for music so she can teach

How does Character see himself/herself? Confident but not as talented as she really is.

How does Character believe he/she is perceived by others? That others love her, even if they don’t

How self-confident is the character? A good amount when it comes to her looks and personality … but not enough when it comes to her singing

Does the character seem ruled by emotion or logic or some combination thereof? She goes with her gut and emotions

What would most embarrass this character? Messing up a song in public

Emotional Characteristics 

Strengths/Weaknesses: Strength – her loyalty to Sela and her drive to go to college

Weakness – confidence in her singing talents

Introvert or Extrovert?Extrovert

How does the character deal with anger? Doesn’t get very angry

With sadness? Expresses it out loud

With conflict? peacekeeper

With change? Desires it

With loss? Takes it hard

What does the character want out of life? She wants to get out of Cinaville and teach music in a different town

What would the character like to change in his/her life? Get out of Cinaville

What motivates this character? Desire to make something of herself

What frightens this character? Not having any friends

What makes this character happy? Singing and hanging out with Sela

Is the character judgmental of others? no

Is the character generous or stingy? generous

Is the character generally polite or rude? Polite but outspoken 

Spiritual Characteristics

Does the character believe in God? She does but not very seriously … just the general idea of a God

Is religion or spirituality a part of this character’s life? She goes to church on holidays with her grandma

How the Character is Involved in the Story

 Character’s role in the novel (main character? hero? heroine? Romantic interest? etc.): Sela’s beast friend .. she tells the reporter the real reason

Scene where character first appears: during a flashback early on in the first chapter

Relationships with other characters:

1. Sela: — her best friend

2. Ann Monroe – the reporter Jacqueline talks to about the suicide, about Sela and about Sela’s parents.

3. Jeanie – Doesn’t get along to well with her because Jacqueline has stood up for Sela’s wants before. But Jeanie views her as an encouragement for Sela to become a singer.

4. David: — They don’t talk a lot but they do like each other … he secretly is jealous of her strength to stand up against Jeanine

How character is different at the end of the novel from when the novel began: She gets a strong conviction to tell the truth and make sure this same situation doesn’t happen to anyone else

 Additional Notes on This Character: She sings as Sela’s funeral

Character Profile Worksheet

Basic Statistics

Name: Ann Monroe

Age:26

Nationality: American

Socioeconomic Level as a child: High

Socioeconomic Level as an adult: Medium

Hometown: Atlanta Georgia

Current Residence: Lowltown (Just west of Cinaville)

Occupation: Television Reporter/weekends and night side. After being unemployed for three years after graduating college she finally lands a job at a low market station were she works bad hours and makes little to no money.

Income: 20,000 a year

Talents/Skills: writing news stories and being a pretty face on the camera

Birth order: oldest

Siblings (describe relationship): two younger. One a senior in high school – applying to schools to be nurse

One a sophomore in college – going to be a chemical engineer

Spouse (describe relationship): n/a

Children (describe relationship): n/a

Grandparents (describe relationship): both dead

Grandchildren (describe relationship): n/a

Significant Others (describe relationship): she works too many crazy hours to have a boyfriend. Had a steady one in college and after graduation but left him to take the job and move to Lowltown

Relationship skills: She is good at getting people to talk to her, great at small talk, good at reading scripts on camera.

Physical Characteristics: 

Height: 5’6’’

Weight:130

Race: Caucasian

Eye Color: blue

Hair Color: bright blonde

Glasses or contact lenses?  Contact lenses

Skin color: white but fake tan for on air

Shape of Face: circular with a strong jaw line

Distinguishing features: short stacked hair

How does he/she dress? Business like, suit jackets with sparkly jewelry

Mannerisms: talks with her hands

Habits: (smoking, drinking etc.) drinking but only a drink or too after work

Health: doesn’t have time to work out but has to stay skinny to be on air so she doesn’t eat much. Doesn’t get lunch breaks at work so she doesn’t eat

Hobbies: blogs online about reactions to her stories

Favorite Sayings: none

Speech patterns: her on air voice is much different than her normal speech

Disabilities: non

Style (Elegant, shabby etc.): business suits and sparkly jewelry

Greatest flaw: doesn’t take time for herself

Best quality: determined to get what she wants

Intellectual/Mental/Personality Attributes and Attitudes

Educational Background: Went to a state school to study journalism. Wasn’t able to get an internship.

Intelligence Level: medium

Any Mental Illnesses? No

Learning Experiences: she learned by doing her own web cast online from her dorm room.

Character’s short-term goals in life: Pay off school debt

Character’s long-term goals in life: Get a better job in a bigger market with better pay

How does Character see himself/herself? As a failure but not for long, a failure with potential. Sometimes she thinks her mom is right about not having what it takes for tv

How does Character believe he/she is perceived by others? She believes her viewers see her as a strong woman who knows what she’s talking about.

How self-confident is the character? She has confidence enough to fight for what she wanted, but sometimes she forgets after all the criticism from viewers and parents

Does the character seem ruled by emotion or logic or some combination thereof? She is ruled by logic. After having a news focus for so long she tends not to get involved in a lot of emotional matters.

What would most embarass this character? Proving her mom right by not making it as a reporter

Emotional Characteristics

Strengths/Weaknesses: Strength – stand up for herself to complete her dreams.  Weakness – occasional self doubt

Introvert or Extrovert? Both … when she is working she is extroverted when she is not working and just hanging out with people or at home she is introverted

How does the character deal with anger? She hides it and laughs it off

With sadness? Laughs it off

With conflict? Loves it … but mostly just in news and avoids it in her own life.

With change? She welcomes it.

With loss? Pushes it down and ignores it

What does the character want out of life? To prove her parents wrong

What would the character like to change in his/her life? Get a better job and have acceptance from her parents of her career choice.

What motivates this character? Her drive to be successful and to tell the truth to the public

What frightens this character? Being wrong

What makes this character happy? Having a story air that makes a difference

Is the character judgmental of others? Yes, but she can’t show it

Is the character generous or stingy? Wants to be generous but doesn’t have the resources. She relies on others, friends from church, for dinners and laundry … friends from church. Her parents don’t know

Is the character generally polite or rude? She is polite. She has to be for her job. But she will push to get that controversial interview/

Spiritual Characteristics

 Does the character believe in God? Yes. It is what gave her the strength to reach for her goals when she didn’t have her parents’ support. But her relationship with God is hindered by her unwillingness to forgive her parents.

Is religion or spirituality a part of this character’s life?

She goes to church when she can, she works weird hours but usually if she can’t make it to Sunday service she can go to Monday morning bible study or Wednesday small group.

How the Character is Involved in the Story

Character’s role in the novel (main character? hero? heroine? Romantic interest? etc.): hero I guess, she is the reporter who tells the truth about the suicide in hopes that other parents will get the message.

Scene where character first appears: morning after Sela kills herself.

Relationships with other characters:

1. Sela: — she reports on her death. Never knew her but got to know her through talking with her friends and family.

2. Jeanie  — At first Jeanie likes Ann because she runs what she says on the air. She does not want to talk to Ann after Ann talks to Jacqueline. She tries to get Ann fired

3.David—Doesn’t want to talk to Ann at first because he truly doesn’t know why Sela did it. But he did want to be there for other parents so he talks to her anyway. After Jacqueline speaks out, David puts the pieces together and finds Ann to talk to her.

4. Jacqueline: — Mad that Ann is reporting bullying is the cause. She yells at Ann and Ann just says .. why don’t you interview with me. I will tell your side too. They talk a lot and Jacqueline develops a trust.

How character is different at the end of the novel from when the novel began: The beginning she doesn’t want to do the story. In the end she gets involved and wants to tell Sela’s story and make a difference. She also learns to forgive her parents. And at the end of the book she calls them for the first time in three years.

Additional Notes on This Character: Her mother didn’t want her to be a journalist. Thought she should do something that makes more money. 

 

Hunger Games Craft Topic January 28, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bride-To-Be @ 7:59 pm

Hunger games

Craft Topic: Food

            Just after reading the first chapter of this book I could tell that food played an important role. The further I got through the book the more I could tell how the author was even using meals and food as a way to draw a connection to society.

            The main contrast between the food in district 12 and the food in district 1 is described well and it’s not just the description of the food but the setting that shows the contrast. When Katniss is in District 12 food is a mean of survival. She has to hunt to put food on the table and it isn’t always so great. She eats squirrels and bark and warm water with some plants in it. The feeling of being desperate and barely getting by is given off by the food they eat. But because she had Gale and her family, the food doesn’t seem all that bad.

            When she goes to district 1 the food is more than she can imagine. The descriptions of meals take up half to whole pages. She eats and eats and eats. Food becomes more of a comfort than a means of survival. When she is upset at Peeta for him saying something or when Effie insults the way she acts, she turns to food.

            I think the author wrote like this to show that the people of district 1 and America in general don’t know what it’s like to starve and that great food and material possessions is just expected.

            Food also plays a huge part in the arena.  Food was used to kill Foxface, when she ate the bad berries. Food brought Rue and Katniss together when they shared their first meal. Food was constantly on Katniss’s mind. Did she have enough? Did she eat enough? Was the food bad or good to eat?

            I thought it was interesting the concept of a Hallow Day, the day in the games were you eat and eat and never get full. It’s an example of the little details you need to include when creating a fake world. A Hallow Day is a cultural aspect of that world. Everyone in that world knew what it was, but the reader didn’t so it had to be explained.

            Obviously the ending has to do with food, when Katniss and Peeta almost ruin the game by both dyeing. They used food, to get back at the capital.

            There are many more reference to food that could be dissected, like how Peeta related everything to bread, was a baker but never ate fresh bread. How Peeta used his cake decorating skills to camouflage himself. How when they won the game they weren’t allowed to eat a lot. The list goes on and on and on. 

 

Hunger Game Reflection

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bride-To-Be @ 7:47 pm

What does this book teach us about writing a novel? Be thorough and detailed in your observations and be prepared to discuss what you wrote in class.

 

         Like we discussed in class on Monday, this book shows us an example of a young adult novel. The author does a great job of keeping the reader’s attention. The end of every chapter is a cliffhanger and the reader if forced to go to the next page. For example at the end of chapter one Prim’s name is called. Later on in the book one of the chapters ends with Peeta declares his love for Katniss. Another ends with Rue pointing up in the tree that Katniss was sleeping in. Another ends with the game leaders announcing the two district tributes can work together. Basically every chapter ends with a change in plot to keep the reader moving along.

 

         It also shows how to create a different world. The most important part being that you keep all your I’s dotted and t’s crossed. The author had to set up this new world the reader, including information about the government, how the land is set up, what it looks like, and why it got like that.  I do agree with the class in saying that sometimes the plot seems a little too explained at time and not a lot is left up to the reader to piece together. But I don’t see away around it. I did like how the author used the speeches during the reaping day ceremony to explain it.

The author could explain the way the betting went on during the games by showing it. She could have taken some chapters to actually put the reader outside of the games while they were going on. Show the reaction of the sponsors. At time I kept wondering who was sponsoring Katniss and what Haymitch was experiencing. The readers only gets to see that by what Katniss is thinking.

 

         Finally, the book showed me how to write about action. Most of the stories I have written have been dialogue and relationship driven. This plot contained a lot of action and fighting, especially in the Hunger Game arena, especially near the end with the mutts and Cato. I learned that the key to writing about action is to be take it slow. What happens in a few minutes to watch may take a few pages to describe. Also the author includes facial descriptions and dialogue along with the action, which helps put the reader in the middle of the fight. 

 

Blueprint for my novel January 21, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bride-To-Be @ 3:38 pm

Blueprint for my novel

 TITLE: If I Can’t Be Me

GENRE: Teen fiction, Drama,

POINT OF VIEW: Third Person (Sela)
HIGH-CONCEPT BLURB: (summery sentence)

            Sela wants to kill herself because her parents are pressuring her to be who they want her to be instead of who she wants, but after she does it, her parents are in denial and blame bullying.

STORY SPARK:           1) Sela’s suicide

                                    2) Reporter reveals real reason for suicide

                                    3) Parents get divorced / makes progress toward bringing awareness/parenting group

MAIN CHARACTERS:

            Sela Jergins:

  • Role – teen who commits suicide
  • Outside viewpoint – average teenage girl, tall and skinny, long dishwater blonde hair, doesn’t wear makeup, wears t-shirts and jeans, kind of a door mat
  • Self viewpoint – shy around boys, feels like nothing is too special about her, loves to read, wants to impress her parents, not smart
  • Occupation – student, parents don’t allow her to have a job so she can focus on her career as an actress
  • Enhancement – her death sheds new light on teen suicide
  • Contrast: Jacqueline Smock – popular best friend
  • Symbol (either tangible or intangible) –  lists
  • Conflict (internal) – wants to be anything but an actress but her mom has made up her mind, struggle for identity
  • Conflict (external) – to end it or not
  • Goals/Motivation – wants to find her true purpose in life

            Jeanie Jergins :

  • Role – Sela’s mom
  • Outside viewpoint – Jeanie is overwhelmingly wanting Sela to be a star, dresses up all the time, completely unaware of her daughter’s desires (think Desperate Housewives)
  • Self viewpoint – loving, perfect mother
  • Occupation – accountant and she hates it, really wanted to go into show business … but her parents wouldn’t let her.
  • Enhancement / Contrast – perfect mother appearance is taken away after the truth is exposed
  • Symbol – fake smile
  • Conflict (internal) – never got to be what she wanted when she was younger
  • Conflict (external) – how to deal with her daughter’s death
  • Goals/Motivation – to live her life through her daughter

 

            Dave Jergins

  • Role – Sela’s dad
  • Outside viewpoint – plays along with Jeanie but he secretly has a soft heart, more of a doormat
  • Self viewpoint – worried about daughter, question mother’s intentions
  • Occupation – Manager at an office supply store
  • Enhancement /Contrast – Suddenly becomes vocal after the truth is exposed 
  • Symbol – silence
  • Conflict (internal) – learning to speak out for what’s right
  • Conflict (external) – how to deal with his daughter’s death
  • Goals/Motivation – to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else’s family

             Ann Monroe –

  • Role – TV reporter who is picked to cover the suicide. At first she doesn’t want to do it but then she gets really involved.
  • Outside viewpoint – crooked teeth, 
  • Self viewpoint –
  • Occupation – TV reporter
  • Enhancement – She was once in Sela’s shoes. Here parents didn’t want her to be a journalist.
  • Contrast – She isn’t extravagantly beautiful like most on-air talent. She, like Sela is average looking.
  • Symbol – reporter’s notebook
  • Conflict (internal) – remembering back to when she felt like Sela did … and giving up her denial that it happened
  • Conflict (external) – deciding which side of the story to tell
  • Goals/Motivation – to get the truth out to the public  and figure out the truth in her own life

             Jacqueline Smock –(her and Sela meet in some type of extra help with homework program)

  • Role – Sela’s best friend who tells Ann the suicide wasn’t because of bullying.
  • Outside viewpoint – popular, bright blonde, designer clothes, not very smart, parents not involved in her life
  • Self viewpoint – doesn’t feel like she will accomplish anything in her life        
  • Occupation – student
  • Enhancement / Contrast – down to earth and always looks for the best in people. Hates Sela’s parents
  • Symbol –
  • Conflict (internal) – finding her own identity after see how much Sela gave up so she could have hers
  • Conflict (external) – whether or not to tell the reporter the truth
  • Goals/Motivation – wants to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else

 

Setting:

County: Geffers County

Town: Cinaville

 Small town USA … you don’t lock your doors, can keep your car running in your driveway, neighbors shovel each other’s driveway. But there is still small town politics and gossip. The town is dying with less and less people moving in or staying.

 TV Station is in the next town over, a bigger city

 

 

“Normal People Don’t Live Like This” Annotation January 17, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bride-To-Be @ 12:59 pm

Craft Topic: Passage of time

 

What I found most interesting about the novel “Normal People Don’t Live Like This” is how time is depicted and explained.

The book is in chronological order, Leah starts out in high school and ends in college. Dylan Landis uses details to show that years have passed from chapter to chapter Several big events are skimmed over instead of being a major part of the book. For example, the reader is never told “and then Leah’s dad died.” In one chapter he is giving her a diary and in the next he has been dead for years and Leah is going through his old stuff in his mom’s draw. We know he is gone because Leah’s mother has to leave Leah alone when she goes overseas and then we piece together that he is dead after Leah mentions something about how he was sick and then we see the wedding ring wrapped in tissues.

Another example is when Landis transitions from high school to college. She doesn’t write “Three years later Leah is in college and …” The reader is responsible for picking up on that from the details. Lead is in a frat house. She talks about how she is studying biology. It is details like that that show the passage of time.

Time is jumbled around within the chapter. For example the chapter will start off with the main character in the middle of an event and then goes to a flashback and then a daydream or an event of imagination and then back to where the chapter started in the event. The last chapter starts with Leah in Terrence’s room going through his stuff. Later we learn through a flashback why she is staying in Terrence’s room. In between we read Leah’s thoughts of all the imaginary girls Terrence is sleeping with and how he works back on the farm. The reader can easily think these thoughts are true if they don’t pay attention. This pattern is found in earlier chapters too. The first chapter starts with Rainey being raped (or not raped depending how you look at it) on the grass in the park. Later we learned how she got there and why she is with this man and then the chapter goes back to the moment.

Even with the chapter contents going back and forth in time, Landis doesn’t use standard transitions. She doesn’t tell the reader we are going to a flashback or “two days ago this happened.” She shows and guides the reader with details. In stead of using a standard transition she goes into the detail. At the top of page 4 she transitions from the moment to background information by simply writing “Richard plays French horn.” It doesn’t seem like transition but the reader doesn’t question it. The sentence is following into the background information that they need to understand completely the first part they read.

Bottom line: writers shouldn’t worry about formal transition and focus more on the flow of a story and that all the details are covered.

 

“Normal People Don’t Live Like This”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bride-To-Be @ 12:58 pm

I don’t believe I have ever read a book similar to the format of “Normal People Don’t Live Like This”. I found the flow confusing at times, but then again I was trying to read it more as a novel then as a series of short stories. After finishing the book I still have several questions that I don’t think will ever be answered. For example, did Helen really go to France on business and then go back again to fix of the apartment or did she just tell Leah that? Why did Helen move to California? What caused Leah’s father to die? Whatever happened to Rainey and Pansy and Oleander?  They were in a few stories and then gone. These questions would have been answered in a novel. But in a series of connected short stories, I guess they don’t have to be.

Most of the stories flowed together, but the main events that happened in between the short stories were only briefly covered and left up for the reader to figure out. The book would feel more like a novel if those events, like the death of Leah’s father or why Helen was in an apartment in Europe and not antiquing with Gray, were explained in more detail instead of skipped over and touched at later.

I thought the first story with Rainey fit, but then again it set me up to think that Rainey was going to be the main character and not Leah. The first story links to the others because it gives background information as to why Rainey bullies Leah. The chapter “Breakage” didn’t seem to fit at all. I remembered Pansy because she was mentioned in other chapters but this specific chapter didn’t have anything to do with Leah so I was confused as to why it was included in the book. If this chapter was omitted it wouldn’t take away from the book. I find it unnecessary.

The linkages were found mostly in the characters. You remembered the characters from the other stories so you could connect them as a whole. It reminded me of creative writing non-fiction classes. After you read one story about a person’s life, you can apply that previous knowledge to the next piece you read. It was like Leah was in my non-fiction class and I had read 10 of her stories. They were all about the same people in mostly the same places. Separately the stories worked, but because I read them together the characters were stronger and the context was covered better. However the plot wasn’t stronger. Because it was a series of linked stories the book’s focus jumped around a lot. Instead of having one main plot and problem to solve, it was more so linked stories about Leah growing up and the people around her.

This book does show that linked short stories can be turned into a novel with just a little more detail and plot development (easier said then done, I’m sure).

 

January 9th Assignment ENG 4763 January 10, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bride-To-Be @ 3:18 am

1) What are your five favorite novels that you’ve ever read, regardless of genre?

It’s sad … but I have to think pretty far back to remember they last five novels I’ve read. Most recently is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Before that was (don’t judge me) The Last Song by Nicolas Sparks and The Unlikely Disciple: a sinner’s semester at American’s holiest universityby Kevin Roose. Now we are back into high school years, when I was into amish fiction (again, don’t judge me). So my final two books would be The Courtship of Nellie Fisher series and Annie’s People series by Beverly Lewis.

2) As you consider these novels, what similarities do you see across those novels?

The main similarity between these books would be the topic. They all have some sort of Christian influence and theme. In each these books the main characters were trying to get away from or get to God.  The main tension in each book is that one of the main characters doesn’t agree with one of the other main characters’ belief in God. For Redeeming Love it was Sarah the prostitute who doesn’t agree with her new husband’s faith. In The Last Song, the daughter disagrees with her dad. In both of the Lewis books there is always a family member who departs from the old order to became a salvation believing Christian and The Unlikely Disciple is written by a non-christian who spends a semester at Liberty university pretending to be a Christian.

As far as I can remember, I believe all the books were written in the third person. This amazes me because I always find it easier to write in the I form. It makes the main characters more real since you aren’t reading “I” all the time, you are reading their names. Out of all these books I think the main character in The Unlikely Disciple drew me in the most. I think that is partly because it is a true story and partly because he was giving me an inside look at how people outside of my faith view me. That may also be why the Amish characters interested me, because they were showing me a different perspective of the world. I’ll be honest, the main character in Redeeming Love and The Last Song captured my interest because of their love story (everyone could use a good love story now and then).

The beginning and endings of the books seems similar too. They all start off kind of in the middle of some type of action or event. The reader doesn’t know what is going on and they have to keep reading to gain understanding.

The endings were “wrap ups” of sorts, which I’m not such a big fan of. A wrap up ending sums up a large amount of time in the character’s life in about a paragraph or so, “They lived a great life and died” type of ending. I would rather be left hanging on a happy note and feel like more could come than have everything be finite and finished. I mean imagine if every movie ended with the main character dying?

3) What are the differences?

The differences would be style of writing. Rivers is poetic. Her books all have history and Biblical background to them. Redeeming Love is based off of the story of the prophet Hosea who God tells to marry a prostitute. Michael Hosea in Redeeming Love does the same thing.

Lewis focuses more on complicated plots and interweaving several different people’s perspectives on the same events. Lewis will spend one chapter talking about one family in the community and then the next chapter will be from the perspective of a different family. Each family has problems of their own but they also have one connecting problem that this the main focus of the book. I do enjoy this style quite and bit and have read several books that have taken this approach. But I find that when I read this way I end up liking one family’s story more than the other and will skim over the other family’s chapters so I can get to the other part of the story I like better.

Sparks plot is straight forward. There is a girl, she has problems and likes this boy that she’s not supposed to. But the way Sparks write is emotional and makes you want to read more. It’s a simple read but you are crying your eyes out and feeling connected to the character by the last page.

Roose’s book has a completely different style. He wrote his as more of an investigative, non-fiction book but it still has a fiction feel.

4) Are there any conclusions you can draw from the similarities and differences among your favorite novels?

I can draw that I enjoy novels about topics I know about and am comfortable with and know about. I also likes stories that are more character oriented.