Archives for August 2012

Michael Chabon on influence and fan fiction

And yet there is a degree to which, just as all criticism is in essence Sherlockian, all literature, highbrow or low, from the Aeneid onward, is fan fiction. That is why Harold Bloom’s notion of the anxiety of influence has always rung hollow to me. Through parody and pastiche, allusion and homage, retelling and reimagining the stories that were told before us and that we have come of age loving — amateurs — we proceed, seeking out the blank places in the map that our favorite writers, in their greatness and negligence, have left for us, hoping to pass on to our own readers — should we be lucky enough to find any — some of the pleasure that we ourselves have taken in the stuff we love: to get in the game. All novels are sequels; influence is bliss.

—Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends

This is exactly what made me want to become a writer, and why I persevered; I have never seen it so eloquently or accurately described.

David Mamet on what people say

People may or may not say what they mean . . . but they always say something designed to get what they want.

—David Mamet

Bridget McKenna on Shakespeare

I’ve heard his stuff is off-genre, and he can’t even get an agent. One rejection said: “Make up your mind, Will. You can’t be writing thrillers one day and sappy romances the next. Readers want to know what to expect. Pick a genre and stick with it, fergodsake. Then maybe I can do something for you.”

Bridget McKenna

San Martín on victory

Si hay victoria en vencer al enemigo, la hay más cuando el hombre se vence a si mismo.

[If there is victory in overcoming the enemy, there is a greater victory when a man overcomes himself.]

—José de San Martín

Quoted in the original, because the Spanish has a poetic grace and snap and style that does not come through in the translation. But then, generals and poets have more in common than the poets would care to admit.

JD Rhoades on tyops

A typo is like a mental pothole. It’s a jolt of wrongness — and it reminds me that I’m reading. The most sublime moments for me come when I’m so enraptured by the story that I’m not thinking of it as a book any more. I’m THERE . . . and then a tiepo comes along and knoks me bak to realitee.

And I HATE relaitee.

JD Rhoades

G. K. C. on characters in Romance

In every pure romance there are three living and moving characters. For the sake of argument they may be called St. George and the Dragon and the Princess. In every romance there must be the twin elements of loving and fighting. In every romance there must be the three characters: there must be the Princess, who is a thing to be loved; there must be the Dragon, who is a thing to be fought; and there must be St. George, who is a thing that both loves and fights.

There have been many symptoms of cynicism and decay in our modern civilization. But of all the signs of modern feebleness, of lack of grasp on morals as they actually must be, there has been none quite so silly or so dangerous as this: that the philosophers of today have started to divide loving from fighting and to put them into opposite camps. [But] the two things imply each other; they implied each other in the old romance and in the old religion, which were the two permanent things of humanity. You cannot love a thing without wanting to fight for it. You cannot fight without something to fight for. To love a thing without wishing to fight for it is not love at all; it is lust. It may be an airy, philosophical, and disinterested lust; it may be, so to speak, a virgin lust; but it is lust, because it is wholly self-indulgent and invites no attack. On the other hand, fighting for a thing without loving it is not even fighting; it can only be called a kind of horse-play that is occasionally fatal.

Wherever human nature is human and unspoilt by any special sophistry, there exists this natural kinship between war and wooing, and that natural kinship is called romance. It comes upon a man especially in the great hour of youth; and every man who has ever been young at all has felt, if only for a moment, this ultimate and poetic paradox. He knows that loving the world is the same thing as fighting the world.

G. K. Chesterton

[Paragraph breaks added. —T. S.]

Lord Talon’s Revenge



A man with no name, no country, no face, has one simple desire: revenge on the tyrant who robbed him of all else. Just a few small obstacles stand in his way. . . .

Greed: Sagrendus the Golden, Prince of Dragons, has a good business: abduct princess, collect ransom, repeat until rich. He charges extra for taking sides.

War: General Griffin, ogre mercenary, always fights for his client — even if there is nobody to fight against.

Hatred: Princess Jacinth hates the man she will have to marry — whoever he is. She also hates kings, rescuers, men, women, and especially porcelain dolls.

Betrayal: What keeps King Talvos on the throne of Ilberion? He’s better at double-crossing than anyone who double-crosses him.

And then there is one young fool with a sword, who still believes in heroes. Revenge is about to get a lot more complicated.

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