For Darren shan

James Pendley
Dr. Shearer
ENG 101 RZ
23 September 2022
How language changed my life
In many forms of literature, people will find pieces of work that go out of their way to inspire oneself to go beyond what they know and make something truly remarkable. My story is quite similar in that sense I suppose. It all began in middle school, my teacher was having our class of 6th graders, pick a book series to write an essay on. I at that time would rather count the grains of sand in a desert than do that assignment. Well it was a big part of my grade so eventually i came around and found a series that somewhat seemed interesting. The series was called cirque du freak, it was a vampire book with a focus more on the horror than that of its competitor twilight. Well I opened it up thinking there would at least be pictures and to my horror there wasn’t. “This seriously was going to suck so bad” is what i thought to myself. Naturally I had to force myself to read this book and figure out what made it a bestseller. Though as I read I discovered many different things about the book. It was actually entertaining and I couldn't put it down, this was the first time I had ever actually wanted to read. I began to love the style he wrote in so much that I wanted to write like him myself. This one author would change the way I would write forever and truly make me a better writer and reader.
To explain a little more about why this change took place we have to look at the reasons why his book was so inspiring to a young, soon to be writer. Darren Shan's work was phenomenal in a lot of different ways. One of which was his humor. I know what you think of as “humor in a horror novel? How scary can it be if they are joking every two to three lines of dialogue?”. Well the answer is it wasn't the typical humor and it was in a rarity that would only escalate the plot. Most of the time it was joking about the dead bodys or a horrible situation like slavery. In the book the author talks alot about the idea that if you can't joke about a tragedy how can you move forward? Which is where my coping mechanism for a lot of traumatic events came from. The tragedies we face in society are much too complicated to just say “sorry for your loss.” and move on. Simply put we face struggles that aren't as easy as a character in a book. Our problems aren’t just “we need to be stronger or faster” they are problems like “oh i lost my job now we don't have money for food this week”. We don’t typically use humor in those situations even though laughing at how messed up our situation is, will probably be the only thing we really can do. That's what the humor in Darren Shan's work is about. The trails the characters go through and are forced to just move on from are terrifyingly simple and complex at the same time. The main character in Cirque du freak literally has to fake his own death and leave his family. This shook me as a young soon to be writer. There was something about how harsh a punishment for the kid who didn't mess up on purpose. This made me not be able to put the book series down.
With all that in mind we should talk more about the characters themselves. In each book daren shan focuses on a character's bad traits then shows how they got them and how those traits can save lives at times. With these traits the characters learn and adapt to each situation growing and truly showing their development throughout the book. With this in mind here's some examples, Darren Shan, Larten Creepsley and of course the main villain himself Steve Leopard Leonard. Darren Shan is a very timid and non-confrontational character who is forced into a bad situation. Larten gives him an ultimatum that shakes Darren to the core. The great thing about books are typically the quotes and boy can this man write quotes that explain a character's thoughts at that time. One of which is “I don't like it, but my hands are tied. I just want you to know this: if I ever get the chance to betray you, I will. If the opportunity arises to pay you back, I'll take it. You'll never be able to trust me.” (Darren Shan, Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare, 2002) in this quote itself you can see that the character knows that frankly putting the position he's in is bad. You can also see that the character knows he can't argue at this moment in time but also wants it to be known that he is not someone who will just follow orders and accept his fate. With this quote we can see that the author not only wants to show the fact that this character has grown braver and smarter but also wants to show this character is in a mindset of i will focus on my survival no matter the cost. This is why quotes do so much for a book. It shows us the inner thoughts of a character without having to write an entire book on the thoughts during this moment. This is why I chose to start writing like him. I loved his work with the character development and his simple awareness of the audience and the style of writing that he is known for.
With all that in mind my writer mind decided to copy his writing style and compare other authors to the way his book was written. I used his style of writing as my own for the longest time after and received a bunch of good feedback and was told I made a complete turn around. I went from a barely passing D/60 to a B/80. This really did change the way I looked at writing and reading in general. I felt as though I should write to impress and improve rather than write to pass. With this in mind I was able to show my true potential for years to come. I even ended up writing so well, I didn't even need to know the prompt or reason why I could usually just wing it and pass. This habit stayed with me for a good amount of time. But all in all i would say i learned a lot about being a writer from Darren Shan

In conclusion, I want to say that this author changed the way I read and write for the better. Throughout the next couple of years I learned that trying to copy an author's style most of the time will make me look like a jester with no real jokes. So overtime I began to experiment due to wanting to be a great writer like Darren Shan and hopefully one day release a series of my own that will win the hearts of many, much like the series that captured my own heart . No matter what you may think of your own writing, there is always a way to improve. Darren Shan taught me that with effort and a clear goal in mind anyone can achieve greatness. So please go out and find a book to capture your mind and make you truly see the wonders of language and why it truly does shape the minds of tomorrow.

Works cited Darren Shan's cirque du freak january 2000-october 2004

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