My Alien Penpal

Creating a new world is hard enough. Then describing it in a story is a little like pretending that you have an alien penpal.

An alien would have no context or prior knowledge to understand the world that you are writing about. You don’t know what your reader’s life is like, so you can’t compare the things that are unfamiliar to them to something that is familiar to them. But you don’t want to get so bogged down in the details of explaining every little thing that you bore them. (more…)

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Lady Warrior: Alanna of Trebond

-alanna-first-adventure-tamora-pierceOne of the first lady warriors that I was introduced to as a child was Alanna of Trebond, from the Song of the Lioness Quartet and other Tortall stories by Tamora Pierce. Alanna lives in the fantasy kingdom of Tortall, where only men are allowed to become knights. She swaps places with her twin brother, Thom, and disguises herself as the boy “Alan” so she can train as a knight. Although her true identity is eventually discovered, she manages to become one of the king’s most decorated knights and actually changes the laws of the kingdom so that other women can become knights as well.

Since we see Alanna grow from a young girl into a woman, we get to watch her overcome a lot of her flaws. She struggles to accept herself as a woman and as a wielder of magic, and eventually embraces all of her gifts, not just her talent for fighting. She also has to learn how to control her temper and her stubbornness. Along the way, she learns about friendship and love. (more…)

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