Book of the Week – May 17th, 2016

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We’re back for some more Black Company action in the Book of the Week! Staying in sequence, today we’re going to talk about Shadows Linger, the second book of the series.

The Books of the North

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Book of the Week – May 9th, 2016

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It’s time for another Book of the Week, this time going back quite a few years to the first book in one of my favorite series: The Black Company. We’ve already had one book from this series feature in as a Book of the Week (book 5 or 6, depending on how you read the series), but the first book is more than deserving of its own space here.

The Books of the North

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Mini State of Writing: Of Genesis Edition

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Big things have been afoot in the Chronicle of the Sons plan, lately.

As I mentioned in various earlier State of Writing posts, the plan for CotS has been for four books, with Of Genesis coming second and going over the same timeline as All Flames Cast, but from the POVs of some of the antagonists. As I set out to outline this, things started pretty smoothly. I got through an almost complete checkpoint list, and wrote a couple of character sketch scenes to help get a feel for the new POVs.

And that’s where I hit a wall. With one notable exception (we’ll revisit this in a bit), none of the characters excited me. I didn’t want to write them. Their stories didn’t feel right. On top of that, I realized that doing this as a second book would completely derail the narrative momentum built up at the end of AFC. Continue reading

Book of the Week – December 22nd, 2015

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I’m back with an early post, since I know everyone will be busy with family and friends and important things like eating loads of ham this weekend. After last week’s post on The Claw of the Conciliator, we continue with the next in the series, The Sword of the Lictor. And wow, is this one a doozy.

Sword of the Lictor

Where Claw of the Conciliator left off in a seemingly out-of-nowhere event, and bafflingly without any kind of real conclusion, Sword of the Lictor opens after skipping what would normally be the climax of the quest: Severian has already gotten to Thrax and settled in as the new Lictor there, serving the archon by running the prison and performing excruciations and executions. Dorcas is with him, still, and Dr. Talos and Baldanders have long since returned to Lake Diuturna. Continue reading

Book of the Week – December 10th, 2015

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A new Book of the Week post! I’ve been looking forward to talking about this specific book for a while now, though I had to postpone it for various reasons (a very busy business trip to London and then nearly dying while traveling to Glasgow), but the result is that I have more context to talk about it, since I’ve read further into the series. Today, we’re going to take a look at The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe, the first installment in his acclaimed Book of the New Sun. Very slight spoilers after the jump.

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Cup of Dcaf: Why I Write

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With November being National Novel Writing Month, I’ve seen a proliferation of posts about writing habits, motivations, help and tips, and, most of all, identity as a writer. NaNo is a big deal in the writing world, especially the amateur section of it (let’s be honest here: the pros were already writing during November). NaNo is the time for people who “always wanted to write a book” to find the motivation and acceptance in the community and sit down at a keyboard or put pen to paper. There’s a general air of beginnings with NaNoWriMo.

For me, though, NaNo is something I’ve struggled with. It feels very much like it’s targeting a different demographic of writer than I fall into. NaNo, for all of its freedoms and encouragement and message, feels very restricting to me. I plan things out way in advance, and even when I don’t or can’t stick to those ambitions, I still have an order of things. NaNo seems like a wrench in the gears when it comes to that.

Because of all this, I’ve been giving a fair amount of thought to my situation and identity as a writer. Continue reading