Sunday, 14 September 2014

Post Snippet; Logic Traps

Apparently, this is how I would trap an angel...

My first thought was a logic trap, that is a confine where supernatural creatures are bound because the logic of the laws of nature has been reinforced around that area, such that they cannot leave. It may be postulated that angels as supernatural creatures of god may take only very limited actions when observed or when within a zone defined as inviolate - that is not subject to intervention because humankind holds sway there. If such a zone surrounded the creature unexpectedly, they could be shut down and caged.

The reason such a prison works is because god is mostly seen to be "hands off" which preserves our free will. If an angel is seen to be interfering or interferes in a high-risk zone, that would shatter the covenant and violate that prime law. Which, if shared, would erase the tenets we live by in society and invalidate much of what we do.

Whether people believe in god or not is not the issue, it's whether or not they have a choice. If something can scientifically be proved or shown en-masse, it could no longer be denied - at least for the most part. At that point, there's no difference between regular life and the end of days, where god reveals itself and everything is conjoined.

If I were an angel, I really wouldn't want to explain that mistake.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Writing, Plot and Execution

I am finding this novel to be mildly frustrating.

Though only midway through my voyage of discovery, I can't quite help thinking a key idea of writing is represented in this tome. Although the writing is masterful and the story well set, I find myself, at times, noting an inconsistent narrative and tone.

The book starts from a strong suit, but over time the messages become diluted. Where other books have denoted subtle power struggles within the majestic halls of grand citadels, plays full of intrigue and subterfuge kept tense and tightly manipulated by the players, this book trades seriousness and levity at the highpoint so far, the midpoint of the book.

Spoiled though I may be, there is no steel trap logic, no desperate scrabble to remain in play, and alive. And that saddens me.

I must admit, not normally would I be this critical of a story, but I feel this is a special case. I was tantalised by the gems that forthwith remain undelivered, and instead I must content myself to stare through the glass at riches beyond imagining. It's not that which wholly spurs my hand to comment, though, rather that to me, the stakes were raised beyond imagining when the author decided to move to rape.

Let me be clear, I am neither a prude (despite how some might know me) nor naive to the evils of this world. I am lucky enough to have not experienced many, if indeed any, first hand, and for that I am thankful most every day. However, I feel while this subject is a very common idea in many novels, it is necessary that the author generate an appropriate atmosphere for this horror to be conveyed.

I'm getting a little ahead of myself here, so I want to make it clear that the act hasn't actually happened or been described in the book (at least not as of yet). However, what revolted me was not the mention but rather the casual association of a year long torture perpetrated on a powerful political figure, seemingly with the consent of her spouse, with the idea that a heroine of the story would also undergo a similar attack.

I just don't get it.

Rape is a terrifying thing. Being under threat of such, whether within the confines of a barely tenable marriage or elsewise, is frightening and serious enough on its own. It needs no relation to the idea that a character underwent such monstrous invasion for over a year in order to lend a sense of dread to the idea.

I feel this is somewhat symptomatic of our society. Constantly directing our gaze downwards, we outdo each other for horror and vile acts, seeming to delight in the exploration of the terrible. What's bad? Getting killed. What's worse than that...hmmm...torture before the inevitable. What's worse than torture? Rape. What's worse than rape? Rape over a long period by multiple assailants.

When does enough become enough? I already know how damn well low the human race can stoop, and these ideas have their time and place in literature, I don't deny that. But this one-upmanship of the vilest kind must stop. We are fascinated and drawn to the foul end of the spectrum, but it really needs no more examining, for in our pursuits we are turning away from the sun.

And I don't really like that. We're better than that.


Returning to the opening of this post, I wish to highlight that in my opinion, this book well demonstrates the reality of writing. So many poor souls come bedraggled, hat in hand, to the first page, doubting and tearful and fearing their worth and skill.

I say unto ye; behold that which makes a tale true and hardy doth not squarely fall upon words alone. The head, heart, and soul of its creator is the essence of the novel, and though its pages doth rain words as so many an English morn, let them be stained crimson as your lifesblood, and leave their indelible ink upon the soul of thy appreciative reader.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Taking A Wider View

It's been an age and a day since I've read quality. It's only been marginally less than that that I've read at all, and that really has been to my detriment.

So it was with some surprise, I opened a newly acquired (courtesy of the humble bundle) copy of "The Curse of Chalion" by Lois McMaster Bujold and realised with an internal gasp that I was reading the work of a master. It really has been too long.

There is something about a book, similar to a film but so much more engaging, where it grabs you and pulls you into its world, capturing and enrapturing you in a simple sentence or two, that I just adore. It's incredible. And as I read that first paragraph, half way through I realised what I had been missing for quite a while.

I struggle, here, with a product that I feel is decent but not more than entry level into a world without borders. It's not powerful or intense, not fearsome or electrifying, not even funny and cool. At most, my writing could be said to have characters that have some depth and feeling to them. Though even that is a self assessment based on a few people's short opinions.

This book, on the other hand, is like coming face to face with a master. I'll use that word again because it is suitable. I had to look the author up online and I am pleasantly comforted that this is not a book deemed regular or moderate, for if that was the case I would indeed have to re-evaluate my goals. Still, I realise that for a long time I have been looking at what I could do better than others, or how my writing is better than the lowest common denominator.

When what I really should be doing is comparing myself to the best.

My writing isn't elaborate or descriptive, it's simple and accessible and quite colloquial. It reflects my skill with the language quite thoroughly and the gaps in that knowledge are painfully clear. It's not complex writing and I know it, and that's not likely to change. It just doesn't suit me. Passion and emotion yes, intricacies...not so much. My major skill is the ability combine knowledge, take different fields and create connections, but I'm not someone who can remember a lot of data and work inside the box.

It figures that I would write fantasy.

Most of the problems I have now though, I see are probably down to my focus on poor or mediocre writing. Yes, it's good for my confidence to see something that's poorly written. But is it good for my writing? Not in a month of sundays.

I'm at the stage where I feel my writing is mediocre. And that's great because that mediocre could get published. It's at a decent standard. But as I look to this book now, without reading past the first few pages or knowing if, as a whole, it is great or lackluster, I see the gap in skill.

And I know what I should be aiming for.

I know I really need to start reading again now, because I need to learn. I need those words and styles and that rich cloak of atmosphere to sink into my mind and soul, and add its unique beauty to the swirling mix. Once again, I need to devour and grow, become more than I am, so I can write, and think, better. And as I read, I will once again open myself to a world of possibilities.

For, master, the student is ready.