Thursday, July 24, 2008

Various Updates

I'm sorry to be so sparse with the posting this week.  If you've been following the progress bar, you might have noticed that AMoL jumped up one percent each day for the first three days of the week.  I've been hitting the drafting hard, as I want to get a large chunk done before Worldcon distracts me in two weeks. 

I've been working on mostly material that Mr. Jordan left behind, which is the larger reason why I've been able to move so quickly.  There's still a lot to do on many of these sections he wrote, however.  Some are in outline form, others were dictated in an almost 'screenplay' format without anything other than dialogue.  Some others are complete as-is, and I can just drop them into the document without changes.

Overall, however, what has been left behind has allowed let me move at about double speed.  We'll see if I can keep it up for another few days or so, as it would be nice to be at the 1/3rd mark by the end of the week.  (Though that would take another 12k in another three days.  Whew!)

In other news, Warbreaker 6.0 is done, but I'm too tried to wrestle with FTP right now.  I promise to post it by the end of the week, though. 

I managed to drop by the Utah Shakespearean Festival last week and caught the production of Two Gentlemen Of Verona, which I'd never seen before.  I enjoyed it immensely; I'd assumed that since it was one of his first (some guess his very first) plays, it wouldn't be quite up to speed.  However, the dialogue was superb, and the puns very imaginative.  I think I enjoyed it more than many of his other, more mainstream plays.

As I watched, I got to thinking that there's only one writer I've ever experienced who manages to pull off what Shakespeare did.  (Wit, Drama, story, and humor on various different levels at once.)  That person is Terry Pratchett.  Somehow, he--like the Bard himself--manages to be funny in a lot of different ways at once.  Both give us witty puns and word plays in one sentence, character humor in the next, and then a fart joke for good measure.  Both manage to pack character into otherwise ridiculous situations and stories.  (Though Terry's first book is not where I'd have people start, as I think he didn't hit his true stride until the mid 90's.)

It annoys me, sometimes, to think that Terry doesn't get the literary recognition he deserves.  Not only is humor looked down on by a lot of the writing establishment, but so is genre fiction, so he gets sneered at from two directions.  Part of me longs for a day when a writer wasn't berated for trying to give a little something to everyone--a little base humor for one crowd, a little elevated character drama for another, a little witty banter for another, and a little action adventure for yet another.  Plus, I think that all of those different crowds are often the SAME crowd, and by engaging us on a variety of different levels, both Shakespeare and Pratchett make for a more compelling piece of art.  It seems to me that a lot of literary writing these days only wants to do a couple of things with their writing.  The same things.  Over and over.

I didn't mean this to be a rant against the literary establishment.  They've received condemnations from authors far more important, and eloquent, than myself.  (Stephen King's National Book Award acceptance speech comes to mine, as do some very choice remarks by Orson Scott Card.)  Genre fiction has its own issues, and I think that we also often forget that fiction can do more than we lock it into.

No, the point wasn't a condemnation, but a compliment.  Terry, you're a genius.  And we haven't had a writer like you in a good four hundred years. 

3 Comments:

Blogger Kimberly said...

This is my first time visiting your blog and I couldn't help grinning as I read this post. I've been a devoted Terry Pratchett Fan since the early 90's when I read Reaper Man and was swept away by the power (and humour) of his writing. Not many authors can make you laugh so hard you start to have bladder twinges, and also provoke deep pondersome moments that in some subtle way manage to change your perspective of our world.

Discworld is such a lovely warped mirror of our own, but I think people would benefit from looking into it.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Eowyn said...

As I happen to know Kimberly, and also happen to know that every book she has purchased for me recently happens to have been authored by Terry Prachett, I can tell you she's telling the truth.

I need to get on the rest of the Robert Jordan books so I can read the last one when you finish.

BTW, I own every book you have written, and you even signed one for me for Mother's Day. October can't come soon enough.

9:06 AM  
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2:22 AM  

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