"In these pages many mysteries are hinted at.
What if you come to understand one of them?"

"Words let water from an unseen, infinite ocean
Come into this place as energy for the dying and even the dead."

"Bored onlookers, but with such Light in our eyes!
As we read this book, the jewel-lights intensify."

- Rumi

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Earning it part one.

Let's go back to starting a story in a tavern, that dreaded opener that editors dread, and how that relates to one of the two greatest lessons I learned in pursuit of my BA.  (Yeah, I'm going to mention that from time to time.  I'm rather proud of it.)  Anyway. The lesson I'm specifically speaking about comes from the brilliant Matthew Clark Davison, when he told his Craft of Fiction class, "You can do anything you want in fiction, as long as you earn it."  This ties in nicely to turning gaming into engaging fiction.  "Earning it" in this sense means, getting the reader to suspend his or her disbelief long enough to slog through the story or novel.  This is a huge challenge when dealing with things not in the "real" world.

Side not: Why Stephanie Myers fails and succeeds all at the same time with the Twighlight books (along with a metric crapton of other vampire fiction.)  You can't get me to suspend my disbelief long enough to accept that a Vampire with ZOMG awesome sUpEr poawerzzzz is going to hang out at high school waiting to pick up the love of his life.  I can't do it.  I had to put down Laura K Hamilton's first Anita Blake book in the first chapter because she didn't earn me continuing further. However, in Ms Hamilton's defense, I made it past the first page.  The flip side of this is that Myers has an almost automatic win with her audience, teen age girls.  (Or women who wish they were teenage girls.)  (Or men who are hoping to figure out the secret to getting teenage girls to put out, but if that's the case, Twighlight is the wrong education manual.)  I digress.  Almost every American Teenage Girl alive today wants a Vampire with ZOMG awesome sUpEr poawerzzzz is going to hang out at her high school waiting to pick her as the love of his life, etc... etc...

Now, back to the tavern business at hand.The Name of the Wind is not only one of the most brilliant (this is my current overly-used word) debut novel of all times, I would argue that it is among the best novels I have ever read.  The world and the main character are so richly envisioned that I have been eagerly awaiting the sequel for the last two years.  The Name of the Wind is 722 pages of I think 10 point, Times New Roman font.  That's a bunch of words, especially for a first time novel. Rothfuss has garnered quite a following with this tale, along with some pretty hefty royalty checks.  The irony: His story begins in a tavern.

duh dud DAAHHH!!!!!

Yes, it's true.  The book that Kevin J Anderson says, "... a fabulous debut, standing firmly on the main stage of the fantasy genre and needing no warm up act. Jordan and Goodkind must be looking nervously over their shoulders,"opens the way so many editors cry out not to open a book.  But, in the same way, but completely differently, I wowed the editors of Black Gate Magazine and sold a story based on one line, Rothfuss sells us on his story, despite being in a tavern.  He changes it up.  We have an unexpected opening, that really makes the careful reader want to go along for the ride.
"It was night again.  The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts."
We get a completely different picture of a tavern than we are used to in that over-used setting.  Noise usually bombards the reader through whichever character is experience this.  We want to know more about this silence, and why it is split into three parts.  Right their, Rothfuss lets us know that we are not in for the typical fantasy story.  Oh, it may have some things that we're used to seeing, but he's going to show us these things in an entirely new light.  If you have not read this book, do so.  Get it.  Read it.  The second book The Wise Man's Fear comes out March 1st.  I can't wait to see what twists Rothfuss has in store for us.

Like Rothfuss does, and sort of what I did, you can do anything at all, IF you earn it.  I didn't really earn it with my line, "An elf, and android, and a lawyer walk into a tavern," because I didn't go anywhere with it.

Again, I can't shamelessly plug these two books enough.  GET THEM.  READ THEM.  Then read them again, you'll learn more about character development that you can possibly imagine, if you read carefully.

The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1)The Wise Man's Fear (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 2)

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