Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Writing Exercise: 10 Favorite Novels and Common Elements

10 Favorite Novels and Why I Like Them

This writing exercise asks you to pick your 10 favorite novels from any genre and list why you like these particular books. Look over your list and lists the common elements that the books share. You might be surprised at the themes and images that recur, even if the books vary in tone and genre.

1) Serpent's Shadow by Mercedes Lackey
Why? Strong female character, elemental magic, Hindu theology and mythology, overcoming prejudice in Edwardian-era England.

2) The Lark and the Wren by Mercedes Lackey
Why? Music composition and performance, Bards and Bardic Magic, Lark overcomes odds to become a Master.

3) Honor Harrington: War of Honor by David Weber
Why? Military sci-fi saga. Honor is a brilliant but compassionate officer. She deals with dual cultures. Psychic abilities, Advanced technologies vs. religious doctrine

4) Mist of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Why? Based on Arthurian saga, but written from a feminist viewpoint. Christianity vs. Old Religion. fate vs. free choice. no "good" or "evil" characters, but all have their flaws and strong points.

5) The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
Why? Set in Australian Outback, coming-of-age story. Complicated family relationships, forbidden romance (Meggie and Ralph)

6) One by Richard Bach
Why? alternate universes, What does life teach us? love triumphs over death. Metaphysical ideas.

7) The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews
Why? Set in various historical periods, hope in adversity, lessons for life
8) Uhura's Song by Janet Kagan (Star Trek)
Why? Clues to disease cure in old ballads, music, different languages and cultures, prejudice between peoples, outdoor survival, friendships despite differences.

9) The Wounded Sky by Diane Duane (Star Trek)
Why? Different people work together to a common goal. Advanced technology doesn't always work. Life as a "game". Interesting aliens (glass spider!)

10) My Enemy, My Ally by Diane Duane (Star Trek)
Why? 'Enemies' work together to stop a possible galactic conflict, overcome prejudice on both sides, espionage mission, struggle with honor vs. what's right, focus on Romulan (Rihannsu) culture

Common themes in all these books:
a) strong characters (mostly female)
b) overcoming prejudice (either within yourself or towards others)
c) settings in foreign/fantastical locations
d) languages and culture (including different worldviews and attitudes, music)
e) relationships between people (love and friendship)

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2010

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