Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Hope of Memory [Update 22] The Real Editing Begins

Quick update on my The Hope of Memory trilogy.  I've finally finished typing up the whole of the handwritten Rom Tar manuscript.  Took a bit longer than I expected.  I've had a week or so off from doing anything with the text of either book (Wilders and Rom Tar), because I need breaks from it on occasion, so now the real fun of editing will begin.

I know I mentioned in the past that I liked writing these books out shorthand first, then typing them up etc etc... well, I might not do that for my next work.  Just because at this point I wanted to get straight into editing but felt it would be better to have all of Rom Tar typed out first so it's easier to reference and search.

Editing Both at Once?
I've been toying around with the idea of editing both books at once, then releasing them roughly at the same time.  I'll probably edit both to a certain extent, but for sure I want to get Wilders done as soon as I can.  Definitely tired of sitting on it, because we really begin to get to the meat of the story in the second book.  There's a lot of set up in The Distant, which is completely necessary to the full arc of the series.

So I'm working on it.  I'll be glad to get it released... it's the first multi-volume thing I've done and it sure was tough.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2013 Media Consumption

So, I did a couple of posts a while ago on my Media Consumption.  One was for 2011 and one for 2012.  I planned on doing one for 2013... and it got pushed to the side, and I stopped blogging for a while, and blah blah blah... well now I'm doing it.  And then I'll be doing one for 2014 and using a Tableau visualization to look at the data (to practice using Tableau).  Tableau is a pretty nifty tool, and they have a free version called Public, if you're into data analysis.

If you remember from my previous posts, I track a lot of things I do.  What movies I watch, albums I buy, books I buy/read, etc etc.  It's just a thing I do, because I'm a dork.  In this post, I'll just list out the things I've been doing, with some commentary.  The visualizations and analysis will be for the forthcoming 2014 one.

Overall Activity
In general, my reading and movie-watching activity has gone down as I've gamed more in the last 5-6 years (very evident in my 2012 analysis).  I got a Playstation Vita in 2013, which didn't help.  For games, I began tracking iOS games, but stopped after a while because most of the time they are 5-minutes-at-a-time-waiting-for-something types of games, and not anything I'm really "playing through" and completing.  So it's harder to really quantify that activity and ends up as a bunch of tracking busy-work.  Games on console or PC are where I spend my time.

I've also added a bold note that indicates whether I quit a game, and why.  Most of the time I quit something because I'm simply bored.  Movies or books I never quit on.  Except for James Joyce's Ulysses.  Could not finish that one.

My books purchased has gone down a bit as I attempt to get through my physical backlog (I'm still working on it, and am almost done).  It looks like a lot, only due to buying the entire L. Frank Baum Oz collection at one time, as well as a Humble eBook Bundle.  I don't factor graphic novels into it, as I don't buy many, but I probably will for 2014, for which I need to clean up the data a bit before publishing.

For reference, most of my movies are tagged as "TV" because they were DVR'ed from HBO and such.  We hardly go to the movies anymore, too expensive and not worth the hassle.

As usual, top picks of the year are highlighted in pale yellow.

Every Album I Purchased
01/02 Death - Leprosy (1988)
01/02 Judas Priest - Rocka Rolla (1974)
01/02 Pestilence - Resurrection Macabre (2009)
01/17 Krallice - Diotima (2011)
01/17 Summoning - Stronghold (1999)
01/25 Circle Takes the Square - Decompositions: Volume Number One (2012)
01/29 Swedish House Mafia - Until Now (2012)
02/11 Enslaved - Eld (1997)
02/11 Enslaved - Frost (1994)
02/11 Enslaved - Hordanes Land (1993)
02/11 Enslaved - Yggdrasil (1995)
02/11 Satyricon - Dark Medieval Times (1993)
02/11 Satyricon - The Forest is My Throne (1995)
02/12 Pantera - Metal Magic (1983)
02/22 Krallice - Years Past Matter (2012)
03/01 The Ghost Inside - Get What You Give (2012)
03/04 Florence + the Machine - Ceremonials (2011)
03/04 Pentatonix - PTX Volume I (2012)
03/07 King Crimson - A Scarcity of Miracles (2011)
03/07 King Crimson - VROOOM (1994)
03/08 Fen - Dustwalker (2013)
03/21 Coheed and Cambria - The Afterman: Ascension (2012)
03/24 Moonspell - Alpha Noir (2012)
03/24 Moonspell - Omega White (2012)
04/02 Muse - The 2nd Law (2012)
04/02 Rotting Christ - Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy (2013)
04/02 Various Artists - Groove (2000)
04/13 Fen - Epoch (2011)
04/29 Fen - The Malediction Fields (2009)
04/29 Gotye - Making Mirrors (2011)
04/29 Judas Priest - Hell Bent for Leather (1978)
04/29 Pantera - Projects in the Jungle (1984)
04/30 Krallice - Dimensional Bleedthrough (2009)
05/15 Intronaut - Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones) (2013)
05/22 Intronaut - Valley of Smoke (2010)
05/28 Jim Guthrie - Indie Game: The Move (2012)
05/28 Solar Fields - [ Movements ] (2009)
05/28 SonicPicnic - Awesomenauts (2012)
05/30 Deafheaven - Sunbather (2013)
05/31 Deafheaven - Roads to Judah (2011)
06/01 Deafheaven - Demo (2010)
06/07 Megadeth - Super Collider (2013)
06/27 The Dear Hunter - The Color Spectrum (2011)
07/08 August Burns Red - Rescue & Restore (2013)
07/12 Misery Signals - Absent Light (2013)
07/27 Pallbearer - Sorrow and Extinction (2012)
08/05 Cathedral - The Last Spire (2013)
08/05 Marriages - Kitsune (2013)
08/09 My Dying Bride - A Map of All Our Failures (2012)
08/09 My Dying Bride - Bring Me Victory (single) (2009)
08/09 My Dying Bride - The Manuscript (2013)
08/12 Gorguts - Colored Sands (2013)
08/30 Apocalyptica - Plays Metallica By Four Cellos (1996)
08/30 Danzig - Danzig III: How the Gods Kill (1992)
08/30 Dead Poetic - Vices (2006)
09/11 Cradle of Filth - The Manticore and Other Horrors (2012)
09/20 Carcass - Surgical Steel (2013)
09/24 Dream Theater - Dream Theater (2013)
10/02 Spock's Beard - Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep (2013)
10/07 Dragged Into Sunlight - Widowmaker (2012)
10/07 Fates Warning - Darkness in a Different Light (2013)
10/12 The Safety Fire - Mouth of Swords (2013)
10/15 The Safety Fire - Grind the Ocean (2012)
10/28 The Last Days - When the Tomorrow is a Grey Day (2010)
11/05 Pentatonix - PTX Volume II (2013)
11/10 Christopher Rhyne - Closure (2012)
11/10 David Housden - Thomas Was Alone (2010)
11/10 Jessica Curry - Dear Esther (2012)
11/10 WiL Whitlark - Snapshot (2012)
11/11 Krallice - Orphan of Sickness (2011)
11/11 Red Sparowes - Aphorisms (2008)
11/18 Ulver - Messe I.X-VI.X (2013)
11/24 Geryon - Geryon (2013)
12/31 Lunar Aurora - Hoagascht (2012)
12/31 Monolithe - Monolithe II (2010)
12/31 Wolves in the Throne Room - Diadem of 12 Stars (2006)
12/31 Zedd - Clarity (2012)

Every Book I Purchased
01/08 A Memory of Light (2013) Jordan & Sanderson - Hardback
02/09 The Alloy of Law (2011) Sanderson, Brandon - Hardback
02/22 The Art of War (2013) Wingrove, David - Kindle
02/28 The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit (1987) Constantine, Storm - Kindle
03/10 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) Baum, L. Frank - Kindle
03/10 The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904) Baum, L. Frank - Kindle
03/10 Ozma of Oz (1907) Baum, L. Frank - Kindle
03/10 Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz (1908) Baum, L. Frank - Kindle
03/10 The Road to Oz (1909) Baum, L. Frank - Kindle
03/10 The Emerald City of Oz (1910) Baum, L. Frank - Kindle
03/10 The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1913) Baum, L. Frank - Kindle
03/10 Tik-Tok of Oz (1914) Baum, L. Frank - Kindle
03/10 The Scarecrow of Oz (1915) Baum, L. Frank - Kindle
03/10 Rinkitink in Oz (1916) Baum, L. Frank - Kindle
03/10 The Lost Princess of Oz (1917) Baum, L. Frank - Kindle
03/10 The Tin Woodman of Oz (1918) Baum, L. Frank - Kindle
03/10 The Magic of Oz (1919) Baum, L. Frank - Kindle
03/10 Glinda of Oz (1920) Baum, L. Frank - Kindle
03/14 The Way of Kings (2010) Sanderson, Brandon - Kindle
05/08 The Middle Kingdom (2012) Wingrove, David - Trade Paperback
06/03 A Memory of Light (2013) Jordan & Sanderson - Kindle
07/07 Ice and Fire (2012) Wingrove, David - Trade Paperback
07/07 An Inch of Ashes (2013) Wingrove, David - Kindle
07/08 The Last Unicorn (1968) Beagle, Peter - eBook
07/08 Just a Geek (2004) Wheaton, Wil - eBook
07/08 Little Brother (2007) Doctorow, Cory - eBook
07/08 Boneshaker (2009) Priest, Cherie - eBook
07/08 Spin (2005) Wilson, Robert Charles - eBook
07/08 Shards of Honor (1986) Bujold, Lois McMaster - eBook
07/11 Unfettered (2013) Various - Hardback
07/24 The Art of War (2013) Wingrove, David - Trade Paperback
10/30 An Inch of Ashes (2013) Wingrove, David - Trade Paperback
11/23 Some Remarks (2012) Stephenson, Neal - Hardback
12/25 East, West (1994) Rushdie, Salman - Trade Paperback
12/25 The Complete Joy of Home Brewing (2003) Papazian, Charlie - Trade Paperback
12/28 Shalimar the Clown (2005) Rushdie, Salman - Trade Paperback
12/28 Grimus (1975) Rushdie, Salman - Trade Paperback

Every Game I Purchased
01/03 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009) - Playstation 3
02/19 Snapshot (2012) - Steam - PC
02/23 LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (2012) - PS Vita
02/23 WipEout 2048 (2012) - PS Vita
02/23 Welcome Park (2012) - PS Vita
02/23 Zen Pinball 2 (2012) - PS Vita
02/24 Wake-up Club (2012) - PS Vita
03/08 Jak & Daxter (2001) - Playstation 3
03/08 The Unfinished Swan (2012) - Playstation 3
03/08 Ratchet & Clank (2002) - Playstation 3
03/13 Gravity Rush (2012) - PS Vita
03/21 The Pinball Arcade (2012) - PS Vita
04/16 Uncharted: Golden Abyss (2012) - PS Vita
05/04 Darksiders (2010) - Playstation 3
05/19 Star Wars Pinball (2013) - Playstation 3
05/21 Star Wars Pinball (2013) - PS Vita
05/22 Men's Room Mayhem (2013) - PS Vita
06/10 Germinator (2013) - PS Vita
06/10 Knytt Underground (2012) - PS Vita
07/13 Jamestown (2011) - Steam - PC
07/27 Puzzle Quest 2 (2013) - Steam - PC
07/28 Chronovolt (2013) - PS Vita
08/07 MLB 13: The Show - Home Run Derby Edition (2013) - Playstation 3
08/09 Pinball Heroes (2013) - PS Vita
08/09 Dokuro (2012) - PS Vita
08/09 New Paint Park (2013) - PS Vita
09/05 Machinarium (2013) - PS Vita
09/05 Guitar Hero: Van Halen (2009) - Playstation 3
09/11 LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (2012) - PS Vita
09/13 Galaga Legions DX (2011) - Playstation 3
10/05 Rayman Origins (2013) - PS Vita
11/04 Sine Mora (2012) - PS Vita
11/18 Jet Set Radio (2000) - PS Vita
11/18 Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus (2007) - PS Vita
12/06 Bit.Trip Presents Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien (2013) - Playstation 3
12/17 Draw Slasher (2013) - PS Vita
12/27 flOw (2007) - PS Vita
12/28 Assassin's Creed III (2012) - Playstation 3

Every Book/Story I Read

12/30-01/07 King of the Murgos (1988) - Eddings, David [Retro]
01/08-01/10 A Memory of Light (2013) - Jordan & Sanderson [Retro 1 | 2]
01/13-01/27 Of Tangible Ghosts (1994) - Modesitt, Jr., L.E.
01/27-02/05 The Ghost of the Revelator (1998) - Modesitt, Jr., L.E.
02/08-02/17 Demon Lord of Karanda (1988) - Eddings, David [Retro]
02/17-03/08 Sorceress of Darshiva (1989) - Eddings, David [Retro]
01/04-03/18 Memories of Ice (2001) - Erikson, Steven
03/15-03/18 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) - Baum, L. Frank
03/08-03/25 The Seeress of Kell (1991) - Eddings, David [Retro]
03/26-04/09 Ghost of the White Nights (2001) - Modesitt, Jr., L.E.
04/10-04/22 Night of Knives (2005) - Esslemont, Ian C.
04/22-04/29 Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne (2009) - Gaider, David
04/29-05/10 Hammerfall (2001) - Cherryh, C.J.
05/10-05/15 Conan the Invincible (1982) - Jordan, Robert
05/15-05/21 Conan the Defender (1982) - Jordan, Robert
05/21-05/31 Conan the Unconquered (1983) - Jordan, Robert
05/25-06/02 The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904) - Baum, L. Frank
06/09-06/09 Black Stone, White (2013) - Wingrove, David
03/18-06/12 The Way of Kings (2010) - Sanderson, Brandon
06/13-06/18 Ozma of Oz (1907) - Baum, L. Frank
06/18-06/24 A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007) - Hosseini, Khaled
06/13-07/06 A Memory of Light (2013) - Jordan & Sanderson [Retro 1 | 2]
07/08-07/20 Zoo City (2011) - Beukes, Lauren
07/20-07/21 Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz (1908) - Baum, L. Frank
07/22-08/23 Dracula (1897) - Stoker, Bram
06/13-09/05 Belgarath the Sorcerer (1995) - Eddings, David & Leigh [Retro]
09/08-09/14 The Road to Oz (1909) - Baum, L. Frank
09/11-09/28 The Book of Atrus (1995) - Miller, Miller & Wingrove
09/27-10/12 The Emerald City of Oz (1910) - Baum, L. Frank
09/28-11/13 The Book of Ti'ana (1996) - Miller & Wingrove
11/13-11/25 The Book of D'ni (1997) - Miller & Wingrove
11/25-12/25 Drood (2009) - Simmons, Dan
12/06-01/05 Pirate Cinema (2012) - Doctorow, Cory

Every Game I Completed (or Quit)
12/22-01/03 Swords & Soldiers (2011) - Playstation 3 [GotM]
08/18-01/05 KrissX (2010) - Steam - PC
11/05-01/06 LittleBigPlanet 2 (2011) - Playstation 3
01/13-01/15 inFamous: Festival of Blood (2011) - Playstation 3 [GotM]
11/08-01/20 Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet (2012) - Steam - PC
01/21-01/26 Plants vs. Zombies (2009) - Playstation 3
01/18-01/30 El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron (2011) - Playstation 3 [Review]
02/05-02/14 Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (2010) - Playstation 3
02/15-02/23 Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (2009) - Playstation 3
02/23-02/23 Welcome Park (2012) - PS Vita
02/23-02/23 Zen Pinball 2 (2012) - PS Vita
02/24-02/24 Wake-up Club (2012) - PS Vita
02/23-02/27 LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (2012) - PS Vita
03/02-03/20 WipEout 2048 (2012) - PS Vita [GotM]
03/21-03/21 The Pinball Arcade (2012) - PS Vita
03/13-04/15 Gravity Rush (2012) - PS Vita QUIT: Bored
05/19-05/19 Star Wars Pinball (2013) - Playstation 3
04/16-05/21 Uncharted: Golden Abyss (2012) - PS Vita
05/21-05/21 Star Wars Pinball (2013) - PS Vita
05/22-05/25 Men's Room Mayhem (2013) - PS Vita [GotM]
05/25-06/10 Retro City Rampage (2012) - PS3 / PS Vita
01/21-07/01 Sequence (2011) - Steam - PC QUIT: Bored
08/07-08/07 MLB 13: The Show - Home Run Derby Edition (2013) - Playstation 3
07/28-08/09 Chronovolt (2013) - PS Vita
08/09-08/09 Pinball Heroes (2013) - PS Vita [GotM]
08/09-08/09 New Paint Park (2013) - PS Vita
06/11-09/05 Germinator (2013) - PS Vita QUIT: Bored
08/13-09/05 Dokuro (2012) - PS Vita QUIT: Too Long
09/05-09/09 Machinarium (2013) - PS Vita
06/10-11/01 Knytt Underground (2012) - PS Vita QUIT: Bored
09/11-11/03 LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (2012) - PS Vita
10/05-11/14 Rayman Origins (2013) - PS Vita [GotM]
11/04-12/14 Sine Mora (2012) - PS Vita
12/27-12/27 flOw (2007) - PS Vita
12/17-12/30 Draw Slasher (2013) - PS Vita
02/19-12/31 Snapshot (2012) - Steam - PC QUIT: Bored
07/13-12/31 Jamestown (2011) - Steam - PC QUIT: Too hard [GotM]
11/18-12/31 Jet Set Radio (2000) - PS Vita QUIT: Bored

Every Movie I Saw

01/01 Men in Black 3 (2012) - Blu-ray-Redbox
01/19 Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010) - TV
01/25 Red Riding Hood (2011) - TV
02/01 The Adjustment Bureau (2011) - TV
02/15 The Lookout (2007) - TV
02/22 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) - TV
03/09 Breach (2007) - TV
03/15 Wreck-It Ralph (2012) - TV
03/22 X-Men: First Class (2011) - TV
03/29 Kick-Ass (2010) - TV
04/12 The Tree of Life (2011) - TV
05/03 Cowboys and Aliens (2011) - TV
06/07 Hemingway and Gellhorn (2012) - TV
06/22 Prometheus (2012) - TV
07/12 Scoop (2006) - TV
07/26 Anastasia (1997) - TV
08/02 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) - TV
08/24 The Descendants (2011) - TV
08/30 The Campaign (2012) - TV
09/20 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) - TV
09/21 Silver Linings Playbook (2012) - DVD-Redbox
10/06 Prisoners (2013) - Theater
10/26 The Big Year (2011) - TV
10/27 Gravity (2013) - Theater
11/23 Ender's Game (2013) - Theater
11/30 Rock of Ages (2012) - TV
12/06 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) - Theater
12/22 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) - Theater
12/24 A Christmas Story (1983) - TV
12/25 National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) - TV
12/28 The Prince of Egypt (1998) - TV
12/31 In Time (2011) - TV

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Hope of Memory [Update 21] Rom Tar Complete

It took a lot longer than I expected (14 months), but the first draft of the third book in my The Hope of Memory trilogy, Rom Tar, is finally complete!  

This was a tough book for me to write, tougher than anything I had written before.  It involved a lot of additional backstory and world building, and working out the details for multiple storylines definitely was a challenge.  I've blogged about that previously, so I won't go into it again here.  Suffice to say, I'm glad to finally get the first draft done and move onto revising and finalizing Book 2, Wilders, for release.

The estimated word count for the Rom Tar first draft is 174K words, which makes it longer than the final draft of The Distant (168K words), but that will certainly change as I go through revisions.

Yes, that is the symbol that will be on the cover for Rom Tar.
If you've read The Distant, you should know what it stands for.

Book 2 Release
This means that Wilders will not release in 2014 as I had hoped.  I'm reading through the second draft of that book now, and there is considerable work to be done cleaning up some of the text and plotlines.  Now that I know exactly where everything goes in Rom Tar, I can adjust accordingly and get the right details in there.

So I won't provide a date, but I anticipate it being another 2-3 months at least before Wilders is available.  After that, all that remains is revision of Rom Tar, so that will quickly follow.  Huzzah!

Now I have to type it all up...

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Why I Haven't Been Blogging

For the handful that might actually have been following me and my blog, you've surely realized that I haven't posted in almost 3 months, and that I've only done 6 posts before this over all of 2014.  Clearly something is up, yes?

Well, one thing I learned during the last two years of blogging, is that it's hard.  It's hard to come up with something every 4 days or so to keep the blog "current" and to keep readers interested and make sure it's always "fresh."  Social media and such works best when you update a lot and give people original content on a regular basis.

Unfortunately for me, that's hard to do.  It takes me a while to write up posts about beer or games or books, and when real life becomes extremely busy, I end up dropping the things that are least important.  Like blogging.  I started it to have a presence on the web and to accompany the various projects I do here and there as the muse takes me, but I'd rather spend my free time working on my novel, or relaxing with a book or game... things like that.  I decided I didn't want to be stressed out about making sure I posted something every 4 or 5 days, so I simply stopped.

Whether things will change in the future, I don't know.  But major props to people who can churn out posts and content regularly.  I'm certainly not one of them... well, at least not and retain my sanity.

I still want to do more of these, and yes I know I have two more entries to go on the David Eddings one.  Right now with books, though, I'm solely focused on cleaning out my backlog.  I've had a backlog of at least 50 books for years and it's tiresome.  So I'm chugging through them and trying as hard as I can to not buy new books until I'm done with it.  At that point I'll get back to the Retrospectives.

Games & Beer
I don't plan on doing as many game or beer posts as I did in the past.  A game would really have to move me for me to post something about it.  For beer, I'm at the point where I've tried so many different kinds, been on so many brewery tours, etc etc that I simply don't have a lot to say about new kinds other than whether I like it or not.  I've never been one to get into super specifics regarding tasting notes or whatnot anyway.

I will continue to update my Pinball listing on the Gaming page, though.

The Hope of Memory
Most of my blogging will probably be around this or any other writing I'm working on.  To give you a quick update, I'm at roughly 115K words now for Rom Tar, definitely over halfway.  It's going a little quicker now that I'm past some of the more complicated sections (in terms of the plot).  I'm still shooting for completion by the end of the summer (September).  Then it's on to editing and releasing Wilders before the end of the year.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Hope of Memory [Update 20] Writer's Block

So it had to happen eventually... writer's block.  Though maybe not a true instance, where I'm stymied from writing anything at all for a long period of time, it's close enough.

Rom Tar, the 3rd book in my The Hope of Memory trilogy, is proving to be a challenge on many levels.  I started it in late September 2013, but I'm only now approaching the halfway point.  I've been toiling on the same 3 chapters for the last two months.  

Part of the slowdown has been due to buying a house, moving in and remodeling the kitchen (maybe I'll post photos at some point).  Along with being very busy at work, this has taken up a lot of my time.  Many days when I finally finish for the day and have some free time, the last thing I want to do is work more.  On those days I might eek out a page or so... but usually I'm just not inspired enough to get much done.  This is why there have been very few blog posts lately.  Busy bee!

The other part has been simple writer's block.  This book is much more complex than the previous two, and as I neared the end of the first Part of the book, I couldn't figure out exactly how I was going to get to the next major plot point in a believable fashion.  I didn't know what to write and most of it I had to force out.

Broad Strokes vs Detailed Outlines
I'm the kind of writer that outlines the story in broad strokes.  I know how everything ends and the major plot points along the way.  Once I know that I start writing.  I can't bring myself to plot out a story in minute detail, because that isn't fun for me and it's not how I create.  I discover better ideas as I write, so I always leave the details vague and usually everything works out.  If I get stuck on something, I go take a walk and think about it a while, and usually a solution comes to me.

Well... not this time.  This is the downside of "broad strokes."  You may eventually encounter a problem that requires rewriting, or produces a long delay.  And in the case of a series like this, if something is already published (The Distant), you can't go back and change it (for the most part).

But just the other day I figured it out.  Eureka!  A way to bridge the gap in the story.  Unraveling the Meereenese Knot, so to speak, though hardly on the scale that George R.R. Martin had to deal with.  Not that I'm anywhere near the same level as Martin, but when you go through something like this, you gain much more respect for authors who create vast, multi-volume epics like The Wheel of Time or A Song of Ice and Fire.  It's really hard.

Anyway, I'm at around 80K words now.  Close to halfway.  Need to get it done this summer so I can revise Wilders for release.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Eddings [Novel] Belgarath the Sorcerer

This is Part 11 of my retrospective for The Belgariad and The Malloreon. Please see this blog post for an overview of the retrospective. Warning: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRE SERIES, AS IN BOTH THE BELGARIAD AND THE MALLOREON.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

The best way to approach these blogs is via your own re-read. If you have not read the entire series yet and plan on doing so, you may want to wait on reading this.

Novel: Belgarath the Sorcerer (1995)
After Eddings finished The Malloreon, he took a break and did The Tamuli, a trilogy that is the sequel series to The Elenium (which he wrote at the same time as The Malloreon).  Those two trilogies are fairly decent, though they copy many of the same elements from The Belgariad and The Malloreon... so if you like these books and are looking for something similar to read, check them out.

Anyway, after that, he returned to the world of Garion and Co. with Belgarath the Sorcerer, an autobiography by Belgarath himself.  I didn't get this book until it came out in paperback (too busy reading other things, like The Wheel of Time), and I was excited to read it.

This is a book that you probably won't enjoy unless you've read both The Belgariad and The Malloreon and liked them.  There's a lot of history in here and it's quite long (over 700 pages), and it does drag in places, particularly around events we're already familiar with.

The Cover
The covers for this novel isn't all that much different than the main series ones.  Characters in the forefront, some creature / silhouette in the background, map behind.  This one is okay, and I do like the depiction of Belgarath here.  I've always pictured someone like Sean Connery as Belgarath, with a short beard (not the long ass one he had on the cover of Enchanter's End Game).  Donald Sutherland is another name I've seen bandied around... he'd be good too.

On this cover we have Polgara and Belgarath on the left, with Beldaran and Riva Iron-Grip on the right.  It works, though not all that exciting.  I do like the glowing Orb on the sword on the right, though.

The more I do these blogs, the more alternate covers I discover... you can see a bunch of them on the David Eddings Wikia.  Some are pretty cool, while others are bizarre.  Like the one with demon wings... what the hell is that all about?  I'd post it here but I couldn't access the picture separately... so check the link!

A fan cover that I really think is cool is this one:

Belgarath the Sorcerer by Narxinba222 on deviantART

It wouldn't let me direct link to this either, so do check it out!

Something this book does a lot is contradict the Garion-centric series.  There are already plenty of plotholes, but this book takes it to another level.  The explanation, of course, is that Belgarath is telling events as he remembers them (and he may be embellishing them... he's a storyteller, remember?), whereas the previous series were told by narrators or historians who may have gotten it wrong.

It's a valid way to explain inconsistencies... after the fact.  To most readers I think it's clear that Eddings didn't plan some elements of the story properly.   He contradicted himself in The Malloreon, then explained it away using this device in Belgarath.  That, coupled with the use of Prophecy as an interfering entity, can explain pretty much anything that seems wrong.  Which almost takes the fun out of it if you're a superfan, because then what can you trust?

Anyway, I may point out noteworthy inconsistencies as we go along, but more comprehensive lists can be found on the following pages: FAQ
The Big List of Eddings Inconsistencies
Wikipedia - Belgarath the Sorcerer

First Person Narratives
Before I get too much into the content, there's something that bothers me a bit with many first person narratives: it's too clean.  A narrative like this is basically Belgarath dictating his life.  Very similar to what Anne Rice does in many of her novels, though in those she'll actually have the person speaking for a good chunk of the novel (constant dialogue, like in Blackwood Farm)... but it's still too clean.

If someone were sitting there and reciting his or her life story - as is the way this book reads - the wording would be different.  It wouldn't be perfect English and they wouldn't remember exactly what people were saying, reciting whole conversations as if from memory.  It's similar to taking an interview from someone, editing out the boring parts and removing the "uhs" or "ums" or "you know what I'm sayings" from their everyday speech so that it's more readable and to the point.

For some reason that bothers me a little.  I think in one of my future novels I'm going to leave the dictated story "unedited" just to try it out.  It would feel more realistic to me.  Eddings actually does do a good job with this novel - it feels like Belgarath's talking to you in many places - but it's still in the back of my mind when I read it.  Maybe it's just me.  If so, carry on.

The Prehistoric World
Belgarath's story begins in the world before the Gods left, when Torak was whole, the Orb didn't exist and the world had yet to be cracked.  Instead of two continents separated by a sea, there was one giant continent where all various races were spread out.  This is deemed the Prehistoric World in the book's lone new map.

Belgarath started as a young man named Garath, who grew up in a village named Gara.  Much of this early story is dull... he's a thief and leaves the village, wanders about and lives with other groups of people, until eventually stumbling across the god Aldur.  He doesn't know the man is a god, and seemingly becomes his disciple by accident (though of course it's not).

Point of interest: Belgarath talks a lot about the "godless" races (remember, Aldur did not choose a people), which basically became the Ulgos, Karands, Dals and Melcenes... the Malloreon ones are never mentioned in the first series, The Belgariad, yet clearly he knew all about them then.  I mean, his fellow disciple, Belmakor, was Melcene!  Same with the cities in Cthol Murgos.  They all knew about this stuff.  Not exactly an inconsistency, I suppose... more of a glaring omission.

We are introduced to the other disciples over time, including two that we've never seen before: Belmakor and Belsambar.  We'll talk about them more later.  Zedar's fall is detailed - nothing really surprising here, though Belgarath remarks many times on the fact that he didn't notice the blatant signs of his betrayal (the Prophecy distracts him, I suppose) - the Orb is stolen by Torak, he cracks the world, yadda yadda...

Point of interest: Eddings throws in a nice explanation of how all the disparate races ended up close together on the western continent.  After the cracking of the world, they fled to the west, congregating together on the western coast, when in the Prehistoric World they used to be more spread out.  It's a nice explanation, though it still contradicts Eddings' own comments on that.

There's also the glaring inconsistency of the Voice of Prophecy speaking to Belgarath.  He acts surprised in The Belgariad when he learns that it speaks to Garion, but here he talks to it quite a bit.

The Pre-Garion World
The next few sections of the book deal with the period of time between the cracking of the world and the birth of Garion, hitting major events like the re-theft of the Orb by Belgarath, Cherek Bear-Shoulders and his sons, the "death" of Poledra, the birth of Polgara and Beldaran, and the Battle of Vo Mimbre.  Most of this stuff you already know and when the details of the events are simply repeats of other events (like the parallel between the trek to steal the Orb and Garion going to kill Torak), it's not particularly exciting.  Some sections are interesting, while some plod on.  Again, this book is more for fans of the main series than anyone.

"The Time of Woe" deals with the period just after the retaking of the Orb from Torak.  Poledra "dies" and Belgarath is left with newborn twin daughters to raise on his own... though it's actually the Twins and Beldin that do a lot of the raising.  Belgarath goes off on his own, wallowing in his sorrow and being the vagabond we all know he is at heart.  He visits a lot of familiar places, experiencing events that seem all too familiar to us from The Belgariad and The Malloreon - the repetition we are used to by now.  Unfortunately this feels like we're going through the motions and this part of the book is slow, but there are interesting sections here and there (like Riva & Beldaran).

The next section is "Polgara," detailing his relationship with her over the years after Beldaran died from a natural lifespan.  It's nothing we don't know already (except maybe how much of a tomboy she was growing up), as their relationship and history is pretty well defined during the main sequence of books.

The final pre-Garion section is "The Secret," spanning the period of time from the Rivan King's assassination to just before Garion's birth.  An interesting thing is how Chamdar - the Grolim who killed Garion's parents, and whom Garion kills in Queen of Sorcery - pops in and out of the narrative throughout the book.  Who knew he had been a thorn in Belgarath's side for so long?

Once again, no earth-shattering revelations or eye-opening tidbits.  Just a somewhat interesting narrative with Belgarath going around fixing things, keeping things on track by ensuring certain people marry, holding the West together, chasing Chamdar, etc.

The Other Disciples
Early in the book we finally get looks at the two disciples of Aldur who never made an appearance in the main sequence: Belsambar and Belmakor.

While it is interesting to finally learn about these two disciples, whom you really only know from seeing their ruined towers on the map of the Vale of Aldur, they are not particularly important to the story.  Overall I was generally underwhelmed by their storylines.

Wanted a picture here to break the endless text...
pretend this is Aldur and his disciples, ok?
From Wikipedia

Belsambar is actually an Angarak, and I wish he had been present in the main series, because that would have been an interesting dynamic to have during this cosmic battle involving the West and the East.  Although we do have Angarak allies throughout the series providing some of that, like Yarblek and Urgit, now that I think of it.  But still... there's definitely more Eddings could have done with this character.

Basically, all we learn is that Belsamar turned on his people after his parents were killed by Grolim knives, and he made his way west, summoned by Aldur.  He was very smart and the others never let him "keep an eye on the world" in the East... they didn't want him going back.  Eventually he becomes depressed after living too long and simply wills himself out of existence.

Belmakor is Melcene and quite practical, just like the Melcenes we meet in The Malloreon.  He's a smart man, has a lot of "very long conversations" with Beldin and came up with the idea for each disciple to have their own tower.  He also likes to call everyone "old boy," which gets annoying extremely quick, especially when Belgarath and Beldin start using it all the time, too.

Anyway, Belmakor ends up killing himself as well.  He had somewhat given up on the world, from what Belgarath tells us.  Perhaps he was too smart and because of it, like Belsambar simply got too bored with living for so long.

Point of interest: Regarding Beltira and Belkira's absence from The Malloreon, it's revealed in this book that they usually stay in the Vale to "guard" it.  There's also the major inconsistency in that they don't finish each others' sentences like they do in The Belgariad.  Eddings used that for the first series, then chucked it aside.  It's somewhat annoying to me.

Gaps of Time
Something that doesn't really get touched on in this book, or put into proper perspective, is the passage of time.  Belgarath is over seven thousand years old.  This book only details perhaps fifty to sixty years of that.  Much of the intervening years in Belgarath's life is glossed over - i.e. it will say something like "I spent a century studying this."

Think about this for a moment.  Many of us won't even live for a century.  For Belgarath, a century - perhaps even a millennium - is worth nothing more to him than a few sentences.  What did he really do all those centuries?  Wouldn't he get bored?  There's only so much you can learn - especially when the world doesn't advance (remember, the dual prophecies basically stagnate progress in this world until the final Choice in The Seeress of Kell).

It makes you wonder.  Did Eddings make the right choice about Belgarath's lifespan?  I can't imagine living for centuries with nothing worthwhile to mention.  Maybe since he knew he would never die, that he didn't rush to do as much as he could... he kind of drifted through life without any worries or sense of urgency.  That's the only way I can look at it.  Otherwise I find it quite unbelievable.

And Belgarath's road goes on and on...
Credit TheFriendlyFiend

Views on Religion
Now you've probably noticed that Belgarath has some strong opinions about religion throughout these books.  He and Beldin constantly remark on the fallacies of other religions and are disdainful of them frequently, especially priests.  Those of Nedra come to mind; he seems to have little patience with Tolnedrans in particular.

What this means, though, is that Belgarath is basically a hypocrite... Belgarath himself is religious, being the first disciple of a god.  Yet others who follow their own religions are sometimes objects of ridicule for him.  I mean, I understand that he has loyalty to his god, but the other gods exist too - and he knows it.  It's not a matter of belief, he is simply of the opinion that his god is best (isn't any religion like that?), and that his personal relationship trumps the organized religious mindset.

While trawling the internet for Eddings-related information I came across a blog post on Lantern Hollow Press that dives into this subject much better than I have.  I agree with the observation that this probably reflects the Eddings's opinion on organized religion.

Hey Girl
For such a long book (much longer than any of the previous volumes), I don't have anything else I want to talk about.  Kind of like how Belgarath ignores centuries of his life.  It's not worth mentioning, just like parts of this book.

Anyway, now that the grumpy father is out of the way, I'll move on to the beautiful daughter.  Next up is the second autobiographical entry in the series, Polgara the Sorceress.  As I mentioned before, I only read that once (when it came out) so I've pretty much forgotten the entire thing.  Let's go see how many centuries of her life is glossed over too, shall we?


Related Works
Novel - Polgara the Sorceress


The Malloreon
Book 5 - The Seeress of Kell
Book 4 - Sorceress of Darshiva
Book 3 - Demon Lord of Karanda
Book 2 - King of the Murgos
Book 1 - Guardians of the West

The Belgariad
Book 5 - Enchanter's End Game
Book 4 - Castle of Wizardry
Book 3 - Magician's Gambit
Book 2 - Queen of Sorcery
Book 1 - Pawn of Prophecy

All maps by Shelly Shapiro