Writing About Writing: Worldbuilding (AKA Discussing Brandon Sanderson Books)

Hullo, my friends! As you may have noticed, it is not Tuesday, but since I’ve missed a few weeks of posting, I thought I owed you guys an extra post. That, plus I had some post inspiration this week, and I wanted to share some thoughts with you guys! I want to thank everyone who signed up for the cover reveal for Forcefield. If you haven’t gotten an e-mail from me with the post information, let me know, since I’ve been having some internet issues. If you didn’t sign up, and you’d still like to participate, the form is still open here, as long as you sign up before the reveal happens on August 4th. Now, on to the post!


I’ve been fortunate enough over the past year or so to read a LOT of Brandon Sanderson books. If you’re not familiar with his books, he writes fantasy books that are well-known for having a ton of foreshadowing and plot twists–and also for the in-depth worldbuilding in each book or series. I’ve gotten to read Elantris, the Mistborn series, and I’m currently making my way through his Stormlight Archives.

One other book of Sanderson’s that’s important to mention for this post is Sanderson’s Arcanum Unbounded, which is a collection of short stories and novellas, some of which are related to other books and series he’s written. It’s a little complicated, but the one I’ll be mentioning the most in this post is The Emperor’s Soul, which is a (mostly) standalone novella.

And, in fact, I was mostly inspired by Brandon Sanderson’s comments after the novella, where he discussed his inspiration for the story. The quote that really caught my attention was this: “You can’t always write what you know–not exactly what you know. You can, however, write what you see.” 

This quote came after Sanderson explained that he got the idea for the magic system in The Emperor’s Soul from a trip to Taiwan and the National Palace Museum. To simplify things a lot, he was inspired to make the magic system in this novella based on historical stamps he saw at the museum. Basically, he asked himself the question, “What if stamps could be used to rewrite the history of an object?” This led to the development of the magic system in this novella.

Recently, I’ve been working on an idea for a fantasy story (which I won’t be starting any time soon), and I’ve found myself looking closer at Sanderson’s worldbuilding techniques since I keep being blown away by them. A lot of worldbuilding in his stories seem to be answers to “What if?” questions. One of the most memorable bits of worldbuilding for me is a group of people in The Stormlight Archives whose eyebrows never stop growing. This tiny aspect of the larger worldbuilding just asks: “What if people had eyebrows that never stopped growing, just like hair?” That question adds a distinctive feature to a people group and helps the world feel more developed and diverse. Asking these questions develops a vibrant story world that feels deep and realistic–as realistic as a fantasy story can feel, that is!

So ask those crazy what-if questions! Maybe you’ll find a story there.


This turned out to be more of a ramble than a cohesive post, but I hope you found something helpful here! Have you read any of Brandon Sanderson’s books? What books have impressed you with their worldbuilding? Let me know in the comments below!

Poem: The Sun

Hullo, friends! My schedule has been a little off the past couple of weeks, but I’m back again today with your regularly scheduled Tuesday post! If you missed it, around a week ago I posted about Twinepathy‘s birthday and the cover reveal sign-ups for IDIA #3, so if you’re interested in participating in that, definitely check out that post (or just fill out the form here). Today’s poem is more of a sad one–another one that I wrote for class. Hope you enjoy! (Also, there’s an important question at the end of this post, so make sure and comment your thoughts!)

 

The Sun 

C.B. Cook

 

The sun rose that morning,

a day like any other,

but it didn’t rise for her.

 

She poured her coffee in the kitchen.

Warm golden light enveloped her,

but she moved to the bedroom,

shunning the warmth.

 

The bedroom was dark,

lonely.

She embraced it because

it matched the heavy,

shadowy grief

weighing on her soul.

 

She flipped a switch

and the light buzzed overhead.

There was his bed,

his desk,

the stack of video games

his father had given him

instead of visiting.

She traced the squares of the quilt on the bed,

finally letting the tears fall.

 

The sun rose that morning,

but her son didn’t rise with it.

 

What did you think of that poem? And for the important question I mentioned earlier: if I put out a poetry collection, would you be interested in reading it? Comment below with your thoughts!

Twinepathy’s Birthday + Forcefield Cover Reveal Signups (!!!)

Hullo, friends! I am so excited about today’s post, but first I must say… It isn’t Tuesday! I have deviated from my new blogging schedule (both accidentally and on purpose) since today is the 4 year anniversary of Twinepathy‘s release. It’s hard to believe it’s been so long! And I’m very excited to announce that IDIA #3 is on it’s way! While I don’t have a release date set quite yet, I am planning a cover reveal for August 4th, and I need your help! There’s a sign-up at the bottom of this post, so if you’re interested in helping out with the cover reveal, please fill out the form.

As for Twinepathy‘s birthday, I give you all virtual cake! 😀

IDIA #3 Current Status:

Name: Forcefield

Pages: 59

Words: 16,599

Cheesy puns: at least 2 (so far…)

Sign-up link: https://forms.gle/XWxZZ6eG85gKpsge7

 

Are you excited about the cover reveal? I know I am! Can you believe it’s been four years since Twinepathy was released? Comment below with any questions, comments, or concerns, and make sure to share this form with anyone who may want to participate! I hope you’re all as excited about book 3 as I am! 😀 

Blog Tour: Beast of the Night by E.E. Rawls Review

Hullo, friends! Today I am participating in the release tour for Beast of the Night by E.E. Rawls. This book just came out, and it’s a fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Without further ado, let’s get into the post!

Book Blurb:

A one-armed, practical girl. A rude lord hiding a curse. A dark secret with the town’s fate hanging in the balance.

A Beauty and the Beast retelling with an Austrian twist and a new breed of curse.

When Rosen moves to Freudendorf—a secluded town in the Alps—with her dad, he vanishes on her and the debt collectors come to call: taking her into slave labor. As if that wasn’t bad enough, just when all her hopes and dreams for a normal life are ruined, a frail zombie-like butler purchases her: taking her to serve Lord Varick, who currently resides in the forbidden castle near the salt mines, where the Beast of the Night is said to roam.

Varick is handsome, with an attitude that’s the exact opposite. The servants aren’t human, and the castle itself is an ugly wreck. But if Rosen cannot solve the dark secret spreading beneath Freudendorf, and the curse holding Varick’s cold heart, then both they and the town will fall prey to a waiting evil—and worse, even lose their memory of it.

Book Purchase Links:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

 

Author Bio:

E.E. Rawls is the product of a traveling family, who even lived in Italy for 6 years. She loves exploring the unknown, whether it be in a forest, inside a forgotten castle, or within the pages of a book.

She runs on coffee, cuddly cats and the beauty of nature to keep the story wheels of her mind running, as she writes tales that will both entertain and inspire others, giving them worlds they can explore and become lost within.

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM

 

My Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

There may be minor spoilers in this review, so be forewarned if you want to go into this book not knowing anything. No major plot points will be spoiled!

What I liked: The character building in this book was wonderful! I felt like I really got to know Rosen, and I loved that she didn’t let missing an arm stop her throughout the story. As someone who’s been reading and writing a lot about disabilities lately, it was so awesome to read a story where the disability wasn’t a major plot point. It was handled really well without being a main focal point, and I highly applaud the author for that!

The plot was done really nicely, too, and I especially loved some of the twists close to the end. I really liked the twists on the classic Beauty and Beast story, especially on the curse.

And can I take a second to appreciate how awesome the Austrian setting is?? The cultural aspects that came up were awesome, and the setting itself was beautifully described. I think it was a great choice and it played into the story really well.

What I didn’t: Personally, I’ve never been a fan of books with vampires, and while technically this book doesn’t have any vampires per se… they’re basically vampires. That wasn’t something I was really expecting, but if that’s not something that bothers you, then go for it! My only other issue was a few unanswered questions I had, but that could be because the author may be planning a sequel.

Overall, if this sounds like a book you’d be interested in reading, you should definitely check it out!

 

Blog Release Tour Schedule:

June 11th

https://rawlse.wordpress.com/2020/06/01/it-has-finally-r…y-tale-retelling/ ‎-opening

http://www.jenelleschmidt.com -review

12th

https://bookslesstravelledreviews.wordpress.com -review & spotlight

13th

https://elizabethdragina.files.wordpress.com -review

15th

https://www.hsjwilliams.com/blog -spotlight

16th

http://www.djedwardson.com -spotlight

17th

https://www.rachaelritchey.com -review

18th

http://www.hlburkeauthor.com/blog -spotlight

19th

https://abigailfalangaauthor.wordpress.com -review & spotlight

Sarah Ashwood  -spotlight

20th

https://twitter.com/justviews -spotlight

21st

http://www.kylerobertshultz.com -spotlight

22nd

https://christinesmithauthor.com/ -review

http://www.jlmbewe.com/blog/ -review

23rd

https://thepagedreamer.wordpress.com -spotlight

24th

https://triciamingerink.com/blog/ -spotlight

25th

https://theworldofthewriter.wordpress.com -review

26th

https://wordsofhannahkay.wordpress.com/  -review & spotlight

https://rawlse.wordpress.com/blog/ -closing

6 Tips for Writing Superheroes

Hullo, friends! As promised, here is the superhero post I talked about when I shared my superhero poem with you last week! Maybe you like superheroes, maybe you like writing, and maybe you want to start writing about superheroes. Just like anything related to writing, this is harder than you might think. While I don’t claim to be an expert on writing about superheroes, I do have quite a bit of experience, and one thing I’ve learned is that writing about superheroes is about way more than just writing about people with crazy abilities.

So here are a few tips from my own experience and what I’ve noticed in other superhero books and movies to help you when you’re creating and writing your heroes (complete with a lot of Marvel gifs).

[This post contains major spoilers (through gifs) for Captain America: Civil War and some minor spoilers for early MCU films. Also, FEELS warning!)

Continue reading

Poem: real

Once again, I’m dipping into the poems I wrote this past semester for my poetry class! This poem was really fun to write, and it’s a bit of a precursor to the post I plan to post next week about writing superheroes. Hope you enjoy!

real

c.b. cook

 

a small man

in a too-big suit

fights a man in an alley

who is too big

for him to beat

 

a broken woman

burdened by her past

mistakes tries

to erase them

by doing good

 

a sad man

with lots of money

drowns his sorrows

and PTSD

in alcohol

 

the small man

becomes a big man

who fights for good

even when he’s lost

all the things he loves

 

the broken woman

gives hope

saves a friend

and the world

by giving up her soul

 

the sad man

finds a new purpose

a true love

real friends

and gives them his life

 

 

not real

but real

and struggling

just like us

and maybe

that’s why

we like

superheroes

so much

 

What did you think of this poem? Do you know which superheroes these all are? Comment down below with your thoughts!

My Favorite Moments In The Hobbit That Aren’t In The Movie

You would think that when you turn one book into three movies that a lot more would be added, and you wouldn’t have to take anything out. But I was rereading The Hobbit for the first time after watching the movies, and I noticed so many moments that didn’t make it into the movies. While I did enjoy the movies, this reminded me that I will always love the book more. Note: It’s been a while since I watched the movies, so if some of these scenes were actually in the movies and I just forgot them, let me know! I’m also not taking into consideration the extended editions of the Hobbit movies, because I haven’t seen them.

ALSO SPOILERS for the Hobbit book/movies.

(Added note: I found this post in my drafts folder from 3 years ago, so it’s been even longer since I read the book and watched the movies.)

 

Balin’s Awesomeness

Guys, seriously. Balin was so cool in the book. He’s the dwarf that’s usually the nicest to Bilbo, and he also seems to be the bravest out of the dwarves. After Bilbo gets the ring from Gollum and escapes the goblin caves, he sneaks past Balin, who’s on watch duty. Later, when Balin and the other dwarves finds out about the ring (more on that later), all Balin can do is laugh about how he thought Bilbo was super sneaky. My favorite Balin moment from the book is when the company finally opens the door into the Lonely Mountain. Balin actually walks part of the way with Bilbo. He may not go the whole way, yes, but he’s willing to help the hobbit some of the way. I love the way Tolkien developed the friendship between Bilbo and Balin, and I really missed that in the movie.

 

More Time With The Eagles

People who have only watched the movies complain sooo much about the eagles. “It’s cheating! It’s so random! Why couldn’t the eagles just take them all the way to the Lonely Mountain?” (And there’s also the whole “Why couldn’t the eagles just fly them to Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings?” but that’s a discussion for another time.) But in the book, there is so much more that happens when they meet the eagles! Gandalf doesn’t call for the eagles, they just see what’s happening from far off. They also don’t just drop the group off on a random rock; they take them to their eyries, feed them, and let them rest. It’s such a nice scene! Along with that, it explains why the eagles don’t take them all the way to the Lonely Mountain.

The Lord of the Eagles would not take them anywhere near where men lived. “They would shoot at us with their great bows of yew,” he said, “for they would think we were after their sheep. And at other times they would be right. No! we are glad to cheat the goblins of their sport, and glad to repay our thanks to you, but we will not risk ourselves for dwarves in the southward plains.”

Basically, the book handled the eagles much better (and explained everything more thoroughly), and I’m sad the eagles weren’t more present in the film. Also, yes, the eagles talked. It was awesome. 😀

 

Meeting Beorn

This is one of the funniest scenes in the whole book, and one of my favorites. I was sad to see that it didn’t make it into the movie (although I did see a clip of this on Youtube from the extended editions, but it was very different and not as funny as in the book because of the changes). I would post the scene here, because it’s wonderful, but it’s also five pages, so… maybe not. Basically, it was made clear in the book that Beorn only changed shape at night, and the dwarves and company weren’t chased to Beorn’s house, and Gandalf had to come up with a clever way to introduce them, and did so by telling the tale of their travels to Beorn. It was so cleverly done that Beorn didn’t turn them away and agreed to help them. I found it a much more intriguing introduction to the character. I feel like the movie version was done just to add in some tension. But the scene in the book has tension, too, as Beorn specifically warns them not to go outside after nightfall, at their own peril. I feel like the movie had no need to change that scene (not to mention how Beorn looks…).

 

Bilbo Teasing The Spiders

In the movie, the scene where Bilbo is trying to save his friends from the spiders is tense and frightening. However, during the same scene in the books, Bilbo taunts the spiders, using the ring to turn himself invisible while he calls them names and teases them. It was an interesting scene, and it showed Bilbo cleverly tricking the spiders. I’d also like to point out that the dwarves were captured by the spiders in a completely different way in the book, too.

 

Bilbo Giving The Elvenking A Necklace

This scene took about two paragraphs in the book, but it was a really sweet scene. Bilbo is on his way home with Gandalf, and they join up with the elves until they reach Mirkwood. When they split ways, Bilbo gives the Elvenking (who is actually not called Thranduil and is just referred to as the Elvenking) a necklace.

“I beg of you,” said Bilbo stammering and standing on one foot, “to accept this gift!” and he brought out a necklace of silver and pearls that Dain had given him at their parting.

“In what way have I earned such a gift, O hobbit?” said the king.

“Well, er, I thought, don’t you know,” said Bilbo rather confused, “that, er, some little return should be made for your, er, hospitality. I mean even a burglar has his feelings. I have drunk much of your wine and eaten much of your bread.”

“I will take your gift, O Bilbo the Magnificent!” said the king gravely. “And I name you elf-friend and blessed. May your shadow never grow less (or stealing would be too easy)! Farewell!”

Isn’t that so awesome?!?! It fits Bilbo’s character perfectly and also shows how he wants to be honest, in spite of his position as burglar. It’s just a really great scene that would be pretty easy to add in.

 

These are just a few of the things the Hobbit movies left out from the books! What are your thoughts on these movies, and the books? Were there other things you wish had made it into the movies? Let me know in the comments below!

Poem: Falling

Hello, friends! Look who’s sticking to their schedule (so far)! Today I thought I’d share another poem that I wrote in my poetry class. Sometimes we had prompts, sometimes we didn’t, but the prompt for this poem was “death.” I had written a sad poem the week before, so I though I would add a twist to the end of this one. Just a note, this was written in February or March of this year. Hope you enjoy!

 

Falling

C.B. Cook

 

His best friend was dying.

 

He’d seen it happen to others.

Her skin turned a sickly shade,

her skin was too dry

and even though she denied it,

he could tell

she was barely hanging on.

 

Then it happened.

Falling,

sinking,

she shrunk away,

dropping to rest under their tree.

 

If he could cry, he would.

He felt himself beginning to fade, too,

and found it harder to hold on.

He longed

to join her

in the earth

below.

 

But,

as he watched,

a toddler with a bright red cap

picked his best friend off the ground

and proclaimed,

“My leaf!”

 

What did you think of that poem? Do you like poetry? Comment down below and let me know what you think!

An Update For You!

Hullo, my friends! I hope you are all doing well during this crazy time! Today I bring you the update post I talked about in my last post. I wanted to let you guys know a little bit of what’s going on and what my plans are for blogging and writing.

  • Writing: I’ll admit, writing has fallen a bit to the side in the past year or so. While finishing up my last year of college, most of my writing time was spent on my thesis. Currently, I plan on writing IDIA 3, and then switching over to work on one of my other writing projects (I haven’t decided which one yet!). I’ve set a goal of reaching 15,000 words on IDIA 3 by the end of May, which should be a pretty attainable goal, and hopefully, I’ll be able to start looking for beta readers and sharing snippets soon!
  • Blogging: In case you hadn’t noticed… I’ve been very bad at keeping up with the blogging side of things! One of my goals for the rest of the month is to set up a blogging schedule and prewriting some posts. My current plan is to post something every Tuesday–and I’m telling you all that so that you can bug me about it when I forget! 😀 I’m hoping that having a set schedule will help me to post more regularly, and if I have to adjust that later, I can do so. I mostly want to have a set schedule to encourage me to post more often.
  • Reading: If there’s one thing that I have kept up with, it’s been reading! My original reading goal for this year was 20 books, but I’ve already increased that to 26, because I’ve read more books than I thought I would. At this point, I’ve read 17 books, so I may end up increasing my goal again. Many of the books I’ve read have been rereads, but I’ve also been reading through a lot of Brandon Sanderson’s books. His books are amazing, and he even has a series of writing class videos on his YouTube channel, which you should definitely check out if you’re a writer.

So that’s the first post of (hopefully) many more! What are your thoughts on blogging schedules? Are you excited about IDIA 3? Comment below your thoughts, and let me know if there are any blog posts or series you’d like to see me do!

Can I Get Your IDIAs, Please?

Hullo, friends! I’ve been away from the blogosphere on and off for a while, and I have to say, I’ve missed it! I’m working on an update post to let you guys know what’s going on (and possibly a blogging schedule to help keep me on track??), but in the meantime, I need your help with a little project. See, I’ve been working on IDIA #3, and at this point, I’m trying to figure out where the series is going.

So that’s where you guys come in! If you’ve read any of the IDIA books and you’re interested in the rest of the series, please take a minute or two to fill out this short survey! It only has a couple of questions, so it shouldn’t take too long, and getting some outside thoughts would help me a ton.

Either way, you guys are the best! Watch for my update post coming soon!