‘Chivalry’ is the first story of his I have read and liked it a lot. Aside from his choice to play with the definition of chivalry, I also liked the setting, that of the aftermath of battle. I don’t think it is covered enough, which is a shame as the ashes of war give rise to some of the most history and alternate history tales I have read.
If you have read and enjoyed my short story Chivalry, then hopefully you’ll be pleased to hear that there is now a sequel available: Bring on the Night.
Bring on the Night tells the story of what happened after the events of Chivalry – what happened to Jake and to the boy, all set against the backdrop of the Hundred Years War and with a dash of horror and paranormal fantasy thrown in.
So this last week was a big wash out for me – big time. Absolutely no new words at all.
Away for business and then caught a bad cold, lots of travelling and although I know I should be, I just didn’t do any writing.
That’s it – not much else to report!
On non-writing news, I finished reading A Feast for Crows – it was good! Ended up being better than I thought, but I was initially confused about where half the characters had gone. I guess that’s what happens when a series just gets too big –
too many characters and too tricky and disorientating to keep switching. Tricky though if you don’t read the next book straightaway – so I suppose I’ll need to get on with A Dance with Dragons!
While I was away I picked up a mass-market edition of Umberto Eco‘s The Prague Cemetery. I’m half was through so far and enjoying it immensely. Much better than the last Eco I read, Baudalino, which was a huge disappointment. The Prague Cemetery covers some of the same ground, but from a 19th century setting, of Foucault’s Pendulum, which was ace!
Apologies for not posting more regularly about my writing this week. Here’s a quick recap of what I’ve been doing. All words are for Dragon’s Above – chapter 1.
Tuesday, 3rd September – 299 words
Wednesday, 4th September – 371 words
Thursday, 5th September – none! I did do some stuff for the Alt Hist website instead – posting an interview with Priya Sharma, one of the contributors to Issue 5.
Friday, 6th September – 144 words
Saturday, 7th September – 76 words – we had someone over at the weekend, so pretty difficult to write!
What I am finding a bit disappointing this week is that my word count per day is going down. This seems to be partly because I am often only doing a single session a day and leaving it at that. Partly I think that’s explained by having a lot of work on at the moment, but also I think I need to be a bit tougher with myself and force myself to hit a target of at least 500 a day.
I promise to do better this week!
Finished How to Read a Novel. Not the book I was expecting, but a good read nevertheless and inspires one to read more novels! Still reading A Feast for Crows (which I have been calling Feast of Crows by mistake in previous blog posts!) I am not sure what to think of this book. The writing as ever with GRR Martin is great, but the characters don’t particularly seem to be going anywhere (I am half way through). There’s stuff that they are doing, but none of them are in particular danger as far as I can work out, and I am left thinking so what. I’m hoping it will pick up a bit soon.
Started off the morning by getting through a whole lot of submissions to Alt Hist – I’m now mostly up to date for submissions sent in May of this year and have started working through a list of about a dozen stories that I thought were good enough to read again. I read three of those more interesting stories while travelling to and fro work and accepted two of them, which is a great return. One of the stories was so good that I had to finish it off as soon as I got home – it’s a corker!
Writing went fairly well too – did 599 in one session at lunch time on Trial by Dream. I am at about 1500 words and reckon about half way through.
I did set myself a goal of doing 1000 words in total today, but I think because I had such a big chunk (for me) at lunchtime, I didn’t push myself to me – I subconsciously figures that nearly 600 was enough!
Must try to sort out the subconscious tomorrow!
All Alt Hist submissions – and may tuck into a bit of Feast of Crows before bed!
Terry Pratchett is one of those authors that I grew up with as a teenager. He was publishing his first books when I was really getting into things like Fantasy fiction and role-playing games, so his parody of that whole genre really hit the button. The subject area combined a typically English sense of humour, similar in many ways to Blackadder, which was a favourite TV series for kids of my age as well, was perfect reading for me at the time.
I probably read his first 13 or so books in the Discworld series – up to Small Gods I think. After that I stopped. I was at University, had other things on my mind, and frankly I was probably a bit bored with the series by then!
But it’s always nice to come back to an old favourite and recently I’ve been doing that – time to get retro I guess. So I’ve been reading some of the Pratchett books I missed. I picked up I Shall Wear Midnight not knowing anything about it really. My fault – it seem this is the fourth book (?) featuring the young witch Tiffany Aching, AND … I see from the frontmatter that the books featuring her are ‘For Younger Readers’.
I wouldn’t describe myself as young! Would this be for me? Had I stumbled across Terry’s imitation of Twilight?
Yes and No. The plot is fairly predictable – a bit disappointing I thought. There’s an ancient evil that is doing nasty things to all witches (witches in Discworld being similar to magical social workers!) Only Tiffany (I was never really clear why only her) can sort it out. Along the way there’s a bit of a love interest – love triangle – hmm I think this is where the YA comes in. This book, I would suggest is for teenage girls – not boys, who presumably would be reading the regular Discworld stuff. It has a female protagonist – who’s clever, a bit lacking in self-confident, feels a bit put upon, and is in love with one guy, but should be in love with someone else. Feels like a combination of a Jane Austen novel and Twilight to me?
That sounds like I’m being really critical. I’m not. It was a good read and I didn’t mind the character, who was interesting, or the love triangle bit – which produced some humorous moments. The humour wasn’t anything special – I’m sure I used to laugh more when I was reading the earlier books, but perhaps that’s because it was newer then – but I think what I felt let down by a bit was the rather limp plot. The ‘ancient evil’ didn’t really make much of an appearance until a quarter of the way through. The first part of the book seemed more about establishing the character – which was OK, but I didn’t need it that much even though I hadn’t read the other books in this mini-series about Tiffany Aching.
I probably won’t read any other of the books ‘for younger readers’/teenage girls, but I am going to try some of his other more recent books – i.e. stuff that was written this Millenium! Monstrous Regiment is next on my list.
I was thinking about writing heroes the other day. Those writers who inspired a love of reading in me when I was a kid and also, I suppose, have inspired me to write later in life as well. Here are the writers that I would classify as my heroes.
J.R.R. Tolkien Michael Moorcock Robert A. Heinlein Douglas Reeman Alastair MacLean W. E. Johns (creator of Biggles) Terry Pratchett
I also read a few works by the following when I was a kid and loved them more and more as I got older:
Jack Vance Gene Wolfe
I would also have give an honourable mention to comics as well. Particularly 2000 AD and Warlord.
Heroes now? There are a lot of writers I admire nowadays, but I’m not sure I would describe them as heroes in the same way. Perhaps hero-worship is something that is more in keeping with childhood?
While they game is installing and loading, why not also take a read of the start of my short story Chivalry: A Jake Savage Adventure – featuring some medieval warfare of its own! The first fifth or so will be free to read if you click through and download a sample from your favourite ebook retailer.
This research article looks interesting – it’s about how people in the enlightenment became more skeptical about magic, but they could only do so once it was more permissible to have irreligious ideas:
THE DECLINE OF MAGIC: CHALLENGE AND RESPONSE IN EARLY ENLIGHTENMENT ENGLAND
Finally I have finished a scene. It seems to have taken me about a month to finish one chapter which has really been annoying me. I’m not sure why, but it just did. I had to go back and write a scene explaining something about one of my characters, which meant writing a scene 14 a. when I was up to about scene 19. Combined with lots of travel and work commitment this really sauntered along at the speed of slug. Got there in the end, but much too slowly and as a result didn’t feel right. There’s something much more satisfying about writing quickly even if the end result turns out to be a load of c**p.
I surprised myself yesterday by picking up the end of scene 19 and finishing it off in half an hour from a cold start – i.e. I didn’t even read through the preceding part of the scene. Perhaps it was the release of tension I felt by writing something that wasn’t scene 14 a!