Monday, February 27, 2012
I jumped the gun a bit, and in a fit of excitement and inspiration I started writing the first chapter. I know, I know--I hadn't even outlined it--but I had an idea of a scene, so I wrote it down. Got half way through the chapter before my schedule even started.
Then, between yesterday and today, I managed to crank out the entire outline. Thank god for drive time at work! Now I have a direction and a focus. Not sure if the story will end up following the outline, but it's a good start!
So here I am, two days into my "schedule," and I have the outline and half of a chapter done. I'm about two weeks and change ahead of schedule, and I've only been at it for a few days. If things keep up like this, I'll be ready to publish early! And that would be awesome!
Let's see how it goes....
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Friday, February 24, 2012
Make no mistake: this novel is exactly what it sets out to be. My first inclination when I picked it up was that I would have enjoyed it a bit more twenty years ago, but it made for pleasant light reading, so I didn't put it down. And I'm glad I gave it a chance. Half way through the first chapter I was reminded of when I loved fantasy written for the young adult crowd, and by the end of the chapter it was evoking memories of Lloyd Alexander and C S Lewis.
The plot was good, with enough drama to keep it interesting and enough reversals of fortune to keep the story from getting stale. It had the archetypical story arcs and sub-arcs for YA fantasy, with plenty of action to keep the reader engaged. Conflict and resolution come quick on the heels of one another, and the main character is given a number of opportunities to be in emotional crisis. And the author did a solid job of putting the conflicts in place, in a way that kept the story engaging.
The environment was well created, each scene evoking strong imagery. Cities of flowers, imposing wizards academies, and seaside shacks all came alive in my mind's eye. More importantly the author did an excellent job of giving detail without forcing the reader to drown in it, keeping the reader engaged with the progress of the story rather than overdoing the backdrop painting. That's a fine line to walk, but it was done with skill here.
The characters are engaging and easily identifiable. The author drew on solid archetypes in creating his characters (shepherd-turned-hero, strong-but-vulnerable-princess, evil-sorcerer, etc), which gives them a lot of flesh in spare exposition. The characters come alive, and the relationships between them are engaging, entertaining, and emotional.
There were a few things that I wasn't sure that I liked. Some of the situations seemed a bit contrived, the romantic relationship between the hero and the love interest seemed forced, and the hero seemed saved by the Deus ex Machina one too many times. But when I looked at them from a Young Adult perspective, all of those details fell into place. There is a time when you WANT the world to all fall into place, where love should be something magical, when the constant threat of oblivion and saving by grace gives meaning to the struggles in your life. There is a perfect time for these messages, and Taming Fire delivers this in spades. It also has a well-conceived concept of magic, a solid political framework, and a GREAT dragon that makes you want to find out what the dooms-day prophecy of a draconic apocalypse has in store for the young hero.
If you like Young Adult fantasy, infused with a rich and magical world, you'll love Taming Fire. If you're not so much into the Young Adult genre, it's still worth giving it a read. You'll be glad you picked it up.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
That's what I'm giving myself. Six months.
80,000 words. 16 chapters. That's 5,000 words a chapter. Two weeks to outline the book, then a chapter a week for 16 weeks. A month to edit. That's 22 weeks. Add in four weeks for slippage. That's six months.
I'm not sure if I can do it--but I sure as hell won't if I don't try.
Friday, February 17, 2012
So now that my book is published, and the post-coital euphoria is beginning to wear off, it's almost time to start writing again. Thelorin's Bones will be the next book, and will feature the same characters and the same environment as Erosan's Tears. I'm giving myself a year to write it: six months to get it out on paper, plus another six months for editing/schedule slippage. As long as I still have a day job, I can't afford to be too prolific.
Btw, if you haven't read Erosan's Tears yet, please pick up a copy. And if you have read it, please review it! I'd love as much feedback as I can get!