The fact that children can make beautiful music is less significant than the fact that music can make beautiful children.
I am blessed with what is very likely the ideal team of beta readers. Though it only numbers three members (I know some authors like more; I wouldn’t turn down a serious request to be enlisted for the next go-round), they each bring something helpful and necessary to the process.
Reader 1 gets into the thick of it, finding clumsy word choices, unclear motivations, questionable characterizations, and weak pacing. She is also the reader most likely to go full fangirl when characters do something awesome or, more often, find themselves in desperate scrapes.
Reader 2 takes a more big-picture approach. He doesn’t leave me as many comments as Reader 1, but what he leaves is gold. Reader 2 is more likely to alert me to larger issues: whole scenes that just aren’t working, or that need to be placed in a different order; continuity errors; places where I may be expecting too much of my readers’ memory of previous volumes.
Reader 3 is a big-picture reader somewhat like Reader 2, but he brings an eye especially for mythological detail. Reader 3 is the one most likely to question whether what I’m writing has remained true to what I’ve already established about how magic works, for example, or about aspects of culture in the Wonder. Sometimes I think he understands my “rules” better than I do!
Mind you, I had none of this in mind when I invited these three to beta for me. I doubt I could have even predicted how they’d do what I’d asked them to do. But as The River of Night hurtles toward the finish line, I’m grateful to have (accidentally!) assembled such a team. Thanks, guys!
What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
The Faery Folklorist offers numerous tales of the Fair Folk of Exmoor and nearby areas in the West Country of England. The common name for such beings in this part of England is either pixie (in Devonshire) or pisgy/piskey (in Cornwall).
I think it’s about time more attention was paid to the extraordinary fairy folk and pixies of Exmoor! These wonderful little characters are often sadly overlooked and overshadowed by their more famous relatives, the Piskies of Cornwall and Pixies of Dartmoor. Below you will find a beginners guide to the fairies and pixies of Exmoor, including their habits and habitations, and an insight into their curious behaviour.
There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.
—Samwise Gamgee, via J. R. R. Tolkien
Listen more than you talk. Nobody learned anything by hearing themselves speak.
—Sir Richard Branson
Move over, Rick Riordan: somebody else is getting into the kid books about demigods business. According to the Times of Israel, a Hebrew-language version of the Epic of Gilgamesh is underway:
In writer Shirley Graetz’s mind, the Akkadian figure who stars in the ancient poem “Epic of Gilgamesh” sounded a lot like her eldest son. Big, strong, and not always able to delicately avoid things in his path.
“I got to thinking about Gilgamesh,” said Graetz, who at the time was finishing up her PhD on cuneiform, an ancient form of writing from the Mesopotamian region. “He was half human, half god and he was a tyrant. Until he found his match, and then he calmed down and went on adventures.”
Graetz then went on to write a chapter book geared to children aged 8–11.
Best sentence in the article? This one:
Ever practical, the academic turned popular fiction writer also considered the fact that neither Disney nor Pixar had ever touched the story of the Mesopotamian figure.
I wonder if the bit with Shamhat might have something to do with that.