The Read ...
(A fantasy book review)
Discovering a new author's fun ... from seeing an interesting cover ... to discovering an interesting blurb that promises a new twist on a familiar theme ... to reading the author bio which informs you the writer has won several awards that you've heard of before. All in a novel that's "First in a new series!". I sat back, eager to explore the new world of "Golgotham", a hitherto unknown section of Manhattan left over from the 18th century with operational cell phones -- Nancy A. Collins' Right Hand Magic.
What I ended up with was a nicely pedestrian read ... which wasn't quite a shrug off but is definitely heading for the trade pile. The main characters were attractive, engaging people ... but they were upstaged by Scratch, the witchy love interest's familiar. The main character is a mundane human artist (female). Problem self-centered rich parents who stomp on toes rather than caused anguish. The punches pulled from the points of danger. Maybe worse, boy's mommy came to the rescue ... even if her appearance was reasonably explained.
I don't know what I was expecting ... maybe a little more excitement than just a well crafted book that had checked off all the "good writing" points ... without generating much excitement. I was left in the hallway when the MC moved to her new digs, a house with true creep potential ... only the chills never happened.
I don't think I've mention any writer's trade pubs in a long time. Have just mentioned publishing professionals' blogs or given writer's links. So, I'll list some reasons I benefited from the January 2011 issue of The Writer. [I also subscribe to Writer's Digest, but I couldn't find a copy in my pile. Yeah, I pile magazines, newspapers, and newsletters on the table at my elbow.]
The big front page article with the big front cover promo headlined -- interviews on "What's Hot Now", didn't wow me or even give much in the way of insights. The blurb indicated "strong, distinctive voices", "confident, convincing writing", "clearly defined audiences, and "works that defy categorization" were some of the interviewed editors favorite things. While some writer's may have found a market in the interviews, I got lost in the details. Maybe it's just sour gripes because none of the editors were particularly interested in weird fantasy.
The article I marked up all over the place and ripped out to save was: "Writing the First-Person Mystery [Step by Step]". You say you don't write mysteries? You only write in omniscient viewpoint? Sorry, you still can benefit from Brendan Dubois' article. The sound advice pertains to all genres, ie: if you don't do it, you won't have a publishable novel. -- The only problem I found with the article is that the information seemed generic enough to appear in more than one writing how-to. Don't ask me why I saved it. Maybe because it was good summary of the basics.
What else does the issue offer? A couple pep talks, tax info, master's degrees, how to generate sales, and a bunch of other stuff that meets the magazine's goal of offering "advice and inspiration for today's writer".
I'm caught up ... except for all the things left undone ... at the moment.
I don't care which ends are dangling. I'm going to take a vacation. The baking's done, and tomorrow, I wrap the mail-away presents. The next day, I'll send cards and letters. Then, I'm going to watch the second season of "Castle" [I got the DVD set for Xmas.], and I'm going to finish two more Odd Thomas books without having to think about book reviews.
Oh, I'm going to write. Something. I don't know what, but I do know it'll be something old ... or maybe, something new ... but it'll be something to please myself.
So, enjoy a very, merry holiday season ... the whole twelve days!
[More power to you if you can celebrate both
the Latin and the Orthodox versions.]
I'll see you back in the coming year
hopefully, will be better than the last one.