Tag Archives: Mistborn

The Art of Reading

As a writer I read a lot, and as me I don’t read nearly as much as I should. I would like to read more, I really would, but it takes so much time and there are so many other things I have to do on top of writing already. So for now, reading is more of a backseat necessity, one I do every night before bed.

What I’ve found through talking with some friends is how very different the reading experience is to each person. We each have our own ways of doing things and it fascinates me really. A recent discussion led to a friend and I talking about the Dresden Files and I don’t really remember about how we got onto the topic of Dresden himself, but we ended up talking about him and what we both think of him.

My friend said he envisioned Dresden as like a gaunt man, with his coat and what not, pretty much to a T of the description given in the books. I guess this is what you would expect someone to reply with. For them to describe the character as they are described in the book, but I learned during this conversation that I don’t do that at all.  It happens at first, but to me I get a good image of characters by how they talk and react.  I find myself completely ignoring their descriptions all together after a while.  What do I care if the book says he has dark brown hair and in my mind he has blonde, unless it’s mentioned every other page it likely makes little difference.

With this reading attitude I have, be it good, bad, or strange, I tend to place actors as characters. For instance my Dresden is Leonardo DiCaprio, why? He has that sullen feel to him that Leo shows a lot in movies like Shutter Island. Like the world is a dark place and he has to deal with it. Almost every character gets this kind of attribute. From Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn:  Elend = Will Smith,  Kelsier = Chris Pine, Ham = Hugh Jackman, Breeze = John Goodman. Whether or not these characters hold any of the real physical characteristics as Sanderson describes them I have no idea. But, in my mind this is the crew, and if you don’t see it, try reading one of these characters with the voice of their actor and I’m sure it’ll make sense.

I wonder how this method of reading affects my writing. Unlike when I read, when I write, my characters are unique individuals. I’ve tried casting them and I can’t do it. Yet, at the same time I know I don’t go into a lot of detail describing them physically either. I just don’t think it’s necessary; perhaps because of the way I read. I only give a few key details. Throughout my entire first novel I think the only reference to Quincy’s looks I give is that he wears a cape and a hat, and he’s the MC! But, I don’t want to bog the reader down. Quincy is who he is. He can come in multiple shapes and sizes and or forms, but he’ll be the same person, stand for the same things, loathe the same pet Easter Bunny every day.

 

-Your Strange Book Caster

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That Extra Bit

I’ve discovered that I like it when authors seem to go the extra mile. I mean, I know now that we all do go very in detail with the world building and character development. More so than most readers would ever realize. But I love it when as a reader you get to see this in the act. A lot of people do this in different ways.

The most popular example of this would probably be Pottermore. I love Harry Potter. I grew up with it, read the first three books in 7th and 8th grade, and waited on pins and needles to for the next one to come out just to rip through it in three days. It was amazing. I couldn’t get enough. It had everything a growing boy could want.  And now there’s Pottermore, which is like unlocking all this secret information in your favorite video game except in book form; it’s great. You can read excerpts that weren’t put in to the books, or tid bits of information about random characters that practically meant nothing; but being such a huge fan of the universe it feeds that itch for more, you know?

Things like this are great. Another example would be how Brandon Sanderson posts extras of his books on his website. If you head over there and click on Mistborn you will find deleted scenes, and various revisions of chapters. It’s neat.  As a writer I find this a bit more interesting of course, because you can see his thought process on story development. What he thought was necessary etc.  I feel like these kind of extras really bring you closer to author and is great for the book industry.

Another thing  a lot of others due that I find intriguing as a story building mechanic is the use of some sort of excerpt or the like at the beginning of chapters. For example Ender’s Game- great book, stoked for the movie- at the beginning of every chapter are the two men talking. It’s a bit enigmatic, and when it all comes together it’s great. I love to experience this tactic done well. It adds so much flavor and depth to the book I think. Mistborn does a great job with these, where it pertains to the story well.

Another book that used these that was more of a fun tid bit is Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess. I think the way the Foglios use this mechanic in a cool way. Instead of having their passages pertain directly to the story, they are random things from the universe. The one that sticks out most in my mind was a recipe for some common food dish. Like I said, it feels like you found a cool trophy in a video game.

Anyways. This is my goal. I want my work to be more than just novels for those who enjoy them. Queen City, the site of my first book and series, is huge and has lots to offer. Way more than I can fit in a novel or two; or ten. Hopefully when it’s all said and done I’ll be able to provide readers with all the means necessary to completely submerge themselves.

 

-Your Awfully Tired Author Who Doesn’t Care That He Just Used An Adverb

P.S. – This has been stuck in my head all week. 

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Beyond Our Reach

Typically I listen to music while running data at work. Every now and then though I find something more engaging that I can learn from. There was a solid two weeks where I plowed through Brandon Sanderson’s writing class. Which I think is great for an aspiring author to watch and learn form. I’m a huge fan of Sanderson. I think he provides a lot for the community and Mistborn is near the top of the best books I’ve ever read. I’m I’ll go on about it in the future because I’m getting off track right now.

 

Today I was watching/listening to this -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=YXh9RQCvxmg&feature=endscreen  and really wanted to share it.

It’s a video of Stephen Colbert interviewing Neil deGrasse Tyson. It’s really great stuff. Completely mind blowing what’s out there and makes you think.  It’s a long interview but definitely worth the watch. At least I thought it was. I guess it speaks to the engineer part of me.

At one point Tyson explains how people interpret things beyond their comprehension as Magic. This seems to prove true throughout history aif you think about it. And actually brought me to thinking about Magic in writing. Tyson describes the effect that if you can’t understand it you’re naturally weary of it and think it’s dangerous. Where as if it’s clearly defined and you can see how it works, you want to use it.

I instantly compared these thoughts to two fictional examples that are at the forefront of my mind. First would be the magic used by Dresden in the Dresden files. I’m only on book two but the extent of what can and can’t be done and how is loosely defined and thus ‘beyond comprehension’. I’m not saying this is bad, but it gives it an ‘ok he’s a Wizard, I can deal with that’ feel. By no means does it make me want to be him, or fantasize about what I could do with his powers.

On the other hand is the magic systems in the Mistborn universe. Defined to a t, very comprehendable. I find myself yearning to use the system. I want to test it’s boundries. I want to be a mistborn.

 

At anyrate, it’s food for thought. I’d love to hear othe rpeoples thoughts on the matter and I hope you can all appreciate the interview as much as me.

-Your Work Procrastinating Word Spitter

 

 

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