Weekly Update – 10/11/17

Hello, Internet!

Books books books, books books. I’m going to talk about books.


Reading

I finished my re-read of The Way of Kings sometime on Monday, and I’ve started re-reading Words of Radiance in preparation for when Oathbringer drops in November. Considering The Way of Kings is about a thousand pages, and I’m a few hundred into Words, either I haven’t done much apart from read this week, or I’ve not been sleeping as much as I ought.

(Hint: It’s both.)

Every time I re-read these novels, I’m amazed at Sanderson’s architecture. The two primary characters of Way are never in the same location, at the same time. They don’t know each other; they’ve never met. Yet, because they’re engaged in one way or another with the same mysteries and conflicts the book still feels like a unified whole. Sanderson’s structure is a big part of why I’m such a fanboy for his work; he took the lessons fantasy readers and writers learned through the nineties sagas (such as The Wheel of Time, The Sword of Truth, and A Song of Ice and Fire) and tackles his epics with a sharp focus on the finale.

I think anyone who wants to write saga-length fiction ought to read the Stormlight Archive. Thus far, it has been one of the rare fantasy series to be firmly under the author’s control.

Speaking of, I’ve been trying to pay more attention to structure, style, and technique during this re-read. I’ve not read Stormlight since I started writing my own work, and my experience and beginning further education are helping me read and look at the text in a new way. I like it.


Writing

I’ve spent some time brainstorming and outlining my project for NaNoWriMo this year, but haven’t done much proper writing.

This story is looking really fun to write, and I’m eager to get started on it. Currently it feels a lot like James Bond meets science wizards; a thriller with some mystery set in the 23rd century, after humans have discovered how to transform consciousness into raw energy. I have four Word docs in use, one for characters, one for setting (and other errata), and then one each for a simple outline and for a complex outline.

I’m currently using two viewpoint characters (although I might add a third). Everything I’ve written before has been from one (and much of it has been first person), so this should be a new and interesting opportunity to experiment. I have a few stories I want to write that really need to be 3rd Limited or Omniscient, and writing this piece ought to be a good stepping-stone toward more complex work.

Going forward I need to spend some time researching a nonfiction piece for my current class. I’ve been brainstorming a bit, and I think I’m going to write on the life of Alcibiades. He was a student of Socrates, and one of the most notorious Athenians of his day. It could be argued that he won the Peloponnesian War for Sparta. (Or, lost it for Athens.) He’s a fascinating figure, and one we know a fair amount about.

I’m thinking to structure the piece around my own interactions with Alcibiades and other Socratic literature. Overall it should be didactic, but a bit personal. As best I can tell, history-focused creative nonfiction seeks to weave an entertaining, informational narrative. By flicking the focus between Alcibiades through the texts, and my experiences with the texts, I hope to increase the emotional content and develop a greater sense of narrative (as opposed to writing a textbook essay).


In Review

Last Week: Schoolwork, The Way of Kings, and writing game material for Mistborn. Largely complete; I’m up to date on schoolwork, I finished Way, but I only got a little material written for my gaming group.

This Week: I need to spend time continuing my re-read of Words of Radiance, researching and collecting quotes on Alcibiades, and I really need to get material written for Sunday. I’m not sure where the biggest priorities will fall; probably Mistborn, since it’s the nearest “due date.” I also should keep structuring and brainstorming my NaNoWriMo project.

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