Lessons from My Reading

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.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Something Different

Lessons from My Reading:  Just finished a wonderful book, Faeries of the Celtic Lands, that the old man picked up at a bookstore over Christmas.  [Author: Nigel Suckling.  Press: Church Farm House, Wisley, Surrey, AAPPL Artist's and Photographers' Press Ltd.  ISBN 13: 9781 904 332749]  Sort of looks like it's self-published, but it's an easy-to-understand discussion of the historical development of faery lore.  Best.  It puts the legends of the Tuatha de Danann in a nice and neat linear historical perspective.

World building is always a problem in writing fantasy.  Wished I had the book when I started Emma -- for when she arrived in Faery.  The book is a convenient one stop source if you want to include faeries or fairies in your WIP.  [If you want more suggestions on world building, check out the link to N. A. Sharpe's blog, Realms of Thought.]

What I liked best with the book was the correlation of the various names given to the same entities in different ethnic groups -- Irish, Welsh, Cornish, Scots, and sometimes Breton.  When I think of the hours I spent last year correlating the varies kinds of fairies, from trooping to solitary, as research for Emma, I turn sort of green.  Five books worth.  (Also gathered from the old man's library.  One of the benefits of being married to a guy interested in folklore.) -- Fortunately, I got the perspective right though I stretched a bit on making the spriggans the villains.

While I'm talking about it,  Flora Celtica: Plants and People of Scotland by William Milliken and Sam Bridgewater [Edinburgh: Birlinn Limited, 2004.  ISBN13: 978 1 84158 303 7] was another book I found immensely helpful with world building.  This time, the Marches of my Half-Elven which I've probably referred to my Mariah.  This is the 400,000+ word glop I would like to turn into a series someday.  --  First, I must figure out how to revise all the beginner mistakes.  [Did anyone hear me say "trunk novel"?]

Progress:  Not much.  Emma is coming down the revision stretch.

Critiquing.  I'm caught up except for the run-throughs.   Maybe I'm insecure, but I feel like I have to scan through my critiques a second time to make sure my comments are on target.

Trivia:  Haiti.  Am getting a little tired of the repetitive reporting ... even from the BBC.  Have any of the reporters left Port au Prince to report on other communities yet?  Granted the roads are sh*t, but isn't that what Land Rovers are for?  No one has a 4-wheel drive that can get to the other communities?  Or, are gas supplies so limited reporters are limited to the distance they can walk?  Whatever, I seem to be missing the names of neighborhoods that the cameras are showing in the backgrounds even with the atlas in front of me.

Doesn't any one of the hundreds of aid groups already in Haiti have generators they can fire up at night?  Were the Haitians, even in the middle class neighborhoods, so impoverished they don't have shovels and pry bars?

I keep contrasting the images of peasants in other countries after earthquakes rescuing their neighbors.  Doesn't anyone in Port au Prince have a basic tool kit.

Also, the fat and sassy reporters seem to be grandstanding while the people are suffering.  Granted they may be helping people behind the scenes.  Granted their publicity is raising funds. Granted, the reporters have "x" number of minutes to fill.  Too bad they fill them by repeating themselves. 

While I'm asking questions.  What are the officials in the other towns in Haiti doing?  Can there really be only one port capable of handling ships.  There are no fishing fleets from the other areas where make-shift unloading efforts can happen or can American ships only unload if cranes are available.  If heavy equipment is on the ground, why has the US Army created a second bush-type run way to allow more planes to land?

So much for my rant.  Guess I just wish the reporters were getting their hands a little dirty instead of standing around emoting.

PS, Addenda, or Whatever.  The news tonight concerning Haiti was more varied ... and shorter so we got some local news as well (even if it tended to bleed).
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