Devices and Desires by K. J. Parker – Further Thoughts

Devices and Desires (Engineer Trilogy)

Still enjoying this book! About 250 pages out of 800+ so far, and it’s still a good read. There’s something about his style that I can’t quite put my finger on that I really like. I think it’s because it’s not dumbed down at all. There’s quite a lot of detail and the settings feel real. The more evil character is not over the top, but realistic and you sort of like him in a way.

My one gripe would be that there are three or four male characters who act as POV characters that are all a bit samey. I would like to have some sort of clearer difference between them. Apart from the engineer character, the other three are all nobles and there’s something about them that makes them all generally sympathetic and likable, perhaps a bit too likable?

Season of the Witch – interesting film coming out March 19, 2010

This looks quite interesting, and the plot is definitely up my street:

“14th century crusaders take a woman accused of witchcraft to an abbey where the monks will examine her and determine if her sorcery is the cause of the Black Plague which has decimated Europe.”

Video Trailer for Season of the Witch

And here:

But difficult to tell from the trailer! Apparently not based on a book, but the title sounds very familiar. There is a novel with the same name, but it’s got a different setting, and also a George Romero film from 1973, but again set in modern times. I wouldn’t be surprised if they took the same plot and put it back into medieval times to give it a more fantasy feel.

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First Draft of The Knight Who Wouldn’t Die is done!

Managed to finish off the first draft of my current short story this morning! Wahey! Well pleased with this.

Also changed the name a bit, after all not many people will know who my character Jake is just yet. So the working title is now “The Knight Who Wouldn’t Die”. I think that’s intriguing enough, but also there’s a little twist in the meaning of it as well as will become clear for anyone who get’s a chance to read it.

I got up early this morning to write for a change, something I haven’t done in a while, and this definitely helped – mind too zoned, yet clear, to be distracted by anything else except writing narrative. Seemed to work well. I will have to grit my teeth and do this more often.

Next step for the story is for me to read it through a couple of times and make some edits. I’m not looking to cut it down too much, which is a relief. It comes in at about 4,700 words, which I think is fairly acceptable for most publications. Once the editing is done I will send it off to Critters and OWW for some feedback.

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Nearly finished Jake and the Knight

Just one more scene to write I think – the climax of the story. I found that I haven’t included quite as much detail in the last bit, I just felt that I was getting into too much detail in some of the fight scenes and getting away from the real point of the story.

I am excited about finishing it soon and then going through the editing process. Hopefully will have a version ready for Critters or OWW by the end of 2009!

Some Views of Berkhamsted Castle

Berkhamsted Castle was the main residence outside London of Edward of Woodstock, the Black Prince. The castle was part of the lands of the Earl of Cornwall. In it’s day it was an impressive fortification, with two moats and two walls, plus a motte and tower. Now unfortunately due to the 16th building craze most of the walls are quite diminished, but it is still an atmospheric site

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Sometimes You Just Need to Keep Writing

One of the hardest things in writing can just be getting started. Whether it’s starting a new piece of work or at the beginning of a writing session to get the first few words out.

Another key factor sometimes is just to keep yourself going. I’ve got to a bit of a mid-narrative doldrums in my story at the moment. I don’t think it’s because of the story itself, but probably because some of my initial enthusiasm has drained a little bit, and energy levels have been a bit lower this week for a number of reasons – probably because it’s so damn cold!

So yesterday and today it has been a bit of a struggle. Today I got through a few paragraphs, and I thought “well maybe that’s enough for today”. But I kept going a bit further and the writing seemed to come a bit easier and picked up. I think once I got over the 20-30 minute mark my writing brain started to spark into life a bit.

I’m not saying the writing was great, but at least I felt a bit more inspired and got further through the narrative than I thought I would.

Don’t give up – an obvious but also very pertinent motto to have!

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Just Started Reading Devices and Desires by K. J. Parker

Just started reading Devices and Desires (Engineer Trilogy) this morning. Parker is a new author to me, so I felt a little bit of trepidation when opening the book – you never know if you are going to be wasting your time or not.

So far the book is well written and accessible. It appears to be set in a world similar to Renaissance Italy, with small states fighting and intriguing amongst each other. The main character, Valens, is the son of the Duke of one of these states. He is destined to rule, but is more interested in the fifth daughter of a rival Duke, than in learning statecraft. The other main plot element is going to be about “devices” produced by the largest most powerful state, which leads the world in technology. Not sure how this will develop, but I am assuming that alongside the love interest this will be a major element of the story.

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Top Fantasy Authors of the Decade based on UK Sales

The Bookseller released some statistics today on the top 100 selling authors in the UK market from 2000 to 2009. I have extracted the fantasy authors from their data to put together the following list:

1          Rowling, J K                    27,556,478 units, revenue of  £215,876,812.77

6          Pratchett, Terry            8,670,317 units, revenue of  £63,979,648.47

21        Pullman, Philip              5,337,773  units, revenue of  £34,670,831.34

23        Tolkien, J R R                4,960,414  units, revenue of  £47,169,467.51

25        Meyer, Stephenie         4,646,667  units, revenue of  £26,971,717.71

66        Koontz, Dean                  2,500,606  units, revenue of  £14,742,572.68

It’s interesting that fantasy isn’t as dominant a genre as one might be lead to believe with only 6 in the top 100 – and that’s only if we consider Meyer and Koontz as fantasy. SF isn’t placed at all, which is a shame.

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