Fantasy

This tag is associated with 4 posts

Patrick Rothfuss – The Wise Man’s Fear – 400 pages to go

The Wise Man's Fear

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve allocated every minute of my reading over the past three weeks to The Wise Man’s Fear.  I know its been three weeks because the library only allows you to borrow ebooks for 21 days before they’re returned, and today is the day its leaving my Kindle.

I don’t want to give any final judgment on the book, but as of today I have been very happy with it.  Book one, The Name of the Wind, was Outstanding!  This one is also very good, adding depth and back-story to many of the characters introduced in the first book while introducing several new, diverse characters.  That character development, along with learning more about the rules of ‘magic,’ have easily been the best parts.  The time Kvothe spends at the University had me staying up late, falling asleep with my Kindle on my chest.

My only struggle with it has been the question – where is this going?  I had thought it would again follow the timeline of the University, with conflict and diversity intertwined.  I’m now 600+ pages into it and there really isn’t any main conflict, although many of the small conflicts had me completely absorbed.  The book has taken an interesting turn into political intrigue, which I have to admit has been a good twist, but beyond that I don’t know…

Since I’m someone who struggles to commit to a book for more than a couple of weeks, I’m going to add a chapter or two from Close to Shore in between longer stints with The Wise Man’s Fears.  We’ll see which I finish first.

Book Review – The Color of Magic

I finally finished reading The Color of Magic this week, which is actually the third time I’ve read it.  It’s been at least 10 years since the last time and it was almost like reading again for the first time.

The Color of Magic is the first of Terry Pratchett‘s novels set in a fantasy realm called Discworld.  The story follows two main characters – Rincewind, a wizard of sorts, and Twoflower, a visitor to the city, Ahnk-Morpork.  They have several adventures and meet many fantastic characters and creatures throughout the book, including thieves, warriors, dragons, and even Death.  The book is separated into four short but linked stories that could stand alone, but do flow one into the next.

When I first set foot in Discworld, I was probably around 12 years old.  At that time, Terry Pratchett spun a tale of whimsy and happiness.  I took note of those things a normal 12-year-old would, the escape into an alternate reality that was clearly more exciting than our own.

The second time in was just a few years later and not much had changed, although I do remember finding it much more comical than before. The interactions between Death and Rincewind are great.

This time is took me much longer to read it than ever before.  It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it as much as previously, because I did.  It was because I spent about half the time reading and the other half thinking about a passage in the book.  Pratchett touches on politics, religion, and common misconceptions. There is so much depth in his writing, so much philosophy and satire, that I completely missed previously.  Pratchett obviously has a great sense of humor but within that humor lies deep contemplation and intelligence.

Overall Grade:  4/5 stars (only because one of his other books is the bar I’m using for a 5/5)

If anyone else has read it, I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts and reactions to it too.

Cover of "The Color of Magic"

Cover of The Color of Magic

Character Creation – Thoughts on Character Sheets and Generators

Before I broke ground on what will hopefully be my first completed short story (should finish the first draft this weekend), I fell into what many seem to find – the spinning black hole that is research, research, and continual research.  Looking back, I wish I had kept track of the enormous amount of time I wasted.  I’m sure it’s a ridiculous number, however, I did find a few diamonds sites that will continue to prove worthwhile.

Part of my research focused on character creation, more specifically how a writer’s characters take shape and come alive.  I’ve never had a problem with putting the basics on paper but was and still am very interested in hearing how others do it.  There is a ton of material out there for this, especially if you count the character sheets and generators normally used for role-playing games.  Since my initial writing will be in the fantasy genre I ran into a ton of that type of thing.  I actually stayed away from them and kept my search pointed toward those websites and resources focused on helping writers.

There are two main websites the proved extremely helpful.

1.  The resource page of National Novel Finishing Month

2.  The Seventh Sanctum

Each of them have more materials than I’ve even used at this point, but I really like the generators on The Seventh Sanctum and the character sheets on NaNoFiMo.  The generators are amazing.  While I haven’t used anything exactly as it was ‘generated,’ I have used it several times when I hit a block on how my new character, Yuri, might act or some of the experiences he might have.

The character sheets, on the other hand, I honestly haven’t used much but can see how they’d prove helpful.  My thought is to establish the basics of who Yuri is and then let him evolve before working on things like his background story, motivation, etc.  I did start out with a basic outline of his character but found that as soon as I started writing him into his current situation, he changed tremendously.  He went from an elf, to a dwarf, to a gnome, which of course meant that most everything else had to change too.  We’re now to the point that I can mentally see him and feel like I’ve gotten to know him, so maybe I’ll fill that sheet out again in the not-to-distance future.

If anyone out there has had experience using anything similar, please feel free to comment.  I’d still love to hear how others develop their characters, and whether or not you’ve had success with things like the generators or character sheets.

Cheers!

Terry Pratchett – A Great Author and Inspiration

Terry Pratchett kindly posed with his hat for ...

Image via Wikipedia

I read a handful of Terry Pratchett books several years ago, all from his Discworld series, but eventually left the Disc to go other directions.  I never really knew much about the author until last year but have since become an even bigger fan.

His books fall in the fantasy genre but they’re not your normal sword and sorcery books.  Pratchett is a tongue-in-cheek writer who adds comedy and satire throughout each book.  The books read quickly but are ones that can be reread several times.  You may catch something in a second reading that you hadn’t noticed the first time through.  Pratchett loves to tie in characters from previous books, so familiar names will continue to pop up throughout the series.

However, the best Terry Pratchett reading I’ve done has been of the interviews he’s given over the past few years.  Pratchett was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s in 2007 and has been open and honest about his reactions and life since.  In no way could I do justice to the interviews he’s given, so instead I’ll include links to a couple of the better ones I’ve read.

The last time I checked, the Discworld series stands at 39 books.  You can pick up any book in the series and read it individually, but like any world, Discworld has grown and evolved throughout the years so I recommend starting with the first and what I still consider one of the best – The Color of Magic – which I’m reading for the third time.  Pratchett has touched many lives with his writing over the past 40 years and I’m sure he will continue to do so, in one way or another, for several years to come.

Thank you Mr. Pratchett

Cover of "The Color of Magic"

Cover of The Color of Magic

http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2011/oct/14/terry-pratchett-life-writing

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1070673/Terry-Pratchett-Im-slipping-away-bit-time–I-watch-happen.html

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