Required Reading – The Raves: Shelley and Dickens

required reading the raves, required reading, fictional ferrets, rabid rainbow ferret society, classic books, book recommendation, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Rebekah Loper

My introduction to the classics was completely voluntary. I was homeschooled, and my mother decided not to require a literature course from me at all to graduate high school. (To be fair, the course teaching me how to balance a checkbook was probably far more useful, and a skill I am very grateful for now.)

There were a few reasons to her decision about literature. First, I read a lot on my own. I read encyclopedias for fun, even, and it was clear even at a young age that my critical thinking skills were not lacking. Until puberty hit, at least. Second, there was a lot going on in my home life as a child, much of it not good (though not horrendously bad, compared to many other people). We learned the important things, and sometimes there wasn’t time or energy left for anything else. Third, I don’t think my mother had a good introduction or experience with literature during her own school days – either grade school, or college – and she probably was at a loss of how to teach it to me or my siblings. I know one of her most memorable moments was in one of her literature classes in college, when she had to read The Two Towers. But she hadn’t read The Fellowship of the Ring, and so I’m sure you can imagine that was more than a little… confusing.

I read a few classics in my school days (The Scarlet Letter, and several of Jane Austen’s works, for the most part) but didn’t start branching out into the ones that had always caught my eye (the ones I sometimes set back because I didn’t know if my mom would let me read them because she might think they were too scary) until I was in college.

My ‘rave’ for today is one of those.  Continue reading

Writing Voice and Technical Style – The Evolution of a Writer: The Middle Years

Hello, readers! Welcome to 2016! We hope the year has been treating you well. It’s been a mixed bag for the Ferrets so far, it seems. But life is life.

Today, we’re kicking off our 5-week series about ‘The Middle Years’. If you missed the intro, or need a reminder about what we’re tackling with these posts, you can read that here. Continue reading

How To Kill Your Muse in 11 Easy Steps (And a Ferret Resurrection!)

Step One: Watch as all your November plans blow up in your face.

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Step Two: Try to catch the shrapnel.
Step Three: Take far too much time with Step Two.
Step Four: Realize that as you were completing Step Two, your novel was not writing itself.
Step Five: Step on shrapnel, realize that you can’t NOT finish Step Two, and continue working on novel between bits of shrapnel.
Step Six: Realize that it is the final week of NaNoWriMo, and you still have 25,000 words to write.
Step Seven: Panic.

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Step Eight: Lose several days to panic, but still somehow get 11k written.
Step Nine: Realize that it is the last day of NaNo, and you still need 14k.
Step Ten: Despite the closed kitchen at your favorite coffeehouse, pound out 14k words in no less than 11 hours, with 20 minutes to spare before midnight.

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Step Eleven: Resolve never to do that again.

The above that you just read is based on my NaNoWriMo experience this past year. If you’d like to read the non-summarized version of events (which were slightly less hilarious at the time), you can find it here.

We The Ferrets…

Would like to issue a sincere apology that the blog died after the A-Z Challenge last year. We all hit some severe burnout, and then Real Life took over for many of us – it was a crazy, stressful, wonderful year, but blogging fell to the wayside for many of us, and not just on the Ferret blogs. Our personal blogs often suffered as well.

So that said, our blog is alive again. We have some awesome stuff planned for the next few months (and most likely not the A-Z Challenge this year), but our posts are going to be a bit more spread out. Instead of a minimum of one post a week, we’re aiming for 2-3 per month.

Thank you all for sticking around! See you soon!

Kathy Tyers: High Standards in Christian Speculative Fiction

T is for Tyers, Kathy...

T is for Tyers, Kathy…

For today’s post, we’re going to delve into a more obscure niche of speculative fiction – Christian speculative fiction, to be exact.

(I do just want to take a moment here to say that I love my Ferrets – we’ve all come from such different backgrounds and experiences to be writers, and yet mesh so well. It’s wonderful to have a place like this where we can each contribute toward a common goal and yet be so unique.)

I grew up reading a lot of Christian fiction, not because it’s what I was forced to read, but because it’s what my mother read most of the time, and I’d just pick up her books when she was done.

Continue reading

Choosing the Best Opening Scene for Your Story

O is for Opening Scene...

O is for Opening Scene…

How important is it, really?

Starting your story in the correct moment is vital. The opening scene is going to determine whether or not people keep reading, and if you don’t get their attention and focus right away, they’re going to put the story down. (Whether ‘it’ happens to be fan fiction, flash fiction, a short story, or a novel.)

But how do you know what the correct moment is? Don’t you need to introduce characters, and set-up the world, and the plot?

There’s a simple way to know what the correct moment is – and as for the other questions… yes, and no.

Continue reading