In response to a, uh, certain annual book awards that’s just a glorified popularity contest, I’ve decided to approach my end-of-year reading wrap up a little differently than usual. So, welcome to the inaugural Maggie’s Musings Choice Awards! This is the best of the best (and occasionally the worst of the worst) books that I read over the past year. Each award winner has its own incredibly specific category, because we don’t do things by halves around here.
Without further ado: The 2021 Maggie’s Musings Choice Awards!
Around this time last year, I wrote a post about my favorite fictional couples (which you should definitely go back and read if you missed it the first time around). I thought it would make a nice parallel to do a similar post this year, but focusing on characters who aren’t in relationships.
And then I ran into a slight problem: I couldn’t think of any.
I know, I was pretty surprised too, but let me explain. The single characters I could think of usually didn’t work for one of two reasons. One, they were not main characters, so the audience isn’t expecting to hear much about their relationships unless it’s directly related to the plot. Two, the character is the “token” single person in a cast of characters who had romantic relationships, so there’s a heavy focus on how they’re different from the other characters. There were still a handful remaining after I completed that criteria, but certainly not enough to write a whole list like last year.
That got me thinking – where are all of the single people in our stories, specifically in YA fiction?
Two years ago, a little app overtook the world. This app was Pokémon Go, a mobile game based on the popular video game franchise that used GPS and augmented reality technology to bring the cartoon creatures to the real world.
People everywhere grabbed their smartphones and left to explore their towns and neighborhoods. Even today, the game still brings people together regularly. I’ve made some great friends at my school through the game, and there were dozens of people at a local park for the most recent Community Day.
In Pokémon Go there are three teams: Team Valor, Team Mystic, and Team Instinct. Once players reach a certain level, they join one of these teams and then compete against the others.
The choice of team is arbitrary, but each one embodies a certain set of characteristics. Knowing this, it got me thinking – if fictional characters played Pokémon Go, what teams would they be on? I’ve decided to “sort” a handful of them and give a few reasons why. Plus, if you’ve always wanted to know what team you should be on, I have just the quiz for you!
Valentine’s day is just around the corner, and you know what that means! No, not chocolate or fancy dates or anything like that. Nope, around here, we celebrate Valentine’s day a little differently – and by that, I mean I make lists about my favorite fictional couples and try to sound like an actual adult while writing about them.
In all seriousness, I do have my fair share of favorite couples (or “ships,” as the fanpeople would say). Whether it’s books, TV shows, movies, or video games, there are some really strong, healthy relationships in fiction. Even as someone who isn’t much of a romantic, I do love seeing happy and supportive couples, and so in celebration of Valentine’s day, here are a few of my favorites and why I love them so much.
There may be a few vague spoilers ahead, so tread carefully!
Have you ever played a video game, watched a movie, or read a book that made you want to live in that world? In all stories, no matter what the medium is, the setting plays an important role. Because of that, we often find ourselves wanting to visit that world – myself included. I’ve experienced a lot of stories, and while setting isn’t always a prominent factor, the best storytellers know how to utilize this element to their advantage.
Today, I’d like to dedicate some time to my favorite fictional worlds. Not only would I love to visit these universes myself (well, if they weren’t so dangerous), but they’ve also influenced my own writing in a number of ways.
If you’ve ever been in a high school English class, your teacher probably asked a question to the effect of “What is the theme of [insert piece of fiction here]?” The theme, or message, of a story is the driving force behind the narrative. It gives the story depth. Often, this message isn’t extremely obvious. The best storytellers are able to craft their stories in such a way that the theme isn’t overbearing, yet still has an effect on the audience.
Unfortunately, many creators fail to do that.
I’ve seen it in movies, books, TV shows, you name it. The writer sacrifices creating strong, quality content in order to share a message, and because of that, the message suffers. In reality, a writer should be able to do both – create a quality story with a strong message. However, that’s easier said than done.
So where does that leave the writers? We should be striving to create stories with meaning, of course, but how do we do that? It’s a daunting task, and one that’s not easy to explain how to do. Even so, I’ve tried to come up with a few Do’s and Don’ts for creating stories with meaning.