Writing Tips

Hello all!

I’ve been reading a lot lately (fitting, since exams started and reading is obviously more needed than studying at this time), and in my search for more lovely books to add to my list of favourites, I have, unfortunately, come across some not-so-good ones. So hey, I just thought I’d type up a little list of things that would be better to take extreme caution with when writing. Let’s bear in mind that this is mainly feedback from the things I’ve seen in YA books, but I guess it applies to most fiction in general. Here goes!

Things to be extremely careful with when writing:

  • Narrating alternate chapters from different characters’ POV. Speaking from experience, reading a book which does this is highly confusing for the reader, to the point where being the said reader just makes you want to slam the book down out of pure frustration. Also, the number of times I have ended up stopping and thinking ‘who’s head am I in right now?’ before being forced to go back and check the start of that chapter is more than I can count. If alternating chapters does help you narrate and move the story forward, then I’d highly suggest at least putting the name of the person you’re narrating from at the top of the page alongside the title of the book/chapter.
  • Writing in third person present tense. Whilst this is rather original and something that is not done often, I’d like to think that this is for a reason. This is particularly painful (again, speaking from experience) because it takes the reader about half the book to get used to the unusual narration, and by the time they adjust and even grow to like it, the plot and characters have slipped right over their head. If you are going to write like this, please be cautious and make sure it’s needed.
  • Having overwhelming character development with no (obvious) reason. This one is one of the biggest no-no’s in my books. Just as having no character development is frustrating, having too much development without any reason is equally frustrating. If a character changes, good for them, but make sure the reader can see how/why and that the reason is valid.
  • Having a character come to a sudden revelation just because (sort of ties on from the previous point). This is used repeatedly in books, and quite honestly, it’s a little pet peeve of mine. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been reading a book where a character is trying to solve something and then they sort of glance upward and just know the answer. This can work very well – as long as it’s not overdone and it actually makes sense.
  • Having characters that are all beautiful and strong and kind and every other positive adjective in the dictionary. Only one thing to say to this one – let’s be realistic.
  • Making a female character argue for some reason or another with every other female she sees. Can we please just be mindful of the reader and what type of message is being sent out with female characters constantly bitching and fighting with other females (normally over a boy) whilst the males get along beautifully and have a good relationship with the majority of the characters?
  • This one is a complete and utter NO. Mocking things like cutting (or any form of self harm) and ED. As shocking as this may seem, I’ve seen many books which utilize things like this for a purpose that simply isn’t visible to the reader, and for many people this can be very triggering and quite offensive. Please proceed cautiously if you’re using themes like this.

That’s it from me (for the time being, anyway)! These are more my thoughts as a reader than a (hopeful) writer, but there you go. I really hope I haven’t offended anyone with this, and if I somehow have, I apologize profusely. If there’s anything you think I should add to this or if there’s something you’d like to discuss, feel free to leave a comment!

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The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

ImageTitle: The Fiery Heart
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #4
Genre: Urban Fantasy (YA)

This review is spoiler free.

Goodreads synopsis:
In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

My review:

Well, wow. I have a lot of thoughts on this book, so this review may be a little all over the place, but please do bear with me! Like I said a few days ago, I did manage to get my hands on a copy of TFH from my nearest bookstore, and I read it in about 5 hours straight – and each hour was definitely worth it. Without further blabbing, here goes.

Firstly, I just want to say that Richelle’s narration of alternating chapters between Sydney and Adrian just did not work for me. At all. Yes, the story was wider and we could see a lot more of what was going on, but at the same time, the whole idea was lacking, because I found it extremely confusing. I lost count of the number of times where I’d be halfway through a chapter then forget whose head I was in then having to flip back to the start of said chapter. Perhaps I was just tired and half brain dead – but still, knowing whose POV a chapter is from shouldn’t be that frustrating for a reader. Moving on to the ending. This was painfully obvious from the very start for me. From the synopsis, from the synopsis of Silver Shadows and the way the book panned out in general, I predicted the ending almost from the get go.

However, I have complete and utter respect for Richelle for delivering such an ending so beautifully. It may have been expected, but I still found myself gasping with what was going on – the execution was done really well, so props to Richelle for that. The biggest bone I have to pick with this book is the fact that none of Indigo Spell’s events had any affect on The Fiery Heart. I’m not talking about the romance here (I’ll get to that later) but the actual plot. Veronica was initially a central character in the preceding book, and she was mentioned all but once in TFH. I really hope Richelle is planning on sorting that out in her next books, as I’m fairly sure she will – she’s too thorough of an author to let something that big slip by, but I suppose we’ll see. This whole thing just reinforced my view that The Indigo Spell was a mere filler, but y’know.

Going back to the romance. TOO MUCH. Too much is all I have to say. I do love my fair share of romance, but when I pick up an urban fantasy book, I expect urban fantasy. That’s not to say that I don’t want romance to be in it – hell, I loved the Vampire Academy series and I genuinely would not criticize a thing about it – but there has to be a limit. Pausing the whole plot for a romantic interlude is just not my cup of tea. The. whole. plot. was. literally. paused. That frustrated me terribly, but moving on to the positive! parts.

ROSE. ROSE, ROSE, ROSE. I was so happy to see her and some of the other treasured characters from VA making an appearance. It was beautiful. This also ties into something that I’ve been waiting for since Bloodlines – the original plot. Guys, the original plot was finally returned to. I was so happy that I wanted to cry (I did end up crying, but let’s wait for that). The whole issue of Strigoi who were converted back to their previous form by spirit was explored again, AND the entire point of the spin off series was addressed – Lissa needing another family member to maintain the throne, and Jill going into hiding for that. I’ll admit, it was a tiny part of the book, but it was definitely one of my favourites.

Now to the one thing that utterly and completely made this book for me. Are you ready? Eddie Castile. I may or may not be slightly in love with him, so seeing him featured in this book far more than the previous one gave me a real thrill. Also, I feel like we finally got more insight into Eddie’s mind – the ending was the thing that reduced me to tears, and it wasn’t because of Adrian or Sydney. No, I was bawling because of Eddie, Eddie who did everything he could, yet lost so much. Eddie, Eddie, Eddie, Eddi- I’m sorry, is my obsession coming through? Oops.

Overall, The Fiery Heart was far, far better than The Indigo Spell. I’m definitely eagerly awaiting Silver Shadows, although the wait seems quite terrible and painful at the moment. My hopes for the book? More Eddie, more Lissa, Jill’s safety issue being addressed further, a little less Sydrian, and Richelle Mead’s fabulous writing.

My rating: 3 out of 5

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Silver Shadows

Hey everyone!

So, Richelle Mead has just released the cover of Silver Shadows, the fifth book in her Bloodlines series, and here it is!


What do you guys think? Personally, Sydney seems far more fierce here – a far cry compared to what she was like in Bloodlines, the first installment. However, I have very mixed feelings about the book, cover and all. Frankly, I was an avid fan of Richelle’s Vampire Academy series. The protagonist, Rose Hathaway, is to date one of my favourite female characters, and her kick ass attitude just completely set her apart from any other female protags in YA fiction.

I can quite honestly say that Bloodlines and The Golden Lily were right up there with VA for me, as well. I loved Sydney from the time she was introduced in Blood Promise, and getting to know her more through the spin-off was absolutely wonderful.

The Indigo Spell, however, completely let me down (a review should be coming soon). Sydney’s character just seemed to go through too much change without any real reason, and nothing really happened through the book. Perhaps this is just me – and I’m quite certain that I’m in the minority here – but the whole book just felt like a placeholder.

There you go – my thoughts on the Bloodlines series as concisely as I could get them.

Either way, going back to the original topic – Silver Shadows is currently slated to be released on the 29th of July, 2014.

Also, on that note, has anyone got around to reading The Fiery Heart yet? It’s the 19th in New Zealand, but I’m not quite sure whether or not TFH is out here yet. Planning a trip to the bookstore tomorrow, so I guess we’ll see! In the mean time, I’m thinking on starting Richelle’s Gameboard of the Gods series, so I’m quite excited about that.

I’m eagerly awaiting getting my hands on The Fiery Heart – as disappointing as I found Indigo Spell, I’m a long time fan of Richelle, and I just have to give TFH a chance. My review will be up as soon as I’ve read it!

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Characters that Haunt You

He stalked forward in a whirl of black silk, surprisingly quick and lithe on his feet despite the dark aura that swathed and cradled him as though he were a caterpillar waiting to burst forth. But no, that was not he – he was anything but light and beauty. With dark, storm filled eyes and raked black hair, his very expression conveyed an arrogant demeanor and a cruel satisfaction, and it was with these feelings jaggedly painted onto his face that he swept along the crowded boardwalk, the smoke and sound spiraling upward from the cars mingling with the thunderstorm that he seemed to carry.

On his other side, the wide ocean lay open and sprawling, a tender sound of crashing waves cascading over his ears. He, however, focused on anything but the beauty of the crystal water; instead, his eyes were oddly drawn to the lip of the waves as it kissed the shore with a teasing sound then pulled away, each time taking with it the sand that was all too trusting. Ungrateful was the word that his tongue wrapped around in a loving caress as a vicious smile broke across his pale face.

His head jerked to the side in a sudden motion, a hungry expression chasing away all signs of vindictive joy as his eyes fell on a figure curled into the sand. He stood that for a few brief moments, feeling the churning in his gut rise to an all consuming ache of need before he gave into it with pleasure and swept forth, brushing past the measly humans that littered his path.

They, however, were too naive to see him; although they bustled past him with increasing fervor and hurry, none stopped to glance at the hooded man that roamed amongst them, darkness etched on every line of his face. Indeed, he moved as though he were a ghost, drifting effortlessly through spaces that seemed too small for a figure like him to fit through, and parting the humans with the barest of thoughts.

Nearly there.

Along the way, he sent a few hissing suggestions towards the people that milled around him on the walk, their own minds turned so inward that they failed to notice the fading beauty of the sunset and the radiance of the ocean. Never matter, for that made his job all the more easier. Worthless. Undeserving. Useless. Ugly.

He sent these and more speeding towards the minds of those around him, and as each word him home, he saw – with some degree of satisfaction – that they had the desired effect. Many were too easily susceptible to his powers; they cringed with each word spinning into their minds and their lips wobbled, and this only increased his power. Some, however, were too strong for his liking; these merely smiled and threw back thoughts at him. Beautiful. Hopeful. Loving. Useful. These were the ones who were dangerous, and he gave them a wide birth.


He peered down at the girl he had been nearing slowly, his eyes taking in the tear stained face and frail appearance. Her misery radiated and pulsed around her, and he breathed in deeply, an expression of cruel delight twisting his features and distorting them more than they already were. Delicious. Without wasting another second, he shifted abruptly into a misty enigma, the darkness that had shrouded him collapsing into itself and forming a screen of black. It gave off the appearance of the night sky, but without the softening pleasantries of the stars or the moon – only utter blankness.

It – he – proceeded to swoop into the young female, before settling inside her weakened, numbed brain and settling himself there. This would be home for him for a while to come, and the warmth seeping into him and turning her cold only invigorated him to make himself comfortable. This he did, whilst the girl’s eyes turned more dead and expressionless with every passing second.

He was a monster. Depression was a monster, and it was without pity.

For the Weekly Writing Challenge, which can be found here.

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Hello all!

Okay, so a small story here from someone who’s relatively new to WordPress. And by relatively, I mean completely.

You may or may not remember that I originally had a blog called ‘wordsofabibliophage’ for about 3 days. However, I wanted to change to either parchmentpressed or underthebinding, and I originally chose the latter.

But, not knowing exactly what on earth I was doing here, I ended up creating underthebinding then deleting it and now I have no way to go back to it at all, which is a real shame because I actually adored it.

Now I’m stuck with parchmentpressed, but I’m not really going to complain because I do love this as well. I’ll just make sure to take more care in the future.

Anyway – here’s my first post on this blog! I hope I can get started with my actual book reviews soon, but until then, ta-ta!

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