Bodleian Treasures on the Last Day Before Reading Week

Cat chasing its own tail...

Well, not quite. But I am scrambling to print out Ayten's story for future editing, clear emails, reply to all lovely commenters, organize the piles of paper I've accumulated in the past month or so, and arrange the To Be Read stacks.

Reading Week starts tomorrow. Mmm, blankets and cocoa and books...

Part of the piles of paper involves random writing tips that I collect, including this, from an older Nathan Bransford post on John Green's Looking for Alaska:

"Every single interaction between Pudge and Alaska advances their relationship in a series of incremental steps that swing between positive and negative emotion, with each interaction more intense than the last. ... The variance between up and down moments creates suspense as the reader wonders which way it's going to end up going, and since we feel each up and down more acutely than the last, the reader becomes increasingly invested in the relationship. Each time the line swings up to a positive experience it feels earned because Pudge had to suffer through the last negative one.

Too often when aspiring writers try to craft jousting or intense relationships between characters, the relationships will feel one-note because the characters have roughly the same level of interactions over the course of the book with, say, a positive spike at the end if the they get together. They may well be interesting characters, but when every interaction between them ends in the same mixed place, there isn't the same feeling of investment and suspense. If the relationship doesn't grow in intensity or change dynamics, the reader will very quickly decide they know what they need to know about the relationship and won't be that interested in where it ends up.

On the other hand, when the relationship-o-meter swings between positive and negative poles it feels more true to life. Add increasing intensity and the reader won't be able to turn the page fast enough to see what happens."

Reason 76498953 for why I wish I lived in the UK (part two) - treasures from the Bodleian! Luckily, many of these are available online, including these:

Notebook of poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins:

The first ten Penguin books (I've only read Sayers and Christie):

Wilfrid Owen's Anthem for Doomed Youth:

J. R. R. Tolkien's Conversation with Smaug:


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