Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Bought BOOKS!

I MADE MENTION in Monday’s post that I was back in the writing saddle now. All geared up and ready to roll with that fantasy novel I was working on last fall. I whipped out all these notes I made before I started writing, world building notes, my outline, even a synopsis of events leading up to the story.

None of that matched what I wrote.

I’m not sure what the point of an outline is if I don’t actually use it. But I apparently found some use for it. So, I went back and reread my 50k or so of stuff to see where I left off. Something jumped out at me right away.

I’m not as good as I thought I was.

Granted, I am not coming at this from a great background in fantasy, I’ve only been reading the genre in the past couple of years, and only been reading Epic Fantasy (what my novel is) for the past year. I read Martin’s Game of Thrones books, Sanderson’s Mistborn books, Peter V Brett’s The Warded Man, and maybe one or two more that I’m just drawing a blank on. 

What I have not done, is read much involving Dwarves, Elves, Goblins, Orcs, etc. I have a book or two in my tbr pile that have dwarves and Goblins each with their own covers, so I presume that I’ll be taking a gander at those tropes soon enough.

It’s a well-known truism of science that innovators in certain disciplines are either very young, or are new to that particular branch of science.  The prevailing wisdom is that they have not been beaten to death with history of the greats that came before them and feel free (or naïve) enough to plunge headfirst without that baggage keeping them back.

I have peeked my head into the genre enough to know that my concept, which I thought was unique, isn’t so fresh as I once thought. That’s okay though, it’s all about execution. So I thought when I started I'd take my fresh concept and innovate the genre. So imagine my surprise when I go back over what I've written and I find out that it has one little flaw... it's not very good. 

Ah dammit. If there is some consolation, I was at Brandon Sanderson's site looking at what he had to say about his Mistborn books that I read recently, and he mentioned he went through seven drafts of his first novel (over about 6 years I think) before he had it in its final form. 

He also mentioned he's written thirteen novels before he sold his first one. Doubly impressive since his tend to be 250,000 word epics, not the 70k lightweights I've turned out in the past.

Maybe, just maybe. There is hope. I'll just need a whole bunch of work I guess.

SOMETHING FUNNY, I suppose, if anyone recalls, I did a post about Robert Wadlow recently, the poor soul that was about 9 feet tall when he passed away. Turns out, after running this blog for nearly 3 years that around a fifth of the page views I’ve gotten, ever, are from that single post last week. I assumed there was some sort of hacker related event that skewed my numbers, that sort of thing has happened before, although not on this scale. I checked and it looks like nothing more than a lot of people Googling Robert Wadlow led them to my post. That and my short critique of the Harry Potter films I did last December have brought in tons of traffic. I find the whole thing bizarre – especially since I had no idea that thousands of folks have been stopping by to see the giant man. If I’d known it would have generated that kind of traffic I would have A) found a way to tie it into my novelette, and B) spent a bit more time writing the post, you know, making sure it was actually good.

I can’t be expected to put that sort of effort into every post. I feel pretty satisfied if I manage to use there/their/they’re correctly through an entire entry.

FINALLY, my wife has had boxes and boxes of crappy cute romance novels in the back of her vehicle for almost a year. It has taken up the back and I can almost never use it when I need to (it's one of those crossover things, looks like an SUV, really its a car) and I finally told her I was getting rid of them, she thanked me profusely and I went to the used bookstore.

They gave me over a hundred bucks in trade for them! 

I picked up that haul to the right there and still had more than $40 left to use later. I was pleased to find the first two installments in the Thrawn Trilogy, which has been recommended by Andrew and Grumpy both (I could have gotten all three, but they had only one copy, and some other guy was there and wanted the same book... and he found it with me standing right there holding the other two - what a jerk) and I found two Daryl Gregory books, which made my day, as well as a stack of other books I've either wanted, or just realized I wanted after I saw them.

I feel like I've gotten away with something, like I should be in trouble. Combined with the Borders haul I got last year I have enough books to keep me busy for the rest of 2012 if I don't buy anything else. That won't happen, and there will be some of these books that I may not get to, 


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I see some Timothy Zahn Star Wars books there!
Read any of Terry Brooks' fantasies?

Brinda said...

I love Neil Gaiman and have several of his. I own the Anansi Boys but haven't had time to read it yet.

Gail said...

What a treasure.

Good luck with yuor writing, I can't write anything of length. I admire your gift.

Grumpy Bulldog, March Madman said...

I've read four of those books in your pile. Sweet.

~Sia McKye~ said...

I love Timothy Zahn's writing! And Rusty, I'm going to forgive you for the *crappy* comment about romance, lol!

Rusty. Don't be so hard on yourself. When a genre first excites us and we decide to write it, isn't there always a learning curve? and lots of practice to implement ideas and story lines with the ease we see utilized by some of our favorite authors.

We may get many ideas that sound great in our heads. When we get it down on paper we really get to see the work involved to make it viable. A lot of practice comes into play and quite a bit of deep six filing, lol!

Okay, what's salvageable in this work in progress? Do you like your characters? Have a world that's real? What's fun about the story that you really enjoy? That fun/enjoyable adventure part is what will have the strongest voice-because it fun and excites you. Readers always pick up on that.

Just out of curiosity, what's wrong with breaking 200k into 3 really good books of a series?


Sara said...

When my dad gave me my nook for my birthday (I had saved up to buy it myself for my birthday) I immediately bought WAY to many books on it...I had already saved so much money, why not spend it on much better than say, rent.

M Pax said...

I have some Neil Gaiman in my TBR pile, too. The Runelords, too. The rest of Game of Thrones.

Siobhan said...

Hi there. It's not insecure writers Wednesday, but I'm just going down the list of blogs on Alex's site to check out what's out there. Feel free to pop by mine. Good luck with your writing!

Andrew Leon said...

Don't listen to Alex. Don't read Terry Brooks. Just don't. But do pick up the Belgariad by David Eddings. Just those. Nothing else by him.

My used book store won't trade anything for sci-fi/fantasy except sci-fi/fantasy. I have envy.

Donna Hole said...

I have a huge TBR list, and I'm always purchasing books. Too many to read.

Takes a lot of writing to get any novel perfect :)


Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I got 15,000 page views on Monday from people googling Michonne from the Walking Dead.

How strange that sometimes things just go viral.

It's awesome that you got so much trade for old books. I'm happy that you are able to look at your own work with new perspective. Good luck in the realm of fantasy. I can't wait to read it.

The Golden Eagle said...

That looks like a great stack of books.

Anansi Boys was classic Neil Gaiman style--strange, funny, and quirky.