M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Good byes

Trivia:  Well, we went to the farmer's market and bought the last fresh corn-on-the-cob for this year.  It was truly organic with a worm on top.  So, we say good-bye to the warm season.  At least the cold season will "roller-coaster" for a while before it hits the deep chill.

Reading Lessons:  You'd think someone my age would be done with lessons, but I'm pretending to be a writer.  Have to learn what I'm doing first, though.  So, what did comparing Jim Butcher (Turn Coat) and Stephanie Laurens (Temptation and Surrender) teach me?   (Besides I don't think I have the right mind-set to be a romance writer.)

Pacing, for one thing.  Both books are about 400 pages long.  Butcher comes out of the blocks in the first chapter with Dresden's nemesis turning up on his door step (wounded) asking to be hid from their fellow Wardens (magic workers guarding humans against the supernatural under the direction of the "White Council").  Laurens has her MC (Emily) showing up on the Cynster-clone's door step seeking to manage the village inn after running away from her uncle to look for a missing family treasure.

Nice start for both ... but Butcher continues the pace of his action.  Whatever Dresden does, some monster or other slips a "jimmie" into the works.  In each chapter, problems intensify and foil Dresden's trys to prove the "rogue" Warden's innocence.  The world stays consistent with the previous books, though Dresden isn't the adolescent male of the first ones.  All those people trying to kill him have aged him.  

Once, the bad guy is found and disposed of, Butcher leaves enough ideas dangling that you know another Dresden book is in the works.  -- You gotta love the concept of the "Grey Council" of wizards fighting the "Black Council" without the knowledge of the "White Council".  -- I sank into the book's world and read it in two days.

I struggled through Laurens' book:  skipping the overlong love scenes, skimming much of the rest, including anachronisms, and still taking forever to get to the end.  Laurens characters waltz back and forth until they end up in bed about half way through the book.  About the same time, Emily's uncle finds her and her siblings.  But, he's basically a red herring with another villain lurking in plain sight.  The last half of the book moves, at a slow pace granted, but the romance genre is different than the thriller.   They do find the treasure and live richly ever after.  Bottom line:  I think Laurens wrote a 300 page book plus padding.

It's not the romance I'm objecting to, maybe just the microscope she turns on it.  Butcher provides Dresden with a little romance -- though I doubt if he will ever enjoy a "happily-ever-after" since another relationship bit the dust in Turn Coat.  I'm not objecting to the sex either.  I'm already into a new Feehan Carpathian book.

One thing both books did:  you could break down the action into four sections, each one offering a major complication to confuse things until the last chapter.  Laurens got bogged down in the first half, but picked up the pace in the second.

Progress:  Still editing both Tangled and Emma.  Surprising how much better Emma flows as a middle grade book.  It remains to be seen if it's salable -- but I feel confident now that I'll get an ending on it.

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