June 2010 – From the Editor
Welcome to the June 2010 issue of the Musings of the Othar. This month’s Feature Article will be examining Charles Stross’ Halting State. Written in the second person point-of-view, Halting State provides a unique reading experience while also being an excellent story. I found it to be a poignant look into our not-too-distant future, and I think Stross did an excellent job of extrapolating a plausible society based on today’s technology. More on this can be found in the Feature Article.
The Fayersae Histories continue this month, and our scene stays with Findian and Avanian in the mountains outside of Spirit. Once again, I have found that penning these back-stories has provided a better contextual framework for the ongoing storyline in the Harmony of the Othar Saga. For those who may have missed an episode or two, the previous month’s installments can always be found online in the Full Fayersae Histories Archive.
I’d like to remind everyone again that the web site for Animus of Hauden, book two in the Harmony of the Othar Saga is up; please visit Animus of Hauden if you haven’t had the chance yet.
Also, things moved very quickly this month regarding the release of book two, Animus of Hauden. The eBook versions are now available from Smashwords, although shipments to all of their affiliates may not have been completed by the time you read this. I have completed work on the cover and the interior layout for the print version, and I expect to make it available in the July/August timeframe. As always, look for an announcement via my Facebook page or check the web site periodically for updates.
Due to so much time spent getting Animus of Hauden ready for the reading public, I only completed about three quarters of what I intended to on book three this month. It seems I could use more hours in a day.
This month also saw my first speaking engagement/book-signing. I was invited to my daughter’s school as a visiting author, and I’d like to thank everyone at the International School of Minnesota, particularly librarian Sara Reich, for organizing the event. I’d also like to thank the wonderful students for their enthusiastic and intelligent questions. They made it very easy for me since the exchange of questions and answers never lagged; although I should apologize to their instructors since we ran over our time and many of them were late for their next class. Again, thank you ISM for hosting the event. I hope I left the students as impressed with me as I was with them.
Anyway, this summarizes a busy May. I hope you enjoy this month’s installment of the Musing of the Othar as we move into the busy summer months. I already sense the summer passing too quickly, which may not be a good sign since we’re just getting started.
P.A. Seasholtz, Editor
One thought on “June 2010 – From the Editor”
Reply to a post on my Facebook Page from Kristen Tsetsi
“I’d love to know some of the questions you were asked. (Was going to post this in the comments following your blog entry, but no comments were allowed.)”
A lot of the questions were what you might expect regarding the ‘hows’ and the ‘whys’, but I was surprised by their enthusiasm and the quality of their follow-ups. Also, I had not anticipated the number of questions centering around the craft of writing.
We talked about how long I had been writing, how long it took to write the book, how I came up with the names of my characters (it’s fantasy, so none are real names), how I decided on the title, how I kept writing when I might not have felt like it, as well as the usual concerning how many edits I went through and how much content I ended up deleting/abandoning. They also wanted to know if I wrote the ending before completing the “middle”, which was a yes and no answer since it was conceived/imagined early, but not written until late. They wanted to know about sequencing and pace, elapsed story time between scenes, movement of characters to “transfer” them from scene to scene, etc.
They were also very curious about how I constructed my dialog and how I crafted my scenes. I think they were surprised when I told them how many hours I actually spent not typing words, especially when I told them how much time I spend daydreaming and running dialog in my head. They seemed surprised that I spent so much time “writing” with my eyes closed, creating a “movie” in my head so I cold “see” the backdrop of the scene I was working on.
One of the most interesting and in depth series of questions centered around the transition between scenes, and how did I know when to end a chapter. This of course was followed up with wanting to know how I start the next chapter, and how did I know when the book was “done”. I must confess that I’m not sure many of my answers here were edifying since “you just know” is not really a concrete answer.
They also asked about the back cover text, and they were truly amazed when I told them it was actually the hardest part of the book to write. I had them think about the last book they had read, and then to think about trying to write a summary in a hundred and fifty words or less that would make a reader want to buy that book. They all agreed that this exercise was contrary to everything we ‘learn’ as we’re always being told to explain ourselves with more detail not less.
Many also sought my advice on how they could become better writers, and how they should approach the craft. We talked a lot about the different methods used, but I emphasized the importance of just writing, every day if possible. I told them that writing is no different than any other skill, comparing it to learning to play the piano – the only way to get better is to do it, a lot.
So in a way, while many of the questions did focus on me and my book, much of the discussion was about their writing dreams and what they could do to write a book themselves someday. Considering that most of my audience was eighth-graders, I was probably more impressed with them than they were of me.