Learning by reading

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    Noah Cochran


    Also, the main love interest has a point of not dating. *squeals* You don’t see that every day!

    Just curious, what exactly does this mean? No recreational dating?

    There really is an invisible battle going on ALL around us.

    Now the question is, should we be reading and writing books about it?


    Okay, okay, I’ll get to the Hunger Games eventually. xD


    Joelle Stone


    Well, she was a teenager and had made a commitment not to date until she was old enough to marry. I admired that a lot. Then, afterward, she had resolved not to date any non-Christians, another thing I admired.

    True. 😉


    Noah Cochran


    I wondered if that what was you meant, I was hoping that was what you meant. 🙂 One of the things that I am a huge proponent of is only marrying people who share your core beliefs on religion and how to live your life. In regard to waiting to date until a certain age or maturity, I can’t agree more. I get sick of this recreational dating we’re girls talk about cute boys and vice versa. When I date/court someone, it will be with the intention of marriage. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out, but the goal is still marriage. I appreciate you bringing that up. 🙂



    Awesome to see you here!

    Ooh, I’ve heard of that one!

    Likes: I went into this thinking that I’d probably end up disliking his writing style, since I’ve read a few of his other books and been a little disappointed that the plot was so great but the writing was so bad.

    I think this was mostly why I haven’t seriously looked at it. I read both the Kingdom series and Knights of Arathterrae (I can’t spell that, you know what I mean)

    I mean… I totally get what you mean. The writing was… eehhh. That’s the only way I can put it XD Too much telling, the pacing was off, melodrama was frequent, and the allegory in the first one wasn’t really clever or interesting. (Whenever I think of those books I think of the word “Excruciating.” XD That was the only way he ever described any wound to keep it from being too graphic and it became an inside joke XD)

    However, it seems he fixed those issues! I’ll look into it, thanks for the recommendation!


    Okay, okay, I’ll get to the Hunger Games eventually. xD

    LOL, glad I convinced you! XD

    Really enjoying y’all’s discussion, I totally agree with both of you!

    Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?


    Does anyone have a Goodreads account and read a lot of fantasy? If so, I’d be interested in following you there. Here’s my profile.

    I’m a huge fan of Goodreads for a couple reasons:

    1) Analysis 1: I’ll often write quick reviews of books I read with just bullet points of things that stood out to me –often those thoughts come from a writer’s perspective and are a way to help me analyze the book personally. I’m not sure they are as interesting for other readers although other writers might have thoughts.

    2) Analysis 2: I also really do like seeing what other people say about the books I read. Sometimes they point out a book strength or flaw that I hadn’t noticed or put a thought I had into words for me. This too helps me analyze what I read.

    3) Incentive: Goodreads motivates me to read more. It’s so crazy that keeping a list or getting the sticker can be so motivating –but it is.

    Also, I really enjoyed these two discussions about reading making you a better writer, so thanks everyone for contributing. I’ve been a silent follower. I appreciate the permission to write instead of read and not try to do everything while I also appreciate the encouragement to find inspiration in reading.

    "Those who look to Him are radiant with joy." --Psalm 34:5


    Lightbringer Reflection (3.0 stars):

    I just finished reading this series by Brent Weeks and admittedly I read it because I wanted to understand all the references to it in fantasy and Christian writing articles. It generally seemed to be promoted for its magic system (based on light and color) and being Christian fantasy.

    I was disappointed.

    – The magic system was really neat. It was fairly easy to understand (although there was too much infodumping in the beginning) as well as to expand upon in later books (adding some extra colors).

    – Weeks did a good job of making some forgotten characters and concepts in the first book have more depth/meaning/importance in the last book.

    – The multiple points of view, however, ruined the story for me. I generally liked some of the chapters written from some of the minor characters’ perspectives more than the main protagonists’ points of view. Every time I got to a chapter from a point of view that I didn’t like, I really wanted to put the book down. So I suppose a lesson for writers is not to assume that the main character’s point of view will be interesting just because he is the main character.

    "Those who look to Him are radiant with joy." --Psalm 34:5



    I also have a goodreads account 🙂 I’ll follow you for sure!

    If anyone is interested in following me, the link to my own account is here


    *Skids in very very late*


    Books! I can go on forever!!!!

    Dracula by Bram Stoker 4 stars
    Just wanna say, as a Catholic, that dude…he didn’t get it. Like from A to Z that was so inaccurate there. But I give him this he is the first non-Catholic authors I’ve seen that wrote about Catholicism without sounding like he was trying to be offensive. Phenomenally misinformed, but offensive nah.
    Aside from that it was an excellent thriller. I never actually finished it because life kicked me and I never actually got back to it but I do plan to. But I really loved how he actually made symbolic hints at Dracula being an antichrist and he actually used Scripture to sorta lend some credence to it and genuinely make that guy unnerving. Like *spoilers* That time he goes to this girl and forces her to drink his blood. That was creepy! But it wasn’t gratuitous because it actually fit into his symbolism *spoiler ended*
    It was really funny that he seemed to love the Catholic aesthetic. But he had no clue about Catholicism. The characters–even though it was breathlessly fast-paced, they still had character and were interesting and unique. The style was mashing their diaries, journals and recordings together as if some interested party had compiled their accounts to tell the story and that was pretty fascinating. And I really really did love how he heightened the tension via Scriptures–now he was more into the aesthetic but it actually made his story more than just a vampire slasher into a genuinely engaging battle against the powers of hell and it really upped the stakes.
    *man even though I’m already reading two books, watching a new series and following three maybe four comics…I should really start reading that again…*
    Update; *is reading it now*
    Rurouni Kenshin…idk who wrote it, it’s a comic book but can we kinda count it? 3.5-4 stars
    My brother made me watch it, he was really into the comic series so I dutifully read the first couple chapters and I spent the entire time like; “dude why r u making me read this, he is so dorky these plots are lame the theme is filled with over-idealistic platitudes and all these side-characters are immature toddlers.” So I stopped. And my brother downloaded the cartoon episodes. They were B-grade, horrible ‘80s music, wretched special effects and why the heck do you want me to keep watching…
    …Aaaaaaand then the serial killer showed up. And suddenly the main character wasn’t this corny, effeminate do-gooder he was a desperate, guilt-ridden ex-assassin who didn’t even dare wield a real sword because he was afraid of clicking back into a blood-thirsty killer!!! He used a reverse-blade so the sharp side always faced him in a fight (very symbolic) and ka-blammo! Every character was dimension, the villains–oh don’t get me started on the villains–! They were a mix of scarily identifiable and breathlessly monstrous even demonic!!! One of the most terrifying moments was when Kension was thrown a sword at the last moment in a big fight to protect a toddler from a manic sword-collector and he couldn’t draw the sword because he was so scared of becoming the monster he was before and then he snaps and strikes the bad-guy with the sword!!! And then–I mean we all wanted that villain to die–but we were all terrified for a minute that Kension had just killed somebody and then he was gonna go back to being a “kill-sword”! But then we learn the new sword actually was a reverse-blade and that was very thematic!!!
    It was so larger than life and so deeply identifiable at the same time!!! The themes were incredible and the characters!!! Idk how he managed to make it so interesting and cool with such a dorky medium and I only watched the cartoon episodes and I had plenty qualms with the characterization through half of it and the other half I couldn’t take seriously and I still can’t figure out how somebody wrote something that left me so wowed when most of it was me complaining about it!!! As many problems as I had with it from bland to plain toxic personalities to a couple jabs toward subjective reality/morality what I remember walking away from it was the lesson that every life was sacred, that strength was should be used to protect others, that you have to stand up for what is right no matter the cost and that you have a duty to value your own life that self-hate perpetuates your inner demons but self-sacrifice for others is the only way to find peace!
    So what I learned was deep themes can drive a story forward regardless of most other factors if you dig into it enough. And if you want a good plot twist establish reader expectations for a character; then give them an exact opposite trait/personality facet, make people underestimate and think they can predict everything before you can turn their world on their heads XD.
    Ok that was longer than I meant to rant XDD.
    Inkheart by Cornella Funke 4.3 stars
    I’m a sucker for complex characters and engaging themes…
    This was one of the first books I read that I actually identified with the child MC. Maybe it’s just me but my entire reading age to tweens was a series of “Do all grownups think kids are really this stupid and shallow and obvious?” Man I was so starved for engaging themes and characters and I didn’t even know the word “theme” and I was so frustrated cos I couldn’t express in words what I wanted I just knew some movies made me uneasy and I couldn’t place why while other stories I absolutely loved and anyway, the MC was an intelligent human being with actual emotional conflict and an intense love of books.
    The imagery, I loved the words she used, the way she described her villains and heroes “his skin was flaky and yellowy white as parchment paper” “three pale scars, as if someone had broken his face and then stitched it back together.” all the descriptions were very thematic and had a consistent bookie aesthetic it was so vivid. And the characters! All of them were so conflicted and the whole theme forced them to constantly actively choose between their characteristics their traumas their wants against their needs.
    And Dustfinger! He was a character–oh he was a weak-willed snake! One minute he’d betray them to save his life the next he’d save them. Maybe he was good if he wasn’t such a coward maybe he was always a rotten devil who did was it took to get what he wanted. But at the drop of the hat he could turn from a treacherous scum to a lost puppy who could just never stop making bad choice because he was scared of everything. He could never choose between his wants and his needs he was always fluctuating between good and bad like he wanted to be a good person but he wanted what he wanted more. That was probably one of the most mesmerizing antiheroes I’d ever met. And it was probably not age-appropriate for me at the time…but it’s definitely one of those books I think about with a whole set of lingering sensations and feelings.
    So it taught me; use cool imagery, have inner conflict and active character choices and that the theme really should be for you to work out what you’re struggling with if you want lasting power; you don’t have to know in chapter one the answer to the questions you raise so don’t water it down.
    Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart 4.5 stars
    I love this series!!! The characters are so colorful and quirky and the plot has so many puzzles I LOVE puzzles to increase tension! These characters were kids, and they were clever and rational human beings!!! They were fully rounded, engaging characters! The plots were so intellectually stimulating and it was geared toward kids who had niche skills and odd personalities that made them stand out and be kinda isolated from other kids and that I can totally identify with. That each of them could work great independently and each had a different way of solving every problem really enhanced the plot and they all had nice character arcs. I love that the character arcs weren’t 180s, they all had brilliant personalities and they didn’t change their characters they changed their attitudes they matured and they stayed true to themselves!!

    Something that drives me so crazy is when characters just change their personality to “grow up”, like getting more serious and less quirky, losing their self-confidence to be more “humble”, dropping their “immature” quirks…I LOVE characters changing and developing and dropping genuinely immature quirks and taking things seriously that need to and being more humble are all great! But when the StOnG FeMaLE ChArACteR completely crumbles and suddenly becomes totally effeminate, I’m sorry but I know girls who are genuinely that and it’s not a tough act stop acting like girly girls are shallow and tough girls are fake stop acting like people have to meet your expectations to be “mature”.
    Heheh…that’s a totally different rant. Anyway I loved the author showed them all growing up at a decent pace without losing what makes them unique, I even got to empathize more with my kid brother reading the POV of his favorite character in there. So I learned characters don’t need to change drastically at all to have a good character arc and that if you can make it interesting and engaging enough people suspend doubt on why the heck are a buncha kids can believably beat a mind-control machine when the grownups can’t? (Which was actually made really engaging and believable for the story somehow!)

    Does anyone have a Goodreads account and read a lot of fantasy? If so, I’d be interested in following you there. Here’s my profile.


    *as of five minutes after I read that…XD*

    …idk how to make a link 😂

    To be a light to the world you must shine in the darkness.

    Andrew Schmidt

    Hi. I just popped on here, sorry if I’m late to the topic. I haven’t visited Story Embers in months, and I was just looking around to see what looked interesting, and so this topic piqued my curiosity.

    I know a lot of you guys are mainly talking about fiction books, but I’ve learned quite a few cool and interesting facts from nonfiction as well. When doing research for my novella, I consulted a primary source for accurate information and landed on Northern Cardinal (Wild Bird Guide) by Gary  Ritchison. For anyone who is not interested in birds, this book may seem boring, but I really enjoyed it and found it a very exciting read! There were so many cool facts about northern cardinal behavior, morphology, etc. and it was a really great start off for gathering information that could be used in a story.

    That being said, fiction novels are also great. I really enjoyed reading Fawkes and The Time to Die series by Nadine Brandes. She writes extremely realistic and gripping emotions and intense scenes, which I really like, but there are also so many other things she does extremely well, from character and theme and so on…

    Her books are fantastic.

    Random Stranger: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"
    Me: "Write every inch of your future."


    It was so awesome to read y’all’s thoughts on that!


    Also, I totally second your opinion about the Mysterious Benedict Society! It was epic!

    Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

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