Giving Up

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Let’s talk about consuming and creating media. I say media instead of art to avoid any quality bias. I might think my writing is art but others would disagree.

Consuming

I have a rule, well more of a guideline, about consuming media. It goes like this:

“If you’ve gotten through at least 25% and you’re dreading continuing, it might be time to quit.”

I’ve applied this to most long form media like books, movies, comics, TV, youtube shows, etc. There’s a certain amount of relief that I get when I let myself give up on something.

I’ve often broken this guideline, the book I’m currently reading is only 250 pages so I figured I’d finish and critique it properly. I rarely quit a book, I won’t read the rest of the series, but I’ve quit reading 2 books in my life. One was Interview with a Vampire, and the other was a book about a murderer that somehow killed people using landline phone calls.

Series and TV shows are different. I’ll give a book series, one book, and a tv show at least 1 season unless it offends me in the first 2-4 episodes.

It’s really easy to give up on something that no one cares about, but it’s a completely different thing to give up on something that is a cultural phenomenon. When everyone is talking about something, or your group of friends are, there’s a sense of obligation in consuming that thing.

I’m of course talking about Game of Thrones, I’ve watched the first 4 seasons, and read the first 2 books and I just don’t like it. The plots are inconsistent, the characters are either despicable, boring, or dead, and I find it painful to read or watch. There I’ve said it. Revoke my geek card if you wish.

Other shows that are close to me giving up on are Grimm, The Arrow, and Supernatural. All because of inconsistent and downright annoying writing.

Creating

Creating it is completely different. That rule is:

“If you’re dreading creating something, you need to rethink your approach.”

I have been struggling this year with my novel, Everdome. Not just because of book itself. I caught 2 flu’s and the plague. I’ve also apparently been doing something wrong at work and I’ve been getting pain in my right arm. On top of that my work has lost a lot of employees and I’ve had to do more work than past years. (Ok, enough excuses.)

One of my major issues was that I had a beginning and an end, 6 character points of view, and one big cool concept. Unfortunately without character arcs, and a middle, I was having trouble putting words in front of each other.

Last week I stopped and thought about all the characters I had left and where I wanted them to be and how I could get them there. It helped me set things up and start writing freely again.

I think the concept and the characters in this book are awesome, but I’m not sure how good a book it’s going to be. I never am.

 

What popular media have you given up on?

Eric

Throwback to 2013

I only have ONE Game of Thrones cosplay in my pictures! This has got to change. If you have a Game of Thrones cosplay at Ottawa Comic Con, PLEASE come see our table so that I can get a picture of you holding the TARDIS!

In case you weren’t aware, Game of Thrones started it’s newest season last night. In honour of this, please feast your eyes on this gorgeous Daenerys cosplay by a very talented friend of mine.

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A Clash of Kings – Book Review

A Clash of Kings is the second novel in the truly epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. The series is now a successful television show on HBO called a Game of Thrones.

This is a brick of a book. I take an average amount of time to read a book and this took me the better part of two months. The softcover that I own is a thousand pages.

I’ll try to keep this spoiler free but there might be a few that sneak in.

Characters

Complex mythologies and huge casts of characters go hand in hand with fantasy. Clash of Kings isn’t an exception. There are more characters than I could possibly keep straight. There are nine point of view characters and a plethora of others.

It would be easy with nice point of view characters, and a gazillion others, to make them bland or similar. Not going to happen in this book. I believe that despite the terrible things that happen to the characters, they are the best part of this book. Each and every one of them make you feel for them. The emotions vary as much as the characters but they’re their and strong.

That characters are great but they do drop like flies. The body count is as high as the emotions. Often the most likeable characters are the ones that die.

For the strength and consistency of the characters I give this book a five out of five.

Writing Style

This isn’t a quirky or flowery writing style. Martin has a way of making every word count and make you want to keep reading. It’s also a very easy style to follow. That means you won’t spend ten minutes reading a page only to realize you can’t remember what you read.

That being said I like quirkiness, I like flowers, and most of all I like a witty turn of phrase. Martin does it but it’s always through dialogue. If the narrative weren’t so well calculated, it would be dry.
It’s not your typical sword and sorcery fantasy. This is a high fantasy with low magic. It’s gritty and bloody.

For its efficiency I give the writing style a four out of five.

Story

I’ll say this right away. This isn’t one book with one story. Its one book with nine main characters and three times that many stories. It could have been split into 3 books with 3 characters and there would be little difference. With the exception of the wonderful bicep muscles I’ve developed.

Each book in this series builds upon the stories and even adds some. It’s all interlinked and brilliant. The stories are great and plentiful.

That all said I found the twists, high points, and low points subdued in comparison to the first one. I guess the first had a lot farther for the characters to fall on their faces. When the world has already turned to shit, it can’t get much worse. It does just not as dramatically as the first book.

It’s the second book in a series that could be just one large book it does a great job at what it needs to do but isn’t as awesome as the first.

I give it a three out of five for story.

Fun

In its own way this series is a lot of fun. It’s well written, intelligent, and keeps you on your toes. Clash of Kings felt long though. It could be that I wasn’t in the right mood for it or that it didn’t have the dramatic twists of the first. I found myself longing for the next book I’d read.

In fun I give it a three out of five.

Overall

Overall, if you have the upper body strength, patience, stomach, and love of high fantasy you’ll truly enjoy this book as part of the series. If you’ve read the first one and liked, keep going.

I think it’s a solid book by a master writer with an amazing talent with characters. For that I give it a final score of 75%.

A Clash of Kings – Book Review

A Clash of Kings is the second novel in the truly epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. The series is now a successful television show on HBO called a Game of Thrones.

This is a brick of a book. I take an average amount of time to read a book and this took me the better part of two months. The softcover that I own is a thousand pages.

I’ll try to keep this spoiler free but there might be a few that sneak in.

Characters

Complex mythologies and huge casts of characters go hand in hand with fantasy. Clash of Kings isn’t an exception. There are more characters than I could possibly keep straight. There are nine point of view characters and a plethora of others.

It would be easy with nice point of view characters, and a gazillion others, to make them bland or similar. Not going to happen in this book. I believe that despite the terrible things that happen to the characters, they are the best part of this book. Each and every one of them make you feel for them. The emotions vary as much as the characters but they’re their and strong.

That characters are great but they do drop like flies. The body count is as high as the emotions. Often the most likeable characters are the ones that die.

For the strength and consistency of the characters I give this book a five out of five.

Writing Style

This isn’t a quirky or flowery writing style. Martin has a way of making every word count and make you want to keep reading. It’s also a very easy style to follow. That means you won’t spend ten minutes reading a page only to realize you can’t remember what you read.

That being said I like quirkiness, I like flowers, and most of all I like a witty turn of phrase. Martin does it but it’s always through dialogue. If the narrative weren’t so well calculated, it would be dry.
It’s not your typical sword and sorcery fantasy. This is a high fantasy with low magic. It’s gritty and bloody.

For its efficiency I give the writing style a four out of five.

Story

I’ll say this right away. This isn’t one book with one story. Its one book with nine main characters and three times that many stories. It could have been split into 3 books with 3 characters and there would be little difference. With the exception of the wonderful bicep muscles I’ve developed.

Each book in this series builds upon the stories and even adds some. It’s all interlinked and brilliant. The stories are great and plentiful.

That all said I found the twists, high points, and low points subdued in comparison to the first one. I guess the first had a lot farther for the characters to fall on their faces. When the world has already turned to shit, it can’t get much worse. It does just not as dramatically as the first book.

It’s the second book in a series that could be just one large book it does a great job at what it needs to do but isn’t as awesome as the first.

I give it a three out of five for story.

Fun

In its own way this series is a lot of fun. It’s well written, intelligent, and keeps you on your toes. Clash of Kings felt long though. It could be that I wasn’t in the right mood for it or that it didn’t have the dramatic twists of the first. I found myself longing for the next book I’d read.

In fun I give it a three out of five.

Overall

Overall, if you have the upper body strength, patience, stomach, and love of high fantasy you’ll truly enjoy this book as part of the series. If you’ve read the first one and liked, keep going.

I think it’s a solid book by a master writer with an amazing talent with characters. For that I give it a final score of 75%.