I had the distinct privilege last week to visit the Morgan Museum and Library in New York City to catch the Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibit, a display of his original papers and artworks. I knew Tolkien had a gift for prose, language creation, and world building—but I never knew how talented he was as […]Read More Tolkien’s Fruitless Labor and Our Hope
Last week, I introduced the idea that often, “good guys” can come across as boring. I’m not sure if this tendency is a deficiency in the way they are written (i.e., the author’s understanding of what constitutes “goodness” is shallow) or a deficiency in the way we perceive them (as in: being in mental turmoil/moral […]Read More Making Good Look Good: Top 5 Non-Boring Good Guys
Stephen Koch writes the following about Lucie Manette, the ideal woman in Tale of Two Cities: “She is a flawless paragon of sweetness and love, and the way we know it is true sweetness, true love, is that both are defined by the absolute absence of any conflicting impulse whatsoever. In two plain words, she […]Read More Are “Good Guys” Boring?
I recently read Ursula K. Le Guin’s magisterial The Tombs of Atuan. This slow, relatively simple story details the life of a young priestess, Arha, and how a wizard thief comes into her domain, changes her outlook, and helps her escape. There’s not much of a plot to be spoiled—everything I just said is straight […]Read More Resurrecting Tenar: Easter in Earthsea
Last week, I posted an analysis of Hester Shaw’s character arc in the tragically underrated film, Mortal Engines. I conceived this post on an analytical high and wrote it in a fervor. And, perhaps due in part to our country’s tragic lack of interest in the film,… got very few hits on it. At the […]Read More Moral Engines, or, Shannon Won’t Shut Up About Mortal Engines
When Mortal Engines came out last year, I viewed several trailers and shrugged. Last week rolled around, and I was in the mood for some mindless movie-watching while folding our backed-up laundry piles. So we Redboxed it. I loved it from the first. I could tell Cap loved it, too, by the way he knelt, ready […]Read More I Loved Mortal Engines and I Don’t Care Who Knows It
When I posted my Top 10 Children’s Books before last Christmas, one of my friends asked if I had a Top 10 Books of 2018 list in the works. Of COURSE I did! Well, not at that very moment—but I thought it would be fun to develop one after the new year. Then I got […]Read More Top 10 Books of 2018
50,000 words in one month… This is the challenge of NaNoWriMo. This was my first year trying it, and I won! It feels like an accomplishment. As many will tell you, NaNoWriMo’s place at the start of the holiday season can make it challenging to complete those 50,000 words (1,667 words a day average). What […]Read More Lessons from NaNoWriMo 2018
When I came up with an idea for a new book, I had the main character (we’ll call her… #1) from my shelved novel as the only protagonist I had ever considered for anything, ever. I was used to #1: familiar with her voice, her foibles, her overall character arc. I also love her, as […]Read More How to Know You’ve Picked the Wrong Main Character
This year, to top off my celebration of Tolkien Week, I’m participating in Hamlette’s Tolkien Blog Party! (Many thanks to her for organizing!) 1. What’s your favorite Middle-earth story/book? It may be cliché, but since Lord of the Rings is one of my top three books of all time, it’s that one. I count LOTR […]Read More Tolkien Blog Party 2018!