I borrowed the new Dresden Files book, "Skin Game," and once again I can't say enough good things about that series. I'll be adding it to the collection once I have the money, but I need to buy some of the other previous books first. One thing at a time, maybe one day I'll have an income...
Anyway, continuing with the book review, the characters are all so good that I can't really pick a favorite (though, I'm favoring Waldo Butters right now), and the plot had me so hooked that I finished reading it in three days. I missed out on a little sleep, but it was worth it. Jim Butcher really knows how to create likable, awesome characters and some very disturbing villains. One of the things I think is most important about writing a good book is coming up with good characters, but he also has interesting plot twists, humor, drama, and a great setting. I usually write specifics about the books I review, but this time I'm not going to go into a thorough review since it would give away plot from the previous books. I will say if you haven't read this series, seriously, go pick up "Storm Front" right now. This is the best urban fantasy series I've ever read and the books just keep getting better.
I've also been reading some young reader horror to get an idea about how to write my story. I've been pleasantly surprised. I read "Scary Stories, Goodnight Zombie" by James Preller, and am currently reading "Wanted, The Haunted Mask" by R. L. Stine. I didn't think that they would be very graphic or scary, but I was wrong. I remember being scared by R. L. Stine books when I was a young reader and enjoying them, but I didn't expect to be so impressed by them now that I'm an adult.
Even though I'm going to tone down my violence a bit for my story, it seems I don't need to tone down very much. The descriptions of the flesh dangling over the main characters eye feeling like hamburger meat, in "Goodnight Zombie," surprised me. And, even more disturbing, the old man at the beginning of "Wanted, the Haunted Mask" pulls the mask off of his face and the flesh from his face with it, killing him. Long story short, it makes me think my descriptions in my horror story might even be pretty tame in comparison.
I shouldn't be too surprised. Children are fascinated by gore and tend to enjoy a safe scare. The world is a pretty scary place, and I believe (much like Jim Henson) that sometimes being a little scared from a story is healthy for a child, especially if the story shows the character being brave and standing up to things that frighten him/her. I remember when I was in elementary school reading "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" with my best friend and being horrified and fascinated at the same time. I think, I can write my story to be scary, and that children that like scary stories will be able to handle it.
If I end up winning the Dark Crystal contest, I'll put this project on hold for a later date, but in the meantime, it's very fun to read these type of books again and work on something new.
In conclusion, READ "SKIN GAME" BY JIM BUTCHER! It's the best one in the Dresden Files yet, but be sure to read this series in order. One thing that is slightly negative about the Dresden Files is there are a LOT of characters and villains, and if you don't read the books in order, you will be lost.
Also, if you want to remember what it was like to be freaked out by scary stories as a kid, read James Preller or R. L. Stine. (And,one day maybe even, "Nancy Gray," who also hopefully wrote the first prequel series for "The Dark Crystal." Hey, I'm allowed to dream! No I haven't heard anything back yet and only have a one in five chance of winning, but if I've learned anything from this process it's to be optimistic.) ;-) Anyway, Take care everybody. Keep reading!