Around the century in 360 days

Every year, I try to read books by authors that I had never got the chance to read before. This year, I got the chance to read books by authors spanning from 1920 to 2019. Now, let us dive into the wormhole of the bookish time machine. 

H.P. Lovecraft

This year I read a lot of his works. But the ones that stuck with me were The Call of Cthulhu and The Tomb. I found his writing style to be quite intriguing as it felt like a mishmash of bedtime stories and personal journaling. 

Philip K. Dick

The story Beyond Lies The Wub by Philip K. Dick introduced me to science fiction with a literary beat. A creature talking about not being eaten as dinner. I don’t know if it falls under biology or gastronomy, but this is the most literary science fiction I have read this year. 

Shirley Jackson

I enjoyed reading the book We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson. I loved the way her horror style showed a sense of normalcy. She did not have to create monsters like Cthulhu because the monsters were inside the characters’ thoughts and perceptions themselves. What was normal for the characters in that book would have been horrifying for the readers. 

Ursula K. Le Guin

This year, I read The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas by Ursula K. Le Guin. This is the first time that I got a chance to read one of her works. Even though it was published in 1973, the writing has such a dystopian contemporary feel to it.  

Clive Barker

I had never even heard about Clive Barker before I came across the book Abarat. It is a YA fantasy novel where Candy finds a world hidden in the boring Chickentown. It was a fun book to read as Candy went on her adventures and brought me memories of enjoying Chronicles of Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, and Wizard of Oz books.  

Suzanne Collins

I had watched all the Hunger Games movies. But I never got the chance to read the books. So this year, I read the first book in the Hunger Games series. The way it is written from Katniss’s perspective was gripping. The first-person narrative got me hooked as Katniss introduced her world, her challenges, and her dilemma. It was a great book to dive into as the character goes through some scrapes and bruises and not just the ones you would find in a standard YA book. 

There are books written by our favorite authors. Then there are books written in our favorite genres. But there is something surreal about reading books which are written decades apart by different authors. No matter the time or the person, the stories still resonate with us.

Writer’s Roadblock: Point of View

Whose head have your words been entered?

Not to be confused with the Shania Twain song ‘Whose bed have your boots been under’. I am talking about the conundrum that we face as writers when we introduce too many characters in a story.  

While writing a thriller story, I found that adding new characters and exploring their different storylines can be a great way to begin world-building in fiction. But the flip side to adding new characters was that I would write what each of them was thinking and add their perspective to the scene. So, any scene with multiple characters involved a lot of “headhopping”. It wasn’t until I had finished writing the scene that I would know whose perspective was more important to the scene.

Every time the main character would interact with a new character, I would end up using the new character’s perspective as well. 

She thought the black terrier was adorable. He thought it was a hellhound ready to drag him into a nightmare. The terrier looked at his potential owners, thinking he needed to put his best show to gain advantage over the others. The other dogs thought the terrier was a people pleaser.

Too many heads have these words been entered!!!

Now I don’t believe in Writer’s Block. But I do believe that as writers, we face a ton of roadblocks along the way. 

The route that I discovered around this roadblock was Just Write. 

I knew who was the main character once I had written the scene. Discovering the characters is one of the joys of writing fiction. The point of view can be edited once the words are on the page. After all, you cannot edit a blank page. 

Ultimately, here is a gem of an advice that removed this roadblock in my writing journey.