Sequels, prequels and series. A lot of books have them, or are part of them (for series), and I’ve been getting that question, mostly for Accidental Warrior. So, have I thought about what happens to Hal and Bel after the end of the book? Well, yes. Have I decided to write a story about it? Not yet. An issue in my mind is that a big part of Accidental Warrior is Hal’s growing up. I think that has to be true for any book where a character changes and grows a lot. All that growing up is past tense for any sequel. Of course, there can be another development arc, one that goes off in another direction. It would be great if these sorts of things burst out fully formed, rather like Athena from the head of Zeus in Greek mythology, but that doesn’t happen. At least not for me. So, it’s churning around and we’ll see what develops. What I can say is that I’m only going to do it if I think it will be a really good story. Right now, as I’ve mentioned from time to time, I’m in the middle of a new one and so everything else has to wait. Prequels are a different matter. When it focuses on a particular character, as opposed to an earlier time in an epic story, the unavoidable problem is that we already know what happens to that character because we’ve read the main story. That’s not to say the prequel can’t be a lot of fun, or provide insight into how a character develops, but we have seen the ending.
Archives for July 2020
Relatively quiet week, trying to make sure I do some writing each day. My apologies if anyone has been looking for this blog on Goodreads. Something has happened to the RSS synch and it’s not coming through there, even though it does to the Amazon author page. I’m hoping this is easily fixed – that is, something I did wrong – but we’ll see what support has to say.
Took time to read “The Expert Sword-Man’s Companion” by Donald McBane, issued as a new edition by Jared Kirby a couple of years ago. McBane was a soldier in Marlborough’s armies at the end of the seventeenth century and beginning of the eighteenth. He was a master of the sword as well as other hand weapons in use at that time. The book is part manual on sword-fighting and part autobiography. McBane’s story is fascinating and astonishing. Based on the preface to this edition, some of the events that he relates can be corroborated by other, contemporaneous, sources so it is reasonable to accept his story as true. It is an amazing story. McBane recounts numerous sieges and battles that he was involved in and even more fights over the brothels and gaming he ran while he was in the army. This all resulted in numerous wounds by ball, bayonet, sword, having his grenade blow up and being beaten and left for dead (more than once). He also left a long string of wounded or dead men who made the mistake of challenging him. After all the campaigning, he returned to London and fought in thirty-seven “prize-fights” (sword-fights) until, at age 63, he resolved “never to Fight any more, but to Repent for my former Wickedness.” It is worth reading, both for the story itself and for anyone interesting in writing stories set in a similar era. A couple of words of warning: 1) The first part of the book may be difficult for someone without any background in fencing or seventeenth century weaponry; 2) McBane wrote in the early eighteenth century and was a soldier and fighter, not a scholar nor very learned. This shows in the syntax, grammar and spelling. There are, as well, what appear to be typos in various places but I cannot tell whether these have been faithfully reproduced from the original or were introduced when this edition was produced. With those caveats, this book is well worth the investment of time to read it.
Working hard on a new story, which means days when it feels like it’s really coming together and other days when the predominant thought in my mind is, “Who would ever want to read this?” It’s always like that early on. I tell myself to tell the story and we’ll see when we get to the end. I do set a goal of writing something each day. It may not be a lot, but I want something down on paper. I don’t have a set word count for the day, although I do want to fill at least one page of my writing pad. It’s easier now that the office job has been retired, but there are still some days the brain doesn’t want to work.
A couple of notices. The folks who do Boskone (Nesfa) are having a virtual meeting on Aug 15th – ReCONvene20. I’m excited to see this program and looking forward to the con. Check their site (nesfa.org). This may turn into a dress rehearsal for Boskone 2021, if we are still not able to hold an in-person con at that point. Personally, I fear that is a realistic consideration. Concerns for the future aside, check this one out on it’s own merits. On a non-fiction, serious science side, check out the Mars Society convention October 15-18. This one has moved online as well, which means that you can attend from anywhere. This is a serious scientific and space-flight meeting (the goal is humans on Mars), but for folks who read and love science fiction, it’s worth seeing our fiction come to life. The program is top notch and I recommend looking into it.
On the reading side, I finally got to “Every Heart A Doorway,” by Seanan McGuire. I wish I’d read it sooner. This is a delightful and delightfully dark story of children who have found their way through portals to fantasy worlds and, having returned, want only to go back. They are out of place in our world and considered crazy, so they are placed at a “school” that will help them get better. The characters are all unique individuals and uniquely twisted. This is a really short book, but McGuire’s prose makes all of these teenagers come alive. That’s an interesting sentence for this book, because then we get to the murders and the mystery of who is doing the killing (and why). Perhaps the one point I did not like (other than I didn’t want it to end) was that I was sure of the killer earlier than I would want to be in a mystery. Bottom line: I am ordering all four of the subsequent books in this series.
I would like to wish everyone a happy 4th. It is certainly a difficult time this year, but I hope we can all enjoy our holiday.
I’ve started on the idea for a new story and I find, as with everything I’ve written, that I have to start with a pad of paper and a pen. I’m sure the draft would move more swiftly if I could start at the keyboard, but that doesn’t seem to work. The brain seems to work only when connected to a pen and I see ink on the page. I wonder how many others still do their first drafts long-hand.
Read “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” by Suzanne Collins. This one was on my to-read list from the day I could pre-order it but it took forever to get to me. Somehow, it was forwarded halfway across the country and had to come back. Anyway, this is the story of Coriolanus Snow, the villain of the Hunger Games trilogy, as a young man struggling to find himself. I liked this book. A lot. Snow emerges as a complex figure; he feels real. The choices he makes, bad as they are (from my – and probably your – perspective) become understandable in light of who he is as a person. His relationship with Lucy Gray provides a good mirror for his problems and his struggle, although we do know how that is going to come out. Collins also provides a great deal of interesting backstory to the Hunger Games themselves and to how the relationship between the Capitol and the Districts evolved. The biggest problem with the book is that we do know how it comes out. Snow will survive his trials and tribulations and he will emerge corrupt and power-hungry because we have already seen him in the Hunger Games. There is no way around this. (I do wonder how it will be for future readers who, perhaps, read this first.) Still, I found the book a good read (enjoyable is a tough word when the main character is Snow). I do recommend it.