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Scheduling Conflict

August 13, 2011

Remember the “Witch’s Daughter” story I posted the outline for a week or so ago?  It seemed like I had the whole story planned out, but after getting four chapters in last weekend I kind of hit the wall.  I just haven’t felt really comfortable with it and I think I know the reason why.  I think it’s because I haven’t read enough fantasy, so trying to write in that genre doesn’t feel right.

I’m not going to can the idea, but it’s going on hiatus.  I figure in a couple of months or maybe next year I’ll get back to it.  In the meantime I’m going to read some fantasy–especially some George RR Martin for Mr. Offutt (that’s my birthday present to you!)–and try to better define the world of the story.  That way the next time I might feel more comfortable when I start writing.

Moral of the story:  bone up on the genre in which you’re writing!  Which I already knew, but sometimes I forget things like that.  I’m a dumbass that way.

In the meantime, it’s good I reposted the “Bucket List” entry because I thought of a story that fits the mysterious third item on my Bucket List.  It’s basically a paranormal revenge story.  If I said the high concept is “Robocop” (or “The Crow” or “Darkman” or probably a bunch of others) crossed with “Orlando” by Virginia Woolf (also “Self” by Yann Martel but that book sucks) would I sound crazy?  Probably.

I’m not sure if it’s going to be long enough to qualify as a novel.  Might be more of a novella.  But maybe then I can take down another item on my Bucket List.

That is all.


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  1. A list of fantasy books I recommend: Yes, George is there but only if you promise to agree 100% with all my opinions (Just/kidding…however, it’s nice one someone validates you). In addition to Mr. Martin I suggest the following:

    1) David Eddings’ Belgariad. It starts with Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, Magician’s Gambit, Castle of Wizardry, and Enchanter’s End Game. I promise these are page turners.

    2) J.R.R. Tolkien

    3) Roger Zelazny “The Chronicles of Amber”. In order, these are a) The Nine Princes of Amber 2) The Guns of Avalon 3) The Sign of the Unicorn 4) The Hand of Oberon 5) The Courts of Chaos. They are fabulous books.

    4) Piers Anthony “The Incarnations of Immortality”. a) On A Pale Horse b) Bearing An Hourglass c) With a Tangled Skein d) Wielding A Red Sword e) Being a Green Mother

    5) Neil Gaiman. “American Gods” and “Stardust”.

    6) Frank Herbert “Dune”. More sci-fi I know but it’s a fantasy too.

    7) And for sheer impressive world-building in an underrated set of novels, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman with their “Rose of the Prophet” series. Holy cow was that a tour de force. I’ve never seen an Arabian themed trilogy like it EVER. It blew me away. Right from the very beginning. Honestly…more impressive than Dragonlance.

    • I read American Gods a year or so ago. The LOTR ones I read in high school, but I’m going to reread them again because I bought a complete set of new paperbacks (in their own nifty little box) from Bargain Books a month or so ago.

      The others I’ll have to put on a list on Goodreads or something. If I get a Kindle or tablet or whatever I should go download them.

      Thanks and happy birthday!

  2. Mike–great list of books!

    Rogue–I think it’s a great idea to read more books from a genre before writing a story. Kudos to you!

  3. I’m not real well versed in fantasy anyway, but i did read the Patrick Rothfuss books this year, they made the NPR list for best fantasy/sf books of all time. I found them frustrating because I liked them, but found them very flawed.

    Other than the Dresden Files books (Urban Fantasy) I don’t really have much more to offer you in terms of genre stuff.

    I wonder what you think you’ll get from reading a bunch of genre stuff? I mean, there has been some talk in the science fiction circles that a lot of mainstream fic has become sci fi, however, since it’s being written by folks who know little of the genre they often don’t realize that they are rehashing concepts and tropes that have been around for a while. But when the story is well written it’s well written. I’d like to see you write it, you can always go back and turn the vampires into orc’s or something later if you need to.

    One thing I do hear about fantasy nowdays is stuff about the magic system. That’s what will determine your ‘street cred’. If you are reading fantasy to learn about their tropes then keep an eye on how the magic works.

    Now that I think of it, I heard recently that Brandon Sanderson is the modern master of magic systems, they say his are the most clever, well thought out of modern guys.

    Funny that I read so little of the genre (I’ve been reading more lately though), but most of podcasts I listen too discuss this stuff at length. So I have a bunch of second hand knowledge.

    Anyhow, good luck.

    • You get a lot from reading aside from just knowing what’s out there. Reading makes you a better writer…period. It improves your abilities. I can always tell when I read someone that is writing but hasn’t read a lot. Their writing is stunted, immature, in a word…poor. I’m not saying that “poor” cannot be published. But poor writing looks stupid in my eyes. I guess it depends on whether or not you care what people think of your writing. Yes I want my work published and on the shelf or available online. But I also want it to be considered excellent.

      As Tyrion Lannister said (in Game of Thrones) “A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.”

      • MIke – agreed on all counts, however, it’s clear that Rogue is well read, and continues to read. Anyone who says they write, but doesn’t have the time, or desire, to read is someone who I won’t trust to write a good story, the two go hand in hand.

        I’d just like to know what exactly Rogue hoped to learn from diving into genre stuff, I believe he knows character, arcs, mythic archetypes, I’ve heard all about reading a genre before writing in it, and I do agree for the most part, I mean, if my great novel I’ve been writing for the past decade is a story about cloned dinosaurs it might do me well to at least be aware of Jurassic Park.

        And specifically in Rogue’s case, if he were writing a quest story about a band of men, dwarves and elves, marching off to combat an unstoppable evil, I’d be asking if he’s read in genre too. But I liked his outline, and it didn’t seem something that obviously has been done so much that it’s already derivative before he starts writing a single word.

        So again, I don’t want you to miss my point, it’s not reading that I question, it’s his motivation, in particular, for reading genre, that intrigues me.

  4. I am a fantasy fanatic! I LOVE The Runelord series. I think you’d like it too. It’s AMAZING and actually spurred me forward with my own fantasy. 😉

  5. Yeah, it’s about 10 months later and I still haven’t gotten around to this. Someday.

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