Is That Character Based On a Real Person?

Readers often ask authors if the characters in their stories are based on their real friends, acquaintances, or even enemies.  The answer is, quite frankly, yes. Continue reading


Looking for a Hero?

Every story line falls into one of three categories: boy meets girl, man who learns better, and heroic quest.  A simple story just traces one of these story lines, but more complicated books weave all of these story lines together while still maintaining one single overarching story line. Continue reading

Is Ella (Enchanted) Obedient?

After years of being the home school and co-op teacher making these kinds of assignments, I recently accepted the challenge to write a book report on Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.  In particular, I wanted to evaluate whether the title character Ella ever actually obeys any order given to her after a fairy bestows on her the gift, or curse, of obedience. Continue reading

Tell Me A (Good) Story

I love a good story!  Storytelling is an art.  But there are so many books and movies out there that just don’t have good stories.  I’m not talking about happy endings; I’m looking for a story that draws me in before leading me to an ending, whether happy or tragic (although I prefer happy).  From an academic perspective, what makes a good story? Continue reading