After some lackluster reading the last month or so, I am embarking on an epic quest: to reread The Lord of the Rings!I will not be reviewing these stories in a critical sense, because how could I? Instead, I will share some storytelling insights I pick up as I go along.
This will be primarily focused on the books, but I will also reference the films by Peter Jackson to compare the stories as they are told between these two media.
I just finished reading Crossroads of Twilight, the tenth book in Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time series. I’ve already mentioned this book a couple times in recent posts, mostly because it took me longer than I expected to get through it. And not in a good way.
Ten books into this series, I’ve run into more than a couple of stretches where there doesn’t seem to be any real narrative movement, and the characters’ insistence on running in place when there’s a path laid out for them has been frustrating.
This book, however, was the hardest installment of this series for me to get through. Rather than running in place, or even building up to something, the characters in this book just did nothing.
There were a lot of conversations, a lot of plans being made without any details as to what they were, or even what they were aiming to achieve, and a lot of schemes.
Always with the schemes in these books.
Schemes within schemes that are so convoluted, so tepidly hinted at by the POV character of the moment, that the reader can’t possibly have any real clue of what’s really happening. There are so many characters now in this series, and they all have their perfect little plans laid out and ready to spring, except the reader has no idea what any of them are, and there are 200 of them!
So, yeah, this book took me some time to get through. I was simply not interested in most of what was happening. I read the last third of this book in fits and starts just trying to get to the end.
The structure of the chapters was at first intriguing to me. The book is structured in such a way that you follow one particular character or set of characters for several chapters in a row before abruptly pivoting to another character. I think this would have been an effective mechanism to develop specific character arcs if most of the chapters didn’t feel like filler content.
Without getting into details, I was particularly interested in both Elayne’s and Mat’s narratives in this book, but I haven’t heard from Elayne since the first third, and Mat’s story took an unexpected if interesting turn at the end.
All of this is to say that I’m happy to be done with this book, and I’m taking a break before getting into book 11.
Jordan has always toed the line between being just vague enough while building suspense. This story did not build anything. The last few chapters are interesting and definitely set up for book 11, but they do not make up for the 700+ pages of what felt like filler content.
I picked up The Sage, the Swordsman, and the Scholars, Trials of the Middle Kingdom I at Awesome Con 2019, where I met the author. I had seen a banner much like the cover illustration hanging over the tables a couple rows away from my own, and I just had to check out the book.
Pierre Dimaculangan was really friendly, and his passion for his work was immediately apparent.
Well, it’s not quite the end of 2020, but I’m ready to put a pin in my marketing goals for this year. The main reason: marketing did not go well for me. I can likely point to a number of reasons that this is the case, but the primary one is that I was likely too ambitious to start the year, and even a little too ambitious with my adjusted goals at the mid-year point.
I’ve been known to self-edit when I write… a lot. For the first draft of WoEM, I think I wrote and rewrote the first couple of chapters three or four times before I made any real progress on the story.
I’ve been knee-deep in the discovery draft of my short stories for a couple months, and it’s taken a while to convince my brain that it’s only the discovery draft.
It’s been a long time since I’ve written about actual marketing strategies, so I wanted to find a topic I could cover in greater depth over the next several months:
Promoting a New Book Release!
This topic is relevant to my own publishing efforts, since I’m writing and aiming to publish a two-part novella later this year. I’ll start off with a summary of different book promotion strategies, and then deep-dive into each topic in later posts.
As I write “Survivor”, my not-officially-titled duology, I keep thinking about how I might be able to organize my world-building canon better.
Most of what I’ve written in my fantasy universe has been in The Warden of Everfeld stories, of which I have one novel published and one in draft. “Survivor” is the first story that does not overlap WoEM, but shares some of its history and geography with those novels. And I want to make sure that what I write in one doesn’t contradict the other.
My son is eighteen months old now, and he loves listening to stories, turning the pages of books, listening to music, and watching cartoons. I’m not sure how much of any of it he understands, but it’s exciting to watch him experience those things.
A colleague recently told me how he was watching through all of the Star Wars movies with his eight-year-old daughters, hoping to bring them to the theater to see The Rise of Skywalker. He managed to catch it with them just last week, and he said their reactions and excitement in the theater was well worth it.