Sunday, February 19, 2006

Reading and Writing

Lookin' down on a tide of no return
Is a man not knowin' how he should feel
Mocked by the wave
That beats the water's edge
There for the Grace of God go I...
--"Grace of God Go I" by Flogging Molly

Hullo all,

So not much has happened lately. I did nothing for V-day save buy my mom a couple things. Otherwise my family's sick, and nothing real exciting is happening. School and work. Etc.

So I shall list what I'm currently reading and writing (currently in the broad sense, not at this moment, in case you were wondering). Read on if you like.

Writing projects (ones for which I have written actual text):

Shadow's Call (125,000 words, something over 2/3rds of the way done with the plot). Epic fantasy, meaning alt-world, sprawling storyline, lots of characters. But this one has guns in it, because I got tired of using medieval age weapons. (Also a hideously complicated system of magic which I am still trying to figure out). When I tell people it has guns, they tend to do the nose-wrinkle, but everyone who's read part of it likes it. Magic and technology are in conflict, as of course are good and evil. A major theme is reliance on the self vs. reliance on a higher power.

The Passing of the Anars (3,104 words). Also an epic fantasy, it's resurrected from a novel I started a couple years ago then abandoned because the writing was, well, awful. I was trying to write like Tolkien, and I'll leave you to imagine how that turned out. But I like the world, and some of the characters, and I think it deserves another go.

The Travels of the Sons of Adam, (4 stories written, a fifth started, total of 27,000 words or so). Short stories about two men traveling as mercenaries in North America in the 1870s. Except the Civil War ended twelve years after it started, and Europe got involved, and North America now consists of eight or ten seperate countries. Also there's magic involved. And there's a bunch of things I didn't tell, and won't, because we'd be here all night long.

The Literary Cycle (One story finished so far, three more started, probably half dozen others concieved of or outlined). That isn't actually it's name, just what I'm calling it till I come up with a proper name. It's about... well, teen subculture, at least those areas of it I've seen close up. A lot of it centers around an evangelical youth group, for several reasons-I know the setting well (having grown up close to it), but have been out of it long enough to have some perspective; also it's a great sort of cross section, because they welcome everybody so you tend to get a lot of interesting characters, saved, unsaved, and everything in between.

The one story I've completed here is about the most perfect I've ever done-- symmetry, disilisionment, symbolism, even poetic devices (like giving hard sounding words to obnoxious people, and soft, pleasant words to sympathetic characters). It even reaches an emotional(anti-) climax that the reader can see but the character can't, a technique borrowed from Dubliners.

Finally, a novel about a boy and a girl that is as yet titleless. It should hopefully be literary too, an experiment with structure, plot, symbolism etc. I'm trying to get away from the boy-meets-girl-they-kiss-and-can't-be-together-because-of-some-outside-gimmick that even good teen novels seem to like these days, and write realistically about relationships, both friendly and romantic. And of course, try to make it a good story too. We'll see how it goes.

Reading:

The Last Continent, by Terry Pratchett. Hilarious book, one of the Discworld series of humorous fantasy. The hero, Rincewind, is the opposite of the archetypal "Hero with a thousand faces"--he's the "Hero with a thousand retreating backsides." Apart from said heroic fantasy spoofing, Pratchett makes fun of Australian stereotypes, evolution theory, time-travel stories, governments, ancient myths, and anything else in sight.

Dubliners, by James Joyce. This is an incredible book. Less than two hundred pages, but people have written libraries' worth on it. It's easy to read, that is, it's written simply, but Joyce packed in layers of meaning and symbolism and symmetry, and relationships between the stories... I swear that guy could do more in ten pages than many can in 400.

American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. Excellent fantasy book. Set in modern America, with fantastic creatures and "gods" lurking in the shadows. Gaiman is always interesting. Not necesarily Christian, but... interesting. Kind of hard to describe, really.

The Lord of Snows and Shadows, by Sarah Ash. Above-average epic fantasy that I haven't read much in since... um, Christmas.

The Fire and the Staff, by Klemet Preus. Wonderful book, an excellent defense of Lutheranism and Lutheran practices, and why we shouldn't be swayed by "mainstream" "Evangelical" influences.

Anyway, that's enough boring stuff from me.

Slainte!
(Exit, purued by some kind of horse-alligator hybrid)
(You see what happens when you wipe out the top of the food chain?)

4 comments:

Sir Darth Merlin Bilbollum Finn said...

< nukes Earth causing all living creatures to go exinct >

Ethan said...

Dude, that's cold. Really cold.

Aaron Nemoyer said...

I will learn "Grace of God Go I" by heart eventually.

Thank you again for "American Gods".

I should cultivate this horse-alligator hybrid...

Aaron Nemoyer said...

I was very tempted to make a series of puns on your "cold" comment, mostly relating to nuclear winter... yeah, you can hear them in your head now. I know it.