Subgenre Study: High and Low Fantasy

A very interesting look at the differences between high and low fantasy.

Where Landsquid Fear to Tread

Today we will be looking at High and Low Fantasy and the confusion surrounding the terminology.  It has nothing to do with how good the stories are (Eragon, for example, is high fantasy but most would argue not high quality) but, rather, which fantasy tropes they incorporate.

High Fantasy, sometimes called Epic Fantasy, generally encompasses “traditional” fantasy tropes.  It takes place on a made-up, entirely fictional world, and usually incorporates magic and monsters into the plot.  Low Fantasy, on the other hand, takes place in the real world and may be more subtle in its fantastical elements.

Lord of the Rings is the quintessential High Fantasy but, according to some people, so is Harry Potter.  See, High Fantasy breaks down into three subtypes: 1) the completely made-up world, like Middle Earth, 2) the travel from the real world to a fantasy world, like Narnia, and 3) a made-up world within…

View original post 374 more words

Samuel Johnson Prize

I don’t know about anyone else but I find the stories held in memoirs are sometimes more enthralling than any fictional story. Certainly this is true I feel in the case of Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth, Sisters In Arms: British Army Nurses Tell Their Stories by Nicola Tyrer and Yes Sister, No Sister by Jennifer Craig. All nursing memoirs but they take us back to a time when nursing wasn’t all degrees, etc. It was about vocational training, hierarchy and the care and respect that seems to have been lost in the intervening years. Certainly, if you believe many of the stories the British news recounts about the NHS.
I also rather enjoy Belle de Jour’s books. Very different from the ones above but still a memoir.

Wakefield Libraries

SJ CraneSJ DalrympleSJ GoulsonSJ HigginsSJ HughesSJ Moore
As well as the many novels I want to read, I also love to plunge into a well-written factual book, one that introduces me to a really interesting topic. One source of fascinating reads is the Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction: there is always something to catch my fancy on the list. Previous winners include ‘The Suspicions of Mr Whicher’ by Kate Summerscale, ‘Nothing to Envy: Real lives in North Korea’ by Barbara Demick and ‘Into the Silence:the Great War, Mallory and the conquest of Everest’ by Wade Davis.
The shortlist this year is
Empires of the Dead: How one man’s vision led to the creation of WWW1’s War Graves by David Crane
Return of a King by William Dalrymple (the story of the first Afghan War)
A Sting in the Tale by Dave Goulson (reintroducing and protecting bumblebees)
Under Another Sky by Charlotte Higgins (what Roman Britain has meant…

View original post 89 more words

Elementals Challenge: Complete!

So, as the title says, I have finished the Elementals Writing Challenge so if anyone is interested, here’s the list of  challenges and links to my responses to them:

1. Fire, [link]
2. Earth, [link]
3. Air, [link]
4. Water, [link]
5. Electricity, [link]
6. Light, [link]
7. Poison, [link]
8. Darkness, [link]
9. Bubbles, [link]
10. Ghost, [link]
11. Blood, [link]
12. Hearts, [link]
13. Sand, [link]
14. Time, [link]
15. Space, [link]

Admittedly, some of these are not my best but I hope, if you do read them, you do like them and will look at some of my other work on deviantART.



Sixty second writing tips: logline, logline, logline

I keep forgetting about loglines and need to start using them more.

Matthew Wright

Anybody remember the Brady Bunch movie and that line – “Marcia Marcia Marcia”? Well, that’s what writers should be saying about loglines.

sleeping-man-with-newspapers-mdLogline! Logline! Logline! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – the logline is a key tool for any writer. Any writer? Sure. It works for non-fiction as well. Traditionally, loglines have been the one-sentence rendition of your work you use to sell it to an agent or publisher.

But they are so much more than that. By writing one first – before you even begin writing content – you have to hone your thoughts. Figure out what you’re going to do. First.

What’s a logline? Typically, for novels, it has the form ‘[Named hero] has to [action, usually involving character  growth] in order to [another action] and so [achievement].’ For instance, ‘Cinderella has to learn confidence in order to attend the ball and so win the…

View original post 118 more words

Why do we need to protect our Libraries and their Services?

I wasn’t intending to post today however, whilst having a look on the BBC News website, I came across an article saying that there has been a drop in visits to our libraries here in the UK. You can read the article concerned here.

It got me thinking about the impact of the Coalition Governments cuts and how they are effecting everyone as they filter down from Central Government, to local level then down to the impact on the normal everyday person on the street. It might only have been at voluntary level but I have worked in my local libraries service for 3 out of the last 4 summers and through that, I have seen how my local community uses the library service. I have also used my local libraries and the libraries in my university area to help with researching for assignments for my degree and for writing Camp NaNoWriMo and November NaNoWriMo.

Firstly, I feel I should dispel a long-held view of libraries I often get levelled at me when I talk about them: no, libraries are not just for books and no, the librarians are not old women always going, “Shh!” That might have been the case in the past but now, libraries act as community hubs.

Libraries often host sessions which help children, young adults, adults, the elderly and the vulnerable. Certainly, the library I worked at had Baby and Toddler story and rhyme time events, summer reading challenges, arts & crafts and games sessions for children, job hunting help for the unemployed, citizens advice had a drop in session once a week, knit and natter sessions and coffee mornings. Computers are available for anyone who needs them (members and guests alike) and of course the books to educate and entertain people.

For some people, their trip to the library is their only contact with other people for that week. For other people, it is their only access to computers and the internet and when people are job hunting, they can only get so far with looking at newspapers. Children may not have access to books at home for whatever reason so a trip to the library, either with a family member or school, might be their only way of being able to read, free of charge. For college and university students, they offer quiet spaces to work, access to some books that would otherwise be out of reach (either by cost or unavailability) and give them the ability to work on their essays, assignments and dissertations. They can also give those work spaces for people who want to work on their own things, like anyone working on a novel for Camp and November NaNoWriMo’s, and some libraries provide rooms for groups to hire to hold their own sessions.

So why do we need to protect libraries and their services?

We have already seen a drastic drop in library services here in the UK and we cannot afford to continue losing these services. They give so much to communities and they are used in so many different ways that losing them could potentially destroy communities, isolate people and remove such important opportunities to our children, which will affect their literacy levels and futures both in school and in their careers.

Somehow, some way, we have to protect them!


Banned Books Week: Why Do We Ban Books?

I was going to do a piece on the representation of women in modern media, focusing on fictional texts, today however, after going on the Guardian newspaper website, I decided to do something about the concept of Banned Books instead. Not least because I have a feeling I will need to do a lot of research for the representation article.

I had never heard of Banned Books Week until last year but it was only this year have I actually looked into what the week was about. Though it is fairly obvious, Banned Books Week is the annual right to read celebration from the American Libraries Association. It celebrates the books that have been banned for various reasons.

For me, it has amused me finding out which books are banned and why. Some books which have been challenged, like the Captain Underpants books, are just laughable. Apparently the books are inappropriate for children of a certain age and due to the language. Other books, like E.L. James‘s 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, I can understand a bit more. I don’t think I need to go through the reasons why, though sadly none of the reasons are about the dismal writing.

Sex is a frequent reason as to why books are banned but I’m curious about why someone would want to ban a book in the first place. I agree with a quote by Isaac Asimov, an author, who said, “Any book worth banning is a book worth reading.” Now, I know there will be certain subjects and themes, like pedophilia and bestiality, that would raise objections and I understand them, but my question, why do we ban books?, comes from the fact that even in our modern age, books like And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, have been challenged due to its homosexual themes.

Now, if this had been a book released in the past, when homosexuality was viewed as anything but normal and even when it was a criminal offence, then yes, I could perhaps understand. But no, this book was released in a modern world, in countries which accept homosexuality. The book was inspired by 2 male penguins hatched and raised a chick in a New York Zoo.

Personally, I don’t understand why people would want to ban books, especially ones like the aforementioned book, especially when they are children’s books. Surely And Tango Makes Three would be a good way to introduce concepts like homosexuality to children. It is part of society and part life.

If we want to help people in general to become better people, to expand their horizons and create an even better society than what we have now, reading is a fantastic way to do it and books are brilliant ways of introducing these sorts of concepts and ideas.

Freedom to read

Don’t forget that it is Banned Books week, this week!


Wakefield Libraries

BelovedCaptain UnderpantsFifty shadesKite runner
What do these books have in common?

This week, libraries and bookshops in America are celebating Banned Books week, which highlights attempts to get various titles removed from bookshops, schools or libraries because of their content. It also celebrates all the times that this has failed.

The books pictured above are from their list of books most complained about in 2012. Many books have been banned by various countries: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World was banned in Ireland in 1932 for its sexual content, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales were banned in America in 1873 for obscenity. China banned Dr Seuss Green Eggs and Ham for it’s apparent depiction of early communism and United Arab Emirates banned Orwell’s Animal Farm for containing references to pigs.

There is a list of books that have been banned at various times here

Whatever you have chosen to read this week, sombody would probably like to…

View original post 10 more words