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.