fantasy

Sky-Daughter (NaNoWriMo) – Support a Fellow Young Writer

Hey, guys, and thanks for reading Tween Fiction Girl! Today’s post is going to be a unique one, because I’ve never done a book review/human interest combo post. It’s going to be a book review, sort of, but you’ll also need a bit of backstory.

Remember last year, when I did NaNoWriMo? I wrote a book called The Juniper Tree that will never be published because I didn’t like it, but I also came across my fellow young writer Lily Sowell. I read the excerpt of her story on her NaNoWriMo account page, and we got to talking.
It turns out that her book went a lot further than mine. While mine remained an unfinished idea, she went on to publish hers on CreateSpace. I own a copy of it, and I have to say, for a twelve-year-old author, this was a stellar read.

And now for the review bit of the book review.

The book’s title, as you may have surmised from both the headline and URL of this page, is Sky-Daughter. (It sounds a bit ambiguous out of context, but it makes more sense once you read the story.) To give a simple summary, it’s a fantasy story, centered around three young women by the names of Ayanna, Gwynn, and Oriel, set in a place called Ajeda in a time during a long, hard war. (Actually, the e in Ajeda has an accent mark over it, but I can’t figure out how to make it on my computer.)

It’s not an adult book, but that’s understandable. It was written by a 12-year-old for a 12-year-old reading level. I’d recommend the story itself for an age group of about 8 to 14; it’s not too complex and not at all inappropriate, but it’s compelling enough to attract the attention of an older reader, too. I mean, even my mom enjoyed it, and, when it comes to books, she’s hard to interest.

The author’s writing style is brisk and dialogue-oriented, which leaves a lot about the details of the setting to the imagination. I like descriptions, frankly, but even more, I dislike lengthy and tedious descriptions, so I didn’t find this much of a setback. The writing flows, with understandable characters (which is definitely a plus, especially in stories written by younger individuals) and easy, casual dialogue. I made note of the fact that a good portion of the main characters are female. As it was written by a girl, it’s written for girls, even if that particular facet was unintentional; as I myself am an almost-teen girl, this didn’t bother me, but, despite the fact that this book is set in a war, I don’t recommend it for boys looking for a nitty-gritty action story.

A heads-up for anyone looking to purchase the book: it’s NOT flawless. No book is. It has as many flukes as anything I’ve ever written, I’ll admit, such as an accidental g tacked onto the word tightly in the last chapter in the book, or an extra “that night” in a sentence on the first page. As a whole, though, I’d recommend this to young readers who’d like to try out something a little different from the rest of the young adult fiction stories.

For a fun and fast-paced plot, memorable characters, and an interesting origin (how many 12-year-olds do you ever see publishing books?), but taking points off for a couple of grammatical errors and other small flukes, I give Sky-Daughter four stars out of five.

I don’t usually do this with my reviews, but since this book can currently only be bought in two places in the known world, here are the links to Sowell’s outlets.
Sky-Daughter at Amazon.com
Sky-Daughter at CreateSpace.com (by Amazon)

UPDATE:  Sowell released another edition of the book; she fixed the aforementioned typos.  (The webpage still says 1st Edition, but the interior of the book says 2nd).

Anyway, thanks for reading! I hope this was helpful to you.

~ Summer

Movie Reviews: Inside Out

I went to see this movie with Celestia, aka this nerd.  We nearly went to see the new Terminator movie instead, but we changed our minds last minute.  (I’m glad we did, because neither of us have ever seen any of the original Terminator movies.)  I sat myself down with a large bag of Lifesavers and an even larger bag of Skittles and got ready.

I don’t know what I was expecting; I hadn’t seen many trailers other than the teaser one that they started showing really early on. I didn’t know much about the story other than the general setting: five emotions – Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust – that existed inside the mind of a girl named Riley.

I have to say, I thought (for a Disney animated movie) this was a very mature and thought-provoking story. It was a very visually attracting movie, with excellent detail in animation and graphics; if you’re looking to see it in theater, definitely go with the 3D showing, because it’s well worth it. The story itself was good, too – Joy and Sadness almost lose Riley’s core memories, the memories that shape her personality, in the vast library of her long-term memory storage, and they go on a (very metaphorical) journey through her mind in order to take the memories back to headquarters. I won’t offer any more spoilers, although I’d like to.

This, as has become Disney’s custom, was, in my opinion, a great family movie, because while kids may be less inclined to get a lot out of the story and climax than, say, a fourteen-year-old, it was nice just to watch. (Especially with a large bag of Skittles and Lifesavers on hand.) If any Disney animator or someone who knows one stumbles across this post, I’d like to say thank you for spending your valuable time making a movie as graphically lovely as Inside Out. Animating isn’t easy (I’ve tried it and couldn’t make more than a very glossy sphere), and this movie looked like it took a whole lot more than a free Blender trial on a ca. 2010 home laptop.

I have to agree partially with a friend of mine that said she felt the story dragged on for too long. It’s true, maybe they could have condensed it a little further, but I didn’t find it difficult to watch at all, especially with a mouth full of candy. Even if portions of it seemed to take too long, it was interesting in and of itself to wonder how Disney would portray another section of Riley’s mind. It was such an abstract thing to put into pictures, and I just love the creativity involved in this.

For outstanding graphics and a really sweet plot, I give Disney’s Inside Out a total of four stars. (I decided to just quit with the decimals. They did nothing but confuse everyone.)

As always, feedback and ratings are appreciated, as well as your thoughts on the article or topic. Remember, if you want to see a post about a specific topic, feel free to suggest one at the Suggest A Post bar at the top of your page.

Thanks for reading – I hope this was helpful to you!

~ Summer

The Feels: Why the Feels are the Best

Hey, guys!  Sorry I haven’t posted in a while; I haven’t been able to think of anything to write about for a while  *glares viciously at empty post suggestion page*.  Anyway, my inspiration from this post came from this Minecraft skin of mine I posted on Planet Minecraft for a contest.  The theme was things money can’t buy, and since I thought love and friendship were going to be overdone, I wrote a story about a guy and his dead wife.  It was ridiculously depressing, but I was (and am) getting good feedback from my writing.

But why would anyone enjoy reading a story that made them so sad?

Let’s look at the larger picture for a second.  Be honest – you’ve had the feels for a fictional character before.  Whether it was from a book, movie, or TV show, I’m willing to bet that you’ve felt an emotion for a story before, whether it made you happy, excited, nervous, scared, or flat-out sad.  You may not have enjoyed feeling so bad about a person that doesn’t even exist, but the truth is, you probably enjoyed it a lot more than a story that didn’t make you feel anything.

Why is that?  Probably because you like reading stories with relatable characters.  You enjoy reading about people with the same hobbies, interests, and characteristics as you.  It helps you get in the know of the story.  You can understand the characters well, and it makes you connect with them on a whole new level.

Chances are, you’re human (unless you’re a cyborg, in which case, you don’t even GET the feels, so why are you even reading this) and if you’re human, you feel plenty of emotions.  That means that emotional characters with real personalities are more relatable to you, too.  You like well-written stories, and well-written stories mean well-written characters.  Well-written characters mean realistic, relatable characters.  You need a story you can connect with.

But why are emotional roller-coaster stories the best?  You may disagree with me here (especially if you’re not into unhappy fiction) but I think that, if a writer can write a scene or story well enough and realistically enough that you – a living, breathing being – can feel real emotions for it even though you know it’s not real, then that’s a really good author.  They’ve portrayed their characters so skillfully that you feel what they feel, even though they only exist in words on a page.  You forget you’re reading fiction and get into a story like it’s actually happening around you.  And I, for one, think that’s pretty much the coolest thing ever.

So, writers, just remember – emotional, suspenseful stories are the best,  People enjoy them the most, and, I’ll tell the truth here, they’re the most fun to write, too.  The feels are never a bad thing to have in a story!  Invite the feels in.

Thank you all for reading!  Remember, feedback, comments, and ratings are always appreciated – I want to know what you think!

Until next post!

~ Summer

Rift: Exploring the Wardrobe Patch

Hey, guys! As you may have read in my earlier post, I’ve dropped Diablo 3 as my main RPG and started playing Rift instead. For the few of you reading my blog that may also play Rift, you’ve probably been keen on the new game patch: the wardrobe update.

When I first heard about this patch, it didn’t seem like much. Some new clothing looks, another menu for clothes. [I’ll admit, I didn’t go too far into the research.] Sure, I thought it would be cool, but I didn’t expect it would be anything big.

When the patch came out and I got to play it for the first time, I thought it was stupid. The dye merchants in Sanctum and Meridian were gone, replaced by an in-game dye menu. You had to pay credits to get the nice colors. I learned, slowly, that apothecary dyes still worked, and the colors in the menu were nice, anyway. It still seemed pretty pointless. Now you could have two sets of clothing. It didn’t make much sense to have two wardrobe options; why not just wear the best armor you owned at all times? I put all my normal clothes in my wardrobe slot. It felt pretty much the same, albeit with nicer colors.

Then I realized that wasn’t what the update was, and I started to like it more. Now, easy as pie, you could make your character look like he or she was wearing whatever you wanted him or her to. You could even wear something that your class couldn’t normally use – while still retaining the stats of the armor you were really wearing. This worked better than ever at the time, right after I’d picked up a piece of chest armor that had good stats but was ridiculously immodest. [Yeah, sorry, my rant about inappropriate/impractical womens’ RPG outfits will come later.]

In my opinion, this is especially useful for mages and warriors, whose clothing options aren’t exactly pleasing [to me, anyway.] Mages’ robes usually look like they’re wearing bathrobes, especially the lower-level ones; the warriors sometimes look like they’re wearing metal swimsuits. Not exactly advisable if you’re going into battle. Even the weapons are customizable – if you’re tired of your boring dagger or dull staff, exchange it for a swaggy sword that you’d never be able to use anyway!

The wardrobes can be accessed via the character page [press C]. Click on the wardrobe tab on the left side and tinker with your appearance to your heart’s content!

Maybe later I’ll post a picture of my character’s wardrobe, if anyone wants to see it.

Thanks for reading! I hope my review of the patch was useful to you!

– Summer 🙂

Fiction Fridays #16: The AJ Story, Chapter 15

OH MY GOODNESS, I’m so sorry, guys!! I forgot to post yesterday’s Fiction Friday! Anyway, here it is. I’m leaving out the table of contents this time, since it’s pretty easy to find the other ones with that search bar up there. ^^^

~~~

“Wait!”
The voice made them all jump. There was no one in the room with them except Peck and Crashing. It sounded like there was someone downstairs. A familiar someone.
Flora, Juniper, and Lucky, respectively, ran down the stairs and back into the large banquet room.
“Greely?”
“I need to speak with Peck.”
They moved over as the massive wolf went up the crystalline stairs. The light reflecting off of the walls hit his stormy gray fur and made him appear to glow.
“Greely? May I ask what you are doing in my palace?” said Peck with a hint of a challenge. Peck was one of the most dangerous warriors in Jamaa: her pretty, small outward appearance belied her belligerent temperament. She wasn’t a Lucky, but she was an absolutely incredible warrior when she had to be.
Five minutes later, they came down, accompanied by Crashing Cutestar.
“What is it?” said Juniper nervously. She was too soon relieved for any more bad news.
“Juniper, Flora, Lucky!” squealed Crashing. “I get to stay with you!”
“She is dear to me,” said Peck, a half-smile on her lips. “But I think it is for the best that she stays with the ones she loves.”
“You have my permission, as well,” said Greely. “Normally, I wouldn’t allow anything other than a wolf to stay with my servants, but…”
“Greely, you’re getting soft,” said Lucky with a grin. “Thanks, you two. We were gonna miss her a lot.”
“Our pleasure,” said Peck graciously.
Scooter and Fauna had stayed down in the banquet room, making sure the leftovers didn’t go to waste. Fauna, it turned out, had a taste for garlic bread.
“Scooter!” called Peck. “You can stay with me. I’ll tell your parents. They’ll be overjoyed that their little Bravescout is safe and sound again.”
Scooter said a quick goodbye to Fauna, then hopped over to where her Alpha was standing.
“Ready to go, Fauna?” said Flora.
“Ready,” said the little penguin cheerfully.
“There’s something odd about that one,” muttered Greely to Peck. “Those eyes…”

Flora, Juniper, Lucky, Crashing, and Fauna began their walk back home. Coral Canyons, where Peck’s palace was, wasn’t too close to their home, so it was a bit of a walk. They walked along the edge of Sarepia Forest, which led directly to their home.
“Crashing, what do you want to do when we get home?” said Fauna eagerly. “You can still play with me!”
Crashing and Fauna chatted vivaciously all the way to the residential side of Jamaa. They talked about everything they’d do together, now that they were staying for good. Fauna had no idea who her parents were, and sometime she’d have to either be adopted by a penguin or sent to Marco, but in the meantime she’d be staying with the wolves.
Juniper’s brow was creased as they neared their house.
“What?” said Lucky. “You look nervous.”
“Do you smell smoke?” said Juniper.
“I don’t smell anything,” said Fauna, tapping her beak. “Birds can’t smell.” Crashing giggled.
“No, I’m serious.”
“How much?” said Flora. “It could be a campfire, or it could be serious.”
“I don’t know. But there’s smoke.” Juniper looked around for any signs of a fire. “We need to hurry up and get home. It might be something bad, and we need to make sure it’s not a housefire.”
They jogged all the way to their house. “Look!” gasped Juniper.
Smoke was rising from the edge of Sarepia Forest. A bright flickering light was coming from the trees.
“Okay, there’s fire,” said Juniper, trying to sound as calm as possible. “We need to get down by the stream, but first we have to make sure everyone’s safe.”
“Everyone’s here,” said Lucky.
“Not everyone,” said Flora, her eyes wide. “It’s nearly midnight. Sparkle’s probably asleep.”
“You guys hurry down to the stream,” said Lucky. “I’ll get Sparkle.”
“Be safe,” said Juniper in a trembling voice as her golden sister ran down to the little cottage next to theirs.
“Do you think we’ll be okay?” said Fauna.
“We’ll be fine, honey,” Flora reassured her. “We’ll get down to the stream, and we’ll all be safe while we try to keep it back.”
“Do you see Lucky yet?” said Juniper once they were at the creek. She squinted. It was very dark.
“There!” A tall, fluffy black-and-green shape was following a smaller, lither gold one.
“Hurry!” called the blue wolf.
They all sat down on the bank of the river. Sparkle was shaking. Lucky didn’t look scared at all. She was shooting narrow glances at the encroaching light and fidgeting in the mud.
“We can’t just sit here!” she burst out after hardly thirty seconds.
“What can we do?” said Flora.
“Sparkle’s got a massive garden. Surely there’s a water hose somewhere!”
“There’s two on the back of the house,” said Sparkle timidly. “But be careful!”
“Careful is for cowards!” shouted Lucky, who was already halfway to Sparkle’s cottage.
“And that’s why my sister’s going to die young,” said Flora with a mix between fear and exasperation in her voice.
The fire was getting very close now. Lucky grabbed the end of the hose and ran toward the flames. She wasn’t going to let the fire get her neighbor’s house.
“Alright, guys, just stay here,” muttered Juniper. “Especially you, Crashing. And – FAUNA!”
The penguin had run away from the stream bank and was going toward where Lucky was blasting a hole in the wall of heat.
“Great Zios, Fauna! You’re going to get yourself killed!” Juniper screamed.
“Come on!” said Flora. “If an eight-year-old can stop it, we can, too. Sparkle, you stay here and watch Crashing.”
“With my life,” said Sparkle.
Flora and Juniper ran to join their sister. Flora grabbed the other hose, and Juniper grabbed the penguin.
“You are going to die if you try that!” said Juniper. “Come on. You’re going back with Sparkle and Crashing.”
“No! I want to help!”
“Fine, then! Go get your tail feathers burned off!” Of course, Fauna kept going.
“Lucky! Let me help!” Lucky tossed the water hose to Fauna, who caught it expertly and sprayed it at the fire.
“It’s too big,” said Flora. “We need help!”
Luckily for them, others had begun to notice the smoke rising from the forest. They could hear others shouting, see them pouring buckets of water onto the fire. “They’re getting it!” said Flora in relief.
The slight pause was all the heat needed. It surged forward and touched the side of Sparkle’s house.
“No!”
“Run!” cried Juniper. Even Lucky obeyed.
The four firefighters fled the scene as the fire engulfed the arctic wolf’s cottage. Flora looked behind her to make sure everyone had made it. Lucky, Juniper, and Fauna were running behind as fast as they could.
Let’s just hope it’s fast enough, prayed Flora.
“Ugh!”
“No! Fauna!” screamed Juniper.
Fauna tripped and fell, her face a picture of panic as she struggled to her feet. Juniper, Flora, and Lucky ran back to help their friend.
But it was too late.
Just as they began to run for the fallen animal, the flames surged forward and caught Fauna on the tail.

~~~

Thanks for reading!! So sorry I didn’t post this yesterday!!

Summer