3 S.R. Johannes: December 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My Top Five Retellings

My Top Five Retellings

Needless to say, fairy-tale retellings are all the rage right now in the YA world. We're talking modern versions of Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Peter Pan, and various other classics. Personally, I'm a huge fan of this new trend, and love reading twenty-first century versions of my favorite stories, especially when the princess is turned into a cyborg, high school student, or hard-core martial artist. So, without further ado, here are my top ten fairy-tale retellings and why: 

1. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Based on: Beauty and the Beast

2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Based on: Cinderella

3. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Based on: Little Red Riding Hood 

4. Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

Based on: Hansel and Gretel 

5. Splintered by A.G. Howard

Based on: Alice in Wonderland 

So there you have it folks! These five retellings are some of my favorites, and are all thoroughly entertaining and genius. They have fantastic plots, witty dialogue, and thrilling modern twists on some classic tales. If contemporary fairy-tales are your cup of tea, check a few of these out! 

And if you need an even more extensive list, I'll leave you with a few links! 

Best and happy reading,


Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Writing Time is Sacred

Writing Time is Sacred

As any writer knows, it's difficult to come by a stretch of time dedicated only to writing. Most writers need hours of time a day to sit down and draw up their characters, create layered dialogue, and fabricate intriguing settings- not to mention the act of rereading and revisions. But the stresses of every day life don't exactly allot for grand expanses of writing time, let alone days of it. So how can we as writers preserve our sacred time to write? Here are a few ways: 

1. Set a Schedule

Just like with any job or duty, set aside a daily schedule for your writing. A personal journal will help you get organized and motivated, and seeing your writing hours spaced out on paper will help you stick to your goals! And if you miss a day here and there, don't worry- just make up for it in your next schedule. 

2. Create a Safe Space

Creating a cozy space to write in is as important as scheduling itself. If you have a designated time and place to write, one that you feel comfortable in, you will be far more productive than sitting down and working randomly. So, section off a room in your house to use as your "writing space," and make sure it remains an uninterrupted safe zone.

3. Relax

Sit back, relax, and breathe. One of the main reasons why finding time to write is so hard is stress. If you take a little time away from every day stressors, you can utilize what time you have to get some good writing done. You just have to time out and step back, and try not to overwhelm yourself. 

4. Plan Ahead

Of course, everyone has responsibilities. As a writer, the hardest thing to do is manage all of your daily tasks in addition to developing your plots, characters, and various ideas. So, try to get a majority of your daily work done before you write, and block out writing time in between! If you have to work Monday afternoon, write Monday evening. If you have shopping to do or phone calls to make, write in the time you have between those things. Planning is a useful tool that can create time you didn't even know you had!

So, try not to freak out. Finding time to write can be stressful and frustrating, but once you get your schedule down you'll find it easier and easier to set aside an hour here and there for your characters. And what's more, you'll be much happier once you do! 

I'll leave you with a few links that may help in the ever-present writing time quest: 

Happy writing, and leave a comment below if you have any further tips for creating writing time! 

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Fiction Boosts Brainpower!

Why Fiction Boosts Brainpower

Listen closely fiction fans, this one's for you! If you're that person who spends an entire day binge-reading your favorite series, then goes to bed feeling wonderfully accomplished, you have more than a few great reasons to be. Studies have shown that reading fiction can boost brainpower and empathy that readers have for other people, not to mention expand your imagination. So here are a few reasons why I think reading is brain therapy!

1. Fiction is Entertaining!

Okay, so this is the one that gets the most grief. But hey, there's something to be said about a genre that can entertain as well as fiction can. There are moments in our lives where all we need is a little relaxation and entertainment, and fiction is the best way to do just that. And it lets you interpret the story yourself, leaving room for all sorts of discussion and imaginative talk after! 

2. Reading Stories Builds Character

No pun intended. The more POVs you read from the more you ask questions about yourself: who am I? What would I have done in this situation? Who do I relate to in this novel? And while no one should base their view of themselves off of fictional characters, it does help you to explore who you are by seeing through the eyes of another for a few hundred pages. 

3. Reading Helps you Write Better

This one is by far my favorite. Studies show that learning to read early and keeping a steady reading list as you grow will help you become a better writer. And it's true! Every time I'm stuck on a scene I'm writing, taking a break and picking up a good book usually leaves my mind wide open to ideas. 

4. Reading Boosts Imagination

Let's face it, a good sense of imagination is a key to every world you could ever want. And where does it all begin? Books. Especially fiction books. By reading a little fiction every day we can open our brains to realms we didn't even know existed, and find out just how strong our imaginations can be. How cool is that? 

I hope those few reasons were an incentive to go pick up a good fiction book with no remorse. Let your imagination run free for a few hours, you deserve it!

Happy reading! 

Monday, December 01, 2014

Music and Writing- A Good Idea?

Music and Writing 

Perhaps you are one of the many that listen to music while you write, be it anything from pop to jazz, rap to country. Well, I'm here to tell you why that may be a good thing, and how it can assist your writing in a major way! Writing can be stressful sometimes, (even though we love it), and the right music can calm us down and stimulate our brains. So here a few reasons why, if music works for you, you can absolutely benefit from it! 

1. The Right Music Can Calm you Down

Sometimes we as writers get a bit worked up over our latest dialogue/character scene. How should we transition into the enacting incident? What about this guy- what does this guy even do? Yeah, we've all been there. But if you have some smooth music in the background, you can tai a minute to chill out and just let your brain have a break. Then, when you get back to writing, you're refreshed!

2. Music is Stimulating

It really is! Studies have shown that certain types of music can light up neurons paths in your brain and stimulate various lobes. Isn't that cool? So if your'e stuck on a certain word or sentence, having a little music in the background may actually help to fill in those gaps. 

3. Music is Fun!

I mean come on, everyone loves music. There are so many varieties and artists out there it's hard not to find one you love! And when you do you're likely to dance around like a crazy person. Now, when you're dance session is over and you sit down at your computer screen, your day's work will feel much more enjoyable. 

There you have it guys! As a writer I know certain type of music definitely benefit me from time to time. Some days I prefer the quiet, though, and that's okay too. So to close out, I'll leave you with a couple of articles on the power music has on the brain (and writing).