fantasy · General · reading

Last Raksura book

In a post on John Scalzi’s blog, Martha Wells announced that The Harbors of the Sun will be the last book the Raksura series.

I can’t begin to express how much that disappoints me. I love the Raksura books. They are original, so creative and so mind-blowingly fantastic. I love the descriptions, the story.

I want to be there half the time, be the main character. One of the characters, anyway.

And now there won’t be anymore.

the-cloud-roads-martha-wells-cover-sketches

Book Review · General · reading

Book Review: Dragon Spawn by Eileen Wilks

I read Dragon Spawn by Eileen Wilks a few months ago. Every since, I have been quite speechless. It is hard to describe my disappointment.

I normally really look forward to this series. Dragon Spawn was no different.

But then I read it. It started out alright – lots of action and characters that I really like. It seemed like it was moving fast.

Then it ended. Just ended. Nothing was resolved, none of the problems mentioned in the beginning, none of the conflicts ended.

It is okay if one or two or even three of the conflicts are not resolved by end. This is a long-running series and that is just the nature of the beast. You have to leave something dangling for the next book. But this book resolved nothing.

It felt more like the middle of the book rather then the end. I feel like someone chopped the book in half and decided to publish in pieces.

I have no words for how much of a disappointment this book is. I really don’t. I have spent some time trying to say and I can’t.

I will read the next book, if only to find the next book. But I can’t really recommend this one. Until the next one comes out and I find out if there is an ending.

General · reading

Is It Harder to Be Transported By a Book As You Get Older?

The Sunday Bookends asked this question on June 9, 2016.

Both writers answer yes, but for different reasons.

Me, I also would say yes.

I think it is harder to find books you love – truly, deeply love – as you get older.

Maybe that’s because you get more cynical as you get older. Maybe it’s because there is less time to sit down and truly just let yourself get lost in a book. Maybe it’s because everything is so much newer when you’re younger and books you read later never quite measure up to the first book that made you go: whoa.

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transported by a book on wondrous adventures

I do know all my favorites and many of the authors I go back to again and again come from a particular period in my life. The same 2-3 years, in fact.

The books I usually compare my own writing against, the kinds of characters I want to create, the kind of description I want to do, all of these things come from books I read as a teenager.

It isn’t that books I read later sucked – they didn’t. I discovered new books and new titles afterward. I have raved about them here. I reread quite a few regularly; I keep a look out for when their new books come out.

But, with two or three exceptions, most of the books that influenced me, I read as a teenager. I think that first reaction of OMG, Awesome Book, So Good, So Very Very Good, happens more often when you’re younger and have read fewer books. Afterword: Oh, yes,  like that other book.

First times only happen once.

What do you think? Is It harder to be transported by a book as you get older?

 

General

Election Campaign of 2016: Goodbye

This year’s election is over and I am glad. Not that I am happy with the results – and really, no matter who won, I was always going to be a bit disappointed, because the whole election was disappointing – but it is over. And good riddance.

At least it is over.

I look forward to the next time there is a candidate I can actually support with a whole heart. Maybe eight years from now. Four, if I am insanely lucky.

Life goes on.

bhge8l

General · Writing

What is a writing beat?

I mean, in writing a short story or a novel. What is a beat? I first heard the phrase on Writing Excuses, and I have since heard it in a few other places.  untitled-1

Even though Writing Excuses was where I first heard this term, I don’t think they actually define it in any podcast. Anyway, I haven’t found a podcast dedicated to the concept of writing beats. (I would like to hear one, if you are reading, Writing Excuses.)

According to dictionary.com, it can be:

36. Music.
a. the audible, visual, or mental marking of the metrical divisions of music.
b. a stroke of the hand, baton, etc., marking the time division or an accent for music during performance.

37. Theater. a momentary time unit imagined by an actor in timing actions: Wait four beats and then pick up the phone.

And other Katherine Cowley on her site (http://www.katherinecowley.com/blog/10-keys-to-writing-story-beats-in-novels-with-exercises/) defines it as:

The definition: A beat is the smallest story unit in fiction. Individual words are like atoms. Story beats are the molecules, the real building blocks of the story world. There are different categories or types of story beats including a line of dialogue, a moment of action, a moment of reaction, a moment of inaction, a visual image, an emotion, a setting, a theme, or an instance of meta-storytelling.

So having googled writing beat, I still don’t really understand it. How do I identify the beats in a book?

I am pretty sure there are different types of beats. Story, character, plot, emotional, action and so on and so forth. But I don’t think I can tell one beat from another or even identify a single one in a scene. It is quite confusing.

In this first chapter – which is mostly dialog, just one setting, one scene – from Pride & Prejudice, what are the beats?

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1342/1342-h/1342-h.htm

I suppose they must include the last line? Which is the aim of her life? But . . . is that a story beat, a character beat, a plot beat, an emotional beat? One or more of the above? Story, yes; plot, probably; character, probably; emotional; maybe; action; no?

And what is the difference between story and plot beat? I don’t know. I am confused.

A part of me wants to forget this whole notion of writing beats.

General

On Genre and Shelving

This week I went to a library that did not have a separate science fiction shelf. (Or a 657ipiseparate mystery shelf.)  Instead the library put science fiction sticker on the spine and shelved the books in alphabetical order by last name.

I was displeased by this arrangement. I wanted all the science fiction books in one place so I could look at them all at once. I didn’t want to wander through half the library looking for science fiction/fantasy books.

I suppose if I had time to look through all the shelves and was willing to be distracted by interesting covers, it would have been excellent arrangement. But I didn’t have much time, I just wanted a quick look at their science fiction/fantasy selection and see if something looked good.

I may go back if I have a few hours to spare. And can I say how odd it was to see literary classics and science fiction books on the same shelf. Which may have been the point.