I’d be a Terrible Character in a Novel

I read a LOT of (mostly young-adult) books, of numerous genres, and so I’m familiar with the stereotypical characters you get in each. The feisty, doesn’t take shit from anyone heroine; the poised, beautiful but deadly girl who’s witty, charming but who is insecure about her abilities; the tough one who realises it’s okay to express emotions, that you don’t have to have your guard up all the time. I’m guessing you’d know a fair few people who could fit into the ‘typical’ mould of a protagonist. You could even fit yourself into that picture.

Then, there’s me.

With my, errm, unique personality traits, disposition and tendency to be paranoid, not believe anything people say to me, unflinching curiosity and the ability to get annoyed easily, I would simply be a disaster waiting to happen in a novel.

I will show you. This mainly consists of dialogue – enjoy!

Dystopian

The first meeting of the Dissenters was held in the abandoned Arena. Almost crumbled to ruin, outside the jewelled City walls yet unravaged by the Pillagers that frequented this side of the Divide, it was a perfect place to meet as not a soul would suspect this little group of going out of the Gates, or of daring to step foot in such a decrepit building. Standing, awkwardly in the centre of the room was Elm, clothed in the traditional wear of the Aschians.

“Erm, she muttered, shuffling her feet. “So, we’re all here today and I’m glad we could all make it…”

“Yeah yeah,” one of the people standing in front of her called. “Do you actually have a plan?”

“Of course I BLOODY WELL have a plan!” Elm suddenly screamed, hands clenching into fists in front of her. “You think I’d actually risk my entire life coming out here, when we might die – have you considered that? Have you thought that we’re going to fucking die one day and there’s nothing we can do about it – our Termination Date is set; you can’t escape that, and even if you could, you’d just die anyway! So NOW you ask me if I have a plan? Of course I do!”

“Elm?” murmurred another person. Please, calm down… You’re getting stressed, and that’s not good for the morale of the people-”

“Ha, you take me for some sort of leader? Yeah NO; I can’t even lead a herd of sheep and that’s why they put me on Conformity duty!” She breathed heavily, eyes narrowing.

“Sooo… You have a plan, then?”

“If I didn’t, we’d be screwed – and yes I will tell you what it is; I’m thinking; be patient! Bloody hell I wasn’t even stressed earlier – I was fine – oh Upholder, this is going to fail!”

“Just calm down! Please!”

Science Fiction

If the spaceship had been any more decadent, it would have been visible from Earth, with its apparent turrets and inner light, from a mysterious source which eminated from the heart of the monstrosity. Corridors echoed with the clamour of unfamiliar machinery, sounds of the ‘life forms’ trapped in ponds on the ceiling, and panicked exclamations from those who had vocal chords. It was a pity, then, that Elm couldn’t really see the bustle around her: only a few flashing lights, the blinding white of the floors made of an indefinable material and the what seemed to be red, fluctuating energy which spread out from a square object in front of her.
She extended her hands, cautiously, flinching back as a strange sensation caught her fingers. “What the fuck is that?” she yelped, staggering back a step.

“That would be the Preson Generator – is that what they call it?” The voice to her left startled her, so much so that she whirled, hands coming up and forward to jab at her supposed assailant. “Woah! Woah, it’s only me; you’re safe!”

“Safe?” Elm snapped. “Right, so you expect me to believe it’s you? Yeah, I can’t see you and you know I don’t care about that but it’s the PRINCIPLE of the matter! I don’t know where I am, I don’t know what these sounds are so I’m sorry if I get pissed off at you because I don’t know what’s what any more!” Breaking off, she took in a lungful of recycled air, choking a little.

“You alright?” The figure stepped forward, gripping her arm. She stiffened.

“Yeah I’m fine, just tired, you know?”

“You always say that! Either that, or you’re tired for no reason; if you say that it’s irritating I’ll kill you!”

Elm sighed. “Right anyway – what does this thing do?” She gestured vaguely behind her, coming into contact with the substence again and shrieking in pain.

“Stop! We’re in the middle of a crisis and you’re not panicking for once – that’s an achievement! But just get away from the thing; I don’t know what it is – don’t touch it!”

“Oooh it’s so cool! Look I don’t know where to go, so I’ll just stay here…”

“Elm… Oh hell, I give up.”

Contemporary Romance

The girl stood in front of Elm, wringing her hands nervously. Elm seemed just as perturbed, her hands twisting in complicated knots, her face slightly pale.

“Look, the girl whispered. “I needed to tell you… I love you, Elm.”

The only response she got was silence, followed by a slightly crazed laugh. It grew, crescendoing into a guffaw so loud that it bounced off the walls, tears of mirth sliding down her cheeks. “You… What?!”

“I-I love you. I needed to tell you before we left.” She only began to notice the vaguely unhinged look in Elm’s eyes when they were – by chance – pointed directly at her.

“You love me? Why – why would you?” Her voice was incredulous.

“Because… Because of your personality. And you’re pretty, and-”

“What specific part of my personality though? What makes you like me? It’s not like I’m anything special, and also, I’m short, and my voice sounds like a horse!”

“Your laugh is cool, and you’re helpful to others!”

“I have feelings for you too but I’m pretending I didn’t say that – and also, bullshit – I’m sorry, how can you though? It makes no sense!”

“Yeah, it does – why won’t you just relax?”

“Because I can’t – EXCUSE ME! But are you sure you like me? Love me?”

“Yes of course!” The girl was looking slightly annoyed, lips pursed, glaring at the other in front of her.

“But how do you know? What if I do something stupid? What if-”

“Aaarghh!!!”

So, there you have it. Me in a novel would be… Interesting.

How do you think you’d have reacted if you were in that situation?

From Elm 🙂

Eventbrite – My Ideal Author Panel!

A few weeks ago, I was inspired by Eventbrite – an organisation where you can find out about events taking place near you, and you can plan your own events as well – to create a post on what my dream author panel would be! Being a bookworm, and someone who gets excited at even the thought of meeting authors, I jumped at this opportunity.

I’ve never been to a book conference, but I very much want to in the next year; it’s one of my (secret but now not-so-secret) goals for the year ahead. Loving so many genres, I think that I’d be interested in many potential panels, which makes creating my perfect one quite challenging. I’ll give it my best shot, though, and remember that if you feel inspired by this post then go on over to Eventbrite and have a look at some of the great conferences you can attend! Or, better yet, you can create a post of your own and share your ideas, or plan an event with their event planning software.

Where would it take place?

Ideally, it would occur in or around London, as I could get there easily. None of the authors I’m thinking of live in the UK I don’t think, but logistics could be sorted out as to availibility. A lovely place would be a library in London, not least because they’re beautiful places and I love the atmosphere of a library.

Who would be involved in the panel?

Even though I want to involve all of my favourite authors, I’d choose Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – who co-author The Illuminae Files (Illuminae, Gemina and the third book which I’m eagerly anticipating), which is a series set in space, and written in emails, chat conversations and ship logs. In addition to that, there would be Rick Yancey, author of The 5th Wave: a science-fiction series about aliens that fascinated me, confused me and destroyed my mind. Lastly, I would have on the panel Josephine Angelini who wrote the Worldwalker Trilogy, a series of books where the main character is taken to another alternate world where her alternate version is an evil dictator: it involves twisted morals, enthralling witchcraft, and a character who goes through some amazing development. Each of their books made me think, made me cry multiple times, and have made it into my favourite series’ of all time. It would be moderated by Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles series.

What would the panel be about?

All four of these authors have one thing in common, asides from being able to write a compelling storyline: they all write science-fiction, or have a series based off of it. That includes new technology, and especially new concepts; that is what the panel would focus on. To put it simply, it would be wonderful if they talked about how to write a successful SciFi series, with an emphasis on the identities of their characters. I say this, because all of these authors have done something very unique with their books, and that would be reflected in the subject of the panel.

What questions would be asked?

• What’s the most important element when writing a Science fiction novel?
• How do you keep readers interested in your series?
• How do you view the idea of identity in terms of your characters?
• Do you feel personally connected to your characters and if so, does that reflect how you write them?
• How does the world and environment you’ve created influence your characters as people?

The thought of this is now making me so excited, though I know it’d never happen. Oh well: I can dream; I adore all of these authors and their respective books, and would love to see them in a room together.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading. Who are your favourite authors, and what would your favourite bookish panel be about?

From Elm 🙂

Books, History, and Everything in Between

I’m the type of person who can so easily get lost in the world of a book, in the stories, characters and words, so that when I try to resurface from it, I don’t know what to do with myself.

It’s not just one type of book: I’ve gone through liking so many different genres, and taking a fancy to one book, finishing it, and then craving a different kind of book – or conversely, getting sucked into ‘phases’ of genres for ages.

Now, it’s not like I’d just read that one genre of book. I’d read others, but that genre would prevail – I almost breathe it. You know those books that set up a fire in your heart, or give you that anticipatory feeling when you want to read them? That’s what I experience when I get a passion for a certain ‘brand’ of book and though I love other books I read, it’s the type I’m obsessed with at the time that makes me happy, until a book comes along that changes my preferences. Woah, it sounds like I have romantic relwhnships with books or something… Errr, moving on.

It happened with books along the line of Harry Potter first, then fantasy (Game of Thrones), then a long period of adoring Dystopia (The Hunger Games, Halo by Frankie Rose). Then Contemporary books and then a wild love for Science Fiction (the 5th Wave, Worldwalker Trilogy, Atlantis Grail). My tastes have flitted back and forth within these genres, fit with little subsections of them – LGBTQ+ Contemporary, books that are so clichĂ© it hurts (I read them after books that make me cry) and then, in between periods of going between genres, I read miscellaneous things here and there. You could say I have a… Varied love of books.

Now, after a stint of reading contemporary, and scouring Goodreads to find books, I’ve fallen in love with historical literature, and historical fiction. I’m not surprised either: history’s always been something I’ve liked, from Romans to the English Revolution to wartime stories; it’s now combined with my love of reading to create something that’s entirely too addicted to raving, and annoying people, with her rants about how amazing a book is.

I blame this on Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, a book that made me cry so much that I made myself ill, but a book that rekindled my fascinwhn with the lives of ordinary people in war, of stories of people that didn’t change the world but were heroes and heroines nonetheless. It was amazing, and the thing is, stories like that happen every day in every war; it gave me a snapshot of things that could have existed, and showed me that war ends in tragedy for so many people.

I now have a deeply rooted respect for the classics, but specifically written in times of history which interest me. Take the Victorian period, for example; the lifestyle there is something I’ve always read up on, or tried to find out about. We’re studying Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontĂ©, which is set just in that time, and I couldn’t put it down.

True, I had a reluctance to read it when I was younger and even before I started, but that was because of its size, and I worried that the vocabulary would be too much. I was so, so wrong; I’ve nearly finished with it, occasionally start writing and speaking in the style of BrontĂ©, and have been known to scream “YAAASS OHHH SO CUTE!” when talking about some scenes between Mr. Rochester and Jane. I can’t help it: I got frustrated with Jane at the beginning, but the way she interacts with Mr. Rochester is great.

Historical fiction written nowadays is one of my favourite things, simply because it gives a new perspective on everything. Jane Eyre’s quite progressive for its time and I love that, but fiction written about the past with a modern view in mind is so interesting to me. After starting Jane Eyre, and needing a break from the very heavy language, I wanted to read some romance because a) I needed cuteness in my life and b) I was in the mood to not think too deeply for a while. Perhaps, then, I shouldn’t have started the Storm and Silence series by Robert Thier. I don’t know how to summarise these books, except to say it opens with Lilly Linton – potentially the most fantastic girl ever – dressing up as a boy and attempting to go to a polling station to vote. She doesn’t take shit from anybody, and it involves a controlling billionaire bastard who goes through character development, and also Victorian society, humour, solid chocolate, Feminism and a main character who sticks up for herself and is just. Brilliant. I could scream about this series forever, because it was just what I needed to get me interested in the Victorian era again, and coupled with Jane Eyre, made me crave even more.

Basically, I’ve concluded that I need to get a life that preferrably involves historical books, because I love them so much. I plan to read Pride and Prejudice, as well as Chaucer, and various other books as well as lots of historical fiction written recently. Um, and obviously do work as well, and study… I’ll never get anything done at this rate!

I wanted to share with you my simple love of books, and just how scarily ecstatic I get about it. It’s not a side you see often. Who knows – maybe next year, I’ll go back to constantly reading Sci-Fi; I’Ll just have to wait and see.

Do you have any recommendations for great books?

From Elm 🙂