One of the curses of being a writer is that we usually validate the stereotype that authors pend all there day and nights cooped up in their office with nothing but our writing, coffee, and their lonely self. To prove that I do still exist, I’ve decided to write brief monthly top-of-my-head updates on my life, writing, thoughts etc.
LIFE: As many of you know my life has been crazy of late as a new father of two adorable twin boys and a second semester PhD student. The boys (Logan-left, Emerson-right) are already 6 weeks old and growing so big! (okay, I really mean fat. They are both milk-oholics). They have definitely complicated my ability to find ideal, uninterrupted writing time, to say the least; but they are so cute 🙂 Also of note (at least to me), is that my BIRTHDAY is coming up! On March 7th I’ll turn the big 2-8. Gifts and well-wishes are welcome 🙂
WRITING: I still have several things all on the burner at once. The first draft of The Painter’s Portal is finished and has had its initial edit read-through. Two of the interior illustrations have been completed and they look awesome! I’ve decided to let the manuscript sit for a month or two so that I come back fresh for the final editing and reworks. In the meantime, I’ve written the first few chapters of its sequel, (under working title The Performer’s Prison). The story centers around a haunted circus and I’m excited about how it’s shaping up. I’ve also broken the dirt on my long-in-the-works Assassins novel, although I probably won’t hit that one hard for several months at least. I like to get books started though, so when it does come time to work on them I’m not coming in cold against a sea of blank pages.
I’ve recently turned the bulk of my attention back to Heroes Reborn, the epic fantasy novel I started last year. After being abandoned for several months without lprogress, I’ve gotten inspired and excited about the story again. I had already finished 60,000 words (around 50% (ish) of what I anticipate). I had originally planned to keep the book on the back-burner, but if I maintain my momentum I may bump it up the line and see if I can get it finished sooner rather than later.
RANDOM THOUGHT ON THE CURRENT STATE OF THE FANTASY GENRE: I’m obviously a huge fan of the fantasy genre. There’s just something appealing about fantasy that is unique to other genres. I think it’s the almost paradoxical ability to be escapism while at the same time also penetrating into some of the biggest questions of life (good vs. evil, the supernatural, courage, identity etc,). But lately I’ve noticed an interesting trend: fantasy books are purposefully distancing themselves from the fantastical. You have Song of Ice and Fire with its emphasis on political intrigue over magic (although there are dragons), Terry Goodkind (unfortunately) turning the Sword of Truth into a philosophical tangent rather than an exciting adventure, and Brandon Sanderson (who I love) replacing the mystery of magic with complex, grounded magic systems (ala Allomancy in his Mistborn books),etc.
I am not against turning the genre on its head to keep it from getting stagnant. I do worry though that the trend will purge much of what made me (and I think many others) fall in love with fantasy in the first place. I look at the enormous success of Game of Thrones (both on paper and on screen) as spurring a pendulum swing away from the traditional fantasy concepts of Tolkien (or more specifically, the drab Tolkien copy-cats that followed) toward something more gritty and grounded. I do anticipate that eventually the pendulum with start swinging back. In part, the fantasy novel I’m currently writing (Heroes Reborn) is an attempt to find a happy middle ground, keeping all the traditional and beloved elements associated with fantasy but placing them in a more gritty, realistic framework.
What about you? You on board with the new wave of less fantastical fantasy? Also, the photo below is of my prime fantasy bookshelf. How many of these have you read? And are there are gems I’ve been missing out on? Let me know!