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  2. #1. Story Statement: Shirin needs to break the generational pattern of abuse at the hands of narcissists through self-actualization and healing. #2. Antagonist/Antagonistic Force The antagonistic force here is a psychological one: Anti-social narcissism, defined by self-aggrandizement and a lack of empathy and remorse. Chris, the narcissistic husband that Shirin leaves, becomes the window through which she discovers and processes all the narcissists in her, her mother and grandmother’s lives. Daddy is the main antagonist of the entire story, he remains unnam
  3. Today
  4. This is really well-written and a fascinating read, creating that sense of forbidden territory, which drives the reader to keep reading while feeling guilty for doing so. I did wonder about the age of the narrator. But more than that, what was somewhat confusing is that there are so many unnamed characters here, which is obviously a necessity since the protagonist does not know any of them but it does make things a little confusing at times. One suggestion would be to have Chris introduce by name the man who unchains the protagonist at the beginning of this, and then you can use his name.
  5. As Pat said, the scene you draw here is vivid and interesting. I wonder if it wouldn't be more effective to have these characters, Fred and Jacky and Ella, converse in dialogue during the first few paragraphs so as to keep your reader "in the scene". They seem like fascinating characters, and even if some of what they say ended up being incoherent to the reader, it might be more effective at conveying what you want to reader than splitting the scene like this. They could either mention the time before, or say something that invokes the time before. And then after said dialogue, you could talk
  6. First assignment: write your story statement. I Will Never Fall is a memoir about my 35 years of life and how I have grown and gotten through each challenge in life. Second assignment: in 200 words or less, sketch the antagonist or antagonistic force in your story. Keep in mind their goals, their background, the ways they react to the world around them. Antagonist: My mom, my dad, my half-brother who molested me, the bullies I faced throughout my childhood, my disease, my spending addiction, my eating disorder. Third assignment: create a breakout title. I Will Rise.
  7. Janet Malcolm and Katie Roiphe in conversation at NYU, 2012. Photo courtesy of Roiphe. In one of my last email exchanges with Janet Malcolm, in one of the darkest parts of the pandemic, she wrote to me, “I can only try to imagine the hard time you and the children are having. How can you not be stalled on writing? I wish there was something I could do to help.” Her response warmed me, elevating my state of general stagnancy into something almost socially acceptable. The idea of her in my house, helping with my son’s online schooling—his teacher was reading out “rat facts” during his daily for
  8. Right now, Amazon is running their Kindle Daily Deals but also seven whole pages of “limited time” deals. They don’t specify for how limited these are, though my guess is that these are in preparation for Prime Day. House of Earth and Blood House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas is $2.99! We did two podcast episodes with Sarah over the pandemic and honestly, those episodes were so much fun to record. Ellen wrote a fantast
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  10. Welcome intrepid adventurers to Tough Travelling with the Tough Guide to Fantasyland! That’s right, we’ve dusted it down and brought back this feature (created by Nathan of Fantasy Review Barn, revived by our friends over on Fantasy Faction, then dragged kicking and screaming to the Hive). It is a monthly feature in which we rack our brains for popular (and not so popular) examples of fantasy tropes. Tough Travelling is inspired by the informative and hilarious Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones. Fellow bloggers are absolutely welcome to join in – just make your own list, publi
  11. @Adam Fout This is powerful and instantly draws you into the darkness that's all around. You have some vivid descriptions and characterizations. I have to preface this to say I don't write memoir.... but I would love to hear/see more of the protagonist's characterization in the opening scene. We see everyone around him/her but we still know nothing about the storyteller. About 3/4 the way through at "I wonder what they used to be like...." this takes us out of the scene - for three paragraphs the protagonist seems to be preaching - it's powerful statements and I love them - but maybe move it
  12. Apparently, there is an opposite to TL:DR (too long didn’t read) and it’s BLFU – Bottom Line First Up And so we bring you our new feature from our new reviewer Hil: to-the-point reviews for those of you in a hurry! The BLFUfer’s Guide To… THE WOOD BEE QUEEN by Edward Cox Ebbie Wren has a dead end job, in a dead end town and is in love with a girl who thinks he’s boring. At best. His only regular confidante is a homeless woman who dies and leaves him with an empty bag and a quest to do the impossible. Thus the story begins. The prose is beautiful and evocative, combining hints of
  13. You know how a realization about your storytelling can strike when you’re reading someone else? Of course you do. How about the kind of realization that makes you regret not having it sooner, so that you could have been taking advantage of it all along? You’re probably still nodding, right? Okay, how about one that’s so utterly obvious that you feel like an idiot for having never consciously utilized it before? How about a realization in regard to an aspect of human nature that is so elemental to each of us that we’ve all partaken in it since our earliest memories—one that is an essential par
  14. Another week, another batch of books for your TBR pile. Happy reading, folks. * Laura Lippman, Dream Girl (William Morrow) “Lippman never stops twisting the plot into a deliciously intricate pretzel, right up to the jaw-dropping finale. This is both a beguiling look at the mysteries of authorship and a powerful #MeToo novel, but that’s only the tip of a devilishly jagged iceberg…” –Booklist Nicci French, What To Do If Someone Dies (William Morrow) “Crisply written, intelligently plotted and has plenty to say about the necessary selfishness of grief.” –The Guardian Joe
  15. The American comic book is inseparable from foreign policy, the great twentieth-century battles between capitalism and totalitarianism, and the political goals of the world’s preeminent military and cultural power. The history of the American comic book is a story of visual culture, commerce, race, and policy. These four fields are analogous to the four colors used to print comic books: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. They lie atop one another, smearing, blending, and bleeding to create a complete image. To separate them is to disassemble a coherent whole and to shatter a picture that in its
  16. In 1952 a 29-year old Somalian man was hanged at Her Majesty’s Prison Cardiff in Wales by Britain’s best known public executioner Albert Pierrepoint. After a long drawn-out detention, a highly questionable police investigation, and a speedy trial at the Glamorgan Assizes in Swansea, Mahmood Mattan had been found guilty of murdering shopkeeper Lily Volpert in the then notorious Tiger Bay area of the Welsh capital. Despite arguments from his lawyers Mattan was refused leave to appeal by the Home Secretary. Forty-six years after Mattan’s execution, and 34 years after the death penalty was finall
  17. I have discovered the secret to making a great roundtable: Alex Segura. If Alex is involved, or I get interested in a book by someone Alex has introduced me to, it’s a breeze to fill our imaginary table. This time I wanted to focus on the positives and negatives LGBTQ+ writers face. I’ve been thinking about it ever since we did the sex roundtable: if we rarely see any vanilla sex, then all of the other flavors are probably not being served either. Anyway, this came about because of PJ Vernon’s excellent new thriller, Bath Haus, and his enthusiastic participation at the aforementioned sex rou
  18. Today, I am excited to announce the launch of a special reader review event with author Karen Arrington. Today, our readers are sharing their insights into her book Your Next Level Life: 7 Rules of Power, Confidence, and Opportunity for Black Women in America. You'll have the chance to find more about this book―which won an NAACP Image Award in 2020―and more about the author, Karen Arrington, herself. Join us as we celebrate this book and this inspiring author. First, here's more about the book: If you’re a Black woman in business and feeling stuck or trapped by other people’s expectations of
  19. Squee Eclipse by Celia Lake May 5, 2021 Historical: EuropeanRomanceScience Fiction/Fantasy I came to Eclipse via these two tweets shared on Twitter. It was the second one which really got me. I love a good magical school story, but the Harry Potter books never quite worked for me. Eclipse, which promised a view from the staff room of a magical school in the 1920s, sounded like my catnip. (Also, the author’s page has a content warning t
  20. Assignment 1, the story statement Three generations of Southern women have visions of dramatic events they don’t want and can't control, while navigating issues like potentially losing their organic farm and dealing with abusive people. The story alternates between modern-day Texas where Raine Walker tries to avoid and stop the visions that won’t leave her alone, and 1960s Tennessee, where Raine’s grandma Anna Mae obsessively follows her visions, considering them to be absolute truth. Ultimately, both women wind up in grave danger, and have to search out their own purposes in life. A
  21. Yesterday
  22. 1-Story Statement Face a traumatic past and find the courage to return home. 2-Antagonist/Antagonistic Force The antagonist in Max’s story is a man named Eric Dalton. We meet Eric officially at the end of the book when he finally has to face the law for what he has done to Max and many others. However, he is immensely present throughout the entire book living in Max’s mind. For a large part of the story, every move Max makes is a product of the mental damage caused by Eric and her abduction. Even after she is rescued from his grasp, the trauma inflicted by the murders
  23. How Not to Fall RECOMMENDED: How Not to Fall by Emily Foster is $1.99! We had two reviews of this book, one from me and one from a guest reviewers. We both really enjoyed it. Foster had plans for more romance novels in a the podcast episode we did with her, but I have a feeling those plots are on hiatus. I gave it a B: I would recommend this book, honestly. The smart characters and Annie’s earnestness as a heroine are so refreshing, despite the emotional shift in the narrative. I’m glad I read it and I’m going to scrambl
  24. Please welcome today’s guest: longtime community member and friend Thomas Pope! Tom’s third novel, IMPERFECT BURIALS, releases today. The story, about an American journalist who exposes a 50-year-old war crime that then imperils his life and leaves him without a country, was hailed as “sharp,” “clever,” and “rich with historical intrigue” by New York Times Bestselling author Chad Zunker. More about Tom from his bio: Tom’s early dreams of writing novels were short-circuited by a 25-year jaunt into songwriting and acting. Like all people in the arts, he has held many jobs — California vineyard
  25. Barbara’s Bio: Predominately a visual artist, Barbara Olsen has been creating art for several years, exhibiting her work in numerous shows and publications. Unapologetically a lifelong list maker, journal nerd, and travel diarist, she also has an innate interest in the written word. In the last couple of years, she’s dipped her toes into the world of writing poetry and prose through enrollment in local classes. Within these circles of talented, passionate writers, she’s found a supportive community. Her vision is to ascribe, through imagery and words, personal, but at the same time universal,
  26. Last week
  27. These sales are all part of today’s Kindle Daily Deals, which also include more mysteries and even cookbooks! The Space Between Worlds PODCAST RECOMMENDED: The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson is $1.99! This is a Kindle Daily Deal, so grab it while you can. Courtney Milan recommended this one on her latest podcast episode with us, and I’m sure a lot of us trust what Courtney has to say,
  28. Writer Unboxed will pause today to recognize Juneteenth, which has just been named a national holiday in the United States. Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”) marks the day when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas in 1865 to take control of the state and ensure that all enslaved people be freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth honors the end to slavery in the United States and is considered the longest-running African American holiday. – history.com Rather than leave comments today, we encourage
  29. Tarot of the Divine: A Deck and Guidebook Inspired by Deities, Folklore, and Fairy Tales from Around the World is a gorgeous and thoughtfully composed 78-card deck with a wide selection of stories that fit the meanings of the cards beautifully. I’m enjoying spending time with this colorful, creative deck and seeing all the layers of each card unfold. If you need a brush up on the basics of tarot, check out this review of the Jane Austen deck, which explains tarot structure. Every card has an image from a fairy tale, folktale, legend, or myth/religion in a palette that features a lot of teal a
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