WWW Wednesday – 2018/02/21

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

MansSearchForMeaningThough I have yet to finish Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, I made a lot more progress on it since last week. I finished reading the entire first section “Experiences in a Concentration Camp,” which was fascinating as a personal account by a victim of those circumstances. More than that, however, it is an examination of the psychology of such a prisoner, how they react to these harsh conditions, and what they cling to in order to persevere (when they can). I should have this finished any day now, it’s just by chance I didn’t wrap up reading it before today.

TheLordoftheRingsI’ve also been reading a fair amount of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’m nearly 100 pages into it now, and while that feels like a lot to me without thinking about it, it’s a little scary how much that isn’t. Frodo has yet to even leave the Shire yet (though he, Sam, and Pippin are on their way to Buckland) and it looks like there are some more encounters in store before he finally does. Despite my apprehensions I’m pleased to find I’m liking it so far. The Prologue dragged in some unfortunate ways, but once I got to the story itself I’ve actively enjoyed it. It’s certainly slow paced, but not in a way that I’m having a problem with.

Recently Finished

45MasterCharactersI finally finished reading 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, which you can check out my review for here. It’s given me a lot more focus when it comes to plotting a particular story of mine, as well as a better understanding who my characters are. I haven’t worked out all the kinks yet, but it’s noteworthy that just by reading through it I’ve been able to better form things in my mind. The frameworks for different heroic journeys were a lot more detailed than I expected, but I feel that ultimately the archetypes will be the most valuable. I don’t want to refer back to a laid out structure too much for fear I will adhere to it rigidly.

GodzillaInHellI also finished reading Godzilla in Hell by James Stokoe et al. It was possessed of some surprisingly beautiful and effective visual storytelling, the opening and closing stories especially. The art varied between chapters, but was pretty fantastic throughout as well. The only thing that disappointed me is that the chapters were far too disjointed. It seemed to be different artists/writers interpreting a theme (see title) rather than a collaborative effort to tell a more connected, episodic story.

Reading Next

TheVisitorCoverIt’s hard to say what book I’ll read next, since I’m aiming to really buckle down soon to at the very least finish The Fellowship of the Ring in a timely manner. If I can do that fast enough I’m going to try to finish all three volumes of LOTR without any breaks. I’m definitely going to be reading more comic book volumes as I go along though. I’m thinking I will either finally get through The Visitor by Mike Mignola (I think I’ve listed it here once before), or continue along with some of the new Star Wars volumes that I’ve been neglecting. I haven’t really decided yet.

Book Review – 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

Summary

45 Master Characters will make your characters and their stories more compelling, complex and original than ever before.

You’ll explore the most common male and female archetypes–the mythic, cross-cultural models from which all characters originate–and learn how to use them as foundations for your own unique characters. Examples culled from literature, television and film illustrate how memorable and effective these archetypes can be–from “Gladiators” and “Kings” like Rocky Balboa and Captain Ahab to “Amazons” and “Maidens” like Xena and Guinevere.

The mythic journeys of heroes and heroines–the progression of events upon which each archetype’s character arc develops–are also examined. Building such a “journey” into your character’s story will enable you to stop worrying about what happens next and get on with telling your tale.

45MasterCharacters

Like many other books, I’ve been meaning to 45 Master Characters for quite some time. I’ve owned it for a number of years, but my current drive to push my story ideas beyond my thoughts and into words (still slow going) inspired me to finally read it cover to cover. The book largely explores character archetypes, which it defines as the foundation that characters stand upon; a blueprint for the writer to build from that preserves their creative spark. The idea of discovering my characters within this book’s frameworks always seemed like a great way to understand them even more, as well as maybe point out contradictions that I hadn’t noticed to correct flaws in design.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/02/14

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

45MasterCharactersDespite my efforts, I still have not finished reading 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, though I have made significant progress since last week. I’ve gotten through all of the male archetypes, which gave me a wealth of further ideas, and I’m nearly finished the section on plotting the feminine journey. One thing that has slowed me down, funnily enough, is the influx of information has had me putting down the book a lot to think about my own characters. So, it’s been great in terms of getting me thinking, but not so much if I want to get through books quickly. I suppose I shouldn’t complain, but I do want to wrap up reading it all the same.

Sadly haven’t made any progress on Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl yet, but it’s rather short so I’m gonna set aside a session or two soon to get through it.

GodzillaInHellI also started reading Godzilla in Hell by James Stokoe et al. I really could have had this finished by now too, but I’ve elected to take my time with it so I could focus on other books and get some writing done. The art direction for this book is really good so far. I’m especially happy that for the most part the book is playing it straight with the premise, instead of tongue-in-cheek. The first issue especially stuck out to me because dialogue and narration were completely absent. It was just this gargantuan, semi-intelligent monster arriving in Hell and scoping out its surroundings. I admire the book’s simplicity so far.

TheLordoftheRingsLastly, I made certain I started The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien this week so that I’m not saying I’ll read it next for a third time in a row. So far I’ve only read the front matter and the Prologue, which have not started things off all that energetically for me. It’s interesting, but Tolkien’s writing is dense and a little dry. The Prologue read a lot more like a history book than a novel. It was good to get a little refresher on some details leading into the story though, for what it’s worth. I’m hoping things will change now that I can properly start The Fellowship of the Ring when I pick it up next.

Recently Finished

Nothing this week, sadly, but I plan to clean out the above heading over the next week to make reading time for LOTR.

Reading Next

I’m honestly not sure what I’ll read next. I have accumulated a number of digital and physical comic book volumes that I need to be getting to, so maybe some of those. I’m thinking that while I am getting through the massive tome above I will use them as supplemental reading material so I don’t lose focus. Now I just have to decide which series I actually want to dive into. There are a number I’ve neglected progress on or need to start and get through. We’ll see!

WWW Wednesday – 2018/02/07

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

I’m still reading 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, but unfortunately I have made no progress since last week. I will be pushing myself to get it finished by next week now, as I feel like I’ve officially lingered on it too long and I haven’t been reading chapters here and there like I want to be with a supplemental read.

MansSearchForMeaningI’ve started reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, the widely published memoir of the author’s time in a concentration camp and his psychological theory known as logotherapy, which asserts that the primary human drive is not pleasure but the pursuit of what we find meaningful. This book came to my attention after watching a short biography of Frankl’s life and I picked up a copy last week. It’s an idea that resonates with some existing notions I have already and I’m eager to learn more about this subject.

Recently Finished

ShiverA day after last week’s post I finished reading Shiver by Junji Ito. All in all I liked the collection, though not as much as his longer form stuff. Some of them were just okay, naturally limited in how much they can develop by their length. Certain stories had absolutely captivating ideas, however, and one in particular is easily the most effective example of gross-out horror I have ever seen. It still makes me sick to think about. I will have a review up soon.

SpookI also finished reading Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach. I wasn’t as swept away with this book as I wanted to be, though I feel that had more to do with me than Roach’s writing. This book was a fascinating read, but due to its focus on science I had a harder time getting through it quickly and having fun with my time doing so as much as I do fiction. I should have a review of this up soon as well; if I manage my time correctly either Friday or Saturday.

Reading Next

TheLordoftheRingsI don’t know if I’ll regret this decision, but I’ve decided to move forward on starting The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien once I’ve finished up with 45 Master Characters. Specifically this means I will be starting The Fellowship of the Ring, as I expect I will not want to read through all three books as one without some other books to space things out a little. Who knows, though, maybe I’ll love it or enjoy it enough to power through as much as I can in a short amount of time. Either way, I look forward to finally striking the book off my to-read list after so long.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/01/31

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

45MasterCharactersProgress has slowed a little on 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, but I have finished reading through all of the female archetypes. It’s certainly been a valuable resource, giving me a lot to think about as well as some new ideas. I will likely ramp up my progress on the book soon so that I’m not taking too long getting through it. The archetypes are interesting, but I especially want to get to plotting character journeys and their differences.

SpookI’m a little over halfway through Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach. I had wanted to have the book finished by now, but as it turns out scientific nonfiction isn’t as easy to digest as quickly as fiction for me. Regardless, I’m enjoying the book a lot. At first the sense of humour didn’t really work for me, but I have come to enjoy it as I’ve gotten further along. Roach’s work is quite thorough and really insightful. It’s astounding what science used to take seriously.

ShiverI’ve also been reading Shiver by Junji Ito, collecting nine of the author’s best short stories, as selected by the man himself, spanning his entire career as a manga creator. The art is harrowing as expected, while the stories themselves have a very Tales from the Crypt feeling that I’m enjoying a lot, though not as much as his longer stuff.

Recently Finished

Nothing for this week, though I’ve got a good feeling at least two of the three books above will be included here next week.

Reading Next

TheLordoftheRingsIt’s hard to say what I’ll be getting to next. I definitely want to read Godzilla in Hell soon, which is a conceptually delightful comic book that I came across recently. The title says it all. Hopefully the actual book lives up to how in love I am with the idea. Otherwise, I’m considering starting one of the longer books I added to my physical to-read list for the year. One possibility is The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve had all three books collected into one for many years, but have never touched the series. Maybe I’ll get a start on that finally, since I could put it down guilt free while I’m between “books” within the collection. We’ll see.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/01/24

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

45MasterCharactersI’m still slowly making my way through 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. I haven’t made as much progress as I wanted to, but I really wanted to get some other things finished instead. I’m still in the midst of female archetypes, a continuously useful section. I’m finding I might have to blend elements from different models together. These archetypes are meant to be a foundation from which you build up characters, so I’m hoping mixing and matching elements that could work together won’t complicate things too much. Regardless, there’s still much for me to work out, so we’ll see.

Recently Finished

StarWarsANewDawnMere minutes before starting to write this post I finished reading A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, the Star Wars novel following Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla from Star Wars Rebels in their first adventure together. Maybe it was because I was pushing myself to get through it a bit too much, but I found it to be much longer than it likely needed to be. At times the drawn out, continual action felt tiresome. Despite this, I think it is one of the best of the new canon novels I have read thus far. My review will probably be up by Friday.

Reading Next

SpookAfter a lot of thought, I’ve decided my next book will by Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach. It’s a book I was able to secure a copy of a few months ago after having been on my radar for a little while. It’s a nonfiction, humorous look at ghosts and life after death from a scientific perspective. I’m an atheist (secular humanist if you want to get specific), but I’ve never been able to help a fascination with the paranormal. Taking a look at the subject from this perspective was hard to resist once I’d come across it and I look forward to digging into it over the next week.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/01/17

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

45MasterCharactersI’m currently in the middle of a couple books. The first is 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, a reference book about writing character archetypes and crafting character journeys throughout a story. One of the protagonists in a story I’ve been formulating for years is a young woman, so I’m especially appreciating Schmidt’s emphasis on the feminine journey and female archetypes. As far as I can tell the masculine journey is given just as much detail, which will definitely be useful as well, but I’m appreciating the former being at the forefront of the book. I feel I have the most to learn in that area.

StarWarsANewDawnI’m also reading A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, a Disney Canon Star Wars novel following Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla, two of the main cast from the animated series Star Wars Rebels. The book serves as a prequel to the series, so I wanted to get reading it out of the way before watching the show. It’s not bad so far — though I’m only a little over 50 pages in — I just don’t care about these characters very much. I might have if I’d watch the show first, but I don’t feel like working backwards with this sphere of Star Wars stories. I enjoy reading about the cyborg villain Count Vidian, who mechanically vocalizes loudly at people to be more efficient. I find him both menacing and comically over-the-top.

Recently Finished

Shortly after my post last week I finished reading Universal Harvester by John Darnielle, which you can read my full review of here. I enjoyed the novel for what it was, there were great things about it, but I couldn’t help coming away from it a little disappointed.

KananTheLastPadawanI also read the two volumes of Star Wars: Kanan by Greg Weisman et al — The Last Padawan and First Blood — a limited comic book series following the Star Wars Rebels character during his time as a Jedi Padawan at the end of the Clone Wars. Again, I’ve no attachment to these characters right now, but I could appreciate the unique perspective on the execution of the Jedi; the character being quite young when he had to flee his betrayers and survive on his own. The volumes were pleasant little pockets of story that expanded the universe a little more. I especially liked the brief emphasis on Separatists who truly believed in their cause and their spite toward those who fought for the former Republic.

Reading Next

ShiverI’m not quite sure what I’ll get to next in terms of novels; I’m pretty occupied with the two books I’m reading already. I definitely want to get to Shiver by Junji Ito though, a manga collection of horror stories. I was able to get a new copy on sale on Boxing Day over the holidays, a find I was really pleased with. I loved Ito’s work in Uzumaki I’m eager to experience more of his one-shot stories firsthand.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/01/10

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

UniversalHarvesterI’m about three quarters of the way through Universal Harvester by John Darnielle. It’s a lot more of a slow burn than I was expecting, the nature of these strange tapes still left nebulous to the reader at this point. It’s a lot more focused on people’s lives, their roots, processing grief, and trying to figure out their place in the world. It’s amusing to me to think that this novel is essentially an internet “creepypasta” turned into literature, where normally a story like this would be entirely fixated on the the creepy premise, this novel is building out its people and their world carefully. Where this falls in my esteem will ultimately have to do with its payoff.

Recently Finished

Nothing yet, but I expect to have Universal Harvester done any day now.

Reading Next

45MasterCharactersAs a supplemental read I think I’m going to finally start reading 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt soon. It’s a book I picked up for reference a while ago, but with my growing drive to actually get started on a book I’ve been building up in my head for years now, I want to use more of the tools available to me to help me make it as good as it can be. Other than that, I will probably start Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller as my next novel, as I’ve got a lot of those books that I want to get through this year.