Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Assistants & The Waterborn

I need a nap. Not feeling witty or bitchy or anything interesting...
There will no doubt be even more typos in this than usual.

The Assistants by Robin Lynn Williams--
Despite the topic--assistants to bigwigs in the cut throat world of Hollywood--The Assistants is ultimately very upbeat, almost sweet. Perhaps too much so.

The overall premise is simple: Life is hell when you're a Hollywood assistant. The story (if you can call it that, the plot is negligible) follows "five miserable" souls. With predictable aspirations--actor, agent, screenwriter--each tolerates his/her insufferable employer with the expectations that someday, hopefully soon, there will be a payoff.

Williams does a splendid job with characterization, so much so that it makes up for that lack of any real plot. More like "a day in the life in...," the novel is driven by its engaging characters, each springing from the page as a unique voice.

The novel stretches the reader's credulity, however, by slapping on an overly happy ending. The coniving cad, for example, finds love, redemption (and a sugar momma) with his ex-boss's (the guy that fired him) wife. Initially beseiged by the IRS, another character finds herself actually grateful for the resulting windfall after she is forced to sell her father's home. Um, yeah, right.

This sudden shiftto good fortune feels too abrupt, taking a strong novel for a turn to the mushy.

Not quite recommended, but...entertaining and a good study in how to build unique characters.

The Waterborn by Gregory Keyes.
I suppose some would argue that The Waterborn is "formulaic." But anyone who knows me, knows that I like formula; I'm a fan of comfort reading.

In the desert city of Nohl, imperial princess Hezhi has just lost her best friend. Taken by the priesthood for mysterious reasons, her friend is considered dead by all except Hezhi herself. To find him, she will spend the next two years trying to learn everything about the priesthood, her family's history and ultimately herself. In desperation, she wishes for a hero, giving her wish to the River god who rules her land.

Far away, in a land dominated by Forest gods, a young man undergoes a coming of age ceremony that includes first-time hanky-panky with a goddess. In the way of many young men, he immediately confuses sex with love and when the goddess tells him how the River god swallows her, he vows to slay the god.

Driven by the enthusiasm and naiveté of youth, the two characters' separate quests will eventually bring them together.

Yeah, she's the spunky princess archetype (which I like). And he's the unsophisticated young man coming of age (okay, so long as there's a spunky princess.) It may not be new, but Keyes' background in anthropology gives the underlying world tremendous depth and paints a vivid world where forest gods and ghost walk among us.

Strongly recommended.

On to...
Bridget Jones, The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding
All That Remains by Patricia Cornwell
The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene -- Non-fiction/Physics. Me big geek.

Listening to...
Blandy McBland soccer mom station--The Peak.

In the absence of hubby, cranked out at least 2k words over the weekend. I loves my man, but he really hampers my productivity.

I got at least 1400 words on Pinocchio's Dream and finally got a handle on my antagonist. I hate bland, Bwa-hah-hah, no motivation bad guys. Anyway, I finished up the scene where the heroine meets him. Because I know she's going to end up with someone else, the "real" good guy in the story, I was having trouble working any sexual tension into the scene. Got past that, finally.

By virtue of a rewrite, I got in about 1100 new words on HallowBone Holiday. I'm a firm believer in not rewriting until the whole beastie is on the page. But...I wrote big chunks of H H before I re-wrote Music of Chaos. Since then, there's been a fairly significant change in character relationships. Even if I don't get Music of Chaos published, it is still represents the "correct" backstory. As a result of the changes to the first book, some of the character interactions in book two were just wrong.

About 500 of the above, was all new stuff.

Buffed and polished "The Shapeshifter's Challenge" to a high sheen, then formatted a version for Writers of the Future. (Despite the affiliation with L. Ron Hubbard, it has no link to Scientology and is considered pretty prestigious. I'm mighty happy with my quarter finalist finish with "Salvation in a Plastic Bag.") It would be great if "Shapeshifter" could get that far.

Don't know where to send it after that. Seems like most of the romance short story markets don't pay much. Not a big deal, but, I usually try the pro-markets and work my way down in pay. (Usually, not always.)

Off to do...stuff. Like...nap.




Graphics and Content Copyright © Patricia Kirby 2005