False Dichotomies

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Greetings to everyone from the end of National Novel Writing Month!  Wow, it’s really hard to believe that a month has gone by and, for once, I actually have an almost complete rough draft of a novel.  It still needs work and some scenes, but I think I’ll be able to progress to the editing stage this December and January.  And I’m actually looking forward to it!  My creativity has come back, I’m eager to work, and I’ve been writing over 2,000 words a day more often than not.  Which, like, never happens.  So, I’m really pleased with my progress and hope to have a finished product to show for my effort sooner rather than later.  (Then I’ll go back to Ravens and Roses, I promise.)

Now, on to a topic that has been percolating in the back of my mind for some time:  false dichotomies.

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Influential Books: Part 2

This is the second part of a series of entries discussing various books that deeply influenced my writing and outlook on stories.  You can read the Introduction here and Part 1 here.  Please note that discussion of these books may contain spoilers.  

Image via mysummergirl16.blogspot.com
Image via mysummergirl16.blogspot.com

One of the earliest fairy tale books I remember checking out from the library was East of the Sun & West of the Moon written and illustrated by Mercer Mayer.  It’s an old fairy tale and there have been different adaptations of it, most of which involve a polar bear.  (One of my favorite alternate movie adaptations is the Norwegian film The Polar Bear King.)  I cannot tell you how gorgeous the illustrations are, and they’ve stuck with me my whole life.  Even when I forgot the title, I remembered those pictures.  The girl sitting by a pond, a unicorn in the forest, the goat with the corkscrew horns, the giant green fish with scales like mirrors, the prince’s icy prison, and the evil troll queen with a wooden arrow in her heart.  The beauty of these illustrations transported me into a rich, living fantasy world and have influenced my mental imagery of fantasy works ever since.  It also, for a time, made me want to become an illustrator for children’s storybooks.  (Each of the illustrations in Mercer Mayer’s books are done in watercolor.  Watercolor!  His rendition of Beauty and the Beast is equally breath-taking.)  I’d searched on and off for this book for years, but my efforts were frustrated by not remembering anything except those illustrations.  But recently, I stumbled across it by chance on the internet, found the title, and ordered a copy.

Continue reading “Influential Books: Part 2”