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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

I was wrestling with an angel / You were working on a sonnet.

I have soooo found the theme song for The Stratford Man.

Warren Zevon, My Ride's Here

What's creepy to me is that he apparently wrote that before he found out he was dying. Anyway, it's a hell of a self-eulogy.
Wordcount since last update: 1673
Reason for stopping: must go call boy and get ready for bed.
In a reinforcement of my theory that writing is actually a set of two skills--writing and storytelling, I'm reading a book reccomended to me by cheshyre, The Armor of Light, by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett (Baen, 1988). It's an Elizabethan fantasy that I am pleased to say is almost nothing like the one I'm writing. Phew.

In it's defense, I have to say that I read 200 pages of this monster (it's 500 pages in very close set what looks like TNR maybe 8 point or so (no font ruler handy) with about quarter-inch gutters) today, and I had to force myself to put it down and write the rest of that scene. So I would say on a storytelling level--in that I'm engaged with story and mad to find out what happens--it's very effective. The characterizations are very nice, some of the setpieces take my breath away or make me laugh our loud, and the dialogue is downright snappy in places.

That said, on a craft level, it's a mess. The infodumps quickly reach 'I've suffered for my art and now so shall you' levels, the POV shifts are mindboggling--it's written in that headhopping third POV that doesn't even pretend to be omniscient--especially since there's so much extraneous description and character thrashing and telling of things we've already been shown that I find myself skimming like madwoman. 4 paragraphs of Kit Marlowe packing his clothes--most of which have already been described--probably calls for a William Goldmanning of the text. And there's a contagion of people looking at one another under their eyelashes.

(I'm guilty of this one too. My guys tend to develop tics, especially when I'm writing fast.)

I think a judicious editing could have gotten probably 45K out of this book and made it a better book overall. I'm a very close reader--I have a hell of a time taking my editor hat off--and I think this is a book designed for people who read very quickly.

But it's still damned compulsively readable, and I'm dying to find out how it ends--mostly because I'm curious about a bunch of the supporting cast. I'm reasonably certain I know what happens to Sir Phillip Sidney, who is our protag.

I'll let you know if they pull it off.


I was wrestling with an angel
You were working on a sonnet.


Melissa Scott seems to do the POV shifts a lot. At least, they've happened in alla the stuff of hers I've read. (Yes, a whopping two books. Go me!)

And yes, I enjoyed them better when I skimmed.

And I write this post, flaming this poor book, going, "Someday that's gonne be me with my butt out there getting deconstructed by some wannabe."
I haven't reread The Armor of Light in years, but your recollections generally jibe with mine. I didn't have a strong sense of the writing craft of the book either way, not having been doing as much writing as I do now, but I'm a story reader anyway.

There was one other thing I felt about the book, but I'll have to wait until you're done to see if your feelings on that agree with mine or not.
I'll look forward to it. I should finish today or tomorrow--I'm making good headway.

ARMOR OF LIGHT spoilers below

Hurm. I think they tanked the ending.

Is that it?

Re: ARMOR OF LIGHT spoilers below

I actually emailed Melissa Scott a few years back asking her about the conclusion; I'll see if I can dig up her comments.

Re: ARMOR OF LIGHT spoilers below

I'd like to see those.

I dunno, are you in a mood to pick this thing apart? There were a lot of things to like in it, as well.

Re: ARMOR OF LIGHT spoilers below

I haven't read it in a while, but I'd love to.
This thread or in a fresh one marked for spoilers?

Re: ARMOR OF LIGHT spoilers below

I'll start a new one.

Just saying hi

And noticing how popular you've become! 30 comments on one blog. Cool!

I think there are a lot more Shakespeare lovers out in livejournal land than we knew. ::grin::

Re: Just saying hi

It's not the Shakespeare.