Tag Archives: speculative fiction

Is 200 Pages Enough?

I just read Melanie Rawn’s first book of the Exiles series, The Ruins of Ambrai. It was the second book I picked up for my trip a few weeks ago but I had so much trouble getting into it, I had to renew it to give myself enough time to finish it.

Having read enough speculative fiction over the years I know that the first hundred or even two-hundred pages of the first book in any series can be a bit tough to follow.  The author needs to set up characters, setting, magic systems, technology bases, etc. I know this, and yet I still had difficulty getting into the book.

I had this same argument with my husband when he started the David Weber  Safehold series. Must preface this with the fact that we both love the Honor Harrington series and pretty much all things Honorverse. Anyway, husband was sloughing along and I kept urging him to give the book another chance. Still not sure if he finished it – meanwhile I just bought book 2 – By Schism Rent Asunder.

So my question today is how long does anyone else give a book to prove its worth?

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Filed under Authors, Books

To the Stacks!

I’ve been thinking lately about how I go about my writing and wondering how others approach theirs. Not so much what anyone writes with or on, but rather how we all gather  information.

As my degree is in Economics rather than English or Literature, most of my college writing involved much library research using dusty volumes buried on the highest floor or farthest reaches of the basement. I used to love just trolling the stacks and randomly picking some esoteric text on econometrics or radical economic theories. Yes, my name is Sam and I am an economics geek.

These days my writing is mostly fiction and focused in the speculative fiction arena. But I still find myself hunting for information, such as the history of witch hunting, or Lagrange points.  I do have the benefit of 2 State Universities and 3 Library districts in a 20 mile radius from my home so getting my hands on books is easy. I can still spend hours in the stacks.

At home I’m Google hunting and parsing Wickipedia articles for their source material. There is an incredible amount of material out there.

Would I love to just travel places to get the real nitty gritty? Of course. But while I can go see a 5,000 year old buffalo jump fairly easily, the canals of Venice or the Great Wall of China remain a bit more elusive. But I know even then I would do a good chunk of reading.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m delving too much into facts and reality instead of just writing my stories and trusting future readers to suspend judgement if I miss a little detail here or there. After all, it is fiction.  Right?

So I guess my question is how much research does everyone else do – and how?

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Filed under Writing, writing fiction