Weekly Recap – March 15th, 2013

Back in the office and it’s been a busy week.

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I spent about six days drafting and refining a little anecdote from my past, Lanes Lane. I enjoyed writing this, largely because it gave me the opportunity to work on my prose while not having to build a story from scratch. The bones were already there and, per Alfred Hitchcock’s instructions, I just needed to leave out the boring parts. Hopefully, I succeeded.

It could use some more editing (thanks for the suggestions Oliver), but I grew impatient and wanted to put it out there.

Expect more pieces like on this blog, whether you like it or not!

Well, I hope you’ll like it…

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I began reading The Assyrian by Nicholas Guild. Originally, I picked this up last year because my NaNoWriMo efforts involved the Assyrian empire, specifically around the time of Sennacherib and Esarhaddon. I wanted to see another writer’s perspective as well as the type of well-researched fiction I was up against.

The book’s scope is epic, very much in the vein of James Clavell’s Shogun. It comes in at 243,842 words according to Smashwords. Beware, the paperback print is tiny, but there are eBook versions available for the small-font impaired.

Two hundred pages in, it’s been an enjoyable read. The first chapters were a little slow, but the pace picked up. Colorful characters and the promise of epic conflict have been enough to keep me interested.

I’ve also managed to learn a few things about the ancient Middle East, including the idea that the liver was believed to be the emotional centerpiece of the human body; not the heart, as we think today.

Let’s hope I enjoy the rest of the book, because Guild wrote a sequel, The Blood Star, and I’ve already picked it up.

Oh, impulsive me.

***

I started rereading Characters, Emotion and Viewpoint by Nancy Kress. The past month has been spent plotting and researching my next novel, but I’ve run into trouble with certain scenes. I finally figured out it was because I didn’t understand my characters well enough. I had concocted a certain scene and though I liked the idea, it just wasn’t satisfying. It hit me that the main character’s actions were out of character with her actions in other parts of the story.

So, I’m going to spend my free time this weekend solidifying my characters and creating biographies — chiseling them into clay, so to speak. It’s a little more malleable than stone, but less brittle than tracing paper.

It just goes to show that a good story requires you think in parallel, in terms of plot and character.

-Phillip

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