06 May 2020 08:48:34
Anybody reading anything awesome at the moment? Little spark city perhaps? My review for such an overrated title, "meh, worse ways to spend a pandemic I suppose. " Still waiting for ed1's glowing book of the year review as well 😉. I've certainly paid him enough. I'm currently reading Leigh bardugo's Shadow and bones. Think oceans 11 in a fantasy world. Fun book and going to make a fantastic Netflix show I hope. There you go, two terrible reviews. Hope this pandemic has given opportunity to budding authors to get grinding into their masterpiece. Sometimes necessity is the perfect muse. Stay safe.

{Ed001's Note - maybe we should come up with a list of worse ways to spend a pandemic? Only I think the posters are going to need proof that there are really are worse ways!

All joking aside, I have read Spark City twice now, once on ebook and then again as I got a physical copy and I much prefer reading a real book over an ebook. I have been trying to think how to describe it without giving anything away and I think the best thing to say is that it is not a typical fantasy novel. Women are actually more than just there for ornamentation and to give men a reason to fight, unlike many other fantasy novels. The problem with it is that it ends with so much left to say. Though they say the secret is to leave you wanting more.

Now I am just waiting on the sequel (the author is a lazy get though so it will probably be a long wait) to find out what happens to the characters in the end. If only the wait wasn't quite so long!

As for writing a book, if it takes as long for anyone on here to write one as it has for you to write a sequel, they will need a pandemic that lasts about 40 years!

By the way, did I mention I am waiting on a sequel? I know you love being asked about one.....}

1.) 06 May 2020
06 May 2020 09:19:25
18 chapters to go ed. You will get to know far more about the world. (It’s twice as long) . Some people will like that, some will crucify me for it. I didn’t start writing until I was 30+ so it’s never too late to just dig in. Start with a paragraph and then a page. Most people can’t even get beyond the desire to write but once you do, you might never stop. Are you reading anything else at the moment?

{Ed001's Note - yes mate, I tend to buy ebook bundles when they come up on Humble Bundle as part of the money goes to charity. They had a Warhammer starter bundle on there recently, so I am reading through that at the moment. Ahriman: Exile by John French is the current one. Ahriman is a long-running character from their books so it is like putting on a comfy pair of slippers and relaxing to catch up on him, so to speak. It is strange, I don't play the Warhammer tabletop games, though I do love the Total War videogames, but I love the books. It is the world (or should that be universe for the sci-fi ones?) surrounding the games that makes them interesting to me, rather than the games or models themselves.

As for writing, I remember one of the things I was told to help get into writing is to set an alarm to go off at the time you should start. Start writing and then have another alarm after a set time and that is time to stop, no matter how into the writing you are at the time. Initially start with 10 minutes and then gradually increase the time. The idea is to ensure you never suffer writer's block as your mind slips into a routine of writing, rather than mystifying it, as often writers can do. Have you tried that mate? If so does it work for you? I sort of do to a degree with writing articles. I set times and I will write in those times only and other times purely for research. But I do it to ensure I take a break as I was finding if I was reading something interesting or got lost in writing a particular article it could be 3 or 4 am and I would realise I hadn't eaten since breakfast.}

2.) 06 May 2020
06 May 2020 09:50:27
You mentioned the war hammer books before and they are absolutely on my list because of it. I think people wanting to write but finding themselves unable to write should try many things to get the formula down. That alarm thing is good for those with limited time in their day to train themselves. I have a comprehensive list of formulas for every stage of writing from conception to last rewrite. For ideas, I just walk miles and miles, figuring out my story and characters etc. Then I write the chapters out free hand while watching a tv show or movie that I can half concentrate too. Then comes the first draft which is the easiest for me. Sit in a comfy chair in the dark with lord of the rings on repeat and just go. I never stop, I never rewrite anything until I’m done. I let the second draft pick up the slack. That’s how I write my first book and it’s pretty much still my routine.

{Ed001's Note - that one point you made I think is the most important one, imo. Never rewrite anything until you are done. When I first started writing articles I would find it really difficult to ever actually finish anything because I would be stuck on rewriting every paragraph over and over.

Dan Abnett is the one to look for in the Warhammer novels. I love military history, it is a family passion, my uncle has written books on the subject and gives talks and tours on a couple of subjects. We would go book hunting together at book fairs etc. Abnett's books seem to bring the battles to life, it feels like he has also read a lot of military history and bases his books on it. Double Eagle, for example, has the feel of the early days of World War II and the Battle of Britain.

It is different from what you write, which is very much character-focused and about them, to being about a time period and then having characters in that period. If that makes sense? Neither is right or wrong, just a different focus and it makes a nice change to go from one to the other.

What I like about both is that the characters feel like real people, that you can care about, unlike so many other writers who write caricatures rather than characters. I know David Gemmell is a huge name in fantasy, but I find his characters weak and his books are formulaic repeats of the same story over and over again. Enjoyable enough reading, but they are like those old pulp novels that used to be churned out in the 50s (I think). They are like a soap opera rather than a quality TV show such as Peaky Blinders imo.}

3.) 06 May 2020
06 May 2020 10:19:58
Ha, you know I love Gemmell but I agree that there is only so much of him. He was a master of fight scenes but the characters never change too much throughout the stories. Despite that, every fantasy reader should read “legend” at least once in their lifetime. I’ve never read a book like it. It’s about a battle. Just one big battle. Pretty much the entire book is just this said battle and it’s amazing. Easy not to pay attention to character development when it takes place over such a short period of time. George rr Martin is the opposite, it’s nothing but characters. No battles whatsoever. Apart from a few painfully short chapters throughout the entire series. The tv show took quite a few liberties with the amount of fight scenes.

{Ed001's Note - see I am not convinced Gemmell is the master of fight scenes, Legend is excellent, but I think Abnett is much better at writing battles. They feel real, which is a hell of a talent in fantasy and sci-fi. I have never read George Martin's books, the only interest I have in him is that he has the same name as my grandad, but I found GoT lost me constantly. Too many characters and I couldn't keep track of it, I can't imagine the book would be any better. The fact me dad loves it is enough to know it would bore me to tears. Though it has at least stopped me dad looking down his nose at fantasy stuff, so that is something I will be grateful to him for.

I had a bunch of Gemmell books on file for years, before ereaders existed, someone must have typed them up for me on text files from the books. I made the mistake of reading them one after another. That is something I advise strongly against doing. Some writers you can just read though their books and get into them, but Gemmell just ends up feeling repetitive like that. It is not like Tolkien where you can reread them over and over either. Like I said they are a bit soap opera-ish and lack depth to give a good reread value. They are a very good intro into fantasy though.}

4.) 06 May 2020
06 May 2020 10:49:47
Yeah, I did the same. Read them in succession and suddenly I just had to stop. I think the mark of any good book is the desire to read it a second time. My favorite books I will read every few years. It’s almost time for ready player one again. Cracking book, terrible terrible movie. Actually, I picked up Enders game a few months back on a deal on amazon and read it through. Unbelievably good. Some of the language is a little risky these days but I loved it. I ended up buying everything in the series straight after. Another sign of a good book.

{Ed001's Note - have you read any of the Witcher books? Every tells me they are brilliant and they are one of the few where the games and TV show have stayed faithful to the books. If that is true, the books must be great as the TV show was excellent and the games have great stories.}

5.) 06 May 2020
06 May 2020 11:58:44
I read the sample and bought the first straight off. It now sits on my ever expanding to be read pile. Cracking Netflix show, never seen such a part so perfectly cast. I played the games a little but feared what it would do to my career if I got sucked too deeply in. I’d still be on the first chapter I would imagine. I’ve sacrificed so many games just too keep my creative juices going. That’s the only real downside to writing. I miss my marathon gaming sessions.

6.) 17 Jun 2020
17 Jun 2020 21:31:30
I have read many fantasy series recently, and by reading the above posts, I'm sure you would all enjoy! The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson is fantastic, he's an insane writer, all his stuff is pretty good though! Patrick Rothfuss is a really good author, although hasn't released anything for awhile. James Islington is another really cracking new author. He has quite an interesting writing style. Finally two darker authors are Sam Sykes and Mark Lawrence, they write in a more visceral style.

I also second the opinions on the warhammer series! I've read loads of WH stuff over the years despite never playing the tabletop game. I really enjoyed reading the Wordbearers collection.

I have never read David Gremmel Eds! I will go to my library when it opens and look for his name.

{Ed001's Note - have you read any of the new Warhammer stuff? They have branched out into new eras and so it has some interesting concepts involved. Josh Reynolds has written some good stuff.

As for those you have suggested, I will look out for them.

As for Gemmell, start with Legend, it made his name and is probably the best of his work.}

7.) 18 Jun 2020
18 Jun 2020 11:01:10
I have not read any of the latest Warhammer stuff, I think the last WH stuff I have read is Gotrex and Felix, which was very enjoyable. I did update my book list last night with some of the newer books. I'm glad GW started moving the story forward, it had pretty much been in the same state since I started following WH about 17 years ago.

I'll look for Josh Reynolds and add them to my list!

Thanks Eds, I'll definitely go look in my library once it has opened, and scour the charity shops near me to see if they have it.

{Ed001's Note - anything Dan Abnett has written is always worth a read, he is the standout for me.

I do miss scouring charity shops for books!}

8.) 18 Jun 2020
18 Jun 2020 19:04:29
Dan Abnett is a boss, I really like his stuff, I had some audio books by him years ago and they were fantastic.

It is probably one of my most enjoyable activities!

There is a guy on Cardiff indoor market who has a huge selection, and Sedbergh has several secondhand book shops, one in particular was very good, I forget the name but if you google Sedbergh book shops it's normally the first one that comes up. Many market towns have a stall, I know my Ex-local Market, Chorley has a decent book stall. Probably the best hidden gem I ever found was inside the Weymyss Bay Ferry and Bus Terminal. If you walk in the main entrance they have a little book shop immediately to your right. Also very close is a place called Largs with a cafe called Nadini's which does amazing breakfasts, and very good ice cream as a bonus visit ;) .