Showing posts from September, 2015

Mary Sue: Analyzing a Hated Character Type

Originally posted on Young Writers' Treehouse
She's probably the most bashed character in the writer-world...but who exactly is she? And is there a place for her anywhere in literature? Who is Mary Sue? "Mary Sue" is a term used in the world of fiction to represent a certain type of character. It is most commonly seen as a bad thing, but there are also some characters that fit the description who are seen as well-written. There are many attributes that can make a character a Mary Sue and there are a lot of variants so it's hard to define, but I’ve boiled it down to 4 of the most frequent aspects.
Special Even if they have humble beginnings or “normal” attributes (and they often do) Mary Sues always have something special about them—more special than anyone else in the story. For example: he is The Chosen One...she is an amazing singer and gets noticed by a talent scout...he has a heart so pure that even though he is an average guy he’s loved by extraordinary girl…

The Ultimate Guide to Free Educational Videos

These videos vary in level, complexity, and length. Something for everyone!Preview videos before showing them to your students to make sure they align with your personal standards and values.If you find that any of these links are outdated please let me know.If you think something should be taken off this list, let me know.I'll continue to update this list when I run across more great videos. Suggestions welcome!English Literature:Crash Course Literature
TED-Ed, Literature Yale University, Literature

TechnicalHowcast, English Grammar Basics Howcast, Essays and Research Papers EngVid, Grammar and Pronounciation

OtherTED-Ed, Writer's Workshop
TED-Ed, Language
Annenberg Learner, Literature and Language Arts
Creative Writing, A Master Class
Howcast, Writing Fiction and Poetry YaleCourses, Modern Poetry
MathKhan Academy, Math
PBS Math Club
Annenberg Learner, Math
Gresham College, Applying Modern Math
Gresham College, 19th Century Mathamatics

EconomicsKhan Academy, Economics and Finance

Choosing the Right Main Character for Your Novel

Originally posted on Young Writers' Treehouse

Classic Hero The classic good guys. Sure, they slip up, learn things, and grow, but overall they try to do what's right and often end up saving the day. Examples of these types of Main Characters (MCs) are Luke Skywalker, Frodo, Captain America, and Elizabeth Bennet. These characters are what most people think of when they hear the word "protagonist." The reader always roots for them and wants to see them come to a good end. There is a danger that these MCs will be goody-two-shoe Mary Sues if they are TOO moral and noble to be relatable but they are popular because they win reader's hearts by pursuing worthy goals and desires that the reader begins to care about.
Observer This character isn't really the main focus but serves as a window into the world. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Watson a prime example of this, with Sherlock Holmes being the main focus. Doyle's The Lost World also follows this format, with a j…

Reading Tag

I was tagged by my friend Lisa...

1. Name three of your favorite books and tell us a bit about them. - The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I grew up listening to the audio books and now everytime I read the books or listen to the audio again I notice some new awesome thing. All the books are so unique but have common threads. It means a lot to me and has great messages and inspires my imagination.

- The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. Most people know this from the musical, which I like...but I probably don't even have to tell you: THE BOOK WAS BETTER. This book had everything...exictment, humor, romance....I found it to be unique.

- The Theif Lord by Cornelia Funke. I loved the characters...especially Scipio. It made me fall in love with Venice and I felt like I had been there myself. Even though I sort of didn't like the ending, this book gave me a lot of feels and stayed in my mind constantly for days...something few books do. So, that's how it gets a place …

The Key to Writing Romance Readers Will Love

I'd like to address an element that has been bugging me for some time that can make or break a romance storyline. The thing is, all too often characters are purported to fall deeply in love with each other for no apparent reason and without ample time to even do so. Thus, there is a plot thread or even an entire novel wrapped around a relationship that has very little basis--which causes readers to care very little about the story. Admittedly, this has been a flaw in my own writing whenever I try to insert a romantic thread and have only recently discovered the true problem with boring, dispassionate love stories.

When I'm watching a poorly written chick-flick on the Hallmark Channel or browsing through romance books online, too often I wonder, "Why are these people in love? Why do they want and need each other so much? Why should I care?" An example of such lack of "chemistry" and basis for romance would be the movie Love Comes Softly--in my opinion, at l…