5 Technical Errors Writers Make In Fight Scenes

My exciting news for the day is that I’ve had my first article published on Kingdom Pen! This has been a dream of mine for years and I’m so excited to share it with you.

5 Technical Errors Writers Make in Fight Scenes

We’ve all been there. We’re immersed in a fantastic action sequence, our hearts pounding with adrenaline. We fear for our favorite characters’ lives and then—

Something happens. We notice the author mentioning something we know is inaccurate. The description of a wound, or something about the anatomy of a sword. The result is that we are jolted out of the trance we’ve been in and the fight scene suddenly doesn’t seem so appealing. 

No reader wants to experience this. The author appears slack for not doing their research and the reader feels betrayed. But how do we as aspiring authors make sure we keep errors and inaccuracies out of our writing? And why does it matter?

It matters because as Christian authors we have promised to uphold a standard. We’ve dedicated our writing to God and we have a duty to do the best we can in everything. Of course, nothing is going to be 100% error-free, as we are fallible humans, but taking the time to research and edit shows we are passionate about our craft. 

No one expects you to be a black belt in five different martial arts before you write fight scenes. However, there are several common errors writers make in their fight scenes, and today we’ll be looking at five of them.

So grab your favorite search engine, a handbook of weaponry, and a mug of hot chocolate, and let’s get started.

Read the rest here

I Divulge My Favourite Tropes

Whenever we open a new novel, or open a notebook and begin scribbling down a plot outline, we are engaging with tropes. Wikipedia defines a trope as “commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or cliches in creative works”. Each category and genre of story, there’s a host of tropes associated with it–sometimes negatively, as in the case of the “Chosen One” trope, and sometimes positively, “Enemies to Lovers” trope.

Anyway, all that to say, I’m here to talk about tropes. In particular, the ones I really, really love. It’s kind of the rage at the moment to write blogs about how terrible tropes are, or make lists of particularly hated tropes, but there is nothing inherently wrong with something being a trope. A trope is literally just a neutral storytelling device. And there’s so much negativity in both my life and the world at large at the moment that I just want to focus on some fun, positive things for today’s post.

However, since I have a lot of favourite tropes, I’ll be listing 10 today, and 10 next week. So, let’s get into it!

1.Kind and Quiet Mentors

There’s many sorts of mentors in the world, but my absolute favourites are the ones that are kind, gentle and quiet–exactly like Remus Lupin. Look, I’m not a fan of Rowling at all, especially after the hi-jinxes she’s pulled in the last few years, but I have to give credit where credit is due. Remus Lupin is the coolest guy in Harry Potter and I could rave about him forever. He’s supportive of Harry, he’s kind and helpful to Neville, he’s protective and brave. I just love him.

Of course, other mentors fall into this category. Gandalf, despite being very powerful and almost God-like, is usually very gentle and kind, particularly to the hobbits and others who are weak and powerless. Aslan is similar, kind to those who need his kindness, and powerful to those who need that.

But Lupin is still the best.

2. Unlikely Heroes

I love this trope too. As a kid, I was stick thin and very tiny, with big ears that stuck out almost ridiculously, and I couldn’t smile properly, so I liked it when I came across heroes who were similar. Hiccup, from How to Train Your Dragon (both the books and the first movie), was a favourite. I also have asthma, and spent a good deal of my early teenage years with a bad knee due to a sport’s injury. I was painfully shy, not good at talking and intensely interested in things either “too grown up” for me, or “too boring” for other people my age. All in all, I didn’t relate to a lot of heroes, particularly in fantasy. So I have a deep love for heroes that don’t fit the mould–Hiccup, Ron Weasley, Georgie Tanner from The Magician’s Daughter, Sophie Hatter from Howl’s Moving Castle, Wish from The Wizards of Once, etc.

3. Strong Female Characters

I know I’m about to get controversial here, but I actually really like the “Strong female character” trope, with one caveat. The girl actually needs some personality and depth. However, I do like this trope, again because it’s one I relate to. Despite being that weedy little kid I mentioned earlier, I was a tomboy, I was physically strong (I still am now), I enjoyed hanging out with boys and I was interested in, and acted in, a traditionally masculine way. So I related, and still relate, to the characters that people tend to dismiss as one-dimensional or rip offs of male characters. Katniss is one of my favourites now, but I also like Black Widow, Leiaand Jyn Erso from Star Wars, Cinder and Scarlet from The Lunar Chronicles and Eowyn from LOTR.

4.Feminine Characters

Having said all that, they aren’t the only types of women I like in fiction. I also love the trope of the woman who is apologetically feminine, but still awesome and well-rounded. These characters have sadly been looked down upon in movies and novels, because there’s a horrible, but underlying assumption, that feminine women are weak and/or spiteful and petty. But this obviously isn’t the case at all. Women with traditionally feminine interests, ways of dressing and lifestyles can still be awesome characters. And, despite what Hollywood may be telling us, there’s room for both of these character tropes in our stories. A few of my favourite characters in this category include Sophie Hatter (Sophie is the epitome of all tropes), Cress and Winter from The Lunar Chronicles, Beth and Meg from Little Women, even Galadriel and Arwen.

5. Characters That Can Turn Into Animals (or are turned into animals)

This one will never get old in my books, because I’ve always wanted to be able to shapeshift into animals. It really would be the coolest power. These characters kind of fall into two characters–those who can shapeshift into animals as part of their power or a curse, and those who are turned into animals by another force.

In the first category, we have Sirius Black and Remus Lupin, Beorn from The Hobbit, and Loki (who often took the form of an animal or monster). In the second category, we have Odette from Swan Lake, Elise’s brothers in The Wild Swans, Kuzco in The Emperor’s New Groove, and a myriad of other fairy tale and fantasy characters.

6. Mischief Making Identical Twins

Like so many other favourite tropes, this one stems from my childhood, specifically from watching and reading hours upon hours of Thomas the Tank Engine. Which sounds weird, but my brother and I loved these stories, which are actually quite interesting and intelligent if you read the originals. Anyway, these stories have two sets of mischief making twins–Donald and Douglas, the Scottish Engines, and Bill and Ben, the quarry engines. Both of these twins are identical and use that fact to cause chaos wherever they go. They are fond of practical jokes and like creating messes for everyone else to deal with. However, despite that, they have good hearts and good intentions. Of course, a more modern version of this trope is George and Fred Weasley. I even put a pair of twins in my own novel Southern Cross, though since the story revolves around the part they play in the Great War, the mischief stage is pretty firmly over.

7. Unusual Settings

For this trope, I don’t necessarily mean unusual countries or cultures, though I do like those, I mean more unusual habitats and buildings. Like swamps and marshes, for example. Or mangroves. Or books set on houseboats. Or an entire novel set in a small town museum, or a local brewery. Or a vineyard. Or a truffle farm. Or a dog kennel…

I just love these sorts of settings.

8. Best Friends Who Become Enemies

Two characters are best friends and inseparable. They have no secrets from each other, and they would die for each other…and then something changes. It can be anything from a moral or ethical dilemma, to a divergence in lifestyles or paths. Either way, they grow apart–and then become enemies. My favourite example of this is Erik Lensherr/Magneto and Professor X/Charles Xavier, who are divided in their opinions on how to save the Mutants, though sometimes they do work together. More often than that, they are at odds, and even trying to kill each other. There’s also Moses and Rameses in The Prince of Egypt who are another great example of this trope. And there’s Obi-Wan and Anakin, perhaps the ultimate, best-known friends to enemies.

9.Magical Swords

I just love magical swords–magical weapons of all kind, really. There’s something thrilling about swords with magical powers, that can only be wielded by certain people, or can do clever things like fight by themselves or talk. There’s a few classics, like Excalibur, Dyrnwyn, the Sword of Gryffindor, and Sting. But there’s also newer swords, like Magnus Chase’s talking sword (Jack?), the Witch Killing sword from The Wizards of Once, and light sabres are cool and kind of magic.

10. Dogs

I love dogs, which probably isn’t a surprise to most of you. I work with dogs every day and I think they are the greatest creatures on God’s green earth. So I love it when they have a role to play in stories. However, I do not like it when dogs die, because apparently, dogs are so pure that they have to die in horrific ways. So I like it when dogs live, like Snowy in the English versions of Tintin, Timmy in The Famous Five, and Lassie.

Anyway, that’s it for today! I hope you guys enjoyed this. What are your favourite tropes? Do you like animals in fiction, or do they annoy you? Do you like weird weapons? Do you prefer sassy, sarcastic mentors or quiet and kind ones?

Happy Third Birthday To The Stars Fill Infinity

Yesterday was the third birthday of my small child, The Stars Fill Infinity and today I’m going to be holding a sort of birthday party, in honour of that September afternoon in 2017, when I sat down and wrote out the first steps in planning this book–a list of characters, naturally.

Anyway, so I chatted with a few of my good friends, who’ve been around since the humble beginnings of this book and they were keen for me to do character personality tests. However, since I did a post in 2018 in which I outlined the MBTIs of all of my major characters (you can read that HERE), I decided to do a spin on that. As a little celebration of my messy little novel, we’ll be taking a Career Matching Quiz for several of the main character and then going through the results to see whether or not they would enjoy doing these jobs.

Chessy Verde

Results:

40% Helping 33% Practical

Vocational Education Teacher: I’m not sure if there’s an American equivalent of this job, but essentially it is teaching subjects at a TAFE (Technical and Further Education) level. It’s the sort of study you do to get into trades, or into jobs that don’t require a level of study that warrants a university education. I can see Chessy really enjoying this job and also being good at it. TAFE is a great way for people who can’t afford to go to university, or didn’t get the scores necessary to get into certain subjects, to learn a trade. Chessy would be completely behind this cheap, encompassing form of education and she’d love the opportunity to work with adults and older teens to help them achieve an education.

Fitness Instructor: I’m not entirely sure that Chessy would find being a fitness instructor a useful way to spend her time.

Lifeguard: She would also love this job. I can imagine her in a Bondi rescue type situation, speeding out into the water to save some poor soul. She’d definitely get an inflated ego if she was good at it though.

Justice Rift

Results:

73% Administrative 13% Creative

Records Manager: Yeah, I can definitely see Justice working as a records manager. He’s meticulous, careful and analytical. He’d definitely be good at it, but I think it would lack the passion he needs to keep him alive.

Accounts Clerk: Again, definitely a job he’d be good at, but he needs more fire in his life, and sitting in an office five days a week would probably kill him.

Bookkeeper: Justice has worked as a bookkeeper for his father and uncle in the past and he always enjoyed making sure everything worked out neatly (which it…uh, rarely did). He would be more than happy to return to this line of work.

Sapphire Verde

Results:

60% Helping 33% Creative

Child and Youth Residential Care Assistant: This job is basically taking care of children in residential homes and I think Sapphire would love it. She’s very motivated to care for others, particularly children and I think she’d step into this role very easily and quickly become all the kids’ favourite.

Child Carer: This is a pretty wide career that takes in nannying, day care work, and early education, so there’s plenty of options for Sapphire and she’d love and thrive in all of them. She just loves kids and looking after them.

Special Education Teacher: Again, there’s nothing Sapphire would love more than helping kids with learning delays and disabilities to tackle the challenges the world has thrown at them. I really love the fact that all Sapphire’s careers have to do with kids.

Augustine Quillon

Results:

73% Creative 20% Enterprising

Musician: Look, I can see where they’re coming from with this one, but it really wouldn’t work out. Quillon just isn’t interested in music at all and he would make an awful musician.

Actor: Yes! Quillon would definitely do this. In fact, it is actually canon (according to the currently unwritten third book) that Quillon worked as a stage actor for some time, and that his sister is still currently working as an actor. Unfortunately, stage acting does not pay the bills, so Quillon had to give it up.

Entertainer/Variety Artist: This category encompasses basically everything that doesn’t have another home. Circus Clown, dancer, comedian, magician, etc. And yes, I can definitely see an Alternate Universe Quillon become a circus clown. Maybe not in his current world and lifestyle though.

Those are all my main characters, so now I’m just throwing in two extra fan favourites, because someone’s sure to ask about them if I don’t 😀

Zachary Stein

Results:

46% Enterprising 33% Administrative

Advertising and Marketing Professional: Look, Zac would absolutely delight in any sort of job that meant he had to convince people to buy something they probably don’t know. He’s clever and strategic, whenever he’s not drunk anyway. I’m not sure he would enjoy this job if there wasn’t anything shady going on underneath though. He would definitely come up a dodgy side hustle.

Sales and Marketing Manager: This, arguably, is Zac’s actual job. Except his selling and marketing illegal and rather bad things. And he’s very good at it too.

Chief Executive Officer: Maaaybe? I just can’t see Zac really getting into into this. However, he definitely understands the mindset of CEOs and he exploits the heck out of it. He also blackmails them a lot, so…

Jonas Oriah

Results:

60% Helping 26% Analytical

Midwife: I find it really interesting that Midwife comes up first, but yes, I could completely see Jonas becoming a midwife. However, since male midwives are comparatively rare, I would say he would be more likely to become a pediatrician or a general practitioner. Canonically, he is studying to become a doctor.

Occupational Therapist: Yes, yes! Jonas would make an ideal Occupational Therapist. Occupational Therapy is essentially aiding people with limited or changed abilities, due to physical or mental disability, illness or some form of neurodivergence (such as autism or ADHD), to find ways to function and thrive in their day to day lives. It’s actually the career that I really want to get into (since writing and dog training don’t make an awful lot of money).

Registered Nurse (Emergency and Critical Care): Again, I’m not really sure why any sort of doctor didn’t come up for Jonas, but yes, he’d definitely be a good RN. He’s clever, compassionate and cool under pressure, which are all necessary skills for an RN.

Anyway, this post is getting long, so I’ll leave it here. What about you guys? What jobs do you think your characters would enjoy? Have you taken a MBTI test for your characters? What sort of personality tests do you use when planning a book?

#AboutTheAuthor August

So I saw Christine Smith do this tag over on her blog a few days ago and it looked really fun! It also reminded me that I haven’t really talked about myself in a while, so I thought this tag would be fun for you all to get to know me a little better, whether you’ve been around for years or are a new follower.

This tag was created by Jameson at Lovely Whatsoevers!

And yes, I know its not August anymore, but who cares? Not me.

  1. ) Introduce Yourself!

Hello, I am Chelsea! I’m a slightly crazed young woman who is two weeks off being twenty years old. I’m a dog trainer by profession and a writer by hobby. I enjoy hiking, knitting and playing with my dogs in my spare time 🙂

2.) Tell us about your work-in-progress and your August goals!

Well, I’ve currently got a few works-in-progress, but they’re not all in progress right now as I speak. My main projects are my dystopian novel, The Stars Fill Infinity and my WW1 historical novel Southern Cross. I dearly love both of them, but I’ve been working on TSFI since I was sixteen, so it has a very special place in my heart. Essentially, it’s a retelling of Les Miserables (Les Miserables meets The Hunger Games is my official pitch), and it follows two sisters as they navigate an unjust and cruel dystopian future. There’s lots of heartbreak and angst, you know, all the good stuff. Southern Cross is similar, but its definitely New Adult, rather than Young Adult, and it follows three young women, Amy, an Irish Catholic orphan, Pearl, a German governess, and Charlotte, an Aboriginal woman. It primarily focuses on the plight and strength of women during the war while their boys were overseas fighting.

Since August is actually almost over, let me enlighten you on my September goals.

For TSFI, I hope to finish off my revised character profiles and my revised plot outline so that I can begin work on completely rewriting it.

For SC, I hope to do a few character profiles and read three books for research.

3.) Introduce your characters!

Let me give a one sentence introduction to all five of my main characters from the two above mentioned projects:

Chessy//TSFI//A sparky seventeen year old with more than her fair share of trauma to live through, clever, kind and passionate.

Sapphire//TSFI//A nineteen year old introvert and single mother, broken, sad and courageous, willing to give up anything to save those she loves.

Amy//SC//Eighteen year old Irish Catholic with no money and no marriage prospects, cheerful, spunky and struggling with the then-unknown diagnosis of ADHD.

Pearl//SC//Twenty-one year old governess with knife-sharp intellect and wit, could have gone to university if she’d had the money.

Charlotte//SC//Twenty-four year old nurse, compassionate, ambitious and highly motivated, illegitimate daughter of a white farmhand and a black mother.

4.) What are you currently reading?

The Wisdom of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton and The Blue Salt Road by Joanne M. Harris. Not sold on either yet, but I’m not very far in, so we’ll see how it goes.

5.) Favorite genre to read and write.

Toss up between fantasy and historical fiction. I love both so much and couldn’t imagine my life without one of them. There’s also this sweet spot called historical fantasy and that really floats my boat 😀

6.) Three fun facts about your work-in-progress.

  • TSFI was my first “serious” novel. It’s also the first novel I’ve written with the intention of getting published one day.
  • The title came from a passage in Les Miserables where Marius first visits Cosette in her garden.
  • I have about fifty other classic novels I want to retell set in the same universe, but I doubt I will ever write them 😦
  • Southern Cross is my first foray into the world of New Adult, which has intrigued me for some time now.
  • I have wanted to write a big, epic WW1 novel for about five or six years now, but its never really come together until I read a few books recently that cemented my dream for it.
  • Amy is one of my oldest characters. She came to me when I was thirteen years old and has already have three drafts of a middle grade novel written about her.

There we go, three interesting facts each!

7.) You get to spend the day in your story’s world. What do you do?

Both of them would be pretty horrible to spend a day in…However, I think I would use the time wisely to research the time and the culture, so I could write about it better. I’d also have to keep from dying as best as possible.

8.) A favorite kind of character to write. 

Um, quirky, awkward boys who are incredibly passionate about something–usually something strange.

I also like wild, crazy girls with messy hair, no make up and an inability to listen to other people’s advice, but also probably an anxiety disorder.

9.) What is your writing weakness? 

I often find it hard to describe exactly what’s going on in my head, which I think leaves a lot of my writing shallow and vague. I think the fact that I can’t expand any further on this topic proves my point 😛

10.) What is your writing strength? 

I hope that is writing interesting, fleshed out characters as well as thoroughly researching little used and interesting settings and time periods.

11.) What are your hobbies outside of writing? 

I mentioned a few already, but here we go again. I really enjoy dog training of various sorts, knitting (this is my Sunday afternoon unwinding hobby, it’s very good), sewing (occasionally), screaming at the tax office about my end of financial year tax returns, choreographing dog dance routines (yes, this is a thing) and listening to an eclectic range of pop music, musicals and movie soundtracks.

12.) Your favorite villain trope. 

Villains who believe so strongly in an idealistic goal that they will die for their beliefs. I don’t know why this trope appeals to me so much, but I really love it and my villains often fall into this category. Villains like Javert from Les Miserables, Madame Defarge from A Tale of Two Cities, Mrs Clennam from Little Dorrit, Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame etc. To me, there’s something especially tragic about these sorts of villains, because imagine if their loyalty and faith was put towards a noble cause? Imagine what good warriors they would be! And yet they’ve dedicated their lives to misguided beliefs and evil and they are unable to change.

13.) A favorite book you’ve read so far in 2020.

I’ve read so many! Here’s a few.

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams. 10/10 recommend this to anyone looking for a good adult historical fiction. Beautifully written, wonderful themes, compelling characters. Absolutely loved it.

Unnatural Causes by Richard Shepherd. Fantastic non-fiction book about the life and work of a forensic pathologist. Not for the squeamish, but absolutely brilliant.

The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter. The best fantasy book I’ve read in ages. West African inspired, brilliant writing and thrilling plot. Definitely an Adult book though.

14.) Writing playlist

This is my generic instrumental writing playlist. I do sometimes make playlists specifically for a particular novel, but I’m much more likely to listen to this playlist than I am a specific one. Because that’s just the way I am.

15.) Your WIP’s theme colors/aesthetic 

SC//Dusty brown|sunset red|muddy grey|khaki|drought|barking dogs|lanolin|Merino sheep|tears|black edged telegrams|gunfire|racism|rain|love

TSFI//vibrant green|sunny yellow|pale blue|stars|dark nights|futuristic|blood|old books|bullets|revolution|passion|anger|fear|blue roses|rain

16.) Share your social media + book links! 

My Goodreads

My Pinterest

And, uh, that’s about it!

17.) A side character you love in your work-in-progress.

Side characters are always my favourite things! And there’s so many that I love in both of my books. In The Stars Fill Infinity, the side characters are definitely my favourites. First of all, there’s Rain. She’s a sparky street girl with a traumatic backstory that she never full reveals, and she’s got blue hair and wears denim overalls. She’s honestly one of my favourite characters ever to write because she has such a wide range of emotions. I just love her, ok?

Also in TSFI there’s Quillon. Quillon is an extroverted introvert, he’s friends with everyone, he loves his friends, he’s passionate and caring. I just love this boy. As all my beta readers are well aware.

And of course, there’s other characters in TSFI I love, Justice, Zac, Jonas, etc. But Rain and Quillon are my favourites.

In Southern Cross, my favourite side characters are all the boys! SC centres on the girls and women who were overlooked by war and I love them, but there’s a special place in my heart for the boys that go off to war. There’s the twins, Frank and Henry, who’ve been split apart by their differing political and moral opinions. Frank believes that defending his country by going to war is a noble thing, while Henry is horrified by the idea of killing other humans in the name of self-defense. There’s also Curt, who has been rejected from the army four times because of his medical issues, before finally being accepted into the fledgling air force. He’s been sent white feathers, and dumped by his girlfriend because of his inability to join the army, and he’s broken and angry. And finally, there are Andrew and Sam. Andrew’s possibly the illegitimate son of Mr Ashford, the station owner, though no one will admit it one way or another. He’s half Aboriginal and ostracised from society, but somehow still kind and wise and talented. Sam is also of uncertain parentage, but he’s Chinese. He’s also ostracised, but he’s incredibly clever and rather overlooked. Both of them go off to war in order to “prove their worth” to a white majority society and they have varying results.

Anyway, nobody wants to read ten more blocks of texts, so I’m going to stop talking about random side characters now.

18.) What is the best part about being a writer? 

Being able to have a wild, overactive imagination and claim it as work, and being able to obsessively reread childhood favourite books and claim it as work.

19.) A genre you want to write. 

I desperately want to write a literary historical novel, something like Burial Rites,The Blue Rose or The Dictionary of Lost Words. The sort of book that brings overlooked people into the spotlight. And I’ve never written anything like that, so…

20.) You’re an author on a Q&A panel! Which authors are sharing the stage with you? 

Hopefully some other popular YA authors. I think it would probably be like Cressida Cowell, maybe Nadine Brandes, Suzanne Collins, etc. They are all authors who write similarly to me.

21.) One way you’ve grown as a writer + one thing you want to improve on. 

This one is really hard because I know I’ve grown a lot as a writer over the 10+ years I’ve been doing it. However, if I had to choose just one way, I think that I’ve been able to grow a lot in the realm of theme. Obviously, this has a lot to do with the fact that I’ve been literally growing up as well. As a ten year old, I didn’t really have beliefs or morals or ethics. I believed what my parents did, and that was that. And because of that, my stories only had shallow themes and messages (friendships are good! Be nice to each other!). As I’ve grown up though, I’ve developed my own beliefs and values that I hold dear and the more that’s happened, the deeper the themes and messages I include in my stories have become. The exciting thing for me is that I know I will continue to change and grow (I’m only twenty, people!) and that my themes will continue to change along with that.

And one thing I want to improve on? I think I want to improve my worldbuilding skills. They are woefully inadequate for the type of books I write and I need to get better at it.

22.) Goal check-in + a snippet! 

So my goals for 2020 were kind of all over the place, but let’s have a look at what my writing goals were:

-Edit SFI within an inch of its life

-Polish SC and (hopefully) submit to a competition

-Write a new first draft and/or compete in NaNoWriMo

So far I’ve done none of these.

Okay, now for some snippets. I love sharing snippets 🙂

From SC:

Frank tries to laugh at Sydney’s story, but he doesn’t have it in him. Nothings funny on the front lines, but everything must be made into a joke. If it isn’t, they’ll go crazy.
The whistle of another shell overhead jerks his mind away from the darkness surrounding him and all he thinks about for a moment is his own safety, making sure the sound of that whistling shell isn’t the last thing he’ll ever hear.
It explodes some way off, and the shrieking of dying horses—and dying men too—makes him cower down, clenching his teeth. Sydney just sits where he is, his face blank.
A moment later, a sergeant appears from the other end of the trench. His face is grim, his mouth set in a deep frown. “You boys,” he says. “You’re going out as soon as the sun sets.”

“So, buck up. Do what you can. Don’t worry about it. Here, I’ll say some prayers with you.” I get up and go to my room, coming back with my rosary beads.
Pearl gives me a look and through her tears manages to say, “I’m Lutheran.”
I shrug. “Its the same God, isn’t it?”
Pearl smiles for the first time.

From TSFI:

“You are accused of assaulting a member of the upper class. That alone is worth a year’s hard labour sentence. Upon that, you are also accused of riotous behaviour against the government. That is another year and a half sentence. That is excluding evading the police and preventing the course of justice. Things do not look good for you. But, a full confession to the ignorance which your youth has blinded you with and a solemn promise to adhere to the law in future events would halve your sentence very effectively. Do you understand now?”

I nodded, the silence still threatening to crush me. I needed birds, the wind, people’s voices, any voice other than Caderousse’s, any noise other than the grinding of my own teeth and the drumming of my own heart.

My hand broke the surface. I felt the cold wind blowing against my wet skin for one brief heartbeat before I sank underneath the water again.

And then someone grabbed my hand.

And I was hauled, dripping and spluttering and still choking, against the side of a boat.

“Justice?” I gasped.

“Would you look at that! I didn’t expect to catch a pretty girl when I went fishing today.”

I scraped my sodden hair out of my eyes, blinking through the haze of water that coated my eyes. Nope, of course it wasn’t Justice. Justice wouldn’t haul someone from a dirty river and then refer to them as a pretty girl. “Quillon?” I amended. “The one and only,” Quillon returned. “At your service.

What about you guys? What are some great reads you’ve found this year? How have you grown as a writer? What are your writing weaknesses and strengths?