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.


Monday, May 17, 2010

What Keeps You Reading?

The Read ... An anonymous person, standing in line in front of me, hooked me into reading a new, if ponderous, author.  Her arms were filled with Raymond E. Feist books, an author I'd never heard of even though I used to read lots of sword and sorcery fantasy.  After listening to her glow about her find, I went back  to see if anything used was left in the stacks.  The one used book I found was Talon of the Silver Hawk.  -- Through most of the book, I wondered why the heck I was reading the book.

Feist offers a standard story line:  a youth survives the massacre of his village/people, is rescued, and then, sets about revenging his people.  Talon of the Silver Hawk is the how he is trained and seeks his revenge.  Of course, the story isn't as simple as that.  His rescuers just happen to be the agents of a coalition of mages who seek to overcome an evil group whose agents destroyed the boy's people.  In this case, it's a journey through familiar territory, but still an enjoyable read.

The opening hook starts with a small problem:   "He waited."  One sentence, but the next paragraph was dense with images which let you know the boy was on a vision quest for his adult name.  Once he has he adult name, he returns to find his village under an attack that destroys every one except him. 

The writing is dense and ponderous in its movement forward.  One random example:  "Fate spared him for a reason," said Robert.  "Or at least, I'm trying to take advantage of an unexpected opportunity.  He's ... got something.  I think had this tragedy not befallen his people, he would have grown up to be simply another young Orosini man, a husband and father, warrior when the need arose, farmer, hunter, and fisherman.  He would have taught his son the ways of his ancestors and died of old age satisfied at his lot."

To me this is belaboring the obvious [and I would have cut it from my own manuscript].  The book is filled with similar pages.  Yet, Feist drew me on and I finished the book, all 400+ dense words.  But then, I have an anthropological bias, and Feist tickled it well.

So, what'll keep you reading ... in spite of ...?????

[In case you were wondering, turns out Raymond E. Feist is the New York Times and Times of London best  selling author who writes about the world of Midkemia.] 

Progress ... Spent the weekend revising There Be Demons.  While I cut 100 words of one chapter and 50 from another, my blind spots remain.  I can't find any major problems.  Time for the super-critiquer to make her appearance.

Tonight, I swear, I'm going to finish a third-written chapter of Voices.  Five or more (?) empty except for notes chapter headings wait for me to supply some scenes.

Trivia ...  Thinking I need to drag my bum hip onto the sidewalk and make it walk at least a half a mile.

1 comment:

Margo Berendsen said...

Yeah, I see what you mean about the lay-it-on-thick writing. I could *potentially* see how the excerpt you gave *might* be useful information for the reader to know, if it was related to the plot, but otherwise it doesn't contain anything specific enough for interest. It's just a side-thought. Never read Feist though I've heard of him.

So what'll keep me reading, in spite of...??? I can handle a lot of "fluff" (tangents, wordy descriptions, etc) if I'm curious enough about the MC or the plot to see what's going to happen. Especially in fantasy. I am not so tolerant of real world stories that don't have clean, zippy writing. I just finished a YA like that... barely finished it, only because it promised a big family confrontation at the end - and then didn't deliver!! Not happy about being let done. Won't even bother to mention the book.