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1. 10 Places I Want to Visit After Reading About Them in a Book

By Kit #1. Outer Space - Across the Universe by Beth Revis Because it's outer space.  And I want to be immersed in stars.  And Beth Revis' descriptions of the stars were phenomenal.  #2. Paris - Die for Me by Amy Plum and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins I mean come on.  It's Paris.  But both of these books did such a fantastic job describing Paris in a way that was

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2. Software for a book containing artwork

Hi everyone, I am just beginning to write an astrology book and I want to have lots of pics etc. in it. Is there a free software program available to

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4. Witch of Halloween

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5. Happy Halloween!



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6. Happy Hallowe'en! Norman's A Scream!

Inline images 1
WRITER: Stan Silas
ARTIST: Stan Silas
FORMAT: 64pp – HC – FC - 8” x 11.1”
PUBLISHER: Titan Comics
PRICE: $10.99/$12.99 CAN/£9.99 UK
ISBN: 9781782762393


A Is For Arterial Spray! B Is For Blood-Soaked! C Is For Corpses!

Eight years old. Blonde-haired elementary school psychopath. Looks so cute while burying his eviscerated friends in the sandbox. With humor as black as dried blood, Norman looks set to join the padded-cell pantheon of murderous lunatics – and this time he’s bringing his lunch money!

Inspired by his horror movie heroes Freddy KruegerJason Vorhees & Michael Myers, Norman brings murder to the schoolyard in this black comedy horror from creator Stan Silas.

Norman Vol. 1 hits comic stores on March 4, 2015 and is available to pre-order now from your local comic store using Diamond order code: NOV141651

To pre-order via Amazon, visit

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7. Flogometer for Yvonne—are you compelled to turn the page?

Submissions Needed. None in the queue for next week. If you’d like a fresh look at your opening chapter or prologue, please email your submission to me re the directions at the bottom of this post.

The Flogometer challenge: can you craft a first page that compels me to turn to the next page? Caveat: Please keep in mind that this is entirely subjective.

Note: all the Flogometer posts are here.

What's a first page in publishingland? In a properly formatted novel manuscript (double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-point type, etc.) there should be about 16 or 17 lines on the first page (first pages of chapters/prologues start about 1/3 of the way down the page). Directions for submissions are below—they include a request to post the rest of the chapter, but that’s optional.

A word about the line-editing in these posts: it’s “one-pass” editing, and I don’t try to address everything, which is why I appreciate the comments from the FtQ tribe. In a paid edit, I go through each manuscript three times.

Storytelling Checklist

Before you rip into today’s submission, consider this list of 6 vital storytelling ingredients from my book, Flogging the Quill, Crafting a Novel that Sells. While it's not a requirement that all of these elements must be on the first page, they can be, and I think you have the best chance of hooking a reader if they are.

Evaluate the submission—and your own first page—in terms of whether or not it includes each of these ingredients, and how well it executes them. The one vital ingredient not listed is professional-caliber writing because that is a must for every page, a given.

  • Story questions
  • Tension (in the reader, not just the characters)
  • Voice
  • Clarity
  • Scene-setting
  • Character

Yvonne sends a first chapter of Fugue The rest of the chapter follows the break.

Lakeview Neighborhood, Chicago

Even the rain was just a broken thing in her screwed up mind; Lake Michigan transmogrified into suicidal shards. The deluge coated her picture window at dawn, materializing in Viola Collier’s dream as syncopated percussion gone wrong. 


The nightmare music had felt so real that Viola was certain she had been working still. She massaged her neck, cranked at an unnatural angle from sleeping in her chair as a bombastic measure of thunder rattled her studio apartment, assuring her she was awake now to deal with her real nightmare.

Ugly peg stubs. Nasty skin comb-over. Disgusting.

Viola surveyed her legs, never getting used to the fact that they ended at her knees now. Three years and she still woke each morning believing she was whole, phantom feet ready to bolt for a quick shower before rehearsal. But everything had ended with her accident: Her career, her ease of life, her bourgeoning relationship with Andrew… everything.

The train: She needed more from the horns to bring it to life. And the rhythm that had seemed so perfect last night was all wrong this morning. The rain had shown her that.

 Courtyard light cast shadows of fat raindrops onto her bedroom walls. The light was murky, as if coffee tracked down her windows in continuous rivulets, but it was just bright (snip)

Were you compelled to turn Yvonne's first page?

Very nice writing and voice, and you introduce a hugely sympathetic character. Yet there’s no story question raised, nothing happening other than waking up. If you can do without the dream reference and just get into something happening that raises a story question about what’s going to happen to her next, this would be a winner. I gave it an Almost tending to Yes. Notes:

Even the rain was just a broken thing in her screwed up mind; Lake Michigan transmogrified into suicidal shards. The deluge coated her picture window at dawn, materializing in Viola Collier’s dream as syncopated percussion gone wrong. 


The nightmare music had felt so real that Viola was certain she had been working still. She massaged her neck, cranked at an unnatural angle from sleeping in her chair as a bombastic measure of thunder rattled her studio apartment, assuring her she was awake now to deal with her real nightmare.

Ugly peg stubs. Nasty skin comb-over. Disgusting. This briefly took me out of the story. Yes, the next line fills in the gap, but I still had to stop and think about it. I suggest you try preceding this paragraph with the first sentence of the next one, then return to the “three years…”

Viola surveyed her legs, never getting used to the fact that they ended at her knees now. Three years and she still woke each morning believing she was whole, phantom feet ready to bolt for a quick shower before rehearsal. But everything had ended with her accident: Her career, her ease of life, her bourgeoning relationship with Andrew… everything.

The train: She needed more from the horns to bring it to life. And the rhythm that had seemed so perfect last night was all wrong this morning. The rain had shown her that.

Courtyard light cast shadows of fat raindrops onto her bedroom walls. The light was murky, as if coffee tracked down her windows in continuous rivulets, but it was just bright (snip) I would cut these two lines to get the reader more imbedded into what’s going on by going directly to this from the next page:

She needed to hurry before the lines of the last movement dissipated into smoke. The distorted rhythm of her dreams presented her with what was lacking: The adagio was too harsh. A softer reticence to act as portent, that’s what Viola needed.

 Comments, please?

For what it’s worth.


Submitting to the Flogometer:

Email the following in an attachment (.doc, .docx, or .rtf preferred, no PDFs):

  1. your title
  2. your complete 1st chapter or prologue plus 1st chapter
  3. Please include in your email permission to post it on FtQ.
  4. Note: I’m adding a copyright notice for the writer at the end of the post. I’ll use just the first name unless I’m told I can use the full name.
  5. Also, please tell me if it’s okay to post the rest of the chapter so people can turn the page.
  6. And, optionally, include your permission to use it as an example in a book on writing craft if that's okay.
  7. If you’re in a hurry, I’ve done “private floggings,” $50 for a first chapter.
  8. If you rewrite while you wait for your turn, it’s okay with me to update the submission.

Flogging the Quill © 2014 Ray Rhamey, story © 2014 Yvonne



enough for her to work.  She needed to hurry before the lines of the last movement dissipated into smoke. The distorted rhythm of her dreams presented her with what was lacking: The adagio was too harsh. A softer reticence to act as portent, that’s what Viola needed. 

Time to summon Andrew back to her.

Viola inhaled a deep breath, taking in the same air that Andrew too breathed somewhere else in the city. It was the only connection they shared now, across neighborhoods and skyscrapers and trains and Chicago’s thriving pulse that continued to beat without her, somewhere he breathed her air. Loving a ghost is what it was.  His absence was present in every note but her music returned him to her too, an irony she could never explain:  The slight hollow beneath his cheek bones commissioned by the spot light, the wild halo his hair formed in mid-pirouette, the soft rage emanating from him when he danced, when he approached her. These were her worst moments, when Andrew was so real again. They created her most inspired work.

They say you’re Balanchine’s grandson. Is it true?

The pen was still in her hand, a relic from last night’s furious pace. Her fingers ached when she stretched them.  Wheeling herself to the back corner where the wall met the window, Viola allowed a cool draft gusting through the closed window to dry her sweaty face. Wall space was running out and soon she would need to shimmy to the floor to work from there.  But for now, she remained seated, last night’s work pleading with her to be completed. Again, she lost herself to her music.

More intensity. Impending ruin…grinding. Just more. The wall as her pallet was no longer before her.  Viola waited at the Diversey Street Station now, standing on the platform with ichor and blood running through her legs, the hinge of her ankles neatly propelling her upright. She smiled into the warm air of the arriving El train as it blew back her hair on the day she was going to rehearse with Andrew, but instead, never saw him again.

Outside, the wind blew and the courtyard trees danced a tribal dance and the sky boiled in the dark, but Viola was elsewhere as the room sobbed and sobbed and sobbed around her.

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8. Rio de Janeiro: ATREVIDA – Revisão crítica da exposição artevida

Organizada em quatro seções – corpo, política, arquivo, parque - a exposição artevida, com curadoria de Adriano Pedrosa e Rodrigo Moura, incluiu uma grande quantidade e qualidade de trabalhos vindos dos recônditos do globo, com a ambição de “desenvolver conexões e leituras a partir de certas práticas artísticas do período [final dos anos 50 ao início dos anos 80], mediante diferentes conceitos, referências e enquadramentos além dos eurocêntricos”, resume o folheto da exposição.

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9. ‘The Cat with Hands’ by Robert Morgan

A cat wants to become human.

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10. You’re Not Alone: NaNoWriMo Experts Share Their Stories & Experiences

We are only hours away from the month of November, which means many writers will be participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Whether you’re a veteran or a rookie at NaNoWriMo, tackling the goal of writing 50,000 words in a month is just a tad bit intimidating.

That’s why Writer’s Digest has brought together some NaNoWriMo experts who will be joining you in your quest this November. From a variety of different backgrounds and writing styles and genres, these folks are all attempting to write 50,000 words and will be reporting in on their progress twice per week. Currently, they’ve taken time out of their busy writing schedules to introduce themselves below. After you read their bios, be sure to check back in every Monday and Thursday during November for a progress update from our writers. They’ll have tips and thoughts on tackling stumbling blocks, hitting your goal, and more, throughout NaNoWriMo.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Let us know! Give us your own bio and progress reports in the comments section!

*     *     *     *     *

Jonathan WoodNatania Barron and Jonathan Wood are, most of the time, speculative fiction writers. They share common affinity for video games, RPGs, action films, and caffeinated beverages. The rest of their lives is something of a study in contrast. Natania is a four-time participator, a two-time NaNoWriMo winner, while Jonathan’s never been daft enough to try it. Jonathan prefers an outline and a great deal of planning when writing novels. Natania prefers the “win and wait” model.

Natania BarronWhen it comes to influence, Natania often cites George R.R. Martin, but Jonathan “just doesn’t get those books”; Jonathan quite enjoys Robert Jordan, but Natania’s quite certain they’re best used as doorstops. While they’ve both published (separately) in Weird Tales and, collectively, in Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters, Jonathan’s known for his No Hero Series, published by Titan Books, which includes the tagline, “What Would Kurt Russell Do?” Natania’s debut novel, Pilgrim of the Sky, had floating mansions, parallel worlds, and absolutely no sign of Mr. Russell. Either way, they’re hoping to cobble together a weird fantasy novel, or at least the bare bones of one, during NaNoWriMo 2014.

They will be chronicling this mad collaboration at their blog, Two Brain Space.

Rachael Herron

Rachael Herron is a NaNo success story: NaNoWriMo 2006 was her first NaNo attempt, her first win, and thatbook turned into her first published novel. She is the internationally bestselling author of the novel Pack Up the Moon, the Cypress Hollow series, and the memoir, A Life in Stitches. Her next mainstream standalone, Splinters of Light, will be out in March 2015 from Penguin.

She teaches people how to stop sabotaging their own writing practices, and can’t wait for this year’s NaNo, in which she’ll start her 2016 release. She received her MFA in writing from Mills College, and when she’s not busy writing, she’s a 911 fire/medical dispatcher for a Bay Area fire department.

Rachael is struggling to learn the accordion and can probably play along with you on the ukulele. She’s a New Zealander as well as an American, and she’s been actively blogging since 2002.

Nikki HysonNikki Hyson writes modern fantasy with a classical twist. Currently unpublished, she’s in the process of querying agents while she second drafts a sequel. An avid support of NaNoWriMo, this will be her fifth year of literary abandon (and hopefully a 5th win). Also, for the past 2 years, she’s participated in Camp NaNo.

A confirmed “pantser,” she generally lets a question seed itself in her subconscious, germinating for weeks to determine if it has the goods to sprout. Usually, she’s just as surprised by her endings as any reader. Never satisfied with writing by accident, she loves “how-to-write” books. Some of her most used are: Tell Me (How to Write) a Story by EJ Runyon, On Writing by Stephen King, Wired for Story by Lisa Cron, and No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty.

You can visit Nikki at her Facebook page.

November/December 2014 Writer's Digest


The November/December 2014 issue of Writer’s Digest
is loaded with advice, tips, and strategies
to help you survive—and thrive—during NaNoWriMo.

Regina Kammer HeadshotRegina Kammer writes historical, contemporary, and Steampunk erotica and erotic romance. Her short storiesand novels have been published by Cleis Press, Go Deeper Press, Ellora’s Cave, House of Erotica, and her own imprint, Viridum Press. She began writing historical fiction with romantic elements during NaNoWriMo 2006, switching to historical erotica when all her characters suddenly demanded to have sex.

Regina has done—and won—NaNoWriMo eight times and has published four of those novels (with a fifth in her publisher’s editing queue): the Amazon best-selling Victorian erotic romances The Pleasure Device and Disobedience by Design; the award-nominated erotic romance The General’s Wife: An American Revolutionary Tale; and the erotic epic Hadrian and Sabina: A Love Story.

Regina approaches NaNoWriMo with an outline leaving enough room for character flights of fancy. She frequently gets lost in Thesaurus.com, the OED online, or historical clothing websites wondering what her characters are wearing before she can get them naked.

You can visit Regina at kammerotica.com, follow her on Twitter @Kammerotica, and like her on Facebook.

Kathy KittsKathy Kitts (AKA Apollo16) is a retired geology professor who served on the science team for NASA’s Genesis Mission. She had dozens of nonfiction publications, from professional papers to textbooks, but is no longer interested in “what is,” but rather, “what if.” Her latest publications include short literary fiction (Storyteller’s Anthology) and speculative fiction (Ad Astraas K. Eisert, and Mad Scientist, as K. Kitts). For more links and NaNoWriMo related goodies, visit her website.

She’s been participating in NaNoWriMo since 2003 and has volunteered as an ML, ML Mentor, Moderator, and site debugger. In 2014, she’s going for her 12th win. She’s done NaNo as a “pantser” and a “plotter.” Knowing what to write next is helpful, but Kathy enjoys the energy of making-it-up as she goes, too. Recently, she’s outlined one third of the novel, written like mad, yanked the gems from that section to plot the next third, then rinsed and repeated. It’s saved her a lot of time during revision.


Headshot_Tiffany LuckeyTiffany Luckey is the associate editor of Writer’s Digest whose freelance work has been published in Cincinnati magazine, Quill and on the entertainment website Starpulse.com. She’s also the founder of the humor/TV site AnotherTVBlog.com. Tiffany has participated in NaNoWriMo only once before three years ago (and has lived to tell about it!), and she’s eager to do a modified version of it this year by penning a series of short stories in November. Her favorite types of books are suspense and thriller novels, and her favorite writing-related website (besides WritersDigest.com, of course) is JungleRedWriters.com. Some fun random facts about Tiffany: She loves watching horror TV shows, but not horror movies; she has an unhealthy obsession with handbags and chocolate; if she could be anybody in the world, past or present, it would be 1990s’ Janet Jackson; the cheetah is her spirit animal; and she listens to trickling water sounds via YouTube when she writes.  

Kristen RuddKristen Rudd lives in Cary, NC, and is a homeschool mom by day. By night, she’s exhausted. She lovesNaNoWriMo. Loves it. This is her 8th year participating and her 4th as an ML (Municipal Liaison). She’s won four times.

Kristen writes YA and adult fiction, and has one complete, will-never-see-the-light-of-day novel and a whole passel of unfinished ones. Pretty much everyone in her life has told her to just finally finish something already, so she’s rebelling this year to work on something already in progress.

Somewhere in between a planner and a pantser, Kristen starts outlining her story, then November hits, so she panics for a little while and dives right in. Mostly, she tries to hit word count and then set up a few scenes for the next day.

A few of her favorite YA authors are Kristin Cashore, Patrick Ness, Maggie Stiefvater, and Melina Marchetta. She’s also a big fan of Rob Kroese and Wayne Franklin. You can visit her at kristenrudd.com.

EJ RunyonNaNoWriMo’s been very good to EJ Runyon. She began in 2001, and in 2006 she quit Software, sold her house, and went back to University. Now it’s writing and coaching daily. It’s her life and she loves it.

NaNoWriMo set her on the path to writer’s nirvana. In 2012, six short stories pulled from various NaNo novels became part of Claiming One, from Inspired Quill (UK). Then, in 2013, her ’08 NaNo became Tell Me (How to Write) A Story, a writer’s guide. This year, ’03 NaNo’s became a debut novel, A House of Light & Stone.

She’s a Scrivener pantser all the way, and even created a jumpstart template for coaching clients. Cheeky, she suggests her writing site, Bridge to Story, for 52 free lessons.

It’s been everything wonderful you’d possibly dream. 2016 & 2017 will see another how-to and a novel. She alternates literary fiction with how-to guides.

Wordspeed, WriMos!

Jessica-SchleyJessica Schley is a former book publishing company peon turned grad student, bookseller, and contemporary YA writer. Though her freelance writing has all been nonfiction and runs the gamut from bible studies to test prep materials, her fiction is all about the craziness of real life of being a teen. Now that she’s almost finished with grad school, you can find her hanging out on Twitter and on the boards at Absolute Write.

When it comes to creating, especially creating fast, she’s always a bit of a “gardener,” to borrow George R.R. Martin’s wonderful analogy, but lately has discovered her books benefit from a bit of an architectural hand, too. This NaNo, she’ll be trying both—a solid outline but with freedom to run another direction as needed to keep the words flowing. 2014 will be her 10th NaNoWriMo, in which she’ll be trying to defend a (very slightly) winning record. Here’s to 50,000!

You can visit Jessica at jessicaschley.com.

Brian SchwarzBrian Schwarz is an author/musician from Minneapolis, MN. Spending most of his young adult life touring in a modern rock band, he rarely had time for writing anything more than song lyrics, let alone novels as he had so aspired in grade school

In 2013 (finding he had time on his hands for the first time in ten years) he wrote his debut novel—Shades (view the trailer here)—a 120,000 word pre-apocalyptic thriller during NaNoWriMo. His book won the NaNoWriMo and Lulu sponsored Let’s Go Wrimos award, and was debuted at Book Expo America in NYC.

This will be his second year participating in NaNoWriMo, where he hopes to finish his next project, a Young Adult mystery with a science fiction tilt. He goes about his writing as haphazardly as he goes about his life, with a general idea of beginnings and endings—making the rest up as he goes.

Recently he’s been reading Veronica Roth, Gillian Flynn, and George R.R. Martin.

You can visit Brian at BrianRSchwarz.com.

*     *     *     *     *


Find the focus, energy, and drive you need to start—and finish—your book in a month. Write-A-Thon gives you the tools, advice, and inspiration you need to succeed before, during, and after your writing race. With solid instruction, positive psychology, and inspiration from marathon runners, you’ll get the momentum to take each step from here to the finish line. You’ll learn how to: train your attitude, writing, and life—and plan your novel or nonfiction book; maintain your pace; and find the best ways to recover and move forward once the writing marathon is finished and you have a completed manuscript in hand!

Cris Freese is the associate editor of Writer’s Digest Books. He has never participated in NaNoWriMo, but has contemplated it at the prodding of his co-workers and writing friends. Whether he actually decides to try to write a novel during the month of November 2014 remains to be seen.

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11. Nick Cartoons Headed to Hulu

Hulu and Nickelodeon's parent company Viacom announced earlier this week a deal that will bring the Nicktoons library to the online streaming service.

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12. Reread #44 Frankenstein

Frankenstein. Mary Shelley. 1818/1831. Oxford World's Classics. 250 pages. [Source: Bought]

Almost every time I read it, I focus on something new, something that I might have missed, something that I hadn't considered before. I thought I would share my observations with you instead of a traditional review.

Stories. Frankenstein is a story within a story. But it's more than that. It's a text that utilizes stories and storytelling even within that framework. The first story, of course, is the one Robert Walton is communicating to his sister, Margaret, through letters. After the first few letters, Walton stops being so introspective and focuses on telling someone else's story. Victor Frankenstein's story. This is written in the letters in first person, as if Victor himself were telling the story--sharing it. Within that big story, are dozens of little stories. The story of how his parents met. The story of his birth and childhood. The story of how Elizabeth was adopted. The story of how he became interested in science. The story of his mother's death. The story of his going away to university. The story of his madness--his obsession--and how he came to create life. The story of his sickness and recovery. The story of his learning about his brother's death/murder. The story of Justine. You get the idea. Each story is crafted and shaped. These stories are how he sees himself and the world, his place in it. Some of the stories are personal and a vital part of the plot. Other stories are more like asides. But this isn't Victor's story alone. Midway through the book, readers learn the creature's story. Even though this is written in first person though the eyes of the creature--the monster--the words are for better or worse being filtered through Victor Frankenstein's memory. He's telling what the monster said. He's telling what the monster heard. And Robert Walton is then passing along Frankenstein's story of the events and conversations. The creature is a storyteller as well. He recalls his life, his memories, his desires and needs. But he also focuses in particular on one family, one French family living in exile. This section has multiple stories. Including one focusing on a young woman. Though it may seem like an aside to readers, the stories matter very much to the narrator, the creature. The stories are providing for him a framework of the world, of how it works, of what life and love are all about. The stories resonate with the creature. He has seen love. He has seen family. He has seen fellowship and community. Because he has seen this, he feels the lack of it in his own life. But it isn't just the unfolding story that he personally witnesses. He is also shaped by the stories--the words--in the books he oh-so-conveniently is able to read. Words and stories matter. The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, the stories we share with others, they all matter. For example, I think the story the creature told himself over and over and over again was it is all Victor's fault. He made me. He gave me life. He made me this ugly, this revolting. He made me this large and strong. He left me--he abandoned me. He didn't love me. He never loved me. He rejected me. He made it so everyone would reject me. Why does everyone reject me? It's his fault. It's all his fault. He made me have killing-hands. He made me have killing-thoughts. He didn't show me a better way. He didn't teach me. He didn't raise me. I had to learn everything all by myself. It is his fault. I'm not responsible. Why would I be? It is his fault! If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be so miserable, so alone, so full of angst. I wouldn't feel pain or hunger or thirst. I wouldn't feel at all. The monster has his Job moments. One last thing, Victor Frankenstein speaks of the power of words, of persuasion. He warns that the creature has a way with words, that he can manipulate people by his persuasiveness. He warns Walton not to let himself be manipulated by the creature's story--his words and pleas. Is there any truth to this? Is the creature trying to masquerade himself as an angel of light? His actions say one thing: he's a killer, a murderer, he premeditates at least some of his crimes. His words say another: no one loves me, everyone runs from me, it's all HIS fault.

Questions. It's hard to read Frankenstein without questions. Who is the real monster? Who should be held responsible? Is there anyone who shouldn't be held responsible? Why is human life valued so little by ego-obsessed people? Why does Walton idolize Frankenstein?

Victor Frankenstein, Robert Walton, and the creature share a few things in common. They are introspective, moody, obsessed, and lonely. True, there are differences in their obsessions. Robert Walton is obsessed with glory, with adventure, with discovering the Northwest Passage. Walton has spent years if not decades obsessed with the North Pole, with the arctic regions. This started as a boy with books, with stories and words. His dream shifted slightly for a brief period of time when he wanted to be a poet, but, ultimately he came back to his first love. He didn't give up his poetic personality/nature however. Victor Frankenstein is first obsessed with science, with electricity, with creating life. This playing God leads to no good--it leads to madness and murder. I believe the madness started long before he was successful. I have never understood how he could piece together this creature--this eight-foot creature--and it is only when he is alive that he realizes that it is monstrous and ugly and unnatural and threatening. Why make it eight-feet? Why make it so unhuman? Regardless, having created life, he then becomes obsessed with destroying it--with murdering his demon-creation, his monster. His only reason to live is to track down and kill the monster. The monster's obsession? Well, he's driven by anger and pain. He wants to HURT Frankenstein. He is acting out, having murderous temper-tantrums all to get the attention of the one who gave him life, his father, his creator. He wants what he can't have. He wants love and acceptance. He wants to belong. He wants companionship and family. He wants to be happy. He wants to be treated fairly and humanely. He doesn't want to be judged based on appearances. He taunts and haunts his creator. He wants Frankenstein to be just as miserable and desperate as he is.


Robert Walton meets Victor Frankenstein:
In the morning, however, as soon as it was light, I went upon deck and found all the sailors busy on one side of the vessel, apparently talking to someone in the sea. It was, in fact, a sledge, like that we had seen before, which had drifted towards us in the night on a large fragment of ice. Only one dog remained alive; but there was a human being within it whom the sailors were persuading to enter the vessel. He was not, as the other traveller seemed to be, a savage inhabitant of some undiscovered island, but a European. When I appeared on deck the master said, "Here is our captain, and he will not allow you to perish on the open sea." On perceiving me, the stranger addressed me in English, although with a foreign accent. "Before I come on board your vessel," said he, "will you have the kindness to inform me whither you are bound?" You may conceive my astonishment on hearing such a question addressed to me from a man on the brink of destruction and to whom I should have supposed that my vessel would have been a resource which he would not have exchanged for the most precious wealth the earth can afford. I replied, however, that we were on a voyage of discovery towards the northern pole. Upon hearing this he appeared satisfied and consented to come on board. Good God! Margaret, if you had seen the man who thus capitulated for his safety, your surprise would have been boundless. His limbs were nearly frozen, and his body dreadfully emaciated by fatigue and suffering. I never saw a man in so wretched a condition. We attempted to carry him into the cabin, but as soon as he had quitted the fresh air he fainted. We accordingly brought him back to the deck and restored him to animation by rubbing him with brandy and forcing him to swallow a small quantity. As soon as he showed signs of life we wrapped him up in blankets and placed him near the chimney of the kitchen stove. By slow degrees he recovered and ate a little soup, which restored him wonderfully. Two days passed in this manner before he was able to speak, and I often feared that his sufferings had deprived him of understanding. When he had in some measure recovered, I removed him to my own cabin and attended on him as much as my duty would permit. I never saw a more interesting creature: his eyes have generally an expression of wildness, and even madness, but there are moments when, if anyone performs an act of kindness towards him or does him any the most trifling service, his whole countenance is lighted up, as it were, with a beam of benevolence and sweetness that I never saw equalled. But he is generally melancholy and despairing, and sometimes he gnashes his teeth, as if impatient of the weight of woes that oppresses him.
 Robert shares his big, big dream with Victor:
I was easily led by the sympathy which he evinced to use the language of my heart, to give utterance to the burning ardour of my soul and to say, with all the fervour that warmed me, how gladly I would sacrifice my fortune, my existence, my every hope, to the furtherance of my enterprise. One man's life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge which I sought, for the dominion I should acquire and transmit over the elemental foes of our race. At first I perceived that he tried to suppress his emotion; he placed his hands before his eyes, and my voice quivered and failed me as I beheld tears trickle fast from between his fingers; a groan burst from his heaving breast. I paused; at length he spoke, in broken accents: "Unhappy man! Do you share my madness? Have you drunk also of the intoxicating draught? Hear me; let me reveal my tale, and you will dash the cup from your lips!"

And so it begins...
Yesterday the stranger said to me, "You may easily perceive, Captain Walton, that I have suffered great and unparalleled misfortunes. I had determined at one time that the memory of these evils should die with me, but you have won me to alter my determination. You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been. I do not know that the relation of my disasters will be useful to you; yet, when I reflect that you are pursuing the same course, exposing yourself to the same dangers which have rendered me what I am, I imagine that you may deduce an apt moral from my tale, one that may direct you if you succeed in your undertaking and console you in case of failure. He then told me that he would commence his narrative the next day when I should be at leisure. This promise drew from me the warmest thanks. I have resolved every night, when I am not imperatively occupied by my duties, to record, as nearly as possible in his own words, what he has related during the day. If I should be engaged, I will at least make notes. This manuscript will doubtless afford you the greatest pleasure; but to me, who know him, and who hear it from his own lips—with what interest and sympathy shall I read it in some future day! Even now, as I commence my task, his full-toned voice swells in my ears; his lustrous eyes dwell on me with all their melancholy sweetness; I see his thin hand raised in animation, while the lineaments of his face are irradiated by the soul within. Strange and harrowing must be his story, frightful the storm which embraced the gallant vessel on its course and wrecked it—thus!
I've reviewed Frankenstein several times in the past. 2007. 2009. 2010. 2011

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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13. Happy Halloween

I guess this is officially the end of "#inktober" - sniff

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14. Comic: Personal Muse

And speaking of inspiration, don't forget to check out the previous post from Paper Lantern Lit and former HarperCollins/Razorbill editor Lexa Hillyer about how to establish the right wants and needs of your characters.

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15. Poetry Friday - Thriller Rap

As if I could post anything else today ...

Rap from Thriller
by Rod Temperton

Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y'all's neighborhood
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse's shell

The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller

If you have some time, here's the video of the song.

I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Linda Baie at Teacher Dance. Happy poetry Friday friends! And Happy Halloween!

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And to conclude Monster Week '14, here's some preliminary art from my upcoming picture book, MARILYN'S MONSTER by the great Michelle Knudsen and published by the extraordinary Candlewick Press. Coming to a bookstore near you in MARCH 2015!


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17. Vampire Etiquette

Vampires in the movies
Seem to very neatly suck.
If blood is to be seen, it’s on
The necks of those they’ve struck.

Yet every costumed Dracula
Has “blood” dripped on his face,
A situation vampires would
Perceive as a disgrace.

Tonight, as the undead come out
To honor Halloween,
Observe their faces – not a one
Will be blood-free and clean!

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18. A fun Halloween party

Here's my idea of a fun Halloween party. This story was inspired one November morning by too much leftover halloween candy and coffee.

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19. Artist of the Day: Juanjo Guarnido

Today we look at the work of Juanjo Guarnido, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day!

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20. Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Please consider supporting We Need Diverse Books through a donation or signal boosting!

At the time of this posting, we've raised $56,910, which is 57% of our goal.

Thanks to all who've already participated.

Diverse Campaign w Thanks Card from Undercurrent on Vimeo.

Don't miss John Green on Why We Need Diverse Books and a celebration dance by WNDB president Ellen Oh and her daughter (Ellen promised this if we made $15K within 24 hours). See also Looking for a Diverse Middle Grade Book? from CBC Diversity.

More News 

Author Interview: Martine Leavitt and Blue Mountain by Lisa Doan from WCYA The Launch Pad. Peek: "Tuk is the name of my viewpoint character – he is the biggest and the fastest and the cleverest sheep. I love him because he is smart and strong, and yet he doubts himself."

Story Mapmakers: No GPS Required by Sarah McCoy from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "We, authors, are story cartographers. We navigate characters, plot courses of action, and direct readers in an expedition across unfamiliar terrains."

How Morals and Basic Needs Influence a Character's Strength by Becca Puglisi from Writers Helping Writers. Peek: "...one of the main reasons we fall in love with characters is because we want them to succeed, to achieve their goals and overcome their flaws; this is where the positive attributes come in."

I Can't Be Faithful -- To Genre by Brian Yansky from Brian's Blog: Diary of a Writer. Peek: "...many of the writers I love have convinced readers to know them well enough to know that their fiction won’t fit neatly into a genre label."

Mix It Up: 15 Books About Kindness and Giving from Lee & Low. Peek: "Mix It Up At Lunch Day, an annual day started by Teaching Tolerance over a decade ago to encourage kindness and reduce prejudice in schools by encouraging students to sit and have lunch with someone new, one day out of the year."

Kapow! Cutting Scenes Like a Superhero by Liz Michalski from Writer Unboxed. Peek: "Every single one of those deleted scenes was a tiny jewel, and it’s obvious it pained Bird to cut them."

Not Scary Scary Children's Books: a bibliography by Ally Watkins from ALSC Blog. Peek: "...books for your kids who want to have some Halloween reading but want to be able to sleep at night." See also Scholastic Highlights Books that Celebrate The Day of the Dead! / ¡El Dia de los Muertos! from Latin@s in Kidlit.

Compelling Middle Grade Boy Readers to Turn the Page by Joe McGee from Project Mayhem. Peek: "Through progressive revelation, shorter chapter construction, and powerful, chapter-ending beats, middle-grade fiction can compel boy readers to keep turning pages, despite the lure of the multitude of electronic sirens."

Best Illustrated Books from The New York Times. Note: online gallery.

When Terrifying Leaps of Faith Pay Off: An Art- and Sketch-Filled Q&A with Abby Hanlon by Jules from Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Peek: "When I started the book, the scary thing was that I knew I would get better as I got to the end, and that I would have to re-do everything (somehow before the deadline)."

November is Native American Heritage Month

Here are a few links, two from American Indians in Children's Literature, to get you started:

Cynsational Screening Room

For those who missed yesterday's reveal of the Feral series book teaser created by Book Candy Studios! Please share the trailer with your networks and the YA readers in your life.

Morganville: The Series; Rachel Caine's The Morganville Vampires Comes to Life, An Exclusive Behind The Scenes Look At The Web TV Series from Mundie Moms.

Cynsational Giveaways

See flap copy & enter giveaway!

The winner of Time of the Fireflies by Kimberley Griffiths Little was Anna in Indiana.

The winner of Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen was Katy in Florida.

This Week at Cynsations

More Personally

Thank you, Reading Is Fundamental, for hosting me at a school visit last week at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. See AP coverage.

With Judy Blankenship Cheatham, R. Gregory Christie and Carol H. Rasco at Daily Grill in Washington, D.C.
Thank you, Writers' League of Texas for honoring me with your children's-YA novel award for Feral Nights (Candlewick, 2013).

With children's picture book winner Doris Fisher, author of Army Camels (Pelican, 2013) at the Texas Book Festival.
I'll post a full photo report on the festival tomorrow, but quickly...

Greg Leitich Smith (with Anne Bustard and Jennifer Ziegler) was a featured author for Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn.

Last call! My e-edition of Blessed (Candlewick) is on sale this month for only $1.99. A perfect read for Halloween and beyond--check it out!

Personal Links
Never Counted Out 

Cynsational Events

Cynthia Leitich Smith will speak on a panel "Where Are the Heroes of Color in Fantasy & Sci Fi Lit?" from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 15 at YALSA's YA Literature Symposium in Austin.

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21. ~HaPpY HaLlOwEeN~

©the enchanted easel 2014
love, sally...and her beloved kitty companion


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22. 2 NYC Library Organizations Team Up to Win the Battle of the Book Sorters

NY & BK library book-sortingThe New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library teamed up for the 4th Annual Battle of the Book Sorters. The two New York City organizations went up against the Washington state-based King County Public Library.

Here’s more about the contest: “New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library share a state-of-the-art, automated book sorter (as well as all book delivery operations), so they form one team. King County, which has its own book sorter, won last year, and is currently leading the annual contest with two wins to New York’s one.”

In one hour’s time, Team New York sorted 12,570 items and emerged victorious. The winning competitor received the “Lyngsoe Sorting Cup” prize package which includes beans from Seattle’s Best Coffee and salmon. If the King County team had won, they would have collected cheesecake from Junior’s and pastries from Ferrara’s.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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23. Disney Employees Go All-Out For Halloween

Some Disney employees who work in Imagineering got an early jump on Pixar's next film "Inside Out" and dressed up as the film's main characters.

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24. a birthday celebration....

painting tiny dots...
©the enchanted easel 2014
almost done!

...'cause every good cat costume needs a pretty red bow.
©the enchanted easel 2014

perhaps someone has tapped into my Mally Beauty stash...;)
©the enchanted easel 2014

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25. 10 Books I Loved This Week

10 Books I Loved This Week 

So, as an avid reader, I go through about 5 books a week and love it. Maybe it's an obsession, or maybe it's a passion, but whatever it is it's working. Needless to say, I have quite an extensive list of books to share, most of which are YA. So here they are, 10 books I loved this week and highly recommend! 

1. Atlantia, by Ally Condie 

2. The Selection, by Kiera Cass 

3. Uninvited, by Sophie Jordan 

4. The Matched Trilogy, by Ally Condie 

5. The Rules, by Stacey Kade 

6. Cinder, by Marissa Meyer 

7. Made for You, by Melissa Marr

8. Wither, by Lauren Destefano 

9. Panic, by Lauren Oliver 

10. Black Ice, by Becca Fitzpatrick 

And there you have it folks! 10 YA books that I loved this week and you should go read right now. Seriously, you won't get anything done all week, they're that fantastically gripping. 

Best wishes and happy reading,

-Ashley Dawson 

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