Monday, December 29, 2008

"The Voyage of the Star of the North" by my dad

Why I read it: I'm back from my vacation visiting my dad and seeing my sisters, and almost all the reading I did was probably about 100,000 words of my dad's novel mark VII. That means there are six predecessors (although he claims to have "lost" the first one). That 100,000 or so words was 230 pages. There are supposedly another thousand pages. I read maybe 32 chapters. there are over a hundred. It was really long.

I suggested he take out about ten of those 32 chapters. I hope he does.

Tastes like chicken: maybe Rick Blechta's book, because it takes place largely with North Americans trying to find their way around in Europe (the parts I would have him keep, anyway).

Bookmark: none. Loose sheets.

What I liked: There are two storylines that converged a few chapters before I stopped reading. I liked the one about the Gutenberg bible, or maybe the weapons.

Not so much: The storyline that followed the messed-up teenaged girl had way too much repetitive detail.

What I can steal: At least I can learn to take criticism. My dad listened to me go on at great length about how I didn't need to follow every inch of the constantly growing tear in Fiona's sweater. There must have been at least five pages about that stupid sweater.

Also, I can watch my characters obsessing about things.

Also, Simone/Symonne is a Mary Sue.

With all its flaws, I was curious how the story would come out.

I think on Elizabeth Bear's blog she described a second draft as a first draft minus 15%. For me, I need to learn to first-draft tighter. Both my things lately have been about 40% longer than I meant. For my dad, it's maybe 400%. take out some of those chapters! Leave the character a little more mysterious! Let us wonder why she's such a mess, rather than rehashing the same wretched scene from her childhood in flashbacks four or five times!


Your EG Tour Guide said...

Your dad is writing about a teenage girl?

I'm wondering if he might know a bit more about a guy who builds and flies airplanes. Just a thought.

Robyn said...

It's supposed to be a thriller. The main plot is all about some guys in Europe and a Gutenberg bible or something. That's a large part of why a lot of the Fiona stuff has got to go. I first saw the "Star of the North" on about page 180, and it's in the title!