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What about this version? Too vague?

It's a matter of taste. In general, I don't like too much detail bogging down the action. On the other hand, you have to set the scene. The problem is that the reader (me) doesn't know what's going to be important later on so he/she/it/me gives it all equal weight even if the writer doesn't.

 

"When the feud threatens to explode once more, however, only Moscow's latest hero, the Golden Lynx, can save the day. But who is the Golden Lynx, and what price must Nasan pay to protect those she loves?"

Um...never seeing them again? (Classic therefore hackneyed.) Marrying someone she doesn't love? (Girly, unless she kills him later.) Like the yin-yang suggests; everything good will contain something bad and vise versa. There's no winning this game of "how to proceed" except to play it and let the chips fall where they may.

 

Yes, I know we're even farther away from what we're reading, but you're reading this, aren't you? :huh:

So far, so good. But I may not be your typical reader.

 

Typically yours,

-Thoth.

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It's a matter of taste. In general, I don't like too much detail bogging down the action. On the other hand, you have to set the scene. The problem is that the reader (me) doesn't know what's going to be important later on so he/she/it/me gives it all equal weight even if the writer doesn't.

 

 

Um...never seeing them again? (Classic therefore hackneyed.) Marrying someone she doesn't love? (Girly, unless she kills him later.) Like the yin-yang suggests; everything good will contain something bad and vise versa. There's no winning this game of "how to proceed" except to play it and let the chips fall where they may.

 

 

So far, so good. But I may not be your typical reader.

 

Typically yours,

-Thoth.

Thanks. I'll leave it this way for now. If the site has had 10 visitors since I created it, I'd be surprised, so it's not like J.K. Rowling is floating the next Harry Potter (yet! :huh:). I can always correct it later.

 

At least this version didn't evoke thoughts of Buffy. And yes, I'm trying to avoid having the book come off too "girly" (meaning filled to the brim with romance-novel clichés—not that I have a problem with them in other contexts, but I'm aiming for something else here).

Cheers,

M

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It's a matter of taste. In general, I don't like too much detail bogging down the action. On the other hand, you have to set the scene. The problem is that the reader (me) doesn't know what's going to be important later on so he/she/it/me gives it all equal weight even if the writer doesn't.

 

I agree. Less filler. More calories.

 

At least this version didn't evoke thoughts of Buffy. And yes, I'm trying to avoid having the book come off too "girly"

 

That's easy. Have all the characters grunt a lot. :huh:

 

IF

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I agree. Less filler. More calories.

That's not the whole description—just a last sentence I revised after Thoth picked up the all-too-obvious Buffiness of the earlier version. I'll think about expanding the paragraph that precedes the sentence, but there are about 40 pages of info on politics, society, historical background, and the like scattered throughout the novel's first four chapters. Without that introduction, the plot becomes difficult to follow pretty fast, so on the website I'm trying to spark some interest without provoking too many questions of the "but why would they even think that?" variety. Eventually I'll post the first chapter, and that will help some.

 

That's easy. Have all the characters grunt a lot. :D

IF

:huh: Do I hear echoes of Arnold the Superchimp? ;)

M

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Hi all.

Well, I haven't been here for a while. (Since January?)

 

What am I reading now and why? The "and why" takes a bit of an explanation.

 

Back in late-1986 I was browsing a bookstore near where I worked and came across Piers Anthony's On a Pale Horse (Incarnations of Immortality, Bk. 1). Basically, it's a story about a man who becomes Death, or at least the incarnation of death. The series was supposed to end after five Incarnations (Death, Time, Fate, War, Nature) but went on to seven (Evil, Good), the last being And Eternity, in 1991, where a woman becomes the new incarnation of good (i.e., God). Anthony's basic concept here was to treat such things as Death as offices that could be filled by different people. Interesting. Interesting enough to keep me reading the seven-book series from 1986 to 1991 and watch the prolific Anthony become a best-selling author.

 

So imagine my surprise when, while browsing Amazon, I come across Under a Velvet Cloak (Incarnations of Immortality, Book 8) published in 2007. And I missed it. Well, there was a sixteen-year gap so I think I can be forgiven. How has Anthony's writing changed? It's gotten a bit naughtier. Okay, a lot naughtier. (And him a man in his middle-seventies!)

 

Anyway, I'm enjoying the read although, despite the naughtiness, I suspect the book is targeted at a younger audience than myself.

 

Ah, memories.

-Thoth.

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Well, I haven't been here for a while. (Since January?)

 

Wow, that long? Well, I'll contribute too. Recently, I finished reading the Rifter series by Peter Watts. This starts with "Starfish", followed by "Maelstrom", and then a pair of books that are rolled into a single ebook: "Behemoth: B-max", and "Behemoth: Sepukku" (sp?). These were all free downloads in Stanza. If you like sociopaths and don't expect a happy ending, give them a read.

 

I recently started reading "Blindsight", also by Peter Watts. I'm having trouble getting into this one so far. I also started "For Us, The Living" by Heinlein (I think), not Lincoln. A friend lent it to me.

 

I gotta say, I like reading books on my iPod Touch. So portable. I just wish there was more selection, and that the books did not cost 2-3x what they cost in paperback form.

 

IF

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On my birthday (last month) I received a beautiful bonded leather copy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Celebrated Cases Of Sherlock Holmes. The thick tome is heavy and not terribly portable (it's no iPod or Kindle) so I put off diving into it. If I'm in the proper (deductive) frame of mind after "Velvet" it's next on my list.

-Thoth.

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Wow! Has it been over a year already? A year and a month?

 

My year has been filled mostly with non-fiction. In fact I'm currently reading The Official C.I.A. Manual Of Trickery And Deception by H. Keith Melton & Robert Wallace. Basically it's about the C.I.A.'s use of professional stage magic in their day-to-day field operations. (It's not all jet packs and laser cufflinks, folks.) I'm also working my way through The New York Times Practical Guide To Practically Everything edited by the team of Amy & Peter Bernstein. It covers 30 broad topics (with sub-topics such as how to stock your wine cellar on a budget, how to grill fish perfectly, how to mix classic cocktails, you get the idea). It's a large-format 834-page book with few pictures but a good index.

 

As for fiction, I'm currently reading the four-volume Ender series by Orson Scott Card. The tortured child makes good plot still works for me. But I thought book one ended far too abruptly for my tastes. There was a long build-up and then suddenly, in just a few pages, it's done. (No, I won't give away the ending.) I thought book two was better than book one but I admit I was a little put off by the initial plot device: It takes place 3000 years after book one ends, and both Ender and his sister are still alive, kept young through near-lightspeed space travel (a property of the special theory of relativity, don'cha know).

 

Okay. That's it for now.

Just keeping the thread alive.

(It can't all be about corsets and neckties.)

- Thoth

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Wow, such seriousness. I'm impressed, says a person with a paperback called Izuchaem tatarskii iazyk (Let's Study the Tatar Language, in Russian) at the top of her local book pile. :D

 

Also there, in no particular order:

Kim Hudson, The Virgin's Promise (an alternative, supposedly feminine novel structure counterpart to the Campbell/Vogler Hero's Journey);

Devin deWeese, Islamization and the Golden Horde—great for my research, although a bit tough to follow at the end of the day;

Becky Levine, The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide (yes, there was trouble in Paradise, i.e., my writers' group, although it seems to have resolved itself);

William Noble, Conflict, Action, and Suspense.

 

The fun stuff is all on my iPad, including:

Elizabeth Peters, Crocodile on the Sandbank; Curse of the Jackal; The Hippopotamus Pool; Seeing a Large Cat (all these were $1.99 at a promo through iBooks); and A River in the Sky—5 of her Amelia Peabody mysteries, of which I have read all 20+;

Baroness Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel (of course!);

Jason Goodwin, The Janissary Tree;

two novels and a screenplay by this character who calls herself Marguerite.

 

Those are all in iBooks. In Kindle for iPad I have many books, but the ones I am actually reading or expect soon to read are:

Stieg Larssen, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (bought for Sir Percy, who just finished it; I saw the movie of the first one and may tackle this now that he's done);

Anne Perry, The Sheen on the Silk; and last but not least, because I like her time-traveling, alternate-universe historians,

Connie Willis, Blackout.

 

Do you read books on your iPad, Thoth, or is it too much hassle because of Tiger?

Glad you revived this thread!

Best,

M

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Kim Hudson, The Virgin's Promise (an alternative, supposedly feminine novel structure counterpart to the Campbell/Vogler Hero's Journey);...

A feminine novel structure? I'm intrigued. What's the difference between a feminine novel structure and a masculine novel structure? If any? (Do masculine novel structure protagonists forget to call after a date?)

 

Do you read books on your iPad...

Yes an no. I downloaded a few directly via Wi-Fi (where Tiger is not a factor) and enjoyed the novelty for a while, but I find I really do prefer actual paperbacks. It's good for reference books, magazines and newspapers (e.g., The Wall Street Journal) though.

 

Glad you revived this thread!

Me too. I think it's one of our better ones.

- Thoth

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Right now, I'm reading The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. It's science fiction. I'm about half-way through. It's a very engaging book. I picked it up because my wife was so moved by it that she practically threatened to tie me to a chair Clockwork Orange style and read it to me if i didn't! :D. But so far I like it a lot. Very well drawn characters, lovely wordplay.

 

Orren

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Right now, I'm reading The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. It's science fiction. I'm about half-way through. It's a very engaging book. I picked it up because my wife was so moved by it that she practically threatened to tie me to a chair Clockwork Orange style and read it to me if i didn't! :D. But so far I like it a lot. Very well drawn characters, lovely wordplay.

 

Orren

I loved The Sparrow. Did you hear Russell's interview on Speaking of Faith (The Novelist as God)? I was hoping she would speak more of how she works as a novelist and less of God as a novelist, but it's still interesting. You can download the MP3 (and the entire unedited interview, if you like, although I didn't think the unedited version added much) via that link.

 

The sequel (Children of God) is also extremely good. It resolves many questions left unanswered by The Sparrow.

 

I haven't read her others. I like her style, but the topics didn't appeal to me—although the one she's working on currently sounds interesting.

Best,

M

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I think you're going to enjoy The Sparrow. A secret Jesuit space expedition to the planet Rakhat? Gotta luv it! This is Dr. Russell stretching her wings (as an actual paleoanthropologist) in her first novel and won a lot of awards in the process. If you like Clarke or Blish (or just the idea of Jesuits in space) you'll like this. (Your wife has good taste, Orren.) Her latest work, however, is less science fiction and more historical novel. (Hence M's interest?)

 

In March 2006 it was announced that Warner Brothers had purchased the rights to The Sparrow. Michael Seitzman (who mostly writes for TV) will write the screenplay. Brad Pitt will play the role of protagonist Sandoz. It is scheduled for release in 2012.

 

Tied to a chair and read to?

Sounds like a good weekend.

- Thoth

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A feminine novel structure? I'm intrigued. What's the difference between a feminine novel structure and a masculine novel structure? If any? (Do masculine novel structure protagonists forget to call after a date?)

- Thoth

:D

 

To be honest, I think that's just a selling point, hence the "supposedly." The structure is definitely different, but the examples given include About a Boy and Billy Elliot, neither of which has a female protagonist. That said, I encountered the book when I was about halfway through my Script Frenzy script and was fascinated to discover that the structure fit my heroine's arc better than the Hero's Journey ever did; I even used it to figure out what was missing in one spot so I could work my way out of a plot tangle.

 

The basic idea is that not all journeys are constructed as action-oriented heroic quests directed away from one's birth community in order to save it. The "feminine" journey begins with the protagonist embedded in her family's or culture's (or both) expectations and constrained by her family's love for her and her desire to please them. But pleasing others has a cost that the heroine doesn't want to pay, for whatever reason, and when the opportunity arises she is pulled away from her family, often setting up a secret world where she can be herself while appearing still to be the conventional daughter/wife/mother. This creates conflict between her real self and her loved ones' expectations of her. Eventually she is found out, and she has to choose. The result is social and psychological chaos (narrowly defined), but if she chooses wisely, her family/culture/kingdom will reorient itself, becoming richer in the process. So it's a tale of becoming, rather than a tale of action, which fits a conventional interpretation of female (being) vs. male (doing).

 

Of course, the division is absurd. A woman can undertake a Hero's Journey, and a man can grow into his own identity (which he probably doesn't want to call a virgin's promise—yucky name!). What I like about Hudson's book is that, despite the hype, she actually blends the two journeys and shows how you can strengthen a story by combining elements of each, making the whole thing less predictable while still invoking the archetypes that readers like.

 

But now I've told you what the big point is, so you can save your $12 ($10 on Kindle—not available on iBooks last time I checked). :D

Best,

M

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But now I've told you what the big point is, so you can save your $12 ($10 on Kindle—not available on iBooks last time I checked). :D

My thanks, Lady M.

I'll donate the money to charity. Perhaps to NaNoWriMo this November.

And now I'll be looking to spot feminine novel structures. (Rambo V: The Virgin's Promise?)

- Thoth

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My thanks, Lady M.

You're most welcome.

I'll donate the money to charity. Perhaps to NaNoWriMo this November.

They will be grateful, I'm sure.

And now I'll be looking to spot feminine novel structures. (Rambo V: The Virgin's Promise?)

- Thoth

You see the problem. :D Not to mention that one example Hudson offers of the "virgin's promise" structure is Pretty Woman, which is certainly an unusual definition of the word "virgin." (Please, Steve, don't get mad at us again: we're talking about writing, I swear!). And there are no real promises in the structure, unless you count the implicit ones that the heroine breaks while in search of herself. Some editor really should have stood her ground until the author came up with a better title!

M

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I wonder if they have Virgin's Promise (icky name, for real) at my local library. I'll have to check it out.

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You see the problem. :D Not to mention that one example Hudson offers of the "virgin's promise" structure is Pretty Woman, which is certainly an unusual definition of the word "virgin." (Please, Steve, don't get mad at us again: we're talking about writing, I swear!)

 

But interestingly—and this relates not only to my own writing, but writing in Storyist—my research uncovered the gem that in Romantic and Regency era England (and probably elsewhere), it actually was possible to be a virgin prostitute. In fact, there were instances of boys/men masquerading as female prostitutes and not getting caught! There are two characters in my story (at a scene in the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, 1817) who are prostitutes, and I seriously considered writing both as virgins.

 

And thanks to Storyist, I could include links to all that research right in my project file! (That counts as both Storyist-related and what I'm reading, right? Since of course I read my own short story!)

 

Orren

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... In fact, there were instances of boys/men masquerading as female prostitutes and not getting caught! ...

I kind of have to wonder about that. I suppose, if they stuck with the oral arts, it's entirely possible. But in Romantic and Regency era England (and definitely elsewhere) boy prostitutes were specifically sought out for rent and purchase (see catamite). And, as I'm sure you know, since acting was considered an unseemly act for women (by men) for most of human history, women's parts were played by boys. I suppose what I'm saying is that boys posing as women has been something of an open secret, historically speaking. I'm sure I read a book that covered this topic but I just can't remember it's name. I keep thinking "The Mikado", a play which broaches the subject but that's not the one I mean.

 

Trying to remember the name of a book.

- Thoth

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I kind of have to wonder about that. I suppose, if they stuck with the oral arts, it's entirely possible.

 

That would be one way. Another relates to the wardrobe and clientele as well. Women—even prostitutes—usually wore multiple layers of clothing. Prostitutes that serviced their clients in the backrooms of pubs, alleyways, or Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens (where part of my story takes place) never really undressed. Married or otherwise sexually experienced men couldn't be fooled into thinking they were having sex when they really weren't, but the research has many a tale of young girls (or boys) who were able to convince the inexperienced (many a young master was taken to a seedy pub in Whitechappel to "become a man") and/or hopelessly inebriated that they were having sex when in fact they weren't. This is also a way in which prostitutes practiced birth control in the day. None of this actually plays into my story—there is no sex, not even an erotic moment. But in researching Regency-era prostitution, I ended up reading a whole lot of background.

 

Orren

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Maybe we should return this conversation to The Sparrow and works like it ASAP. Of course, you're just reporting your research, but as Steve likes to remind us, this is a family forum. I did not intend to send the discussion in quite this direction when I made my oblique reference to a certain Richard Gere/Julia Roberts film.

 

So how far have you gotten in The Sparrow? Have you figured out the essential element of Rakhat's culture yet? Did your wife spill the beans? I don't want to spoil your fun by revealing any plot twists, but it is a fascinating culture that Mary Doria Russell has created.

Best,

M

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So how far have you gotten in The Sparrow?

 

Just to the planet. I've not met any inhabitants yet.

 

All that is in the second half of the book. :D

 

Orren

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I've been reading Xenocide after finishing Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead. I'm about 100 pages in, and I think I'll give up and skip to the next book in the series.

 

Do you guys primarily read books you like, or do you read for research?

 

IF

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... None of this actually plays into my story—there is no sex, not even an erotic moment. ...

Aw.

 

Okay. So how about this. The title of The Sparrow refers to a quote from the KJB Matthew 10:29.

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

 

This is a flowery way of saying, God sees everything. (It'll make more sense to you as you get further along in the book.)

 

Keeping it clean.

- Thoth

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Do you guys primarily read books you like, or do you read for research?

I primarily read books I like, but I like research books. :D

Go figure.

- Thoth

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