Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Joe Abercrombie: Blade Itself Re-Read

Joe Abercrombie has done a re-read of his first novel The Blade Itself, and his conclusions are both interesting and relevant to my interests:
The writing’s a little lumpy, sometimes trying a bit too hard – why use one adjective when five are available?  Then you can repeat a couple of them later in the paragraph!  Hmmm.  A tendency towards providing pairs of nouns or adjectives when one, or perhaps none, would do.  A bit of dead-horse beating, you could say.  Sometimes it’s a bit foursquare, dwelling on who did what when, some unnecessary repetition and too much focus on technical aspects of positioning in a scene that really don’t matter at all.  He turned, then he turned back, then he turned again.  He could probably have turned less.  Or indeed simply looked forwards and delivered his dialogue.  But actually the writing was generally less embarrassing than I’d feared it might be.  Some of the descriptive bits are a little, I don’t know, lacking in sparkle, prone to become a bit listy and unimaginative, and sometimes there’s a slightly trying, breathless, ‘Ooh, I can’t wait to tell you how ace this is,’ sense to things, but the dialogue is largely there, there are some really nice exchanges I’d forgotten about.  If there’s one relative strength that I’d identify it is the dialogue.  The different ‘voices’ for the different points of view generally work but haven’t totally settled down at this stage.  I actually found the prose-style with Ferro’s chapters worked really well although I was trying a bit hard for an emotional payoff there, and the Dogman just always worked right off, but Glokta’s internal voice I actually found rather surprisingly disappointing – works in some of the more reflective sequences where he’s just thinking, but comes across as trying too hard when it’s working as a commentary on action and conversation – sometimes a bit obvious and lacking in subtlety, I’d say.  It improved as things went on, though and undoubtedly had its moments.  Perhaps overused?
Full Story: HERE

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Abercrombie: Red Country

Joe Abercrombie writes here about progress he's been making on the first draft of his latest novel, Red Country:
At that point I’d normally turn my attention to more detailed character and setting type stuff but this time around the process is having to shift about due to the availability of the copy editor, who needs to start in early June, which means my editor is already  marking up the manuscript as it stands and I’m going to be responding to her input first.  Probably no bad thing as I’m getting a little jaded and could do with an outside kick in the pants.  I want to do a re-read of all my other books while it’s away with the copy editor, soak up anything necessary for returning characters, and then do a character pass trying to get all the secondary characters as differentiated and vibrant as possible – replacing bland dialogue with more personalised, bland description with more specific, and so on.  Then after the copy edit comes back and I respond, there’ll probably be a setting pass where I try and get a bit more pop into the descriptive sections, an eye on the weather and the feel of the surroundings.  Which means hopefully towards the end of July I’ll be doing my final run-through trying to get the detail of the language as good as wot I is able to do.  Then proof read.
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