Sunday, February 20, 2011

Six word novels

Ever heard of a six word novel? Neither had I, but it turns out you can find them on twitter. Following are some examples.


Faeries loose in library. Oops.

Guy meets girl, turns into werewolf.

The faeries found bright sparkly things.

Train invaded by exuberant school children.


You can find more six word novels here. They tend to be entertaining, so if you're looking for some laughs I recommend that you check them out.

All the six word novels I've shared are my own, by the way. :) To keep my creativity going I'm setting a goal of writing (at least) one six word novel a day for...oh, I guess the next month.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The story repeats itself

I'm reading The Action Bible by Doug Mauss and Sergio Cariello. Today I came to the conclusion that the overall plot may be summed up thus:

1) The Hebrews are in awe of YHWH and worship Him.

2) The Hebrews forget YHWH and start worshiping the "heathen" gods.

3) YHWH becomes angry and punishes the Hebrews so that they remember that He is their god.

4) Repeat all the above. Again. And again. And again. And again. etc.

I'm about halfway through the book, and although exact circumstances and characters change, it's pretty much the same all the way through.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Revisiting Brian Jacques

I picked up Mossflower by Brain Jacques after I learned of Jacques' recent death. I've been reading a bit here and there, and it has been wonderful to revisit favorite characters of mine.

Martin the warrior -- A wandering warrior, this is no mouse to mess around with. When he finds that the creatures of Mossflower are under the tyranny of Queen Tsarmina he offers to help however he can. He was also my first major crush.

Gonff the (honest) Thief -- An honest thief, he becomes Martin's closest friend. Together they are unstoppable! Gonff knows how to have fun, and his thieving skills come in handy when fighting the horrid Queen Tsarmina.

Queen Tsarmina -- So evil that she shouldn't be believable, she's so much fun to read about that you don't care she's entirely too evil.

Skipper -- The head of the otters, he is fun loving and nice. He's one of those heading the resistance against Queen Tsarmina.

Lady Amber -- She's a lady who owns a bow and arrows and knows how to use them! She's leads the squirrels, and works with Skipper to resist Queen Tsarmina. She's a very no-nonsense sort of creature.

Ferdy and Coggs -- Young hedgehog brothers, these two think that they are fierce warriors and are always eager to volunteer their services. Because these two children are so fearsome Skipper and Lady Amber always request that they stay home and guard those who aren't out fighting.

Bella -- I think it would be safe to say that Bella is the heart of the woodlander's community. Her ancestral home is under an oak tree and can accommodate many creatures whenever needed, which there certainly is a need now. She is descended from a long lines of badgers who have previously ruled Mossflower Forest.

And the list of beloved characters could go on and on. :)

Last, I have to mention the food. The food! Jacques sure knows how to write about food. Here is an excerpt about one meal:
"Exclamations of admiration and delight greeted the food as it was served. After all, who could resist roast chestnuts served in cream and honey, or clover oatcakes dipped in hot redcurrant sauce, celery and herb cheese on acorn bread with chopped radishes, or a huge home-baked seed and sweet barley cake with mint icing, all washed down with either October ale, pear cordial, strawberry juice or good fresh milk."
I don't think I've read any other author who can write about food the way Jacques can.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fan art

I'm pretty sure that this is the mountain range from the Redwall books. Either that or it's the mountain range the company in Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring crosses. lol I have to admit that I'm not one hundred percent sure which it is.

As I recall, this is a pike that lost an argument with a shrew. Poor pike. I don't remember which book this is from.

Unless I rescan one drawing that didn't scan too well, this brings my fan art series dedicated to the late Brian Jacques to a close.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

More fan art

And here is yet more fan art I'm posting in honor of the late Brian Jacques.

This is the family crest of the Brocktree family. Their family is found in many of the books. They are badgers, hence the left side of the crest.

A giant serpent (or something) in an inland sea. From the book Salamandastron.

I forget which book he's from, but Cardo does not know how to cook. Jacques describes certain creature's cooking abilities by saying they can burn a salad. Cardo definitely falls into this category of cooks.

You know, I haven't done much fan art, and most of what I have done is inspired by Brian Jacques.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fan art

Dotti, a hare from Lord Brocktree, cannot carry a tune...a fact of which she is unaware.

A scene from Mattimeo.

I seem to recall that this is also from Mattimeo, but I'm not entirely certain.

More fan art inspired by the late Brian Jacques will be posted tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fan art

In honor of Brian Jacques, a writer who recently passed away, I would like to share some fan art of mine.

This is the sword and shield of Martin the Warrior.

Against a red wall, the names of heroes from the Redwall books.

I remember the plot, but I'm not sure which book this belongs to! It's a scene where the heroes get lured into a cave and the bad guys block the entrance with rocks. The heroes somehow escape, of course. :)

...more to follow.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The immortal writers

Famous writers are either long dead, or are gloriously alive and will live forever. Right?


I never even realized that I had this strange assumption until a few minutes ago, when I found out that Brian Jacques died last Saturday. I thought "Impossible! He's got to live forever and keep on writing Redwall books!" But...why should writers be any different from the rest of us?

Jacques' Redwall series were about a group of animals who lived in Redwall Abby. In the first book I read, Mossflower, the abbey had yet to be built. Instead, the animals of the forest were under the power of the evil queen Tsarmina.

I loved Mossflower immediately. I read how the creatures of Mossflower Forest fought back against Tsarmina. I watched as Martin the Warrior came to their aid, and set out on a quest to free the woodland folk. I laughed at the tricks of Gonff the (honest) Thief, who became Martin's closest friend. I was elated when the creatures of Mossflower were finally freed of tyranny, and decided to build an abbey that would one day be named Redwall Abbey.

When I finished Mossflower I read Redwall. Next I read Mattimeo...and I forget which one I read after that. Funny thing is, they weren't actually written in chronological order. I guess Jacques just wrote the stories as they came to him, however they came to him. For example, the novel Martin the Warrior takes place before Mossflower, before Martin has become a great warrior. But it was released five years after Mossflower was published.

For several years I read nothing but Redwall books. I read each new book as it came out, and then I reread all the old ones until the next one was released. I knew those stories inside and out, and I think Brian Jacques was the first writer to make me cry with his book Salamandastron. In any event, whether or not it was the first book I cried over, I definitely found myself in tears over Salamandastron because the characters were so real to me.

Eventually I started to read other books. It's been I don't know how many years since I've read one of the Redwall books, but I remembered them fondly, and it was comforting to know that Jacques was still out there writing them.

Well, he's not writing them anymore.

I think I should reread Mossflower. Also, it's time that I read those last Redwall books that I never picked up.

Rest in peace, Brian Jacques. Or be reincarnated and write some more stories. Whichever you prefer. :) Either way, I think you've joined the ranks of immortal writers.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

More response to Abram's book

In oral traditions story change with each telling, to suit each new situation. This is something I already knew, and something that David Abram emphasizes in his book The Spell of the Sensuous.

When you write a story down, however, it becomes fixed in time. How it was written down is the way it is. That's it. It can't change. That's what Abram says. (Or anyways, that's all he says by page 201. We'll see if he decides to refute that claim later on...) And that's how it seems to be. After all, who can argue with the pages of a novel.

The answer: Plenty of people argue with what's written in a novel.

In oral traditions people can adapt old stories to meet new needs. It seems to me that adapting and retelling stories is somehow ingrained in humans, because we do do this all the time today. Just look at movies.

Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling is being turned into a movie.

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R.Tolkien has been turned into a movie trilogy, and the same producer is now doing Tolkien's The Hobbit.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini was turned into a movie.

In some cases the movies are so different from the books that it's as though the movie people are saying "Oh, you want to set this story in stone? Well, guess again! I'm gonna prove to you that stories are meant to change over time." And then, in some cases, they go way overboard as though they're trying to make a point that stories should be fluid creations, not things that are set in stone.

Maybe this is why with some movies, such as Eragon, it seems as though the movie people barely skimmed the Wikipedia article about the book before writing the script. Maybe this is the backlash of us presuming to put stories down on paper and say "There, that's it. That's how it is. It's not gonna change."

Thoughts, anyone?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Response to Abram's book

I'm reading The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram. In it he talks about our connection to nature, and that our distance from nature is artificial. He explains how our ancestors were closer to nature, and that people in indigenous cultures today are still close to it.

Abram spends several chapters discussing language, how language used to reflect our closeness to nature, how when our ancestors first began to write that the symbols used reflected that closeness, and that ultimately the written language evolved so that it removed us from nature.

(I'm not even going to try to explain it the way he does here. It's nearly midnight and I want to get to sleep soon. If someone really wants me to explain it I can try it another time. :) Or you can read the book, which is pretty good.)

Abram also talks about how people relied on oral tradition before the written language became widespread. He points out that people who were illiterate had better memory, and that by becoming literate we have lost something.

This left me feeling a little sad, and almost wishing that I lived someplace where I would have been raised in an oral tradition rather than learning how to read. And yet, I love to read, so I really don't wish that. But I've been aware for a long time that people who are illiterate have better memories than those of us who read.

After all, what's the point of remembering something when you can just go find it in a book? In oral tradition, however, if people have forgotten something then that's it.

Yes, I know I'm rambling. My thoughts are not in order and it's past near my bedtime. :)


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