Jeanine O'Loughlin

Fantasy, Science Fiction & Historical Fiction Author, Blogger, and Geek

Month: July, 2015

Friday Book Recommendation – Gone With the Wind

http://www.amazon.com/Gone-Wind-Anniversary-Margaret-Mitchell/dp/1451635621

gone-with-the-wind

Written by Margaret Mitchell and originally published in 1936 this historical fiction book is considered a classic in American literature. Seen as highly controversial for the promotion of plantation values the book has some of the most vivid description this reader has read. I personally found that looking at this book through the view of an anti-hero story helps the reader swallow the shallow and selfish character of Scarlet. Scarlet’s stark contrast to the characters of Melanie, Ashley and even Rhett Butler highlights their qualities and brings them all dear to your heart. While much of the 1939 film covers the major plot points and dialogue within the book it does not fully capture the wide range of characters, events that make the book stand as an incredible piece of art in its own right.

Rule of Thirds

Thinking Through My Fingers

“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” – Issac Asimov

Some of you may be familiar with the rule of thirds as it pertains to photography and graphic design. However, when I was taking creative writing in high school I learned of the rule of thirds for writing fiction. It’s a general guideline we use to keep a story balanced and moving in  way that won’t bore or lose the reader. In a nutshell the rule is to keep your story to one-third dialogue, one-third description, and one-third action.

This rule of thumb is something I try to keep in mind as I’m doing my first draft edit. It has helped me a lot as I’ve had several stories in which I have overloaded it with lore or information that isn’t absolutely necessary for the reader in the story that I’m writing. It’s a habit I’m constantly fighting as I go through my edit phases and have to really figure out what does the reader need to understand and what can I skip over.

If you try to focus on balancing these three elements of your writing I think you’ll find a story that flows much easier than a story that finds itself heavily weighted in one aspect or another. There are exceptions to the rule (J.R.R Tolkien is the greatest offender I’ve personally read), but it’s this author’s opinion that moderation in all things is the best policy.

Happy Writing!

Weekly Writing Prompt

Books

These prompts can be used in any way to get you writing. Whether it’s the subject matter, setting or character; as long as you are writing that’s all that matters.

This Week’s Writing Prompt

Hotel

Happy Writing!

Great American Authors – Margaret Mitchell

July is the month we celebrate the United States’ Independence Day. So this month I will be posting about some of America’s greatest authors.

Margaret_Mitchell_NYWTS

Margaret Mitchell 11/8/1900 – 8/16/1949

Margaret Munnerlyn Mitchell was born and raised in Atlanta Georgia to a wealthy and prominent family. Her father was an attorney and her mother a suffragist. She had two elder brothers, on of whom died in infancy. Margaret only published one book during her lifetime, Gone with the Wind, which won several awards including the Pulitzer Prize in 1937. Much of the book was inspired by the history of Margaret’s own family, her mother’s family descending from Irish immigrants who eventually held a plantation and slaves near Jonesboro, Georgia, and her paternal grandfather’s time in the Confederate States Army, and became quite wealthy after the war selling lumber during the rapid rebuilding of Atlanta.

Margaret was an active student in literature and theatre during her time at Washington Seminary, a private school for girls and later attended at Smith College, but dropped out after her freshman year following the loss of her mother to a flu pandemic in 1918. Margaret had many admirers and was frequently engaged to several suitors. She eventually married in September 1922 to Barrien “Red” Upshaw, who many saw as the inspiration for Rhett Butler in her novel. However the marriage only lasted 3 months after Mitchell was subject to both emotional and physical abuse attributed to Upshaw’s alcoholism. They were officially divorced in October of 1924. During Upshaw and Mitchell’s courtship Mitchell was also interested in his roommate and friend John R. Marsh whom Margaret married in July 1925 and moved into what is now the Margaret Mitchell House & Museum.

During her separation from Upshaw Margaret got a job writing feature articles for The Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine. She wrote on a wide range of topics and her articles were said to have been vividly descriptive. Less than four years later Mitchell quit her job with the magazine due to an ankle injury that would not heal properly and chose to become a full-time wife.

Mitchell wrote her famous novel Gone with the Wind while married to Marsh and the novel was published in 1936. Set in Clayton County, Georgia the book spans from just before the civil war through the reconstruction era of the South. The book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937 and adapted into the wildly famous American film in 1939. The book has become controversial in more modern times for mis-portraying the treatment and minds of slaves during the time-period and perpetuating stereotypes throughout history. There is also more recent criticism regarding its portrayal of marital rape that occurs within the book.

Mrs. Margaret Mitchell Marsh died in August 1949 after being struck by a speeding automobile as she crossed Peachtree Street. The driver was later arrested for drunken driving and was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in November 1949 and sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Friday Book Recommendation

http://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-Geisha-Novel-Arthur-Golden/dp/0679781587

MemoirsOfAGeisha

Written by Arthur Golden and published in 1997 this historical fiction book delves into the mysterious world of the Japanese Geisha in the pre and post World War 2. The character Chiyo faces the peril and glamour of the Geisha lifestyle beginning at the age of nine. The book is written, as the title suggests, in the style of a memoir. I devoured this book in the span of three days and was completely consumed by both the historical references and the twists and turns the novel has. The details of this life kept in mystery and fascinating to many of us from the Western cultures.

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