Yesterday I finally reached the point in Coven Hill where I could introduce my new favorite character into the narrative.
”Amethyst Brown,” said Mr. Griffith over the din, “could you please come here?”
The girl emerged like an apparition from the shadows near the rear of the laboratory and drifted toward them. Abby had never seen anything like her. Dark hair falling past her shoulders, eyes too big and too round for her otherwise pretty face, the hint of a tattoo of some sort slithering from her left wrist before disappearing inside her shirt sleeve. She wore all black—black top, black skirt, black boots up to her knees, and black nylons up to her skirt, all of it shockingly unflattering on her alabaster skin.
Abby had no way of knowing for sure, but she thought the girl looked like the type who’d have piercings in all sorts of unusual places. She was chewing a wad of gum that became a pink bubble, hung for a second or two too long in front of her face, then deflated and disappeared again inside darkly made-up lips.
“Call me Amy,” she said between chews.
She did have a pierced tongue, Abby observed.
Abby was quite literally speechless.
”Nice to meet you, too,” said Amy, a wicked but not unfriendly smile splitting her face.
Now for the disclaimer: This is just a first draft, so I’m still hammering things out and not paying a huge amount of attention to precision of language just yet. Still, it’s fun to share every now and then.
The latest (and I do mean that literally) installment of my formerly monthly adventure game design column, Adventure Architect, is now up at Adventure Gamers. It’s likely to be the last thing I’ll be posting about Rise of the Hidden Sun for quite a while, so head on over and read the update if you’re interested.
Today I passed the 10,000-word mark on my young adult novel, more if you count the prologue that I’ll almost certainly cut when all is said and done. It’s an insignificant number in the grand scheme of things, but it means something to me for what it represents: forward progress.
Let’s say I do another 10,000 words a month from now till the end of the year—which is ambitious enough to feel like it would be an accomplishment, but also doable enough if I apply myself and work hard at it. It would get me to 60,000 words by January 1 and put me within shouting distance of a finished first draft. So that’s the new target.
Tomorrow, I start on the next 10,000.
Another tiny chunk of words, about half a scene, done. Bam.
From time to time I’ll be writing about books I’ve just finished reading in a new series of blogs I’m calling, uh, “Just finished reading.” Catchy, no? It won’t be every book I’ve just read—just the ones that are noteworthy for being either exceptionally good or bad.
I’m kicking things off with The Terror by Dan Simmons, a monster of a book that clocks in at 769 pages and focuses on the real-life disappearance of an arctic expedition led by Sir John Franklin in 1845. It follows the voyage from its early days to its bitter end, imaging along the way a “what if” scenario of human tragedy and supernatural events that attempts to explain the fate of the missing sailors. Terror is both the name of one of the ships and the name given to a mysterious predator that seems to be stalking the British sailors—and picking them off one by one.
The story unfolds through a mixture of flashbacks, letters, journal entries, and multiple viewpoints that reads like a literary version of LOST. It’s an incredible achievement of the imagination. What could have been ponderous in the hands of a less skilled writer becomes both a heartbreaking and thought-provoking page turner under the direction of Simmons. Not many thrillers take the time to explore the human condition with such depth and subtlety.
As for the ending… it left me pleasantly puzzled. I won’t spoil anything by saying that there are several ways you could interpret the revelation at the end, and a quick glance at Amazon’s discussion boards reveals that each one has its backers. It’s a fitting ending to one of the best novels I’ve read in years.
Best comic book movie ever? No, probably not, but The Dark Knight does deserve to be part of that conversation. It’s that good. (No one is more surprised than me.) It’s a fantastic popcorn movie that felt just slightly too long at two-and-a-half hours but had enough legit “wow” moments to justify the hype. Needless to say I liked this one a lot more than Batman Begins. Oh, and Heath Ledger was great, even if he did seem to be channeling Al Franken the whole time.