Friday, March 16, 2012

Web site work etc.

I have been a reader since I first learned. My sister and I would walk to our town's fantastic library. We were fortunate to have a children's librarian that loved the books as much as we did. She would get to read them first, then I would take the maximum number allowed (4) and spend the summer days lost in other worlds beneath the huge elm tree in our front yard.

Last night I finished reading Chime by Franny Billingsley. It took me a while to get used to the voice and the language but once I got into it, I was hooked. I don't always like first person POV but I'll give it a chance. In Chime, the narrator is a 17 year old girl, Briony, in a strange swampy place with mythical creatures called Old Ones. Briony has the Second Sight and she can see and communicate with them. She's also convinced that she is a witch and will hang for it.
Gradually the reader gets to understand the place and the situation. I imagine the setting as the Fens of England sometime in the early 1900's, though witches are still hanged. And it is a bit of a mash up, because draining the Fens was begun in the 1600's, I believe. Draining the swamp is a major part of the story, however so is the arrival of a new train line and the first cars. It's not quite a real world, I'd call it magical realism, which is my favorite kind of book.

Briony has a twin sister, Rose, who is mentally disabled and the narrator does a great job of making us see Rose just through the language. It's a complicated, haunting story and the writing never fails or gets weak.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Collecting all the creative work

The photo above was taken on Prince Edward Island some years ago. We had a wonderful trip though a large bay, out through a gap in the barrier beach. We camped on the beach overnight with a two guides. It was an unforgettable trip.
I'm working on collecting all of my creative work over the years onto one web site and posting about my writing works in progress. I've been working on a children's book called Maggie by Moonlight. I've just gotten the first responses from my beta readers and they are very positive. There is still a lot to do before I decide if I go straight to e-publishing or send it out. I have a lot of ideas for a collection of books I have wanted to work on for a long time, so I could send it out and just get right to work on the next one.

Ever since I could read I have been a fanatic reader. I read the kind of books I want to write, 12 and up children's books and YA. I love magic realism written for adults also.

I just finished A Web of Air by Philip Reeve. I loved his first one set in the same world with the lead character Fever Crumb. But even though I still love the characters and setting, the story line in this one just didn't appeal to me. It is mostly centered around a new character, Arlo Thursday, who is attempting to build an airplane. I used to have an airplane so I liked this to begin with, however (story spoiler) the attempt is a failure, the relationship between Fever and Arlo comes apart and it ends with him sailing off into the sunset. So it is set up for a sequel but I felt kind of blah about it. If you're going to set up an improbable romance it might as well have some kind of positive outcome. It's fantasy after all. I guess if it had ended with Fever sailing off after him I'd feel more satisfied with it.

Now I'm into Chime by Franny Billingsley. It's first person, with a strange narrator. One of those books where you spend a lot of effort figuring out what is going on. I'm only part way into it but I'm still not sure what is going on except that the main character hates herself and says she is a witch. And people die because of her. Ok, I'll sign up for the journey.