Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Eye of the World

Footsteps backed out of the room, leaving Octras alone with his thoughts once again. Cleansing his mind had never been prayer to him--he worshipped no deity, though he envied the confidence of those who did. No creator, no divine being, had ever done anything for him, though perhaps it was because he had never asked one for help.

I finished the Eye of the World last week, and I really enjoyed it. Despite my reluctance to start the story, the intricate plot and the little details sucked me in. In the first hundred or so pages we're introduced to a whole village of people, and though many aren't in the rest of the book (but perhaps the series, I wouldn't know) Robert Jordan launches into explanations of even the trivial characters. We meet Rand, who sees a Fade on the road as he's going into town. After that it settles down and shows us his friends and talks about a festival that is supposed to happen the next day. The story doesn't leave Emond's Field until... let's say 200 pages. That was the really tough part for me to get through. The book sat in my room untouched for a long time because of the slow beginning. I persevered only because my younger sister and my sister-in-law raved about the book, and Liz expected me to read it because she bought it for me.

I always laugh when I read books where the main character is conveniently clueless about the world so the author has an excuse to explain it. This was the case here, but he actually wrote it quite well. Robert Jordan had lengthy passages about specific details (the story is over 700 pages long) but the characters had depth I haven't read in a fantasy in a long time. So it was a little war for me--the verbose but eloquent writing, the intricate but sometimes boring storyline, and the deep but convenient characters.

In the end, I decided I like the book, especially at the end. The climax was clear and strong, and it left me satisfied enough as a single book should. I know that in a series it can be hard to leave room for more without sacrificing some of the climactic value--but I think it's important that the book should be able to stand on its own, not leaning too much on the others in the series. Robert Jordan did that very well. I'll probably be picking up the second book in a month or so.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stevie Wants to Know

Octras could see their temple from the outskirts of town. A clear pillar stabbed at the sky from the center of the healers' circle. As they neared it, chanting and chattering surrounded them. Blue cloaks covered every lean figure. A few yellow beards showed under the hoods, but they were mostly a uniform body, with robes the color of the sky and cream rings around the sleeves. Most had three or four of these odd bracelets around their wrists...

I'm not doing so well with the writing. I set a goal to help me write the last 35,000 words of my draft, and then it's break time. I love revision; it makes my story so much stronger. And I know my writing sucks. It will get better, though. Rough drafts are made to handle my horrible attempts at getting my thoughts into words--and revision picks through the scraps for the good stuff. It's funny; usually when I see other writers' revisions, there's comments here and there, and the occasional rewritten sentence, but mine is different. For a half a page of typed work, there's another two of editing. I scribble, scratch, make asterisks, underline--no word goes by unchecked. It's beautiful. I love tearing my work apart and building it up again. It always comes out better.

So, I'd lost contact with the outside world for two weeks (*gasp*). The reason for my lack of posts is that I had no internet. Qwest took it away because of a possible virus warning. As it turned out, the only thing on this computer was a tracking cookie. The computer downstairs had some, but honestly, they weren't doing any damage to anyone, and seriously, that's not how the internet works. You don't just take away someone's internet when they're paying you a fortune to use it. I've never even heard of something like that happening. It's ridiculous.

On any note, I'm alive and well, settling into my new job happily. And tiredly. It's interesting to see such strong personalities all mixed together. My kids could be book characters, and they wouldn't even need to be exaggerated. They are exaggerations. Quirky, full of conflict, and wonderful.