Monday, October 27, 2014

Anne Shirley--Anne of Green Gables

"Will you please call me Cordelia?"
Anne Shirley, one of the most well known characters in fiction. A fiery red head with an enormous imagination, a mouth that runs nonstop, and a penchant for getting herself into scrapes. I've loved Anne of Green Gables for I don't even know how long. I've read the entire series multiple times, and never seem to tire of it. Anne is just such an interesting character. It does help that I'm a lot like her...

Anne is an orphan. She wants a family, she wants raven black hair, and a bosom friend. When she finds out she is to be adopted, it seems too good to be true. And, in a way, it sort of is. Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert intended to adopt a boy, but they got Anne instead. Though at first they didn't want to keep her, soon they can't imagine life without her.

Anne loves life. She loves beautiful things, like The Lake of Shining Waters and The White Way of Delight. She has a rich and fancy vocabulary that she uses frequently as it seems practically impossible for her to keep her tongue still for any length of time. Diana Barry is a kindred spirit. They become bosom friends immediately, though troubles come when Anne accidentally "sets Diana drunk" by giving her currant wine instead of raspberry cordial by mistake.

For Anne makes a lot of mistakes. Like the time she dyed her hair green, the liniment cake, the mouse in the pudding, the unfortunate lily maid. And there are times where her pride got her into trouble, like when Josie Pye dared her to walk the Barry's ridgepole and she fell off. Though I'm not sure even that compares to the time she broke her slate over Gilbert Blythe's head after he called her "carrots" and then refused to speak to him for five years...considering she eventually married him. Many of Anne's mistakes are due to her imagination taking over from reality. Some scrapes are due to her hot temper. I have had more than my share of mistakes and forgetfulness from distraction by imagination, and my temper certainly got me in lots of trouble when I was little.

Anne is smart, and her competitive nature makes her fight to best Gilbert Blythe when they are at Queen's together. And at Redmond. Because Anne's adventures don't end where Anne of Green Gables does. Even when she is older she gets herself into scrapes, like the time she sold the neighbor's cow. Eventually (it takes until book three) Anne realizes she loves Gilbert, and begins a new chapter of her life, one that is followed by the rest of this classic series.

L. M. Montgomery is an amazing author. She creates such memorable and well-rounded characters, living among realistic people with all manner of quirks and peculiarities. Anne is not a character one can forget. That bright, imaginative, and dramatic redhead will forever be an inhabitant of my imagination.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Happy For Deep People

I've always loved happy endings. Still do. So it has come as a surprise to me that I've started also really loving sad things. Oh, I still hate that they're sad, but somehow the sad things end up being among my favorites. Like "Doomsday." And Mockingjay. And the sad parts of Ilyon Chronicles. Time Captives ended up with some super sad stuff. At first, I tried to figure out a way to make these certain characters happy, but eventually I realized it was impossible.

This element of the story involves Eleanor, the Time Captive from 1940. The Time Captives are stuck at age twelve with the world moving on around them. This came out of Tuck Everlasting, but with Eleanor, Doctor Who made me take it in another direction from what Tuck did. I lay blame on some dialogue in the episode "School Reunion."

I don't know why I chose this topic, because it's super hard to write without spoilers. The thing is, I love writing about Eleanor. It makes me sad, but I love the sad it gives me. I love Grant Weathersby. The sad stuff involves him. I can't remember what I've said here about Grant and Eleanor, or if I said anything here or just on Facebook. Eleanor and Grant...They get to know each other when Grant helps her to stow away on his brother's ship. They become good friends. And then Grant starts to grow up as Eleanor remains a twelve year old.

Speculation, I'm sure, can figure out where this is going. I won't say any more. It's so sad, but I love it. I carried around a notepad in my pocket on Independence Day to write something for later about them as we went to various parades and events in our campaign T-shirts. (And my friend said I was obsessed with writing and tried to get me to stop. I just had the scene in my head and didn't want to lose it, I wasn't obsessed. I mean that, Brianna. :) )

I love happy stuff. I'm extremely partial to the typical very happy Disney movie ending. But I love sad stuff too. I suppose because it's just happy for deep people.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Signed Copies!

I finally set up PayPal to sell signed copies of my books. Yes, I had intended to do that when I turned 18, almost six months ago, but better late than never, right?

Anyway, it's in plenty of time for the Christmas season, so if you want to give someone a signed copy of Across the Stars or The Experiment, you can do that now. Here is the page with the PayPal buttons. Not that my signature is really worth anything at this point in time, but I still like having my friends' books signed. Since those are the only signed books I have.

That's all I have to say today, "and there isn't any more." :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Meg Murry--A Wrinkle in Time

"Like and equal are not the same thing at all!"
Meg Murry is one of the characters I've known for the longest time. She is the protagonist of one of my top childhood favorite books, and is another one of the few characters whose story I have acted out. I love Meg Murry, not because she's perfect, but because she's so relatably flawed.

Meg has a hard time with life. She's different from everyone else, and so few people like her. She's brilliant when it comes to math and science, but when it comes to English and geography, forget it. On top of that, her dear little brother Charles Wallace (oh, how I wanted a brother like him) is super brilliant and can know what she's thinking, but doesn't talk outside the family, and so people think he's stupid. Meg isn't pretty. She has very plain mousy brown hair, braces and glasses. I remember my glasses and braces phase. It's certainly an awkward one. But that's not even all. While doing government work, her father disappeared. Without a trace. No one knows anything. Or at least, no one is telling Meg's family. Because what he did was Top Secret.

And then strange things begin to happen. With the arrival of Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which, Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O'Keefe, a boy from school, set out to rescue Meg's father. But to rescue him, they have to travel to other planets by way of the tesseract and encounter IT on the planet Camazotz. And in doing so, they become fighters against evil, doing their part to defeat the Black Thing, the powers of darkness, as we all must do.

Meg is fearful. Who wouldn't be? But she is also impatient and stubborn. And when IT, via the Man With Red Eyes, takes control of Charles Wallace, Meg has to be braver than ever before. But it is through this that she begins to realize that it is good to be different. That like and equal are not the same thing.

Her struggles are not yet over. Finding her father doesn't make things immediately better, as she thought it would. If anything, they're worse. Charles Wallace is gone. The Black Thing almost takes her as they tesser through it. And she blames her father for not making it all better. When the Mrs. W's return and bring the news that Meg is the only one who can rescue Charles Wallace, she doesn't take the news willingly. Slowly she realizes her mistakes. And she understands that she really is the only one who can save Charles Wallace, with the thing she has that IT hasn't got. What does IT not have? Meg discovers it to be love. Love. Love for her baby brother. Love for all the people she cares about. Loving her baby brother is the only thing that can save him. And that love brings them home.

Meg Murry learns some hard lessons. She learns what a good vs. evil fight really is. She learns that it's not wrong to be different and that everyone shouldn't be exactly alike. She gains friends, Calvin in particular. She gets her father back. She has Charles Wallace still with her. The fight isn't over. Meg still has her impatience and stubbornness to deal with. But she will be able to fight evil in every way she can.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be directed.

I finished writing Espionage last week! Most of it was pretty easy, but I hit a snag at the climax, which caused a single chapter to take a whole month to write. With my mom's help, I figured out how to solve the problem I had and took care of the bad guy. But then something happened that I didn't expect.

I want to write good stories. I want my books to be well written, the characters well developed, the plot well constructed. But I want my books to be more than just good, well written stories. I want my stories to mean something. More specifically, I want my books to point people to God and the Bible, to help to further God's kingdom. I quite often pray that God would use my writing for His glory, and that He would help me to write the stories He wants me to tell. Because stories without meaning are nothing but entertainment.

For a long time, it seemed that Espionage was just a story. It was exciting, Vannie was an interesting point of view character, the other characters were super easy to develop, and the story was unfolding wonderfully. But there didn't seem to be a message in it. I never want to force a message into a book. That sounds preachy, and I've never heard of anyone liking a preachy book. All my favorite books are non-preachy books with a strong message skillfully woven into the story. But Espionage didn't seem to have that.

Then I hit chapter 9. And I began to realize that it had been working toward a message the whole time. Vannie's attitude along the way gave her a lesson to learn. I don't want to give too much away, though it will be awhile before it comes time for the release of Espionage, since it comes between books 2 & 3 of Time Captives, but it ended with a Gospel message. God already knew what the point of Espionage was. When I give things over to Him, He always works it out.

I continue to learn that. It's hard to let things go. I want things my way, but my way is not always God's way. There are still things I need to give over to God. There always will be. But I am always encouraged to see how when I surrender things to God, they always work out way better than I could have expected.

Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be directed." --Proverbs 16:3

"Commit thy way unto the Lord, and trust in Him, and He shall bring it to pass."  --Psalms 37:5