Summer Diaries #3 (the Never Have I Ever tag + character case study)

Hey everyone! First off, I just wanted to thank you all because I just reached 100 followers on Pretty Little Scribbles! The past two weeks have been amazing, and I’ve discovered so many new bloggers, and I’m loving it!

Summer Diaries is a series I’m doing in my holidays and will chronicle my life over the next two months—what I’ve been reading, what I think about the second wave of the pandemic, and will include with some of my favourite literary analyses.

Today, we’re doing a character case study, and the Never Have I Ever Tag: book edition! Before we start, I would like to do something special for my first-ever milestone so, inspired by Poorwa’s blog I’m going to do a ‘reacting to assumptions’ round.

Please do put any assumptions you have about me in the comments; it will mean a lot to me ♥

*Note: if you are in the WordPress Reader, please click here to read it! The formatting is off there!

Yay! I got nominated for the Never Have I Ever book tag recently, and I’ve been meaning to do it for quite some time now. Thank you so much to Jan @ the doodle crafter for nominating me! Her blog is amazing and she blogs about books and her lifestyle so go and check it out! Thank you, Jan!

Now for the questions! Some of these answers are quite long and convoluted, so take a quick skim! Calling all book-lovers!

1. Never have I ever: read a later book in a series before the first

No, I haven’t! I like reading books in chronological order, like, all the time, so I don’t read later books in a series before the first.

2. Never have I ever: burned a book

I am truly appalled. No one, no one in the right mind would even think of doing this! Honestly, this question makes my insides lurch. 

I’ve read something like this in Mr Lemencello’s Library Olympics, where a fake antagonist burns books or something akin to that, but I have never, and will never burn a book!

3. Never have I ever: gone into a shop to buy one book and came out with many more

Sometimes! I don’t buy physical books anymore, and when I do, I just go to the shop with nothing in mind and come out with four. Minimum. 

4. Never have I ever: loved a book when I was younger and hated it when I got older

I am not older now, but my late-teens self might hate some books I love now. Oh! Yes, I have. Keeper of the Lost Cities, for instance. I am sorry for shocking any KOTLC fans out there, but I despise this series. I’ve written why here, but the first time I read it, I actually liked it.

5. Never have I ever: read a book I knew I’d hate

Regardless of what Goodreads says, I do not think a book can be all that bad. Sure, it can be boring, but I’ve never read a really bad book. So I give all of them a try. So, no, I’ve never read a book I knew I’d hate because I’ll never know I won’t like something if I don’t try it!

6. Never have I ever: wrote a fanfiction of my favourite book

Yes. When I stanned the Percy Jackson series so hard I created an Instagram fan account, I did end up writing a little bit of fanfiction that I even ended up posting on my blog. So many of you asked me for a Part 2, but I never did it because it felt odd using Rick Riordan and his character for clout.

But, that did open the world of writing up for me, and I began making up my own characters; writing my own stories in my own fictional world! I can’t wait to share little snippets with you all! 

So, in short, I have written fanfiction once but gave it up consequently, mainly because I didn’t like it very much. 

7. Never have I ever: dressed up as my favourite literary character

Nancy Drew: All 56 books, ranked

Ooh, I did once. I dressed up as Nancy Drew for a birthday party when I was eight, but she isn’t by a large shot anywhere near to my favourite fictional characters, so this is a kind of!

8. Never have I ever: hated a book by an author I love

Yes, I have, actually. Take Cassandra Clare, for example. I love her later series, but the Mortal Instruments is something I have grown to despise. It was her debut series, but I do not like it so much now. 

I get why people hate her books, but give the Infernal Devices, The Dark Artifices and The Last Hours a try and tell me you do not like them! Honestly, they are brilliant!

So as an author who has written so many angst-filled, tear-jerking books filled with characters I have come to love (see question 12), I do love most of her books but there are some I hate.

9. Never have I ever: skim read a book

 No. I don’t know how to do this, but I don’t think I’d like to even if I did. There’s a joy in finishing a book, and clicking that ‘I’m finished!’ on your Goodreads, so I don’t like to skim read!

10. Never have I ever: pretended to read a book I haven’t

…. Alright, fine, I have! But I’ve read it now! I still remember telling my friends that I’d finished reading Cursed Child, but the delivery was interrupted! What happened with Harry Potter, was when I turned eight, I got the Philosopher’s Stone for my birthday. 

The new 'Harry Potter' covers are here - The Washington Post

I read the whole series in 5 months, and two days after I finished the Deathly Hallows, Cursed Child came out! 

I didn’t get my copy on time, though, so I ended up pretending I read it until I did. I’ve done this with other books, but this is the most prominent one in my memory at the moment!

11. Never have I ever: read a book without the dust cover

always take out the dust cover to read books with one. 

12. Never have I ever: had a book boyfriend/girlfriend

Obviously! It’s impossible to read as much as I do and not come out with some fictional crushes. (I say some but you’ll see.) Very popular opinions alert—well, this is a very popular question, so here goes! 

Leo Valdez (this list would not exist without him so heart eyes) from the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

Carswell Thorne (bigger heart eyes; you have my heart, YA Eugene) from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Nikolai Lantsov, (even bigger heart eyes; he’s so amazing ♥) from the Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo

And, (drumroll please,) Will Herondale (biggest heart eyes ever) from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare (also he was my first.)

There are many more, too many to list: Jem Carstairs, ♥ Mr Darcy ♥, James and Kit Herondale, Kaz Brekker, Hareton Earnshaw, Draco Malfoy—gosh, I nearly forgot Draco!—Julian Blackthorn, to name the bare minimum, but this shall get too long.

13. Never have I ever: picked up a book based on the cover alone

Nope! I don’t really look at the cover much (I do when I finish the book, because only then what’s on the cover makes sense) so I don’t do this. I read the synopsis, check the ratings and reviews, and then pick it up.

But I have seen beautiful covers and here are some of them!

14. Never have I ever: read the end of a book before the beginning

I did this for literally all the Five find-outers books I read! The Five find-outers is a series of mystery books by Enid Blyton for almost middle graders. It was my favourite book—*counts*—five years ago when I was seven.

The mysteries would end only at the very end, so I’d skim through the last chapter and then read the rest of the book! I don’t do that now, but accidentally it ‘happens’ to me. Like when I spoiled myself for the Darklina kiss in Shadow and Bone. 

15. Never have I ever: read a history or anthropology book for fun

Yes! The Indian fight for freedom has always fascinated me. I read A Children’s History of India once (it’s really good, actually,) and I loved it, in all honesty. What I also find interesting about history, is that it makes great plots and twist ideas for novels that you might be working on/.

History is a story. So why not read the real ones, and base your stories off of them? Or just pick up little ideas—why someone murdered another person, what makes someone go bad, and how people revolutionise—it’s really quite interesting!

16. Never have I ever: participated in a readathon

No. I would love to, but I don’t think I’m ready for that kind of commitment just yet!

17. Never have I ever: bought multiple books in a series before starting it

I have! I did this for A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. There are thirteen books in the series, but I’d watched the movie (which only chronicles the events in the first three books) before I’d bought them. 

I liked the movie quite a bit, so I went and bought five of the books at once.

The books were a million times better, and the Netflix show was even better than the book, so it’s a series that I would really recommend.

18. Never have I ever: written in a book

I did for the Fault in Our Stars. Because I just loved it so much. I drew hearts on the page just after the cover and wrote ‘Fav book ever™.’ It’s embarrassing, I know.

19. Never have I ever: filled up an entire bookshelf and had to have stacks of books balanced precariously throughout various rooms

… most definitely not! *giggles nervously* Oh, all right, maybe just once. Or twice.

My question is: Never have I ever: found myself liking a trope most others hate

Whew! That was long! So that brings the Never Have I Ever book tag to a close, and now for my nominations!

Maith @ Jovial Pages

Isabel @ Books with Isabel

Sarah @ The Adventures of a Nerd

Darby @ Art, Books & Cakes

Aarushi @ Aarushi Reads

Annika @ Annika Larraine

… and YOU! Please do this tag, and send me the link to your post! I’ll definitely check it out! I had a blast doing this, and you will too!

I’ve always found writing believable characters a very interesting topic; I have read very few books where the characters are perfect. And I do not mean perfect as in flawless, in fact I mean the exact opposite. Good characters have flaws as we all do. Looking past those flaws and using those flaws to their advantage is when the story happens. 

I like to use the character archetypes, the enneagram and the MBTI test to flesh out their personalities. You fill out the tests as to what you imagine your character to do in a situation, and the results give you an in-depth study as to why they do something and their preferred way of executing it. Today, I’m going to list down three things I like most in characters when I read (and write.)

Flaws:

A Mary Sue is an unrealistic character with seemingly no flaws. Do you think you can do something? Well, think again, because our little Mary can do it backwards with her eyes closed all while hanging upside down on a pull-up bar.

 Remind you of anyone? I think Bella Swan and Sophie Foster when I see this. But this does not always a bad thing. I still enjoyed the books (and movies) that these characters were a part of, for the most part. But I would say that their unrealisticness made it a little harder to do so. 

Let’s take Sophie, for example.

Sophie Foster from Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Looks: Blonde Hair, Brown eyes with flecks of gold

Strengths: Intelligent, Know-it-all, Beautiful, Determined, Ambiverted

Flaws: …Clumsy, I suppose?

So you see what I mean? In my opinion, a character must have something to let them down. They must go on a journey, both internally and externally and find out how to make that flaw work for them—and defeat that misbelief they have. 

That’s what makes a believable, realistic character. Now, let’s take a well-crafted (in my opinion) character who is quite similar to Sophie in some aspects.

Crescent Darnel from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Looks: Blonde Hair, Blue eyes

Strengths: Upbeat, Imaginative, Resilient, Introverted

Flaws: Often naive, Dependent,

So, in summation, the most believable and relatable characters have flaws. No one is perfect, and that applies to characters too. But none of us just have flaws. Something happened to make us have flaws, which now brings us to…

Backstory:

➽ Cress Darnel, using the previous example is often portrayed as naive and dependent on those around her. But she wasn’t born that way; she was made that way. Trapped in a satellite miles from society, she had no real idea of what the real world was like. 

So I believe characters must have some inciting incident in their past that makes them perceive things in a certain way, or that they do something because of things happening around them.

➽ Now an example of this is Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter series. Ron has many strengths and the occasional flaw, too, but why? We know that Ron was brought up in a large family, his older brothers often shadowing upon him. 

This could create some insecurities which play a major role in the fourth book where he gets jealous way too easily. This is the flaw in his usually loyal character, and that is what makes him such a great character. Why does he do it? Because of his upbringing. So if and when you create characters, don’t forget the why.

Variety:

Must every single girl we read about in YA novels be a white, straight beautiful lost princess who is also in a love triangle? I’m so glad that nowadays, more and more YA novels are coming out, with POCs, (my personal fave ♥) LGBTQ+ characters, Asian characters and much more. 

There is no beauty in characters if all of them are the same. I adore diversity in all forms, be it any of the above mentioned, as I think we must realise that there are different kinds of people in the world and face truths.

➽ But the difference also means a differentiation in characters. What does a character do that makes them stand out in your mind. If I were to think of a character, right now, that stands out in a series… I’d say Leo from the Heroes of Olympus. 

Leo is the comic relief aboard the Argo II. The other six are relatively serious and occasionally wrapped up in that drama of their own relationship. Leo was told beforehand that he was the seventh wheel aboard the ship. He was to be the only one who was acquainted with no one other than Piper. And yet, he lived through that, found Calypso and still stood out to me. 

I suppose that is what it takes to create a unique character. The character must have something different from the people around it. Supposing Leo was absolutely serious, and he was the mom of the group—that would not make him any different from Jason, now would it? 

➽ Another character I particularly loved was Magnus Bane in the Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare. Magnus, the ‘freewheeling bisexual’ is nearly everyone’s favourite Shadowhunter character. He’s sassy, he’s a warlock—he’s immortal; what more could readers want?

#MagnusBane

I think that characters must have variety. There should be different types of characters to make a book work.

So that is it for this very, very, very long post! Please do put some assumptions in the comments about me! And leave your blog down for me to check out—I love finding new blogs!!

What do you think makes a good character? Have you ever read the end of a book before the beginning and the middle? Did you like the post? Tell me in the comments! Also please send in any assumptions you have about me! Until then ♥♥

Sending you a little bit of sunshine,
Maya.

50 thoughts on “Summer Diaries #3 (the Never Have I Ever tag + character case study)

  1. Congrats on 100+ followers!! And also, thanks for the credit! I can’t think of any assumptions right now since I’m very new to your blog but I’m excited to read the post when you answer your readers’ assumptions about you. Happy blogging!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love KOTLC so much XD have you read the whole series? I have to be honest with you though, the biggest reason why I like it is Keefe Sencen

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Maya! Here are some assumptions

    —you like tacos
    —you listen to taylor swift (I do!)
    —you play music on the… guitar?
    —you like new blogs
    —you like writing a lot
    … yup that’s it! great pot 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. i love nikolai and will <33 i like what you said about diversity and as a strong supporter of all the communities you mentioned, it was really great. now-a-days, i read books which only have diversity as what is the point of giving people books which are unrealistic? it fleshes out a character and like you said, makes them stand out in a readers mind.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Mirela! Seems like you have a blog… I’d love to check it out! The link seems to be disabled, so you could always leave it here 🙂 Yes, that is so true! (Also Nikolai and Will forever!) Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey! Congrats on 100 followers! I enjoyed reading this post very much!
    I am fairly new to your blog, (I think this might be the first post I have read actually) so these are just random assumptions based on almost nothing other than the fact I know that you like to read (based on this post). But here it goes. 😜
    1. You have already figured out what the next 5 books you are going to read are.
    2. You always finish the series even if you read one of the books and didn’t like it.
    3. You are a fast reader.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved reading this post Maya! I too love Jem and Will and Magnus, and will probably love Leo soon as I am beginning the Heroes Of Olympus series tomorrow (finally!). Aww I am sorry you don’t like KOTLC, but though I am a hardcore KOTLC fan, I must admit, I never did like Sophie’s character. All she does is being Ms. I Have All The Powers while making the worst decisions in the history of worst decisions.
    Congrats on 100 followers! Here are my assumptions –
    -You love chocolate icecream
    -You are a huge Cassandra Clare fan
    -You play a musical intrument

    Liked by 1 person

    • This comment made my day, Rachel! Thank you so much! Yes, I do hope you’ll love Leo and the whole Heroes of Olympus series! It’s one of my all-time favourite middle grade reads!

      I’m yet to finish the whole kotlc, but what I’ve read in the first three books says a lot. I’ve been told to read the rest and that they are better so I’ll probably give the rest of the books a try as they’re making a movie too!

      Thank you! I’ll definitely answer these soon ♥♥

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post! And congratulations on 100 followers!!!🎉
    Hm, assumptions…
    -You like being outside
    -You have a desk
    -You have long hair
    I’m so sorry those were awful, I didn’t know what to put.😅

    Congratulations again, and have a wonderful Sunday!💙

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Bea! (sorry for replying late, this comment didn’t show up for some reason) Those were really cool actually (and maybe accurate!) have a great day! can’t wait to answer these!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ahh Leo and Nikolai😍😍 (I could not resist the heart eye emoji lmao) I was thinking of starting KOTLC but I’m rethinking because I hate ‘perfect’ white blonde heroines (plus I’m trying to read books with more diverse characters, so…) Thanks for doing the tag!
    Here’re my assumptions!
    You like to stay outdoors a lot
    You play the piano
    You’ve got a dog for a pet (completely random I know)
    You’re extroverted

    Congratulations on a 100 followers you deserve it!!!💫🎊🎊

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hey Maya, CONGRATS on 100 followers!! I just found your blog today so I can’t make any assumptions about you yet. Please do this again when you reach 200 followers, new followers like myself will have known you better by then (I’m sure it’ll be quite soon at the rate you are going). Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Congratulations on 100 followers! KotLC is one of the books that I just started reading, and it’s funny you pointed out those flaws. I didn’t really notice them before. I love to look at the cover of the book after I read it and see how it all comes together! Great post Maya!

    Liked by 1 person

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