My Goodreads Quotes

Allison’s quotes

"Don't you think it's rather nice to think that we're in a book that God's writing? If I were writing a book, I might make mistakes. But God knows how to make the story end just right--in the way that's best for us."
Do you really believe that, Mother?" Peter asked quietly.
Yes," she said, "I do believe it--almost always--except when I'm so sad that I can't believe anything. But even when I don't believe it, I know it's true--and I try to believe it."— E. Nesbit

Friday, June 19, 2015

Thoughts on Storytelling

As you can tell, I’m pretty nuts about storytelling.  I even named my blog after it!  It’s one of the central themes of my life, my one true love.

Am I smitten with it?  Absolutely.

… Do I tire of it sometimes?

Well.  Tire isn’t the best word.  Rather, I become familiar with it.  Mind-numbingly, inevitably familiar.

Allow me to set the stage for an example.

Me in my room, lounging with a library book.  The cover is somewhat typical for a young adult novel.

Narrator: A dark-haired man comes into the room and says to the orphan boy—

Me: The man is the boy’s father, although neither realize it yet.  The grand reveal will come in the fourth to last sentence, and the author will postpone the reunion until the third book of the trilogy.

Narrator (stammering): H-how do you know?

Me (á la Sherlock Holmes): Quite simple, really.  You specifically said that both the orphan and the man have dark hair.  You didn’t include many other details, so I know these ones are significant.  It’s a typical coming-of-age story, so I know he’ll be the father, not an uncle or cousin.

Narrator: Ah.  I see.


Narrator: He said to the boy—

After so many years of love, storytelling can become set in its ways.  This is frustrating, especially because it could so easily be prevented!  If the boy’s father hadn’t been the dark-haired man he admired—if it had been the mousy, uncertain man whom the boy had mocked—I would’ve fallen out of my chair.  I would’ve loved the book.

Some authors are experts at turning my preconceptions on their heads.  Megan Whalen Turner does it.  Franny Billingsley does it.  But so many others don’t, and this frustrates me.

Honestly, most of this problem is probably my own fault.  I’m becoming cynical in my old age.  I expect a certain element from books, and when I don’t get it, I’m disappointed.

What I need is a storytelling palate cleanser.

And I am fortunate enough that my good friend, Ghost Ryter, provided me with that very thing.

Until quite recently, I would’ve sworn that I dislike comics and graphic novels.  “Comics,” I would’ve sniffed, in my endearing Diane Chambers-esque way, “are fah inferior to novels.”

Then Ghost Ryter introduced me to The Silver Eye, a webcomic by Laura Hollingsworth.

And reader, it is beautiful.

I won’t go into much detail over the plot, because I want to review it someday soon.  Suffice it to say that it is an enchanting maze of details and memories, time twisting in on itself as the story unfolds in dazzling, multi-faceted images.  The artwork is stunning.  The writing is stunning.  And the characters—O! reader, there is not one character who is poorly portrayed.  I love all of them.

And the best part, reader?  I have no idea where it is going.

Yes, I value—not originality, per se.  I like classic themes.  But I like it best when an author is able to work beyond clichés, or better, turn clichés into something originally profound.  What about you, readers?  Where have you encountered this before?

Reminder: I'll be gone for a decent chunk of the summer, so I may be slow at responding to comments.  Rest assured, I still value your input!


Sarah said...

Heh. I know what you mean, finding myself guessing what'll happen way before it actually does. I enjoy it, though, since if I'm right I get to fistpump and mentally yell "YES! CALLED IT!" and if I'm wrong I'm (usually) pleasantly surprised.
I have read several webcomis, though, and really enjoyed them. Two of them are fanfictions- D&D style remakes of Star Wars and another TV show- but two others, West of Bathhurst (and its sequel/spin-off, It Never Rains) and Order of the Stick are original works. I highly recommend West of Bathhurst; it's crazy and complicated and funny without being outright ridiculous. (It does contain a few negative elements- occasional mild cursing, references to sex- but overall it's cleaner than some YA novels I've read.)

Jemma Tainsh said...

I experience that in some of the books my little brother reads :(
What age group is the Silver Eye for?

Hannah said...

I LOVE THE SILVER EYE SO MUCH! Thank you for introducing to me it, Allison. I agree with this entire post!

The art is so-so at first for those who are just starting it, but it becomes breath-taking!

Jemma, The Silver Eye is rated PG. There's a smattering of mild language and some battle that includes stabbing, blood, and once a beheading(though in a darkened blurred panel so it was kind of hard to see).

Jemma Tainsh said...

Ok, thanks Hannah!

Allison Ruvidich said...

@Sarah- Yay! I'll have to read these. I'm glad you pointed out the satisfaction of guessing the ending. That's definitely there, too. : )

@Jemma and Hannah- Ye-e-e-es! Jemma, you would absolutely love it. It's amazing. Thanks, Hannah! : D

ghost ryter said...

Yes, yes! Spread the word of The Silver Eye, and soon, oh soon we shall convert the entire world!! Mwuhahahaha!! Ahem. Yes, very good post. ;D

Jemma Tainsh said...

Just read the Silver Eye! I loved it! It's so awesome!

Jemma Tainsh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Allison Ruvidich said...

@Ghosty and Jemma- So glad you loved it!!!