Top Ten Tuesday

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday’s theme is “Top Ten Books with X Setting”, and we can choose what X is, as suggested by The Broke and the Bookish.

Since most books that I read are set in the United States, and that is such a broad topic, I decided to split today’s theme into Five books set on an Island and Five books set in England.

Five Books Set on an Island:

  1. Robinson Crusoe by [Defoe, Daniel]

This is not one of my favorite stories, but it’s also not terrible. It is a classic and has some very interesting things to think about.

2. 

I hated this story, even though it is most likely an accurate account of what it would be like to abandon male children on an island with no guidance or teaching of spiritual things or morals. Therefore, left to their own devices and selfish/self-centered and sinful nature, this is most likely quite accurate. However, I found the things that they did sickening and disgusting.

3. 

This book is quite interesting, but also quite sad in many ways.

4. Beneath the Pines by [Gowan, Sandra]

I found this book interesting but felt that it was missing many details.

5. Love Unexpected (Beacons of Hope Book #1) by [Hedlund, Jody]

This is by far my favorite of the island stories I have listed.

Now for the Five Books Set in England, which I like much more than the island books:

1. Dauntless (Valiant Hearts Book #1) by [Sleiman, Dina L.]

This is a wonderful story, a sort of female Robin Hood story, filled with adventure.

2. Lady of Devices: A steampunk adventure novel (Magnificent Devices Book 1) by [Adina, Shelley]

This was my first, and so far only, steampunk read, and I loved it. The rest of this series is on my TBR list.

3. The Golden Braid by [Dickerson, Melanie]

A modern day twist on a fairy tale. I enjoyed this story.

4. 

This is one of my favorite Christmas stories.

5. Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist by [Dickens, Charles]

I do love Dickens! I don’t think I’ve ever really read this book, but I have seen a wonderful theatrical drama version, and my youngest son and I are currently listening to a radio drama broadcast of it on Saturday mornings.

What setting did you choose for your TTT post? Leave a link in the comments and I’ll visit your TTT post.

Did You Know that Your Characters are Important in Determining Setting?

At the last Writers’ Group meeting, the author who writes under the names of “Shelly Bates” and “Shelley Adina” taught: People interact with their settings.  Therefore knowing your characters helps to determine their “world”/setting.   You should ask yourself: “What do I need to support my character’s growth?”  The culture of your location impacts sports, social life, what defines “in” and “out”.   You need to know about your character’s home because home reveals something about him/her as well as a lack in him/her and his/her society.  Otherwise, there’s no reason to leave. You need to determine your “Adventure World”:  Where does the story happen?   Setting can reflect internal qualities of the character.  Setting can reflect change in the character.  Setting can foreshadow change. Setting can create the challenge to change the character. Setting and interactions with it are filtered through the lenses of the character’s senses and knowledge. Your character influences your readers’ perception.  Details are filtered through the character’s senses and experiences.  This gives your readers the same sensations and experiences.  Add details as the character notices them. “The fantastic becomes normal when your character takes it for granted.” Use setting to highlight conflict, secondary characters, dialog.  Setting is one way to establish mood.  You can use weather, objects, light or shadows or darkness, and space. One great idea she mentioned, especially if you want to use a real place or simply model a made up place after a real place, it can be very helpful to have a photo of the place to refer to as you write.

What I Need to Work On

Saturday, I attended my Writers’ Group.  We had another author as a guest speaker.  She writes Amish fiction as well as something called “Steam Punk” fiction.  I had never heard of Steam Punk fiction before but she even came dressed in Steam Punk apparel because upon leaving our Writers’ Group, she had a book signing for her Steam Punk fiction at a nearby historical railroad.

Her Amish fiction books are written under the name of Adina Senft and her Steam Punk books are written under the name of Shelley Adina.  She talked about several of her books and I was quite intrigued by the ones labeled as “Steam Punk” fiction.  I was disappointed that she didn’t have any books to sign and sell to our group due to time constraints, and probably because she needed what she brought for the book signing event.  Therefore, I will have to look for her books online.

She spoke to us about “World Building Through Your Character’s Eyes” (setting).  It was a wonderful workshop, though she went through it quite quickly because she normally takes three hours to teach it, and, for us, she had to squeeze it into one hour and forty minutes.  She had notes on an overhead, so I scribbled furiously in my notebook to be sure to catch the most important points, and, thankfully, she handed out a sheet with some of the more important points on it.  I have come to truly enjoy and value attending this writer’s group.  

I am learning so much, which brings me to the reason for the title of this post.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and shared two scenes of a story I am working on with a critique group, and they were very kind.  One lady blessed me by telling me all of the things she felt were very strong in my writing.  Those who told me my weakness, said, “point of view”.  I have been told this once before but this time it baffled me because I thought I was doing well with the point of view in this story.  In the past, with the story that I had been told had a confusing point of view, the person explaining it pointed it out to me and it was perfectly clear what I had done wrong.  I have been very careful not to do that with this story, and the thing they pointed out as the point of view issue seems strange to me because I am only sharing my main character’s thoughts and feelings.  The example they pointed to had a sentence or two of my main character’s thoughts before my secondary main character told her one of the stories of his life, and all she did was listen.

Do any of you have problems with point of view and how do you resolve it?  I will be researching point of view now to see if I can understand it better.  If you have any tips or advice on point of view, please leave a comment.  I would greatly appreciate it.