Welcome to the new book discussion room.

Link to this post 20 Jun 14

You asked for it, you got it... Discuss books, ebooks, published authors, and literature here.

DO NOT POST UNPUBLISHED FICTIONAL WORK.

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Thank you!

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Your very welcome. :)

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Thank you Kev and Char! Very appreciated! Y'all are the best.

Link to this post 21 Jun 14

Thank you very much Kev and Char. Much appreciated!

Well, as discussed with Randy, I have started reading "Horns" by Joe Hill and am now at Chapter 18. Very good writing and reminiscent of his father. Quite the page turner. Since I don't know where Randy is at in the book I will let him start the discussion.

Link to this post 21 Jun 14

I'm at chapter 30, give or take. I have learned what makes Lee the way he is. Trying not to give any spoilers. It's a page-turner all right, and I'm making a conscious effort to pace myself and not rip through it too quickly.

And, I don't think you've reached that part yet, but one theme is hitting really close to home for me. Uncomfortably close to home, as in thoughts you might think but never act on, although Lee acts.

Yes, Joe Hill writes a lot like his Dad, which is not all that surprising. I have read Tabitha King's three (?) novels too, and they're equally good. Birds of a feather will write like one another, I guess.

I don't know if we should be discussing our personal writing influences in this thread, so go ahead and whack me if I'm out of line, Kev, but for me they would be Mark Twain, Gary Jennings, and Stephen King.

Link to this post 21 Jun 14

I don't know if we should be discussing our personal writing influences in this thread, so go ahead and whack me if I'm out of line, Kev,

No Randy you can talk about whatever you like... In fact for those who are "published" authors - the prohibition on unpublished work does not apply. That is an "editorial preview" or a "publicity excerpt" or the like. My admonition is that this is not a place for UNPUBLISHED "aspiring" writers to defecate their alleged craft... If published people want to "talk shop" then that's cool and interesting insight for those who are aficionados.

Consider the warning above to mean - professionals can do what they want, but amateurs are here to learn - with ears open and mouths shut, so as not to pollute the environment for the professionals and true enthusiasts.

Link to this post 21 Jun 14

LOL -- does receiving a contributor's copy of a magazine count as the payment that would make me a professional? I have jealously guarded my amateur status like Olympic athletes used to do. After all, 'amateur' doesn't necessarily mean 'mediocre. It's Latin for 'one who does an activity for the love of it'.

Anyway, it was Mark Twain who taught me to write clear prose. Served me well in high school and college. I should find the link to his amusing rules on the craft.

King has a very deft way with making a character memorable in just a few words. And Jennings! I think I have extolled him before, but his characters are even more memorable than King's, and he has a way of twisting the plot and redeeming those who seem at first to be villains. My son and I share the enthusiasm for him, in all his un-PC glory.

Link to this post 21 Jun 14

LOL -- does receiving a contributor's copy of a magazine count as the payment that would make me a professional?

Yes - for our purposes it does. The guiding principle here is that an editor looked at it, and decided to publish it in something other than an anthology entitled "Wedding Plans from The Place Where The Nuts Hunt The Squirrels - An Idiots Guide to the Perfect Asylum Wedding"

Link to this post 21 Jun 14

Yes - for our purposes it does. The guiding principle here is that an editor looked at it, and decided to publish it in something other than an anthology entitled "Wedding Plans from The Place Where The Nuts Hunt The Squirrels - An Idiots Guide to the Perfect Asylum Wedding"

That's ironic, because my contrib's copies were over thirty years ago, and my writing was nowhere near as good as I've gotten now. Back then, I dealt with a single editor, made the changes requested, but I didn't know about things like POV and not using the passive voice yet.

The internet has revolutionized self-publishing. There are a number of archives where you just register as a member and put it up, but I've been doing that since 2005 and have worked with several editors and writers groups who knocked the rough edges off me. To the extent that I've even resurrect one story from the old print days, re-edited, and re-posted it on the net in a form that doesn't make me cringe.

You could call me a serious amateur, and after seeing that you can publish short stories for pay on B&N, I think I might try that too.

Don't worry -- I haven't the need to inundate any thread with snippets of scenes I've written unless they would illustrate a point we happen to be discussing at the time.

Link to this post 22 Jun 14

I'm about to start chapter 32 and becoming increasingly weirded out and feeling very uneasy at what is happening to Ig. Reading about his transformation after the car fire was not a pleasant feeling. I was in a darkened room and was letting the worst of my imagination get to me. Who knows what will become of him.

Link to this post 22 Jun 14

I've finished. The ending was not as horrible as I'd expected. As one might expect with a good horror novel, justice is done and things come to a satisfying, if not happy, ending.

I will have to say, the theology expressed in the story might be kind of disturbing to some, but not to me, as I've run across it before. Ig's ultimate fate is ambiguous, to say the least. And it was about two-thirds of the way through that I realized the significance of the name Ignatius. True, it's a saint's name as with all good Catholic boys, but he would have an affinity for fire, and so would Merrin, with her dark flame hair.

Link to this post 23 Jun 14

I finished the book last night and don't have much more to add except for the part about the treehouse. I knew early on that it was a focal point in the story. It was a pretty good read and the ending wasn't as bad as I had anticipated. I was glad justice was done. What happened to Lee was well deserved.

I'm going to take a little break then get started on "NOS4A2". From one of the reviews: "Words of warning for those who pick up this hefty, 704-page saga: You’ll never listen to Christmas carols the same way. Or sleep with the lights off.” I'm looking forwards to it.

Link to this post 23 Jun 14

I finished the book last night and don't have much more to add except for the part about the treehouse. I knew early on that it was a focal point in the story. It was a pretty good read and the ending wasn't as bad as I had anticipated. I was glad justice was done. What happened to Lee was well deserved.

Well, yes and no. I will say that he didn't ask to get a pitchfork tine right through the skull and into the part of his brain where his conscience lived. The whole incident arose out of a good impulse -- to make friends with the tomcat. Unfortunately, neither Lee nor his Mom understood cats and their behavior, especially that of unaltered toms, who will go straight from purring to lashing with a claw. They will bite too, and it's a result of their hair-trigger libido. I'm wary about toms whom I don't know and who don't know me, and it's always second nature to stay away from their teeth or claws. I've tamed a few, and you just have to know when they are getting too worked up. So I think Lee was the flip side of Ig -- he could have gone either way in his life. They both has less than idea parents. Lee's mother was a nightmare even before he got brain-injured.

And did you notice that the 'demon' Ignatius kept making suggestions to people that turned out to be good for them? Especially the way he helped Merrin's father. So was he demon or angel, and in this book is there even a difference?

Link to this post 23 Jun 14

You're right. I totally missed that important episode about Lee and the tomcat. I guess the author can decide that it's a justifiable excuse to turn him into a murderer.

And yes, I did notice that Ig was not evil and those he crossed and influenced turned out being better off after he dealt with them. As to your question was he demon or angel? Well demons are fallen angels and if one were to go according to scripture they are pure evil and beyond redemption. They were created eons ago before time as we know it began. So as far as I'm concerned Ig did not turn into a demon , just some kind of mutant and something that cannot be explained happened to him in that tree house.

Link to this post 24 Jun 14

So as far as I'm concerned Ig did not turn into a demon , just some kind of mutant and something that cannot be explained happened to him in that tree house.

Except that the note in the treehouse about getting what you need was signed by 'L. Morningstar', which would be Lucifer Son of the Morning -- the Devil himself. Here's where the theology gets disturbing, at least to some people. It has been pointed out to me that Lucifer was the one who gave us the choice to be good or evil in the first place. Before eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, we were just fancier animals, acting on our impulses, cruel or kind, and not knowing the difference. Now we do, which is an awesome responsibility, but I wouldn't want to change it.

Here's an opportunity to put in a plug for a book by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, Good Omens, which is a parody of The Omen, and is very, very funny in addition to making you think. It's about an angel, Asrafael, and a demon, Crowlie, who have been friends since before the Fall and both had a part to play in Eden. They don't want the End of Days to come, because they enjoy their jobs and like life on Earth as they have come to appreciate it. The Anti-Christ has been born of the jackal, but a clueless nurse has mixed three babies up such that they all got a different upbringing than intended.

Link to this post 26 Jun 14

This discussion seems to have died. But I'll poke it by saying that I'm a little over halfway through NOS4A2 ( which means Nosferatu, to those who are bad at reading vanity plates). Good book. It just mentioned TreeHouse of the Mind and Derry, among other imaginary places.

Link to this post 27 Jun 14

Mark Twain's rules for writing fiction.

There are nineteen rules governing literary art in the domain of romantic fiction–some say twenty-two. In Deerslayer James Fenimore Cooper violated eighteen of them. These eighteen require:

1. That a tale shall accomplish something and arrive somewhere. But the Deerslayer tale accomplishes nothing and arrives in the air.

2. They require that the episodes of a tale shall be necessary parts of the tale, and shall help to develop it. But as the Deerslayer tale is not a tale, and accomplishes nothing and arrives nowhere, the episodes have no rightful place in the work, since there was nothing for them to develop.

3. They require that the personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others. But this detail has often been overlooked in the Deerslayer tale.

4. They require that the personages in a tale, both dead and alive, shall exhibit a sufficient excuse for being there. But this detail also has been overlooked in the Deerslayer tale.

5. They require that when the personages of a tale deal in conversation, the talk shall sound like human talk, and be talk such as human beings would be likely to talk in the given circumstances, and have a discoverable meaning, also a discoverable purpose, and a show of relevancy, and remain in the neighborhood of the subject in hand, and be interesting to the reader, and help out the tale, and stop when the people cannot think of anything more to say. But this requirement has been ignored from the beginning of the Deerslayer tale to the end of it.

6. They require that when the author describes the character of a personage in his tale, the conduct and conversation of that personage shall justify said description. But this law gets little or no attention in the Deerslayer tale, as Natty Bumppo’s case will amply prove.

7. They require that when a personage talks like an illustrated, gilt-edged, tree-calf, hand-tooled, seven-dollar Friendship’s Offering in the beginning of a paragraph, he shall not talk like a negro minstrel in the end of it. But this rule is flung down and danced upon in the Deerslayer tale.

8. They require that crass stupidities shall not be played upon the reader as “the craft of the woodsman, the delicate art of the forest,” by either the author or the people in the tale. But this rule is persistently violated in the Deerslayer tale.

9. They require that the personages of a tale shall confine themselves to possibilities and let miracles alone; or, if they venture a miracle, the author must so plausibly set it forth as to make it look possible and reasonable. But these rules are not respected in the Deerslayer tale.

10. They require that the author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and in their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones. But the reader of the Deerslayer tale dislikes the good people in it, is indifferent to the others, and wishes they would all get drowned together.

11. They require that the characters in a tale shall be so clearly defined that the reader can tell beforehand what each will do in a given emergency. But in the Deerslayer tale this rule is vacated.

In addition to these large rules there are some little ones. These require that the author shall:

12. Say what he is proposing to say, not merely come near it.

13. Use the right word, not its second cousin.

14. Eschew surplusage.

15. Not omit necessary details.

16. Avoid slovenliness of form.

17. Use good grammar.

18. Employ a simple and straightforward style.

Link to this post 27 Jun 14

RODL -- also known as Fennimore Cooper's Literary Offenses in my classic Gabrilowitsch edition of the complete works of Twain.

I could do a Hillel and boil it down to this one: 18. Employ a simple and straightforward style.

The rest is mostly humor. He really had it in for Cooper.

Link to this post 27 Jun 14

Has anyone else here been to Turkey City? I had to have the Burly Detective Syndrome (otherwise known as the Homeric epithet) beaten out of me with a stick in my second writing career.

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