2 comments · 1,175 views
142w, 4dHappy Pun Day!3 comments · 1,166 views
Really, I just wanted to get that obnoxiously long blog post off of my homepage, and this seemed like a good day for it.
So yeah, Happy Pun Day. Just remember: everyone loves puns. If they groan, it's only because they didn't think of it first.
144w, 1dLacuna - Post-mortem2 comments · 1,175 views
As I write this, the final chapter of Lacuna sits ready to be published, the email to EQD waits only to be sent, and then that will be it. I hope you'll forgive me for wanting to collect my thoughts a bit after I've written so many words already. Just a forewarning, but if spoilers bother you, you might want to hold off on reading this. Ready then? Let's go.
What a long, strange trip it's been, eh?
From the very beginning, I managed to surprise myself with how Lacuna kept going. In my original concept, when I fired up Open Office and tried my hand at this "writing" thing, Lacuna was slated for a Prologue, an Epilogue, and three chapters in between, none of which would over 3.5k words. 3k ideally.
Silly, silly me.
Sand was originally a minor character, one whose purpose would be fulfilled by the end of the Prologue, never to be seen again.
That worked out well.
I've never written fiction before, not really. There have been stilted attempts at storytelling, fragments that never went anywhere, but they were essentially crib notes for an idea or an emotion at the time of their conception, nothing more.
I wanted to see if I could do it. Actually complete a story, start to finish, no hiatus. Bonus points if it managed to remain lucid and coherent. The jury's still out on that point.
Every chapter became an experiment to see what worked for me, and what didn't. I came up with a lot of negative things, such as my pacing, my open-ended narrative, my thousands upon thousands of loose story fragments that needed eventual resolution, my endless conversations over food and/or tea...
Well, we do learn from our mistakes. Or so I hope.
I do love my dialogue, though. Why tell the reader something when I can have my characters do so instead while expressing their own personalities in the process? I ran the risk of overdoing it, of blurring their individual selves with my narrator self, and I felt that more often than not, I lost control of their quirks and charms. They became a convenient vehicle for exposition.
The biggest mistake by far was introducing a faceless Big Bad. This distant menace--nameless, faceless, shapeless--never loomed large enough in my mind or the story to properly justify its presence in either location. I did have plans for one, don't get me wrong. I had plans up until they wouldn't make a lick of sense, which was approximately midway through chapter 14. It's just the way these things go. Hey, don't blame me, I'm just the storyteller.
Ember and the flower sisters, possibly my two favorite characters to write.
Ember for his over-dramatic genre-savviness, for his two-faced villainy, and, well, to be honest? His ability to wrap up about a thousand of those threads I mentioned earlier. Not all of them, not by far, but a lot. His dialogue in his home was some of the most fun I've had writing during the entire story.
The flower sisters, really three faces of one soul. Their origin story left a bit to be desired, and the inclusion of their coloration was ham-fisted at best, but I enjoy the way they speak, the way they act, the way they react.
And Sand. Poor Sand. The highest risk of Suedom and self-insertion, she suffered as much as I could make her to draw her away from those lines. Maybe it was enough. Maybe not. I don't know what happened to her after the end of the story, but I hope she made it through okay and learned to forgive herself, in time.
I thought about quitting this project a dozen times over. I'd like to say that sheer tenacity and strength of will saw me through, but I don't want to lie to you. My wife Heather had to suffer the worst of my doubts, but she was always there to listen to my crazy ideas, to my horrible plans, and never, ever told me that I should quit, or that maybe I should just take a break. She's no taskmaster, but I'd have never made it as far as I did without her.
And Gardez. The first friend I've made through this fandom. Without his thoughts, his humor, his reviews, and dear god his obsession with hot, hot unicorn x unicorn shipfests, I'd have burned out on the story long ago, and what would have emerged now would have been soulless, joyless dreck.
And last, but certainly not least, is Chris. A reviewer I contacted out of the blue after liking his blog. He had the tenacity to review my entire story, start to finish, despite its monstrous flaws when it was first published, helping me refine and learn as I go. I cannot imagine what enormous plotholes, what rampant emotional whiplash, what haphazard pacing would still remain if not for his diligent work, and for that, I salute him.
I thank them as I thank you all, dear readers.
Until next time,
152w, 1dRecommended Reading1 comments · 1,196 views
Derp. Guess I still can't delete blog posts, or at the very least, I can't figure out how to. So I'm just gonna revise this one to alter my list of things I've read that I enjoyed and feel are worth sharing. Definitely not up to MLA standards, but hey.
The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (being finished by Brandon Sanderson)
For better or worse, this one's a huge influence on my writing. I'd be lying if I said I loved it, but I like it enough to recommend it to anyone interested in reading through a truly epic adventure. Clocking in at 14 novels (the last still TBP, though it should be out Q1 of 2012), this one is worth your time at least once through.
Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin
An excellent fantasy series that downplays the importance of magic while still weaving it in as an integral part of the world. The risk of picking up the first book is getting to the end of the fifth and realizing that the author is going to finish book six (of seven planned) sometime after the heat death of the universe. An excellent read, however. HBO did a miniseries of the first book, and while it didn't cover everything I would have liked (what could?), it did a very, very good job of doing the work justice. I suppose having the author on staff to advise really helped matters.
The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss
I picked this one up at the recommendation of the guys who run Penny Arcade, and I've loved it. Naturally, because it's good, it's also incomplete. The current series is 2 for 3 with no due date on the third, but the first two are quite entertaining, even more so if you're a bit of a science geek to appreciate the way the magic system works in his universe.
Dragonlance: Chronicles by Margaret Weiss & Tracy Hickman
I'll admit, this one's probably in more vaunted company than it deserves, but my base writing style and vocabulary are based on the books written by these two authors. Chronicles is composed of only 3 books out of several that they wrote, but it forms the backbone of the rest of the D&D setting, I feel. Then again, I've only sampled the parts that they've written, so perhaps I have the wrong idea. Still, I loved these books as a kid and I love them now. They're some of the very few that travel with me when I move from place to place and audit my stuff.
Dune by Frank Herbert
Just the first one. I mean, I liked the other books (written by this author, though to be fair, I haven't read his son's stuff, just heard the terrible word of mouth), but this one is just fantastic. It builds an entire world and dynasty within the span of a few hundred pages. Among all of these, this one is probably the one I'd recommend the most. It's stood the test of time for a good reason.
The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman
Though it's in a graphic novel format, the stories contained within are captivating. Each is drawn by a different artist, lending an odd, patchwork feel to the overall storyline that. While at times I don't fully like this effect, it still makes for an enjoyable read. The series has a somewhat unique take on several mythological figures, and I often find myself sitting down to reread them when I need something more visually stimulating.