Monthly Archives: October 2013

Killing Characters Off

As I’ve mentioned before, Raymond Feist’s latest book finally sends his most famous character, Pug of Midkemia, off to his eternal reward. Personally, I don’t mind this, sometimes a character needs to die to move the story forward.

Not everyone seems to agree, tho. Some friends of mine who are fans of Wearing the Cape didn’t like the fact that some main characters died near the end of the first book, but when you get into the later works you see that their deaths helped propel the story — and the protagonist — forward.

Death is a part of life. Often a sad part, but a part nonetheless, and as such it needs to be talked about in fiction, and the characters need to react to the deaths of those close to them. I fully intend to have that dynamic in play in The Heretic’s Challenge.

On another note, blogging may not happen every weekday during NaNoWriMo (the whole month of November), so I’ll apologize in advance.

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Morning Quote 10/31/13

Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes.

  • Benjamin Franklin

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October 31, 2013 · 7:33 am

When Your Favorite Authors Disappoint

I’ve written before about authors becoming complacent. At that time, I hadn’t read any of Raymond Feist’s books recently, so I couldn’t comment on the later books from personal experience.

I just finished Rides a Dread Legion, so now I can speak from a position of some experience. If I didn’t know this was by Feist, I’d have thought it was by a low- to mid-level independent author that published without editing or without even any halfway decent beta-readers looking at it.

Technical errors show up in what should be a highly polished book. In one instance, a character expresses surprise at a statement that a given personage will arrive soon, despite the fact that just a few (Kindle) pages before, this character had been involved in a conversation where the personage’s arrival was mentioned. In another, despite the previous paragraph saying that as soon as a group magically teleported to an area they were going to observe strict silence, one of the members of the group speaks up to make a comment, and the leader responds without reminding him that they’d decided on silence. There are others, but those should make the point.

Even a volunteer editor should have caught those goofs if I did, because I’m by no means a professional editor. Yet here they are, in a book by a famous author and published by one of the Big Six Publishers.

One person on a writing forum I frequent suggested that maybe Feist has decided that he doesn’t need editors any more. While possible, I wonder at the publisher letting even an author as skilled as Feist send books out with no scrutiny at all. Pobody’s nerfect, after all, and even the big names goof once in a while — as I mentioned above.

Perhaps Feist’s ego has gotten the better of him, or maybe he’s just, as another friend suggested, phoning in in these days without caring much about the quality. Either one would be a shame, and would be an ugly blot on what should have been a remarkable career.

On another note, allow me to apologize for no Morning Quote this morning… I got up late and had to rush to an appointment, so I didn’t have a chance to post one.

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The Way Things Change in Stories

After another day of working on worldbuilding and backstory for The Heretic’s Challenge, it struck me how often things about a story change at this stage of the process.

I had originally intended to have the action in Challenge confined to one nation, with the character traveling around that nation to several locations, but after looking at some things I’ve decided to expand it to several nations. This expands the scope of the story, but makes for a lot more work for the humble author, as now I have to come up with these additional nations when most of my planning so far has been focused on a single nation.

Not, mind you, that I mind… I think it’ll be a better story for the expanded scope, and everything I can do to make the story better, I will. 🙂

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Morning Quote 10/29/13

The job of the writer is to kiss no ass, no matter how big and holy and white and tempting and powerful.

  • Ken Kesey, in “Ken Kesey, The Art of Fiction No. 136” by Robert Faggen, in The Paris Review No. 130 (Spring 1994)

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October 29, 2013 · 8:12 am

Preparing for NaNo

This week looks like it’s going to be pretty hectic, with getting all the final details nailed down before actually writing anything for NaNoWriMo (which starts Friday).

Today I nailed down the basics of the major religion, which will be polytheistic, mostly because the culture is loosely (very loosely) modeled on ancient Greece. There will be competing religions, however.

Still to work on, the map and all the stuff that goes with it.

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Morning Quote 10/28/13

A writer — and, I believe, generally all persons — must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.

  • Jorge Luis Borges, Twenty Conversations with Borges, Including a Selection of Poems : Interviews by Roberto Alifano, 1981–1983 (1984)

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October 28, 2013 · 7:37 am