In Which Thematic Unity Does Not Arrive

1 May 2005

I've been doing revisions to The Grey Road, which, for those of you playing along at home, is my second novel. Because it's the sequel to my first novel, Fortress of Thorns) -- which, you will notice, is not sitting on the shelves of friendly bookstores near you -- I have not been highly motivated to revise this volume. As things stand, it's the roughest book I've written. Fortress was written rougher but has gone through at least four more revisions than The Grey Road, which is a pretty significant difference, especially for one's second novel.

I think it's going well. I'm not entirely sure what "well" means. I'm thinking hard about it, and I see some stuff that will improve it, and I still think it's worth writing the rest of the series. So there's that.

One of my bad habits is rearing its ugly little head today, and that is the habit of making up clothes that ought to exist. I know exactly what to get my mom for Mother's Day, having handled her birthday present; now if only someone would make it, I would give them money, and she would have it, and everyone would be happy, notably me. My psychic link to clothing designers seems to be irrevocably broken. It's very sad. It's also extremely unfair that both my mother and my grandmother were born in the same month as Mother's Day, so they get their presents clumped up together and then a long drought until Christmas. My dad's birthday is never more than a week from Father's Day, either. It seems like someone should have traded something around there. Anyway, I've poked through my "stuff to buy" file of bookmarks on my browser, and so far nobody is selling what I want to buy. Very sad.

I'm in the middle of reading David Lee Stone's The Ratastrophe Catastrophe, and...oof. It highlights for me the dangers of attempting something very similar to the recent work of someone a good deal more famous than you. Especially when that person is a good deal more famous for a reason. So far there's nothing Ratastrophe is doing that The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents didn't do better, and Maurice did other stuff as well. It may change, but so far I'd advise rereading Maurice if you already have and skipping Ratastrophe entirely. Furthermore, even in books with male main characters, Terry Pratchett remembers that the human race is not entirely composed of males. You wouldn't think this would require a great talent, but apparently not all writers have grasped the point yet. (I don't get it. How can you just not have any major characters of one sex or the other without making a point of it like Ethan of Athos or Ammonite? It just doesn't make any sense to me. Even Tolkien had Eowyn and those others, and he went to school on Athos, sort of.)

I'm sorry it's not a very unified journal entry, but it hasn't been a very unified weekend.

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