Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Life, In The Way; Current Reads

...I am not dead. I have not forgotten about anyone or anything. :-)

It's been a little dramatic the past pair of weeks, as things around the Miller household had to be put on hold for health and recovery reasons. That issue appears (touch wood) to be receding as a concern, so I'll be getting back into revisions and beta-reader mailings this week, and possibly weekend.

The next meeting of my local writing group is coming up next Wednesday, so I've also got to get the current piece read and critiqued. Gonna be a busy weekend!

I'm also going to start doing mentions of books I'm reading and/or enjoying, because a huge part of being a writer is being a reader as well. Here goes!

I snagged my e-copy of Patrick Rothfuss's The Wise Man's Fear right on release day (3/1/2011), and devoured it over the course of the next several days, which were too crazy-full to do any writing, but not so much as to preclude reading. I don't mind saying that I have a bit of a man-crush on Patrick Rothfuss: his previous book (his debut freaking novel) affected me more powerfully than anything else I've read in fiction. Thinking of some scenes still arouses strong emotion, and I've read The Name of the Wind something like five times. In any event, the emotional peaks of Wise Man's Fear weren't as stratospheric for me as in Name of the Wind, but the storytelling was at least as strong, showing that Rothfuss isn't/wasn't a fluke, or one-hit wonder. The one question I have left is how in the world the rest of the story, knowing what we know, can be tied up in the one volume of the trilogy Rothfuss has left? Can't wait for the final installment.

I'm currently listening (via Audible.com) to The Runelords, Book 1: The Sum of All Men, by David Farland. Farland's a new author for me, but his books were recommended strongly in a few episodes of Writing Excuses, so I had to check them out. Fascinating worldbuilding, and the story's definitely sucked me in.

Finally, I'm embarking on a reread of China Miéville's Perdido Street Station, an amazing novel, and one that's a bit of a touchstone for me. I love Miéville's writing: his wordsmithing, his worldbuilding, his theme play, philosophical groundedness, the whole gamut. Perdido Street Station is arguably the work Miéville's most famous for, though he's received a lot of well-deserved press lately for works like The City and the City and Kraken. John Scalzi, today, named Perdido Street Station his #1 novel of the past ten years (in lieu of his own most-famous work, Old Man's War, which recently won a Tor.com "#1 Novel of the Past Ten Years" poll). I completely agree with Scalzi on this: more than anything else I've read (including The Name of the Wind) I read Perdido Street Station (indeed, any Miéville) and think, "Hell's bells, I want to write like that!" His stuff is lush, challenging, fiercely intelligent, and oscillates between gutter-filth and transcendent glory with aplomb. Not a bad pole-star to sail by, though the trade route I follow must ultimately be my own.

More soon!

-Rich

Friday, March 4, 2011

Had a Great Time with the Magic City Writers Group!

Darwin Colossus got both great reviews and a thorough nitpicking on Wednesday night. It was a great time, and I'm very appreciative of the feedback. Thanks, everyone!

I have some thinking to do re: the story's structure, as well as clarifying some aspects of its flow: what happens when, to whom, and by what motivations certain characters make decisions. Sometimes it's hard to judge the balance one should strike between subtlety (implying) and barefacedness (demonstrating); when leaning too far to the subtle side, it's easy to confuse the reader.

Sorry for the sparseness of updates here lately: health challenges continue to complicate my home life, but it's all about keeping going!

I'm going to make a few of the more important clarity-related tweaks, then send Darwin Colossus out to my beta readers within the next week or so. I also have a few candidates for my next short story idea, and I'm going to flesh-out one of those into an outline/mind map not long after.

-Rich