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Messages - Recovering_Cynic

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Dan Wells / Book 3: I Don't Want to Kill You (some small spoilers)
« on: June 21, 2011, 09:28:47 PM »
Ha.  I started to title this post "I don't want to kill you" but I was afraid you might be inclined to think I was threatening your life.  With book titles like yours, it can probably be difficult for you to know whether your readers have homicidal intentions--as I'm sure you've already figured out.

Anyway,  I hadn't talked to you in awhile and hadn't been on Time Wasters in forever, but I wanted you to know that I stayed up reading until 2 a.m. last night to finish IDWTKY.  I am barely functional at work, but that's okay.  I must say that I easily enjoyed this book the best of the three for multiple reasons.  First and foremost, it was extremely well written.  John was as engaging as ever, more so if you ask me.  The book was beautiful.  Odd to say that about a serial killer book, but it is true.

On a more personal note, I think I enjoyed this particular book more because I could relate to John in it.  You do well at making an unsympathetic character very sympathetic, which is a hard balancing act that you pull off to near perfection.  You have done so in all the books, but I think you one-upped yourself this time.   In my case, I was somewhat of a sociopath growing up, not because I had homicidal tendencies; I just was unable to relate to my peers or connect with them in any kind of meaningful way.  I tried.  I wanted to connect.  I did things that I thought would make them like me--worked hard for good grades, played sports, over-achieved with the best of them... not realizing that the likelyhood of connecting through any of these actions was doomed before it ever started.  Somewhere along the line, I figured out that I had to stop letting on that I liked school.  That helped a little, but not really.

But then, like John, my last year of high school a popular girl took interest in me.  I had no idea what to do about that--it scared the hell out of me--but unlike John (this is where the ability to relate ends), I was thrilled by this particular turn of events.  I was convinced she was insane, that the relationship was doomed to fail (which, ironically, doomed the relationship), and that some seriously bad karma was on its way to balance out my habitually crappy life.  The disconnect--the longing--that you captured in John's character, I could relate so very well to that, which means you did a great job.

In short, I could relate to John in this book on a very personal level... well, without the embalming and desire to maim and kill.  Other than that, it was a familiar walk down memory lane.

I was curious, did some of your childhood seep into this book?  I won't ask that about the previous two for fairly obvious reasons, but I was curious about this third one.  I heard a saying once that went something like, "all smart children are sad children".  I think it was from an introduction Orson Scott Card wrote to one of the editions of Ender's Game.  He was quoting someone, but I'm not sure who.  Anyway, the little over-achievers grow up and for the most part become happy functional members of society, but precociousness leads to some pretty hard times as a kid.  I know nothing of your childhood, but something about the way you write, the way you think, makes me suspect that your childhood was somewhat similar to my own.  Hard times.  Then again, my psychoanalysis might be way, way off.  Just curious.

Anyway, I mostly posted this to thank you for the John Cleaver books.  They left a very satisfying aftertaste in my mouth.  Praise where praise is due.

Writing Group / Re: Call For Submissions - Edge of Propinquity Universe
« on: August 30, 2010, 04:41:38 AM »
wow.  The novel I'm working on would work really well for that.  Too bad it's a novel and does not really lend itself to short story form.

Books / Re: What are you reading, part 3
« on: August 25, 2010, 07:43:31 PM »
I tried C.J. Cherryh once and was so bored to tears that I have never tried her since.  The book was called Rusalka.

Books / Re: What are you reading, part 3
« on: August 12, 2010, 02:53:18 PM »
Just finished Gardens of the Moon. I like it more than I did at the beginning, but I'm still rather lukewarm about it.

I thought the way he tied everything together at the end was pretty awesome. 

Writing Group / Dramatica Pro
« on: August 11, 2010, 10:15:02 PM »
Hi everyone, so I just read up on Dramatica Pro, and I must say that I am intrigued.  It looks like an amazingly useful tool that would be very useful for me.  Do any of you use it?  How effective is it for fantasy settings?  Is it worth the (rather impressive) price?

Reading Excuses / Re: Progress and Submission Reports
« on: August 09, 2010, 03:25:11 PM »
So a few weeks ago I started perusing Native American mythology, and it stirred some ideas in my head.  They stuck, and over the past few weeks I have started outlining the first book in what I hope will be a trilogy.  I finished a rough sketch of the first book's outline last night.  I still have some worldbuilding to do before I can fully complete the outline, but I hope to start on the first few chapters  by the end of the week.

The highlights:
Urban Fantasy
Steampunkishness (only with modern technology)
The undermining of nearly everything in our current reality

Books / Re: What are you reading, part 3
« on: August 09, 2010, 03:13:22 PM »
Meh.  Erickson isn't for everyone.  I enjoy the books, but I have to take them in small doses.  Books 4 and 5 have been sitting on my shelf for months now, and I've felt no need to pick them up, although I will.  The rewards are worth it, but sometimes it feels like a chore to plow through his stuff rather than a privilege. 

Books / Re: What are you reading, part 3
« on: August 06, 2010, 03:11:49 PM »
I'm reading Erickson's Gardens of the Moon right now. I hate to say it--maybe I'm just not far enough into it--but so far it's not really doing anything for me.

I was nearly halfway through Gardens before I really started enjoying it.  Once you meet Crokus, things get better (imho).

Reading Excuses / Re: Aug 2 - Daddy Warpig - When Gods War, Part 1
« on: August 05, 2010, 10:01:01 PM »
I very much enjoyed the chapter, and I really only have three critiques.  First, though, your writing is superb.  It's easy to read, clear, and tugs you along.  The story is interesting.  It's just started but it already has depth.  By all means, keep it coming, keep writing, and finish this thing.


1) You use the word "pit" like six or seven times in the matter of a few paragraphs.  Swap it out for some synonyms, e.g. chasm, abyss, etc.

2) The playfulness at the end was a bit much for me.  This was "comfort" sex.  They've both been through a lot.  It's okay to have some levity, but it should be a little strained.  These two were behaving like newlyweds, not people who've just met and who are making love in public just outside a burned out city.  It didn't fit.

3) DON"T REVISE ANYMORE.  Write down the critiques, but don't re-write the chapters we just read.  That's how I killed my last book.  This story is good enough, that I'd hate it if you did the same.  Write your next chapter, then the next, then the next.  Note any changes you want to make later, but resist the urge to make them now.

Anyway, bravo.  Well done.

Reading Excuses / Re: July 19 - Daddy Warpig - When Gods War, Chap 1
« on: August 05, 2010, 09:33:56 PM »
Just read this version.  Will read revision and post in other thread.

Reading Excuses / Re: July 19 - The Sword of Worlds CH 26 - Ellie
« on: August 03, 2010, 08:51:38 PM »
The combat worked great.  It was a highlight for me.  Oh, and don't go cramming your book into  20K unless that's how it comes out naturally.  You can always edit out more later, but it's harder to expand.  Write it to the lengh it comes out, then cut where you think it's needed.

Writing Group / Re: I need bad supernatural YA - really, i do.
« on: August 03, 2010, 08:45:24 PM »
Believe it or not, your story sounds *very* difficult to write.  If you want your MC to be sympathetic at all, you are going to have to hide from your reader the fact that there are no vampires or witches, which means you are going to have to have an unreliable narrator and that isn't easy (I've tried).  You are also going to have to have a huge reveal/twist.  It's doable, but you're going to need to study up on your Shayamalan and other such directors/authors.  You might look at Edgar Alan Poe's Tell Tale Heart as well.

As to tone, I'd go watch Donnie Darko.  The tone of your story would be somewhere along those lines, maybe a little darker.

Video Games / Re: Starcraft II
« on: August 02, 2010, 04:13:08 PM »
Featuring a unique single-player campaign that picks up where StarCraft: Brood War left off, StarCraft II will present a cast of new heroes and familiar faces in an edgy sci-fi story filled with adventure and intrigue. In addition, Blizzard will again offer unparalleled online play through, the company's world-renowned gaming service, with several enhancements and new features to make StarCraft II the ultimate competitive real-time strategy game.


The restaurant you are thinking of is Nicoitalia, and yes, it is awesome.

Books / Re: What are you reading, part 3
« on: July 30, 2010, 10:52:14 PM »
Last night I read The Fool Jobs by Joe Abercrombie, also in the Swords and Dark Magic anthology.  I loved it.  It kinda reminded me of a short story I wrote (some of you read it, Discharge).  Anyway, I love Abercrombie, but I need to take him in small doses. 

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