Current project... Terry Brooks. The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara Ilsie Witch, to be specific. Terry Brooks has been
I'm missing something. Here I am all worried that when I write fantasy, I'll vomit out too much, and this man bogs me down. The problem is, that I'm still confused about some things, while others, he goes into painful detail. Which leaves me with a feeling like, "Huh?"
He's got a flare for dialog, I give him that. And there are parts in this book where I'm eagerly turning pages, but the problem is that it only last for about three pages. Then along comes "Time to explain something... not something that I really find necessary to advance the story for me, but more like something to backflesh the story. Yawn!"
I'm not even half way through the book and I see this great plot building. I also see about fifty subplots that I have a feeling won't be answered very well, or wrapped up in three sentences. I've been reading this book for a couple weeks. Usually it takes me only a day or so to read a book this size.
I've picked up some other stuff. I hope that's easier to read, because I'm really starting to wonder if I should be looking at fantasy. The story idea I have has to be fantasy, but I refuse to write in a style that isn't "mine." I like to use dialog. I like to pad a story, only in that I want to give the reader a comfortable idea of where they are and who these people are. However, I don't want to fall into the "Tolken trap" which seems to be this idea that we must spend five billion pages describing something of utmost importance (like, shall we say, a rock) while I'm convinced my readers are going, "HELLO? KNOW WHAT A ROCK IS!"
I'm trying to remember the stuff I used to read that I liked so much. I remember one series about a bar. Short stories about this crazy bar. This was before I discovered GrimJack and the Munded Bar series, and I think they were written before that all came about. I'm sure that this series was part of the inspiration for Mundens bar. But I remember the series was pretty good. Several books, if I'm remembering correctly, a few were even written by different authors, but the series started with one writer. And if I'm remembering, the basic idea of these books was that all these weird creatures would meet in this bar and story by story, you'd find out about them, and you'd find them all tied together at the end, because they were all at the bar. It wasn't a mind boggling series. But the stories for the most part were well written and entertaining as hell. Sometimes they were angsty, sometimes they were just plain funny. I wish I could remember that series. Does it sound familiar to anyone?
I'm not sure if fantasy has changed over the last 20 years, or if I have. I did find my old Isaac Asimov books and reread those. I still liked them just as much as I did when I was younger. I always admired him for being able to write science fiction so that even someone who was as brain dead about science as me, could understand them and didn't feel like I was being talked down to.
Oh yeah, I took a nap this afternoon and had
I was living with my folks in this dream. Don't ask me where Todd was, that wasn't important. I was living with my parents, I was an adult, and we had all just moved to a new place. My bedroom was right in the front of the house, so anyone coming in had to go tromping through my bedroom to get to the rest of the house. The room was tiny too. Barely fit a single bed in it, but it had the biggest walk in closet I'd ever seen.
Oddly, despite this huge closet, I kept all my clothes stacked in a corner in my room, because I couldn't fit a dresser in.
But that's not even the focus of the dream. That was just where my life was at when I began this dream.
So, I wake up one morning in my miniscule bedroom and I see an arm and hand reaching out from under the bed. I grab it, and pull. It turns out to be my sister in law, who had come to the house late at night and decided to crawl under my bed to crash. I tell her that the next time she should wake me up, because we can find a more comfortable place to sleep than under my bed. She explains that she has to sleep under the bed, because her doctor says that since her breakdown (no, she's never had a breakdown in real life) she's become dangerous in her sleep.
I completely understand this and we have breakfast.
After breakfast, I somehow magically appear in this school that I attended as a child. Now, this school is rather a cross between Hogswart and one of those typical "Miserable boarding schools!" I used to read about when I was a kid. It's very old, made mostly of stone, like a big old castle. No, it's not a magical school, it's just a boarding school. No, I never attended boarding school in my life.
I remember that I hated the school with a passion for the most part. The kids were mean to me, the teachers were vicious and cruel, it was a pretty heartless, cold, place.
Except that I had two special friends. One was a magical dragon. Oddly, I have never had fantasies about dragons when I was a kid. Or, even when I was older. My idea of the perfect mythical pet was a Pegus, but mostly I prefered to pretend I had exotic pets like lions and snow leopards. But, in this school I had a magical dragon friend. A very cute dragon, with big eyes and long lashes. He really looked like he should be hosting a kid's cartoon. Which, to be honest, shocks me too. I've never seen dragons as "cute things." I've always seen dragons as very magestic creatures. In fact, I get annoyed at stuff like "Pete the dragon." I don't think dragons are made to be cutsie critters. Even if they are good, a decent dragon should strike fear in the heart when you first see it, or at the very least, extreme awe. No one should want to pinch a dragon on his cute widdle cheeks. But this one you sure would want to. And probably give him a cute collar with a little pink bow on it.
My other friend was a cat. But no ordinary cat. No, this cat could communicate. No, not speak, but you could ask him things and he'd use pantomime and various guestures to tell you what you wanted.
And the three of us had this magical room we all stayed in, which was in the attic. A wonderful room, that was big and bright and just filled with all sorts of amazing things to make you go "Ooo" and "ahhhh." Oh, the happy hours me and my magical dragon pal and my communicating cat pal used to spend in this room. I hated this school with all my being, but I loved my special friends and the time we spent together, frolicing and playing. (Cue, light, cheery, instrumental music, mostly involving flutes.)
So, I go into the school and it's exactly how I remember it. It's damp, it's dismal. But I want to go to the attic to visit my dragon pal, cause i know he's up there, waiting to see me. He'll remember me, how could he forget me? The only problem is that I forget how to get to the attic. I do remember that you have to follow a certain proceedure to get there, think of it as a mini magical journey.
But, I'm lucky. My cat pal is there. We greet each other with great joy and I'm so happy to see him, even though I can't remember his darned name for the life of me. So, I keep refering to him as "old friend."
Come to think of it, I can't remember if the dragon had a name either.
So, I ask old friend how to get to the attic and old friend starts motioning I have to go down this set of stairs. Then it all comes back to me. "Oh yes, now I know! Will you join me, old friend so we may visit our dear friend the dragon together?"
I swear to god, this is how I talked in this dream. Not at the beginning, when I was dragging my sister in law out from under the bed, but it's like I walk into this school and I'm talking like someone out of a bad novel.
Old friend shakes his head, indicating that he can't join me now, but he'll catch up with us later. So, I head down the stairs. I have to go down to the basement and follow this maze. No one goes down in the basement in this school, so it's very dusty and musty. But I know it like the back of my hand.
Once I make it through the maze, I have to take this spiral staircase upstairs. It's very long, and made of wrought iron. I climb up, up, up. I finally make it to the end. I'm on the top floor of the school, but I haven't yet reached the attic.
No, now I have to walk down the hall and enter this very old bathroom, with one of those old fashioned toilets with the water tank way above the tank. There's an old freestanding sink that looks like a big, cracked bowl on a pedastal. The faucetts are those ones that look like big flowers, with white centers that say in big block letters HOT and COLD.
The only other thing in this room is a huge old fashioned bathtub with clawed feet. It's in the center of the room. And in order to get to the attic, I have to close my eyes, and leap into the bathtub, and really believe that I'm going to the attic. Then, when I open my eyes, I'll be there.
Only today, the bathtub has about two inches of what looks to be red clam chowder in it. Strangely enough this does not bother me. I remember several times when I leaped in when there was water in the bottom, or sometimes even another bathing student of the school. What's a little red clam chowder? And it isn't like I'm going to get any on me. Once I leap into the tub, I'll be transported to my magical atic with my magical dragon pal.
So, I lift up the hem of my nightgown (No, I did not go to the school wearing a nightgown, but I seem to be wearing one now... go fig.) and leap into the bathroom.
And splatter red clam chowder all over me.
I am perplexed by this, but I figure it's been a few years, so I get out of the tub and try again.
And I splatter more clam chowder.
I keep trying and trying, convincing myself that it's only because I haven't done this for so many years. I splatter red clam chowder all over myself, all over the room. Bits of tomato and potato are dripping off of the walls, the sink, the toilet. It's really quite disgusting. But every time, I tell myself this time I'll make it! and leap into the tub.
Finally, I realize it's just not going to happen. But this doesn't make me very sad. Instead, I leave the room and go down the regular stairs and go out the door. My car is out there. I get into my car and drive away. As I'm leaving the school, it hits me that the reason why I couldn't get the tub to work is because I'm an adult now and even though I remember being able to work the magic when I was a child, I'm too old now. Only children can really appreciate and fully believe with all their being, that magic is real. As an adult, I've become too cynical to believe that I can leap into a tub full of red clam chowder and end up in a magical attic with my dragon pal.
The thought makes me sad, but I don't cry. I just head home, realizing that's the way it is.
I wake up and tell my husband about the dream. He says the next time, I should get the clam chowder out of the tub. It was probably the clam chowder that prevented me from making it to the attic.