Friday, 29 May 2015

Armchair BEA 2015: Character Chatter and Blogging Q&A

Third and penultimate day of Armchair BEA! Why does ABEA always go so fast? Who joined in on yesterday's Twitter Chat? It was a lot of fun! Today's themes are Character Chatter and Blogging Q&A!

Character Chatter
It's time to give your favourite characters some love! Characters are essential to a story, and they can make or break a book for some readers. Now's your chance to shine the spotlight on your favourite characters, or maybe your least favourite. Who's your favourite couple? What are the components of well written characters? What are your favourite or least favourite cliches associated with characters?
This question is very dangerous because there are so many characters which I absolutely love and everyone is always so passionate about their favourite characters as well! Hence, I won't be picking my least favourite ones! I think good characters can be quite hard to write, but on the other hand I feel like there are no rules for how to write them. Look at Tolkien, who's writing is, in some ways, very stylized but his characters are very well-formed. On the other hand there are authors who use first-person narratives to really get into a character's head.

My only pet peeve about characterization is when it's sacrificed for plot and cliches. I hate, utterly hate, modern love triangles because they don't work and often feel forces and ruin characterization. (I wrote a ranty post about this, in case you want to know why I dislike them.) Don't sacrifice your characters in order to fit into certain genres, please.

My favourite characters, of the top of my head, are:

  • Lizzie Bennet, Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen
  • Hermione Granger, the Harry Potter-series - J.K. Rowling
  •  Guðrún, Atlakviða - Unknown
  • Samwise Gamgee, The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Margarita, The Master and Margarita - Mikhail Bulgakov
  • Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë 
So, a lot of female characters there but that isn't really the problem. What is, however, is that they are all white and (mostly) European! This year's ABEA topic is Diversity and clearly much of what I have read hasn't been very diverse. It should have been and be easier for me to pick up literature from other countries and cultures!

Blogging QA
Blogging 101! All kinds of tips and tricks to get you started or keep you going. Talk about ARCs, reviewing in general, web design, etc. What blogging platform do you use? How do you network? What are some of your favourite web designs? Or maybe you want to talk about your own blogging journey, and how you got to where you are now. Either way, we want you to share your knowledge with the rest of the community.
I wouldn't exactly call myself knowledgeable but I will give this my best shot! Rather than talk you through my story, which is a bit boring, I'll just give some general tips which I wish I'd been told when I started blogging!

  • ARCs: Don't get too excited and over-request! I am terrible at restraining myself on Netgalley which means I'm always behind schedule. Don't do this to yourself!
  • Review requests: Only accept them if you really want to read the book. This sounds simple, but I often think it's rude to reject a request which means I end up with a book I don't have the time to read. It's better for you and the author if you only accept books you need to read! I tend to offer requests I refuse a Spotlight post, that way you help the author out without clogging up your schedule!
  • Pressure to review: I at times feel quite a lot of pressure to review at least three books a week or more and I simply can't do that if I'm also going to University and working. So my advice on this is to review at your own pace! Blogging should be fun, not add even more stress to your life!
  • Social media: Yesterday's topic was social media and I think it is a great help to getting your blog and your thoughts out there. However, it should be fun, not feel like a chore. If it makes you nervous, don't push yourself to be overly active until you're ready for it. 
  • Commenting: This is something I didn't start off doing, but it is definitely worth it. If you can, take out some time at least once a week to respond to the comments you have received and to visit some of your favourite blogs out there to comment on some of their posts. It's a great way to interact and to show other bloggers you appreciate them!
I think I will leave it at that because when it comes to web-design or to reviewing itself I think that it is all up to you! The thing I love so much about the book blogging community is that everyone reviews in their own way! Do you want to do your review all in gifs? Works for me! Do you want to do an in depth analysis of the main themes? I'm here for that! Same goes for web-design, although I do advise to not go too crazy because if I can't find my way around it I won't be able to follow or comment!

So, that's it for me today! No more advice from me and I'm sticking with these characters as well!


  1. Ooh Samwise Gamgee, I do love him too. Great advice, thank you. I've banned myself from NetGalley as I get too carried away! x

  2. Great advice! All of it is so true..I've also had to stop doing as many book tours because I was just overwhelming myself.

    Cierra @ Books Ahoy

  3. Love your advice! I only started blogging fairly recently and definitely have a lot to learn.. I'm only glad that I never got into Netgalley as I have zero self control :P And commenting is my absolute favourite thing about blogging! :D Great post