Have you ever been watching television or reading a book and noticed something out of the corner of your eye? You turn to look and see nothing, so you return to your activity but you notice it again. “What was that?” you ask. But nothing is there. Perhaps you catch a glimpse of something shadowy like a person’s silhouette. You may dismiss it as nothing, but your imagination or that you are simply tired. If you have seen a shadow like this before, you might begin to wonder what you actually saw.
I recently read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. For those of you who haven’t read it yet, here’s its blurb:
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don’t live to see the morning?
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Do I recommend it?
Yes! This book is set in a dystopian future about Katniss, a 16-year-old girl, who must compete in The Hunger Games. All children of Panem (once known as North America), between the ages of 12-18, are put into a lottery and if choosen, have to fight to the death in an arena. Katniss lives in an area called District 12 with her family and in an effort to prevent her little sister from having to join the game, has taken her place. Katniss along with Peeta, another contender from District 12, must compete in The Hunger Games. It’s kill or be killed. This story has the feel of The Running Man and Suvivor (reality tv), but for teens.
Is The Hunger Games for young children? No, it’s more like a PG-13 rated novel because of the violence. I suggest parents take that under consideration when allowing children to read this novel. There are contenders as young as 12 years old in The Hunger Games and some of the violence with them involved was honestly a little disturbing. I suggest this as a book for teens on up.
Alright, let’s get down to a dark and spooky subject matter, ghosts. I bring up specters because as a writer, I like to think of unusual storylines and characters. Did you know there are 56,220 results listed under Amazon’s book search for ghost books? The stories vary from unexplained phenomena at varying locations to Irish ghost tales. Apparently, a lot of people love spooky ghost stories (I am definitely one of those people). An article by the Associated Press reports that 34 percent of people believe in ghosts and 23 percent claim to have actually seen a ghost or been in one’s presence. I was a little surprised the percentage wasn’t higher. I guess I’m in the 34 percent’s camp.
I have seen too many strange and unusual things to deny that ghosts aren’t real. The house I grew up in must have been haunted because there were strange things that happened (not only to me, but my family): doors would open on their own, the volume on the radio turned up by itself, and sounds came from the another room when no one is there. My family and I are pretty sure the house was haunted. But, perhaps it wasn’t the house so much as it was the land. While weeding in the backyard one summer, my mother discovered an old pioneer boot of a child’s. Perhaps, long ago, a trail was used that went through the property. I often wonder if the new tenants living there experience strange things too.
But now I turn to you with the question, do you believe in ghosts? Don’t answer too hastily.
I am currently writing a paranormal novel set along the coast of Florence, Oregon. This location is special to me because I draw upon personal experience. I lived there at one time and have spent several vacations exploring the area.
Through the process of writing, I find that inspiration is a key element for creating interesting characters and scenes, without it my writing would fall flat. I receive inspiration from different venues, sometimes locations (e.g. the beach), music, or books. When deciding upon a location for my latest novel, I couldn’t help but think of the Oregon coast and its beautiful forests. Therefore, the idea to begin my story in that area came naturally to me. But, inspiration to write doesn’t always come easily and there are times that it’s necessary to get past that hurdle.
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
— Stephen King (On Writing)
If I get to a point where my writing isn’t flowing, I take a break and think about the storyline. I find that letting the story sit for a day sometimes helps me to come up with other ideas. Sometimes the act of writing helps to push through any snags and draws out new ideas. At times I read the story aloud because it’s easier to find weak areas and helps to develop the story.
Other authors may use different techniques, but I find this one to work for me. Inspiration to write a story is at many times where the seed is planted, but to develop it completely requires pushing through the rough areas, or droughts so to speak. What do you find works best for you?
I want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season. The new year will be filled with hopes and opportunities for a bright future. With this in mind, I send a prayer out to those who may be going through difficult times due to financial hardships or personal difficulties. This time of year may be especially difficult when facing these kind of challenges.
I appreciate all of the comments and support I have received from those whom visit my blog and follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. I love hearing your responses, they make my day! Thank you again and may this season find you in good spirits.