Posts Tagged: Ben Aaronovitch

Writing and Reading

While I have been on my Big-Five-Oh birthday gift to myself writing retreat, I have also been reading. So far, I have worked my way through a re-read of the whole Ben Aaronvitch’s Rivers of London series and I am nearly finished with re-reading Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series (minus the more recent co-author or other author Pern books).

Why am I rereading books I have already read many times before, particularly in the case of the Pern books? I am reading them not just for the joy of the story but also to see and analyze how two authors who I admire have constructed their stories and series as a whole and from various writing perspectives.

What this past two months of reading and writing has shown or revealed to me is that I have a preference for multiple person point of view / main character stories or at least multiple threads of story interwoven over a single main character’s point of view with one story arc.

McCaffrey’s Pern books are almost always, with the exception of the YA books, multiple main characters with multiple threads of story. While Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series is from the POV of PC Peter Grant, each book weaves in multiple strands of story, including one series long story thread. One of the things that I also like about Jane Austen books is that by and large her stories are also ensemble stories, even if we see the story from the POV of one or two main characters.

The novel length story I wrote from 2015-2017, A Quiver Full, was a multiple character POV story. I started writing it as a short story for a writing challenge and it was originally written from the POV of two characters, after I expanded it to novel length – several more characters demanded their share of the conversation and stage time. After the fact, I got the feedback from a reader that it should have more of the romance of just two characters and not so much of the other stuff.

After finishing writing A Quiver Full, I printed it out, then I put it up on a shelf for a bit of aging before I reread it and started rewriting. It was six weeks on the shelf when I received the above feedback, which hit me enough of the wrong way that the first draft has stayed on the shelf and I started writing a whole new novel in December of 2017.

This second novel is from one character’s point of view. It is meant to be a humorous mildly unreliable narrator story wherein by the end the reader should be questioning if the main character really was all that and more or if we want our hero to be heroic rather than a mere man. Now more than seventy percent of the way through writing the story, I find myself longing for more strands of story – not in the novel I am writing now but in general.

Then it hit me about a week ago, as I was knee deep in my Pern reread that I prefer multiple characters with third person limited POVs in the plural to one or two main characters. I want more story, I want more points of view, and I want to be stretched. When I return back to California, I will be ready to take A Quiver Full off the shelf and start the rewrite.

But before I can do that, I have got to finish writing my one guy and his POV story.

Weekday TidBits and Links for You

Sherman Alexie on Not Being “The Kind of Indian That’s Expected” : On what it means for Trump to treat the entire country like a reservation — and writing a memoir about a great woman who was not a great mother.

If Republicans Love Their Country, When Will They Show It?

From the nice folks at Volcanoe Cafe: Rockall: The lost continent of Middle Earth

Books (or Series) to Read if You Like The Laundry Files by Charles Stross

The Archetypes of American Folklore – wherein most of the American archetypes are bigger, faster, bolder, and more of braggarts then those of the old country.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a warning to Conservative Women:
“America is rich in Serena Joys…The world she wanted to build could not coexist with the world that allowed her career.”

The Exquisitely English (and Amazingly Lucrative) World of London Clerks : It’s a Dickensian profession that can still pay upwards of $650,000 per year.

Evidence mounts for Planet Nine

The weird power of the placebo effect, explained. Yes, the placebo effect is all in your mind. And it’s real. “Belief is the oldest medicine known to man. ” – Brian Resnick

How do we know where the carbon is coming from?
I found the part on Carbon-14 cycle most interesting – given that there was spike in C14 in the 1950s-1960s due to above ground nuclear bomb testing. And then the amount of C13 can tell us where the added CO2 in the atmosphere is coming from:

“We can now distinguish between the three possible sources of added CO2. We can immediately excludes the circulating pool, because the added CO2 contains no 14C. Of the remaining two possible sources, carbon dioxide from fossil fuels will be depleted in 13C relative to a mineral standard, while carbon dioxide from mineral sources will not. So the question is, has atmospheric carbon dioxide become more depleted in 13C over time, as its amount has risen?

Unambiguously yes.” – Paul Brateman