Golden Knave Update

I am up to 10 handwritten pages so far on Vice’s side of the story. I am planning to write another two pages in a bit. I have a new surge of energy on this project, and I’m not going to stop again until it’s complete this time! I have DIY MFA to thank for that!

For the next two weeks, I’m planning to write four pages a day on weekdays and six to eight pages on the weekend. If I do this successfully, I’ll work my way up to six pages during the week and ten on weekends. I have to make sure I can work this around my work schedule during the week. I don’t want to get stressed out and end up with a mess instead of a good story.

I am making changes since I began my second draft. I’ve come to realize I was afraid to write Vice’s side of the story. The first draft is more on Rajinstorm than on Vice, and Vice is the main character. I made the POV more from her than from him because I wasn’t comfortable writing him. I had created him, and it had taken me three times to get him to be happy with what I was doing with his personality and style. Now, I’m making a conscious effort to change the POV to him where it’s supposed to be. This means developing him further, letting him become more three dimensional like Kitya is. Writing from the female perspective is easy since I’m female. Writing from the male perspective is proving to be a bit harder.

Still, I think I’m off to a good start and will keep working on it. I’ll have to find at least one male beta reader to make sure Vice is believable, but I’m sure I’ll be able to when the time comes.

That’s it for now. I’ll post another update next week.

See you on the flipside and don’t forget your towel and sonic screwdriver!!

Kafka – The Judgment and The Stoker

Since the first was so short, I read the second right after it.

The writing style of Kafka is more along the lines of allegories and seems, to me, to be more like a recounted dream or a disjointed thought rather than what we all, him included, consider to be “proper” short stories.

Both The Judgment and The Stoker were written in 1912; both were published in 1913.  The Stoker won the Fontane Prize in 1915 and became the beginning of his novel, Amerika, published posthumously in 1927

The Judgment is more like a half remembered dream, the beginning is understandable and realistic.  I didn’t like the main character, Georg Bendemann, at all.  From his musings over a letter he’d just written to a friend in Russia, he doesn’t strike me as being much of a friend.  You’ll see what I mean when you read it.  After preparing the letter to be mailed, it suddenly occurs to Georg he should consult his elderly father whom he still lives with, about the wisdom of sending this particular letter with its particular news.  The interview with the father is like a twisted dream – it is full of drama, conflicting action and emotion which made it surreal to me.  The ending, didn’t make much sense.

Still, it is worth reading, if only so you can shake your head and think”what is the world was he thinking when he wrote this?”

The Stoker is a story taken out of a passage in young Karl Rossman’s like.  He is sent off to America to avoid a scandal involving a 32 yr old chambermaid who seduced him and bore him a child.  Karl is described as not quite old enough for college though he has finished what we would deem “high school”.

The entire story happens on the ship Karl has taken to Ellis Island but not yet embarked due to a forgotten umbrella.  He is lost while searching for the lost item below decks and happens upon the stoker of the ship who is also a fellow German.  They strike up a friendship of sorts, trading tales of woe and bad treatment.  Karl, is a bid to assist the stoker with getting justice for his own mistreatment aboard the ship, urges the man, whose name is never mentioned, to go to the captain with him to tell him all about it.

Off they go, resolute the stoker should have his say, and Karl, poor guy, is separated from the stoker during the course of the meeting by his estranged uncle who also happens to be a Senator.  Nothing more is said in this story about the poor stoker, or his fate, but Karl is left quite unhappy and a bit bereft.

This second story is quite good I feel.  It was like two ships passing in the night only these two actually got to know one another enough to touch each other’s lives – like the fingertip stroke of a pretty girl across your arm as she passes – a fleeting touch that means very little but still changes your perspective for a bit.

I am eager to read more of Kafka’s work and will look for Amerika as I really want to see what becomes of young Karl.

Lindsay-Darkly Dreaming Dexter

What can I say, sometimes only the dark will do.  I am a big fan of the show and was sad when it ended so, I went looking for the books that inspired the show.  I’m disappointed to see so few have been written and hope more are on the way.  I guess we’ll see.

By the way, as I write this, I have a couple of guys doing some carpentry work close to my window and one of them is singing horribly off key.  I can only hear it when the saw is off so here’s to the saw running a lot!  I can handle that better than the horrible singing.

Anyway, this book was everything I’d hope for: the birth of Dexter and his Dark Passenger!  It gives you the great back story with just the right amount of flare and twisted darkness.  Imagine how a police officer, sworn to do his duty yet tired of seeing all his hard work thrown out by corrupt people within the system that is supposed to support him in his efforts to punish those who are threats to society for their crimes.  Then, imagine this same officer, tired off constantly losing and almost at his wits end, adopting a little orphan – a witness to a horrific murder and victim of the aftermath.  This self same orphan who, as he grows older, is found out by his law and order adopted dad to be a threat to society in the making.  What do you do?

If you watched even one episode of Dexter, you know what this poor yet honorable man did, and I, for one, think it was a great idea the writer had.  If you look at the incredible Hannibal Lecter character – he is finesse and polish, refined and educated – and a cannibal who is very select about whom he devours.  Dexter is a serial killer with only one type of victim – fellow killers.  You have to love the irony!

The author has made Dexter believable and interesting – a bit of dark humor in the thoughts running through his head as he gives the reader his inner dialogue.  He is as charming as he can be, admits he’s not as “human” seeming as everyone else, but he’s appealing just the same.

The book plot isn’t just about Dexter killing someone – oh no.  There is a story here, a purpose behind what he does.  He is a Blood Splatter Specialist and he assists his police officer adopted sister with her cases – when she needs him.  The book starts with a murder, one committed by Dexter, and then moves on to more murders – not Dexter’s handiwork but oh so close!!  It takes both Dexter and his sister, Deborah, to figure out the murderer….and I will not spoil the ending for you!

This book, as you can tell, is one I highly recommend even if you’ve either never seen the show or, don’t like the show for whatever reason. 🙂  I’m working on getting the next one in the series.

That’s it for now my friends, see you on the flipside and remember, please, your towel and sonic screwdriver!

Voltaire – Candide or Optimism

First off, let me say that the book itself, not the story, but the physical book is quite silly.  My copy of it is anyway.

It’s published by Barnes & Noble Books – I didn’t know the book chain has a publishing arm but apparently, it does.  This particular volume was published in 2003.  So far, so good.  They use Henry Morley’s translation which was first published in 1922 – it doesn’t say who by.  Introduction, Notes and Further Reading are all credited to Gina May.  The book is a trade paperback that is about 5 inches wide, 8 inches long and 1/2 an inch thick.

Now, I know they have to pad the book to make it worthwhile to sell – they have to make their money back somehow – right.  The pictures that are added into the volume – done by Alan Odle – don’t make much sense to me.  I think they’re supposed to have some literary merit, but I didn’t pay them much attention after the first one which appears opposite  the title page.

There’s a short bio on Voltaire himself, 1 and 3/4 pages(if that) so no big deal.  Quick table of contents, not of the story but of the entire book. This is short too so, no big deal again.   Then comes a 4 page timeline entitled The World of Candide and Voltaire.  Now, I’m feeling like I’m in history class not reading a book.  What follows next is an atrocious 12 and barely 1/8 pages of total boredom disguising itself as an Introduction.  I didn’t get past page 2 before I decided to skip ahead to the next section.

Now, at last, the story complete with a second title page!  Psyche!  What follows is a list of chapters called Table of Contents(of the story itself this time) styled and spaced so that  it takes up another 4 amd 3/4 pages of space.  Following that is a list of Pencil Plates, also styled and spaced to take up as much room as possible – in this case, one page followed by a blank page.

Then, at the very last, the story begins!!  Hooray, let’s throw a party!  The story itself, from start to finish,including the silly Pencil Plates, is only 120 pages long! Only 120!! The print is also small, but that’s not a long story at all!  No wonder they had to pack all the rest of the schloss in there with it – it would be a short story instead of a novella then.

Now, for a critique of the story.  I’m a realist so I had issues with the story from the start.  I had to make myself finish the story after putting it down several times.  I mean this guy is like Job in the Bible, going from feast to famine as he faces one calamity after another.  There is a short interim where he’s doing well but then, he leaves.  His life falls apart right after that.  During all of this, he remains an optimist believing that everything is “for the best” and a “necessity”.  It’s only towards the end of the story that he seems to be changing his mind.

I’m actually glad I did finish the book because it’s the last part that has me thinking.  It tells about how his old teacher would gloat about being right about everything being for the best.  How this teacher would tell him how everything he’d been through had been necessary for him to reach his current state of peace and happiness.  Candide would always answer this with ” Excellently observed, but we must cultivate our garden.”

That’s food for thought.