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  #11  
Old 10-02-2009, 11:56 PM
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Delilah Rehm Delilah Rehm is offline
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I've actually met Robin Hobb. She's a very nice lady. The only thing though, is she looks just like my aunt Nancy! And yes, I had to mention this to her... Well! The resemblance is uncanny. Nancy is actually Steven's aunt. I guess that makes her my aunt-in-law.

There are so many books I haven't read. Argh! I like fantasy, but I lean more toward the dark, so maybe that's why I haven't gotten around to some of these books.

I'm glad you liked my stories. Who are your favorite authors? I probably should check them out.
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  #12  
Old 10-03-2009, 12:58 AM
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I always felt a little cheesy for going for the "high fantasy" stuff, which so often is the typically "traditional" and fantasy "mainstream". I never got into the darker genre. It's either traditional fantasy or historical novels (Jack Whyte for example, currently going through his Templar series).

Hmm, for fantasy, definitely Robin Hobb, Tad Williams, Ursula LeGuin (this is someone I'd love to meet -- also enjoyed her scifi books, even though it isn't my preferred genre), David Eddings (particularly the stand-alone book "The Redemption of Althalus" -- it's really very good), a new author by the name of Patrick Rothfuss (whose magic system is so different from the usual -- I think he'll be "big" in a few years down the road; totally loved his first book) and a German writer named Markus Heitz (unlikely that his stuff has been translated into English).

Marginal note: Originally, my strongest drive to learn English came from the desire to read LotR in its original form, though the 1960s German translation of the books managed to perfectly capture the spirit, but I didn't know that before I managed to read and grasp the original The second translation was just terrible and I feel sorry for the kids and teens today who are more likely to get introduced to that screwed up translation rather than the original one.

There are also some more ... um, "trashy" series that I liked, like the one by Joel Rosenberg about a group of P&P roleplayers getting sucked into their gaming world. I had always wanted to write something like that, until I found his books years ago. The series gets worse as it progresses, but I love the idea and the concept is great. There are also the Sara books by Abraham-Hicks, which are way too spiritual and "out there" to gain any popularity, but I enjoyed them nonetheless. Hmm, I also cherished some of the writings by S.A. Salvatore, though we are now approaching the bottom of the "trash fantasy" genre. Still, the Icewind trilogy was a great read.

Oddly, I also like some of the Wheel of Times books. Or rather, parts of the books. Of the eleven (or ten?) I read, I think there's been none that I fully enjoyed without a "zzz" moment or two. Jordan was a great writer, but I think he tried to stretch his story too much. I'm really torn on him, though. I love his landscape descriptions, but when it comes to characters, he never really was very good. He was also very stereotypical when it came to genders.

Oh, Mercedes Lackey! I love all of her books, especially because they break some of the gender conventions, especially in the fantasy genre. She writes way too much, but most of her trilogies (all taking place in the same world) are good reads. Nothing overly deep, but good entertainment, with some unusual stuff (like gay heroes). I read most of her older books, but lost track in the past five or so years. (Darn WoW, it really sucked up too much non-gaming time!)

I guess I'm someone who reads just about everything if the first fifty pages "grab" me. I never fully got in the "serious" literature. I went through Goethe, Schiller, etc. in school and university, but never felt that "classics" were somehow deeper or better than modern literature. At the risk of sounding heretical, I speculate that some of those works are only classics now because back then few books were published and a minority of people could write (or read!). This is not to degrade those works. But I have gotten as much food for thought from paperback books by modern authors than from hardcover tomes that were written hundreds of years ago.

An exception is Hermann Hesse, whose Steppenwolf made a lasting impression. I can't judge any English translations here, though, since I read those in the original German versions. He was brilliant, however, and certainly made me think more than most authors.

As for "more accepted modern authors", though, I like Umberto Eco's stuff, though his Foucault's Pendulum took me some years to understand. My English and Italian didn't suffice at the first tries, and I didn't want to read the German translation. (His "Name of the Rose" was the reason why I started to learn Italian.)

There, more info than you asked for!
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  #13  
Old 10-03-2009, 10:19 AM
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Kind of semi-off topic, but personally I'm to the point where I wish schools would ban classics books from our schools. I think kids reading something like Jurassic Park would be way better than forcing them to read Hamlet. There is something very powerful about kids actually enjoying a subject.

I'm not saying the classics or even Hamlet are bad. I just know from experience that most kids hate reading them. It's kind of hard to learn and hate something at the same time. Also when you cram novels down their throat, they learn to not like reading which is a shame.
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  #14  
Old 10-03-2009, 10:26 AM
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Robin Hobb, Tad Williams, Ursula LeGuin, David Eddings (particularly the stand-alone book "The Redemption of Althalus"), Patrick Rothfuss, Markus Heitz (German), Joel Rosenberg, the Sara books by Abraham-Hicks, S.A. Salvatore, Robert Jordan, Mercedes Lackey, Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf), Umberto Eco's.

Wow. That's some list! Thanks!

I've read some high fantasy, but I'm on the fringe of that audience. I really liked David Eddings first series but felt like all of the characters blended into each other in his second series.

I say I like dark, but probably it's more like dark adventure. I love books that make me think (Octavia Butler!) but I don't require it if it's a good story. I loved S.A. Salatore's Drizzt series! It may may seem less intellectual, but there were a lot of themes I enjoyed (how a culture can be whacked out and everyone goes along with it, how to fit in when you don't, how to do the right thing when everyone will hate you for it, how to let go of everything you know to escape partaking in atrocities).

I have a bunch of Mercedes Lackey books in my to-read pile. Guess I should get to those. There's over 100 books in my to-read pile, in three stacks higher than my desk! Any day now they'll topple over and eat me, I just know it. Heh, heh, heh.
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  #15  
Old 10-04-2009, 09:17 PM
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I'm seriously behind my "really want to read" list of books, too. I keep buying books so that "I don't forget", but somehow I never stop getting distracted by other stuff, like work! I finally managed to break away from WoW a bit, and what happened? I discovered Depths of Peril! At least I can play this in small bits and can pause it at any time.

I think I'm the born "single player mode MMO gamer". I love "living and breathing" worlds, but I don't need other people in them when I want to relax and "get away" from the Waking World. I think that's why I was so in love with the earlier The Elder Scrolls titles. Well, Oblivion was good too, but I had some technical issues with it, and the German translation was pitiful (I had falsely assumed the locally bought copy would be multilingual).

Steven, I actually agree on the "required reading" of classics in schools. There should be a bit more flexibility, and as I said somewhere above, I think modern literature has a lot to offer too without being painfully boring and mind-numbing. Many classics were written for a completely different audience at a completely different time, and I feel that the education system isn't really taking that into account. I didn't do all that well in formal school ("talk" subjects/classes like history, social science and religion aside), mostly because I wasn't motivated at all and didn't have any fun whatsoever. I was just "there" because I had to.
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  #16  
Old 10-09-2009, 10:41 AM
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1. 9 is my fave number, so hopefully this will be a good day.

2. Both of my kids have been sick this week. Do you think this will convince them to take their vitamins? E wanted to go to school today to take her spelling test. TOO BAD! She is not like me as a child. I was a terrible speller. I would have loved skipping spelling tests.

3. I'm eating mixed nuts (mostly peanuts) for breakfast. Breakfast is a tricky meal for me. I'm not very hungry, so I need something small, but also, I don't want to trigger off my hunger, so I need something high in protein and low in white flour/sugar. I was eating faux ice cream (cottage cheese, milk, flavor (like strawberries or vanilla pudding mix)), but that requires a spoon and take longer to eat.

4. After my writers group on Monday, I decided to cut chapter 1 (which set up the place, characters and such), and start with a revised chapter 2 (spaceship crash). I'm torn because I like the old ch. 1 where you meet Anna, the main character, and get to know her. There are some funny moments. You don't get the funny moments during the crash because, well... the ship is crashing!

BTW, I won't be so open about later chapters, but the first chapter is part of the premise and has what you would find on the back of the book. Don't worry about me discussing spoilers.

5. Remember when I first heard of skype and thought it was called sky lab like in Terminator? Well, I finally signed up and chatted a bit with my sister yesterday. It's nice because she's in Ireland and not only is it free but I can see her. Nice.
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  #17  
Old 10-09-2009, 11:22 AM
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Have you yet considered breaking up the chronology of your story to let you do both? Sort of like what SGU did, you include action to keep the players in suspense and reading, and throw in the back story so you can keep your funnies and get to know the characters.

Besides, it's much harder to write action that it is to present it in a movie or TV show, cutting away to show something in the past when you have a hard time writing more can be a good way to improve your writing speed.

If it's done correctly you can make your story much better. Be sure to test it though with complete chapters, if you ask someone for an opinion on half a chapter the changes could ruin the flow of the whole chapter, even if they make part of it sound better.
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  #18  
Old 10-09-2009, 12:13 PM
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I'd need to find a book that does it well before I try it. There too many ways to do it badly!

I think the new chapter is going to work better because some readers might lose interest if they aren't hooked fast. I plan to work the funny bits in later. It won't be exactly the same, but I can hit the same note with a little bit different context.
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  #19  
Old 10-19-2009, 10:48 AM
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1. So it's Monday. Big deal! Friday was crazy busy.

2. My brotherís wedding reception was Saturday (they eloped in June), and I crocheted them a sea turtle. UmmÖ and it took for freaking ever to finish! I looped yarn like mad, until my fingers went numb, even through the bandaids. Eight hours on Friday, then 4 hours on Saturday and I finished before the party with time to spare!

3. Rain, rain, rain. So many people are complaining about it but not me. Droughts suck because it stays hot, grass dies, people worry about the foundation of their houses and we get water restrictions. Iíd rather have floods. Too much water can be worse than a drought, but we arenít anywhere near that problem. The only thing I miss is the sun. I need the sun to stay happy and was pleased to see it this last weekend.

4. Submitting my first 5 chapters of Vampire Planet to my writers group was exciting and frustrating all rolled into one giant taco! The aftermath is looking good, though. Iíve cleared up a bunch of confusing issues, including one MAJOR PROBLEM- nobody (except Steven, but 1 out of 6 sucks!) understood my main characterís motivations. Yikes. I needed to get more of the story out of my head and on the page. Also, I tightened the writing, changed the intro, and other good, good stuff. Iím really happy with how the third draft is coming along.

5. Store brand cheese wiz isn't very good. Just thought you should know.
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