Tag Archives: Novels


One of the things I find the most frustrating about being a wide reader as well as a writer is the reading community’s hate/hate relationship with spoilers.  You don’t want to ruin the story, sure.  But we have these things called spoiler tags.  No one can force you to read something explicitly identified as a spoiler.  And yet it’s impossible to find full summaries of books anywhere short of a sporking.

Why would I want to read summaries?  Because many of the people who write reviews are really bad at it.  Especially for the negative reviews.  Part of it is bad because of a desire to avoid spoilers, but just in general, it’s really hard to write a good review, especially for your average reader.  That said, it’s really frustrating to have a review discuss how bad the romantic relationships and world-building are, and how predictable the plot is, but not know why they think that.  Everyone has different opinions, and tastes vary widely, so reviews like that can be completely worthless.

And now I’m going to be a little bit controversial here.  I don’t think spoilers are really that big of a deal.  For the big reveal, maybe.  However, if a writer is really any good, you can know many of the major plot points and still love the book.  It’s one thing to know that the MC ends up with the bad boy, and quite another to see how she gets there.  Especially for trainwreck scenes.  Many major twists involve attributes of the trainwreck, and the whole point of a trainwreck is that it’s better if you know what’s coming.  This is especially true of romantic subplots.  And let’s be honest, a lot of “big twists” are fairly predictable anyway.  In fact, that seems to be a major complaint in those vague reviews I mentioned earlier.

And then consider how often people re-read books.  It might not be as common now as it was in the past, but it still happens quite a bit.


So what, really, is everyone so afraid of?

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Posted by on June 25, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

I don’t normally do book reviews.  In fact, this is barely a book review at all, for all it’s marked with that tag.  Suffice to say that if you have not read Susanna Clarke’s “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell”, you ought to get right to it.  I know I’m woefully out of date, the book being published in 2004, but I can only say it’s the best historical fantasy (or possibly fantasy in general) that I have had the fortune to read.  Damn long, though.  But worth it.


Posted by on January 18, 2010 in Authors, Fantasy, Reviews, Titles


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First Time Doing NaNoWriMo

Well, National Novel Writing Month is coming up fast, and in the spirit of getting more writing done, I’ve signed up for my first NaNoWriMo.  Will I win?  I don’t know.  Probably not, but then again, maybe…  I’ve never done it before, so I can’t make an accurate prediction about how far I will get.

One thing a lot of authors experience, more unpublished than published, is having more story ideas than they have the time to write.  I know I have a lot of stories kicking around that I have not had the time to write.  So, I’m taking NaNo as my oppurtunity to work on one of these stories.  I’m going to try shutting off my inner editor, and just writing all the way to 50,000 words and beyond. 

One of my greatest hang-ups in terms of acually beginning to write a story is that my inner editor neven lets me forget that what ends up on the paper will fall far short of what I had imagined in my head.  But the goal of NaNo as I see it is not even so much to write a coherent part of a novel.  Despite the name, it’s more about throwing down those fifty-thousand words.  50,000 words is not a novel, so there’s  not too much point in insisting on other novel conventions.  Psychologically, this can allow a writer to be more relaxed in terms of product, which means they can be more relaxed while writing, and it is this which allows them to churn out 50,000 words of utter crap (or not).  Which is in and of itself an achievement that many apsiring writers never get to claim.

I encourage anyone who likes writing, or even just reading, to go out and give NaNoWriMo a try.  I don’t plan to obsessively report on my progress here as I’ve seen other bloggers do, but I am interested in doing a follow-up post once the contest is over, to see how others did, and what kind of experience they had with NaNo.

For anyone who is planning to give NaNo a try this year, whether they are first-timers or veterans, I want to wish you the best of luck.  You will need it.


Here is a link to the NaNoWriMo site:

Here is one to my profile:

The story I am currently planning to write on for NaNo is a fantasy story with a working title of  The Stone Tower.  Not very oiginal maybe, but it fits and it’s easy to remember, which is what working titles should do.

The specific genre description is “Dark Urban Secondary World Mythic Fantasy”.  I have summed this up in my compact little genre of “Chimney-punk”.  Mostly a tongue in cheek title referncing Steam-punk ( as opposed to being derived directly from cyberpunk).  Not that I have anything against steam-punk.  One of my favorite genres.

Alternatively, if I decide not to use this story, I will probably be writing a space opera.  Not at all contradictory.  Not at all.


Posted by on October 11, 2009 in atsiko, Chimney-punk, Writing


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