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Everything posted by Lavaliar

  1. Lavaliar

    I'm Back!

    Well, it's been a few months. I've been busy but I'm back to full-on WOT-Mania! At the moment I am: 1. Reading Book 4 2. Listening to Book 2 3. Re-reading the EOTW comic Has anyone heard the news about Shannara? Elfstones of Shannara is being developed as a television series ala Game of Thrones. This should really put a fire under whoever has the rights to WOT, I think. I'm very jealous that GOT fans have their own magazine. I want my WOT magazine! In other news: My epic fantasy novel Carrot Field recently had its first review: http://www.sffworld.com/2013/12/carrot-field-vincent-asaro/ Over the 9th/10th it was offered as a free download & it had 1,111 downloads!!! For some background on the book check out my Blog: http://vincentasaro.wordpress.com/ For the next 5 days Carrot Field will be available at half price! Carrot Field is a 150,000 word fantasy epic 20 years in the making. I think a lot of WOT fans would enjoy it :) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D5Z4N28/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-3&pf_rd_r=0A2D8XCZM5P6RNZ71GYM&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938811&pf_rd_i=507846 That's all for now. Back to The Shadow Rising . . .
  2. You can only paint a replica if it is not the same dimensions as the original. If it is the same dimensions, it is illegal.
  3. Well, I'm in Book 4 now and I've hit the first gen-u-ine romantic scene! Between Elayne and Rand. Over the years, before I even started reading the series, I've been reading different views and responses to WOT. While RJ was still alive, the biggest complaints had to do with the slowing down of the narrative and the lack of any end in sight. Since BS took over, criticisms have shifted. In a way, as more fresh voices have read the series, criticism has become more wide ranging and also more specific. Inevitably, with any huge work of art, after the author dies critics start looking for weaknesses. Some of these criticisms strike me as absurd, accusations of racism or "sexism" etc. But one line of criticism I've seen from many female readers in recent years is that WOT is padded with "soppy" romances and "simpering" women. I can't speak for the series as a whole but I wonder if there's a generation gap happening here. After all, a female reader now in her 20's has grown up with mostly "ass kicking" action heroines. Personally, I think RJ was drawing from several traditions that he thought complimented his world and characters. The first would be medieval "romances" that enshrined the values of "courtly love". While WOT isn't overtly medieval in tone, RJ does use elements of medieval literature in his text. Courtly love is all about delayed gratification, there's a lot of long, complex flirtation and pernicious testing on the part of the woman, sometimes even humiliation. That ain't my cuppa, but it certainly did create some lovely stories if you can look at them in context. I think another influence is 19th Century historical romance, namely Sir Walter Scott. Lan and Nynaeve's love story is reminiscent of Ivanhoe, specifically, and Scott in general. Also from the 19th Century, I think RJ was drawing from the Pre Raphealites, both the poetry and the paintings. These were Victorian idealizations of medieval literature and history, misty romantic tales of knights and maidens. One can also see the influence of Tennyson's Idylls of the King in WOT. I also see the influence of swashbuckling Hollywood movies from the 1930's and 1940's, like The Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Blood and The Scarlet Pimpernel. Again, these were deeply romanticized adventure yarns with, yep, brave heroes and swooning ladies. A few observations: 1. Consider the ages and backgrounds of the main characters. They are all quite young, inexperienced in relationships and come from various sheltered backgrounds, either geographically, culturally or socially. I believe that WOT covers about 2.5 years (?) -- correct me if I'm wrong -- so the main characters are barely into adulthood by the time the saga ends. I don't think their behavior is out of line with their age and experience level. Certainly not for a romantic epic. 2. Consider the author. He was clearly a romantic who believed in good and evil (he even chose fantasy as his genre so he could write about that) and who wore his heart on his sleeve. These characters express the imagination of their creator (and "old testament god" at that). I also see the influence of Southern mores and customs, were also very courtly. Maybe I'll grow weary of these quaint, blushing, romantic scenes. At the moment, I find it a refreshing change from the harsh, explicit content of most post-modern fantasy. But I grew up loving those old movies and medieval tales of chivalry; maybe I've been preconditioned . . .
  4. I think that most genre readers have been sophisticated enough, for a long time, to understand that there is no such thing as "absolute good" and "absolute evil" in war. I think it's kind of redundant to have so many stories pointing out something so incredibly self apparent. Especially as a supposed "corrective" to Lord of the Rings or other fantasies; it shows that many people haven't read LotR's very carefully. I am actually dismayed by the very vocal sectors of Fandom that want to see Star Wars through the eyes of Imperial Officers etc. It seems we can't stomach the idea of goodness anymore. Believe it or not, history is filled with good people who did good things. That doesn't mean that fantasy has to be two-dimensional. But in a work as vast and complex as WOT I don't think it's a sin to have elements that are there to serve a specific purpose. Trollocs are the classic monsters of mythology. Heroes need monsters. In a way, we're having our monsters taken away from us, and for no good reason. What's ironic is that heroes in a lot of modern fantasy are far worse than orcs or trollocs, capable of sexual assault and outright murder, and millions of readers find that acceptable; but they're still whinging about orcs. Somewhere on the road to having compassion for one's enemy we've ended up in a place where the (real) monsters are the heroes! Maybe our priorities are getting a little muddled?
  5. That's crazy! I guess copyright law isn't universal. I'm glad the Tolkien Estate has a tight grip on all of this. Can you imagine of Amazon opened Middle Earth to their inane fan-fic program?
  6. So far, Book 4: Moiraine Aviendah Min Padan Fain Lan Loial Rand/Mat I'm kind of enjoying the Aes Sedai parts more than the "hero's journey" parts, at this point.
  7. Wow, that's about as bad as it gets. You can download a translation (official) online and it's just really bad PC fanfic that completely, purposely misunderstands Tolkien. Blech!
  8. It has taken me a while to get used to Michael Kramer's unusual cadence but I'm now hooked. I had EOTW on in the car all day. I'm not an audio book fan, I'd rather read a book at home & listen to music in the car. But now that I'm used to the narrator's voice, it's a real treat. There's so much woven into the text, every time you read or hear it, you uncover new layers. I definitely want to listen to the whole series now but only after I've read each book.
  9. Here is a good resource for keeping track. http://www.encyclopaedia-wot.org/ Very nice thank you!
  10. It's not the only thing I'm reading (!) I'm also reading WOT rather slowly, I also write novels. So yeah, it's a lot of side characters to keep track of. Some of them I remember or half remember when they crop up but not if they were mentioned once in EOTW or TGH. I imagine it only gets more dense as it goes on . . .
  11. Well, I'm back on track after a long detour! I finished TDR months ago but a lot of things got in the way since then. Now that things have calmed down some, I can immerse myself again. Query: Is TSR the only WOT book not to have a Prologue? Just a general question: I'm starting to feel the "burn" with all of the characters running around, has anyone kept notes while reading the series? Did it help? I'm thinking of starting a journal of notes to go along with my reading just to keep things straight!
  12. I ain't never selling this book
  13. It was the craziest blind luck ever. Right now they're fetching $550.00-750.00 but I've seen these go for much more. Just seeing his own handwriting inside the book really gets me jazzed. I never got to meet the man.
  14. So I went to the library yesterday and found this on the $1.00 book shelf: Eye of the World Hardcover w. dust jacket 1st Printing 1st Edition Autographed Dated (1995, South Carolina) Condition: Mint I'm still pinching myself. I can't believe my luck! * * * * I'm about to start Book 4. The past few months were pretty intense & I got sidetracked.
  15. I'm on a similar journey, I just finished book three!
  16. Character & World Building As very writer knows, without strong characters a story is dead. It’s dead to the author, who won’t be able to do anything with their story, and it’s dead to readers, who are unable to invest themselves in the narrative. I’ve read more nonsense about character-building than any other aspect of writing. For the benefit of the inexperienced writer, I’ll pass on a few things I’ve learned about developing strong characters: Process: Writers, especially new writers, love process, mostly because it’s not writing but it allows them to say that they’re “working on a story”. This is BS of the first water. The first thing you can do to progress as a writer is to forget about “process”. I’ll give you something priceless for free: the best writing “process” is to write. That’s it. Marathon runners don’t prep for a race by creating a file of facts on running: they run. They run until they’re ready to run a marathon. No difference. If you’re not writing, you’re not a writer, it’s that simple. There is no “process” for creating characters. Just write them until they come to life; if they never come to life, writer other characters. In a pinch, nothing works for writer’s block like quitting. Any time you hit a wall, make a big noise about quitting and never writing again. Convince yourself, tell your friends. It never fails to work. Within a fortnight you’ll be pouring out words again. And as we’ve often heard, there’s no sex like make-up sex! Files: You’re a writer not a psychologist or FBI agent. Why are you working up huge dossiers about people who never lived? You can’t even get to know a real person that way, let alone an imaginary one. If you want to get to know your characters, spend time with them. The best way to do that is to write about them. Throw away your outlines and notes. Just write. Sooner or later good characters come to life. If they never do, drop ‘em and make up new ones. The other effective way to get to know them is to daydream about them; their everyday life, their thoughts and feelings etc. But not too much, just enough to give you some insight that is relevant to the story you’re writing. The last thing you want is to be burdened with massive files on each character. What’s their favorite color? Who cares?! Stop wasting time and get to work! They won’t do what I want them to do: Good! That’s a good sign that your unconscious has gifted you with real characters. Listen to them. Stop trying to make them fit into the crummy outline you created in that stupid workshop you attended to get away from writing. Throw it all overboard: outlines, research, notes etc. They’re worthless the moment your characters come to life. You are now engaging in what Carl Jung called “active imagination”. This is deep stuff, way beyond your piddling outlines and character notes, you are now accessing the deepest and most mysterious parts of your consciousness, even hard science has zero idea what the hell’s going on down there. It’s the beginning of a journey. Stop telling your characters what to do and start running after them; if you’re respectful enough, they just might put on a great show for you, all you have to do is record it and polish it up, and you’re home! In other words, don’t be a historian or psychoanalyst, be a good journalist. Are they deep? Are they meaningful? Who cares?! What is this, a college essay or a story? Don’t worry about interpretation. Think of all the memorable people you’ve ever met, the real colorful characters: did you understand them? Did it matter what their actions meant? Probably not, or not much. What mattered was that they broke the mold, challenged your convictions, acted out your fantasies, liberated parts of yourself that you usually keep buried, and were different from everyone else around you at the time. That’s deep stuff, there’s no need to underline it with bogus literary technique. Just step back and let it be. Nothing else matters but the end result in art. Process isn’t art, process isn’t story. Stop handcuffing your characters to your ego, your agenda. Let them be free. I absolutely promise they will reward you richly. “World Building” (WB) was once the practice of only a handful of SFF-F authors. The necessary invention required to create a believable alien or fantasy species, or culture, was not really thought of as WB; that was saved for the really big, sprawling works of invention, like Dune (Frank Herbert) and Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien). It wasn’t until the 1990’s that the term came into general use in Fandom; and it was not until very recently that WB came to refer to any fictional environment-crafting. In my opinion WB has become the tail wagging the dog. I’m seeing far too many meticulously or elaborately conceived “worlds” generated for novels that really have no story to tell or point to make. Even if every element of an author’s “world” is lifted wholesale from previous stories, they get credits for “world building”. At the moment the hot WB trend is Conlanging: inventing languages, like Tolkien did with Elvish. You can find Conlanging “kits” online and every new genre movie, tv or book series seems to come with its own language attached, in hopes of fans learning to speak it ala Klingon. A beginning writer might wonder just how much of their “world” needs to be built up before they can start writing. My own epic fantasy novel, Carrot Field (published by Pressque and available from Amazon.com in Ebook format) features a lot of apparent WB: layers of history, culture, mythologies, geography, and yes, languages. But the truth is: I never set out to create such a detailed environment for my story! I had originally imagined a short, illustrated, fable-like story of around 70,000 words (think The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe). Unfortunately, the novel had a very long and complicated birthing process. I started it in 1994 and it didn’t get published until May 2013! Over the years, it accumulated detail. Technical problems and questions about the world of Carrot Field built up. Every time I rewrote the novel (I ended up with 10 complete drafts to work from) the story expanded a little. At one point I wrote a 150,000 word draft that only covered 1/3 of the first volume! In 2010 I decided to start reshaping the book, making it more readable, since it was clearly getting out of hand! Many of the rewrites were done at the behest of editors and publishers and I was happy to jettison all of the “foreign matter” that had crept into the text. The rest was streamlining and editing. The final text still ended up at 150,000 words: but I had managed to fit 2/3 of a trilogy into one seamless narrative with a beginning, middle and satisfying end, which I am very proud of. My advice to any writer, experienced or inexperience, is to just begin writing! Don’t “build” your world, discover it as you create and explore it through your character’s eyes. This is especially important with fantasy: spontaneous creativity, improvisation, and pure whimsy are all important to fantasy, whether it is a juvenile book or an epic adult saga. Remember what it was like to “make pretend” as a kid? That sense of play is infinitely more effective and enjoyable than all the tedious fictional politics and economies ever invented. Keep in mind that you can always fix technicalities and do additional research after the fact. The important part is finding your story and telling it straight. What you don’t want is a daunting mountain of notes and restrictions facing you ever day. What’s the good of creating your own world if it has as many rules as our own? Trust me, your unconscious is way smarter than you are, it knows more than you do: some part of your brain is silently absorbing every bit of information you are exposed to 24/7, 365 days a year. Get the juices flowing and you’ll be surprised by how much you already know! For the inexperienced writer the danger is always that you’ll spend so much energy building your world that there simply won’t be any juice left to write (and rewrite and rewrite) the novel itself. It is far better to have a first draft with some gaps needing to be filled than 1,000 pages of notes and no story to tell or energy to tell it. And you’ll never know how much ancillary information is necessary to tell your story until you know what that story is. I often find that my novels require less detail than I initially thought they would. In short: a little research is good, but too much prep will burn you out and tie your hands when it comes to getting the job done, telling your story. When it comes to WB I think it is much better to let the dog wag the tail, not vice versa! CARROT FIELD is available from Pressque Publishing in Ebook format from Amazon.com and in Hardcover & Trade Paperback editions in September 2013.
  17. From what I've read so far (1-3) I'm not getting a "kinky" vibe. But I haven't gotten that far yet. Skipping through one of the later books I happened upon a spanking & it seemed like something out of the Quiet Man (old movie) to me, nothing even remotely kinky. I also didn't feel like the Seanchan stuff in TGH ever crossed over into being voyeuristic, it just seemed like an attempt to create a logical antithesis to the Aes Sedai.
  18. Hmmmm . . . to begin with, someone specifically asked me to keep posting reactions! And it hardly seems like there's a lot of heavy traffic around here. Also, I've only started one thread per book. Sorry to bother
  19. Lavaliar

    I'm Published!

    Thanks guys (and gals)! It's an exciting time. I can't wait for the "real" book in Sept. either ;)
  20. Lavaliar

    I'm Published!

    Well, the day has arrived! My epic fantasy, 19 years in the making, is at last available! http://www.amazon.com/Carrot-Field-ebook/dp/B00D5Z4N28/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=GKXLJZ16EMPK&coliid=I1AH1ADDIV3DUP It can only be read as an Ebook for now. The print editions will be available in September. But I am now an officially published author!
  21. I certainly enjoyed it! Old school prog metal! I used to sing this stuff myself back in ye olden dayes!
  22. Holy Cow ---- Perrin's dream after he meets Faile!!!
  23. I know her only by name & notorious reputation! But I loved her first scene & I liked her introduction. I guess I'll wait & see how I feel about her later!
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