Book Report: The Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones, Completed by Ursula Jones

IMG_4106Entertaining, with her usual quirkiness and strong matriarchal figures, but not my favorite of Diana Wynne Jones’s books.

The plot seemed more simplistic than her other stories, especially toward the end. I felt there were several twists and turns that it could have taken and didn’t. But then, we might not have gotten this story at all, so who’s to complain?

A good read for girls 8 and up.

Strong Male Characters

Some thoughts on what I’ve been trying to do in my writing.

When I think of a strong female character, I don’t think of a weapon-wielding, no-crap-taking, never-crying type of girl. I think of a “strong” character as a well-fleshed-out one. One who sticks in your mind because she is living and breathing on the page in front of you. It is vital to have strong female characters in fiction.

However, a fictional woman’s strength and reality is cheapened when she is surrounded by cardboard men. It’s relatively easy for me (a woman) to write women well. It is much more difficult for me to write strong male characters. Particularly when it comes to love interests.

I think the most important thing is character consistency. His stated strengths and weaknesses need to play real roles. If he’s a bad boy with a heart of gold, does he always know when to be a good boy and when to be a bad boy? No. He needs to slip up. If he’s never actually bad “on screen,” then he’s not a bad boy.

If, on the other hand, he’s a perfect, selfless angel, then he’d better be upright and selfless when it might be more convenient to be otherwise.

Inconsistent, weak males who are just there to be walked on by “strong” females have the added anti-bonuses of setting up unreal expectations and glorifying unhealthy relationships.

Then again, maybe I simply don’t understand the “romance” genre.

Just some thoughts.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled yarning.