On Friday night, I finally saw the new(ish) movie version of The Hobbit — the Peter Jackson version that came out earlier this year. I am a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings movies, despite their flaws, and I was looking forward to seeing what Jackson did with The Hobbit. To be honest, I have been excited about this movie since I first heard that it was being made, and my excitement only increased when I learned that the marvelous Martin Freeman would be playing Bilbo Baggins.
I am sad to say that I found the movie stunningly disappointing. Let me pause here to make clear that I am not a movie purist. I was fine with many of the decisions Jackson made in his retelling of LOTR, including those that strayed from the books as written by J.R.R. Tolkien. I do not believe that a movie [...]
Continue reading On Writing: Book Identity, and Why I Didn’t Like THE HOBBIT Movie
Misty and I had a lovely exchange yesterday on her post about ethics and characters doing stupid things. If you missed it, take a look back. I commented to her post (which was great, BTW) about a reviewer who had been attacking me and my character Jane Yellowrock, calling her (her decisions, her religious choices, her sex life, her…everything) and me, stupid and much worse
That post and exchange made me realize how important a review is to a book and a writer, and that some simple how-to-review-a-book rules might be helpful. Also, I hope you’ll offer some more suggestions in the comment area to round out the list.
Do: 1. Find something nice to say about a book. 2. Finish any book you review. Otherwise you are not giving *your* readers a fair shake. 3. Review the book you read, not the book you wish it was. 4. [...]
Continue reading Dos and Don’ts of Reviewing
I had an amusing thing happen this week. A reader posted a review on Amazon, stating that my book was a three-star read. It’s not the number of stars that makes it funny – as far as I’m concerned, three stars is great, and I’m perfectly grateful. No, the funny part was that she would have given it more stars if only I had more books in the series available, because she wanted to know more about what happened. Now, please don’t misunderstand. As I said, three stars is wonderful and I’m absolutely not complaining. I’m also tickled that I told a good enough story that she wanted more – every writer hopes her readers will feel that way. But her disappointment with my only having the one novel available has made me wonder how readers these days are looking at stand-alone novels, the kind that tell the whole story [...]
Continue reading Standing Alone
My regular week off from MW coincides with Thanksgiving week, which is convenient, because I will be traveling with my daughter to look at colleges in NY and New England, so I wouldn’t really have time to post anyway. But that means that my Thanksgiving post comes a week early this year.
As always I am thankful for so much — I’m a very lucky man. I love my family, and they seem to love me back, which is always good thing. I enjoy my job, and have had a successful year, revolving around the release of THIEFTAKER, which has done well both commercially and critically. And I have friends and colleagues here at MW and elsewhere whom I respect and care about a great deal. Are there things I would like to improve in my life — in particular in my career? Of course. I’m not claiming that all [...]
Continue reading Books For Which I Am Thankful (An Early Thanksgiving Post)
Diana Pharaoh Francis
I read a book the other day that will remain nameless. In fact, let’s call it Nameless. Anyhow, I started it and right away it annoyed me. The characters annoyed me because they were whiny and then there was the deluge of “as you know, Bob-isms.” I wanted to stop reading, but the reason I picked up the book was its premise and I still wanted to see more how of how that played out.
I’m happy to say that Nameless improved, but it was really a broken book. More flaws developed. The author set the stage for a romance in future books, but there was no real emotion there. I just didn’t buy it. The author also left some significant plot holes of the variety where if the reader overthought, then getting from point a to point b wouldn’t make any sense. On top of that, the main character [...]
Continue reading Broken and readable books
When I worked in the middle school library, I loved matching books to readers. There’s nothing quite like seeing a student come running in, eyes shining, having finished the first book in a series and desperate for the next one. One year my eighth grade girls had discovered Holly Black’s Modern Faerie tales, Tithe, Valiant and Ironside. I’d just suggested to my supervisor that we should buy extra copies, because the books were going over so well, when a sixth grade boy checked out Valiant, then complained to his guidance counselor about some adult language contained therein. And the real fun started. The counselor insisted the book be removed, the media specialist pulled it off the shelf to “consider” it, I pitched a fit that the book should be put right back into the collection. They were dark days in the library, let me tell you.
There are books [...]
Continue reading Happy Banned Books Week!
Diana Pharaoh Francis
Have you ever read a book and been so amazed by it that it made you feel like you were a crappy writer and could never begin to write anything remotely like that and why bother? I think it happens to a fair number of writers. We are often unable to judge our own work, thinking it’s either better than it is, or much worse. We are frequently more likely to believe that we suck than that we are really good. So then we read something we love and womp! we’re bashed over the head with our own inadequacy.
I’ll admit it’s happened to me where I’ve read other books and felt a bit hopeless. But that response is really a sad one. First, we ought to be able to read and celebrate great writing without judging ourselves. We ought to be able to just enjoy ourselves like everybody [...]
Continue reading Envy or Inspiration