January 12, 2006

Other: Upon Further Examination

So I've been mildly depressed of late, and no, it hasn't been because of the near record-breaking number of consecutive days with rain. No, I got the results of my three-day novel back, and my first response was "What? Not even shortlisted?!"

How's that for hubris, eh?

I haven't read a word of the other works entered, but I think mine's better? Sheesh. Still, I know the setting is interesting, and the plot's good and complex enough without being convoluted. And I'm pretty sure I kept most spelling and grammatical errors out.

Anyways, the SO and I recently bought the latest book of George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series. I know most of the literary (and faux-literary... is that even a word?) look down their collective nose at fantasy writing, and there's some justification for it. Fantasy writing is not what you would call consistently strong throughout.

This series, on the other hand, is good enough that while we bought the first three in paperback, this one we bought as soon as it was released. She, being the much faster reader, was through it within two days. I decided that it had been so long since I read the first books, I should re-read them to recall which plotlines belonged to what characters, and how the timeline worked.

I discovered something: it was difficult. There is one character especially whose chapters I found hard to read through again; he's a hero, and he dies. The author's perspective frequently shifts from one person to the next, and when you feel the concerns and expectations and faith that family, friends and even enemies have for a character, knowing it will all come to nothing is hard to reconcile.

Which led my thoughts to William Goldman's words on characters: if your audience doesn't feel for your protagonist, who cares what happens to him?

Time to re-read my own little story, methinks.


posted by Thursday at 10:14 pm


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