April means the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge! Last year, I didn’t participate, as I was in the process of moving and settling in during the month of April, so I was very busy. However, I did the challenge in 2015.
When I did the challenge before, I wrote 26 short stories related to Ariadne, and it turned into a kind of story. You can read all 26 parts here. You’ll even learn a little bit about the main character of my debute novel, Solona Knight.
So, what am I going to do for this year’s challenge? I’m not sure. They haven’t announced the theme yet, but we don’t have to follow the theme. We can do our own. I won’t be doing the same thing I did two years ago. I may do something about science, or I might do something about writing. Or I may do flash fiction based on words that begin with each letter of the alphabet. I don’t know yet.
So, I’d like to ask you. Do you have any suggestions for what I could write about? Also, are you participating? Let me know in the comments below.
When we were in English class in school, I’m sure we all dreaded that one question that we were always asked. What is that question? Of course, we never liked to decipher the hidden (or obvious) meaning that the author is trying to tell us. But what happens if our books are being dissected in English class?
Question 99 – If something you wrote was read by an English class, how do you think they would answer this common question: What message is the author trying to convey?
I guess I’ll go with my still-unpublished first novel.
I imagine that a common answer to that question would be “The system is broken, but the will to change it for the better is unbreakable.” Alternately the more simplistic “Queer people can be heroes, and organized religion can be destructive.”
I don’t think Jasper will be in any classrooms, but I’ll entertain the thought. I’d like for students to make parallels between the Jasper universe and our own political climate. It’s not a scenario that can plausibly happen, it’s more of an extreme case. But the culture of fear, casting out an entire group of citizens as the “other,” those are scenarios that can make one think.
Well, I assume they’d be reading “Nowhere to Hide“, since that’s the only option we’ve got at the moment, and they’d probably say that I was trying to convey a sense of disgust for humanity in general. I won’t say much more than that because, hey…I want people to read the book…but I’d say that theme is fairly obvious if you have read it.
Heh, I have wondered this a lot! And I do write toward certain themes which I think could be easily excavated with a little work. A major one is that diversity adds skills and value to any group; my army guys start off as just normal soldiers but slowly accrue ‘special’ soldiers, mages, outsiders and former enemies into their group, whereas the villains they’re up against stick with their old ranks and tactics and so can’t really adapt to how the good-guy group operates. Another message would be that cultural homogenization (especially when forced) robs people of history, community and context for many things that go on in their lives. I would draw some connections between the actions of my evil Empire and the Native American boarding schools that ran during much of the 19th and 20th centuries to try to get Native Americans to conform to Euro-American ways. Several characters suffer the after-effects of this, as they feel disconnected from their home cultures but unwelcome in the dominant one because of their origins; two don’t know their own native languages because they were taken away too young. There are a lot more themes and undercurrents at work in the story, but I think these are the most clearly visible.
Well I write High Fantasy, so that’s a bit unlikely. (Why don’t you have to read High Fantasy in school? That’s so stupid!) But maybe something like “you should do what’s right no matter the consequences” or “nothing is impossible if you try hard enough and have friends backing you up.” I mean there are definitely themes of loyalty and friendship and sacrifice in my writing.
Not sure I can — or should — answer that! My themes are usually quite dark or controversial. And each story is different, of course. But as a generalisation, I think the main underlying message is that people are people and we all have our light and dark spots, as well as lots of grey areas too. There’s rarely such a thing as good vs evil; we are complex creatures.
That brings to mind the meme that shows up every once in a while on social media, where the teacher is lecturing his students on the symbolic significance of the blue drapes in a story, where the blue represented a certain mindset of mood the author was trying to fold in as a literary tool, and the author’s take was, “I just meant the drapes were freaking blue.”
Sure, I have a lot of hidden backstories and meanings in my books. I like to ask questions and make my readers answer them on their own. If I wanted to make one thing clear in my work, it’s that Life is a gift so precious that we can’t afford to take even a single breath for granted. And it’s not just our own life which is precious, but all lives. I know it sounds odd coming from an author of white-knuckle thrillers with characters dropping and bullets flying all over, but I guess you just have to read it to get it.
I never liked answering this question. I always thought that the teacher didn’t know the answer to this. In many cases, it was likely that the author had no real message to give, they just wrote the book to make money. But in other cases, there is a message. As for my first unpublished Ariadne novel, I’d hope that they’d understand that differences between people are not something to be afraid of or to fight about. We’re all human, and we’re all trying to live our lives. We need to trust each other and make the world a better place to live in. This doesn’t mean that my book ends like this, though.
How about you?
If you’ve written a book or want to write a book, what message would you hope that the students and teachers would get from your book? Let us know in the comments below.
After a lot of thought while washing dishes, I’ve finally come up with an idea for my YouTube channel’s focus and name.
The new name? Jay Dee’s Journeys. I might change it a bit, but that’s basically about what I want to call it.
Why Journeys? My main focuses are on travel and books. Travel is obvious, of course. But as far as books go, they are a kind of journey to another world or place. And since I read and write mainly science fiction and fantasy, those often have an aspect of travel.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
And before I forget, I made a video yesterday, but haven’t edited it yet. I’ll also have another video today. Expect them sometime later today.
I thought it was time for a new header, and what better time to change it than this month with the amazing images we’ve been receiving from New Horizons. The header comes from this image:
It’s the first clear full colour image of Pluto taken just before the flyby. It’s a historic image, so I thought it was appropriate.
I’ve been thinking I’ll change the header every so often, and once I get a good number of headers, I might make them random. So each visit you make will show you a random header image. What do you think?
Well, I missed the A to Z theme reveal a couple days ago, but I’ll do it anyway. On April 1st, the A to Z Challenge begins, and I need something to write about. Well, I finally decided what to do.
I’ll be writing very short flash fiction stories, which I said before. However, there will be an overall theme. In these stories, the A to Z part will be the main character’s profession. But that’s not all. These stories will all take place on Ariadne. This will introduce you all to the world in small snippets, but it won’t give away what’s going on in that world. You’ll see some place names, maybe. You’ll see hints about what life is like there. It should be interesting.
And tonight, my theme is to get caught up on all those comments!
If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you may notice something different. I’ve finally changed the theme!
Over the next few days, I’ll be making adjustments, so what you see now may be slightly different later. I want to reorganise the sidebars, and I may take advantage of feature posts to draw your attention to posts I really want you to read.
I’m finding one thing interesting. I can set a feature image for every post now. I doubt I’ll do that, as I want it to look fairly clean. But who knows?
I’m kind of excited about this. I’ve finally found a new theme for this blog, and I like how it looks. It looks more modern than this current one, and it looks very customisable, so that’s a great bonus. I have holidays coming up starting next week, and I’ll probably do my work on the theme then.
In other update news, I’ll finally be getting a couple more reviews up, and probably a third, as I’m nearly finished one my current books in progress. Other updates will be cleaning up some of my widgets and menu options, adding some reading challenge pages, and continuing to update my review posts.
As far as writing goes, I’m going to try to do some of it in notebooks during my breaks at work. Not sure how much I’ll get done, but I’ll try.
And now, to wash the dishes, my non-writing project. Well, it’s not a project, just a job that’ll take a few minutes to do.
I’m thinking about changing to a new theme that’s cleaner and more attractive than this. But I have a question, and I’d like your opinion.
Many blogs display only a summary of blog posts, so you can skim through to find what you want to read quickly. My current theme shows the full posts. So, I was wondering, what would you prefer? Summary view or full view (as it currently is)?
Please leave a comment, as well. I’m curious about what you’d like to see in addition to the above poll. I’m thinking about having feature posts at the top for recent reviews or other important posts. Let me know what you think.
I’m doing a little tweaking here and there on this blog this weekend, so don’t be surprised if you see something new or a completely different look.
I’ve already added a review listing page, which you can go to from the menu above. I have listed most of the books that I own according to author’s name, though I will add a couple more ways of listing the reviews. I’ll also be reviewing a limited number of TV series and movies, mainly science fiction.
I’m getting a bit tired of the design of this blog, so I’ll be changing the theme this weekend. I want some more colour and an additional side bar. In the future, I’ll be adding more menu options at the top to list some of the series/themes I write about.
Hope you enjoy the new design once I change it.
The official blog of Jay Dee Archer. Exploring new worlds, real and fictional.