February Reading & Writing Check-In

Last month, I finished the story I started in January and sent it away, and have since started writing another one! I’ve been making very small edits to the novel since I’m still waiting for a beta to finish reading & send me their feedback, but the changes feel like they’ve been important – they’re all tweaks or rewordings of scenes or phrases that have been bothering me since the first draft but that I didn’t change because nobody flagged them in editing. While there’s still one part I’m mentally picking over, I think most of them are a lot better for the changes I’ve made.

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Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett – Because of when the first Sunday of each month fell I ended up reading two Pratchett book club entries this month. I really enjoyed Wyrd Sisters, since I enjoy Shakespeare enough that I could a) laugh at all the jokey references made to them and b) enjoy the glorious melodrama of the Shakespeare-inspired main plot. I love the three witch characters, and feel that there’s enough to the book to enjoy as a standalone fantasy work with themes of magic and stories as much as I enjoyed it as part of my Pratchett-reading project.

Arrows of the Queen & Arrows’ Flight by Mercedes Lackey – Speaking of enjoying things, my boyfriend bought me a Mercedes Lackey omnibus for Christmas because he was sure I would love them. And I do. I’m two novellas through the great honking tome. There are elements of them that are pure “teen fantasy”, involving running away from home and finding out you’re something special and making new friends, but what elevates Lackey amongst lesser entries in the genre is her keyed-in understanding and deep exploration of emotions. The protagonists’ troubled upbringing and experience leave her with a whole host of mental scars, and the book takes this trauma as genuine and explores the different messy ways people notice or don’t notice, try to solve it and fail or succeed, and the way it affects her when new things enter her life. It’s a very effective book, and this truly successful psychological realism melds wonderfully with the more fantastical adventure elements.

Pyramids! by Terry Pratchett – This month’s second book club read. While I won’t say it didn’t have issues, re: Pratchett’s recurring joke that everyone, deep down, is a middle class English person taking on slightly troubling colonial connotations when transferred to an Egyptian environment, I still really enjoyed it. It’s the best-paced Discworld I’ve read so far, and does lots of interesting and fun things with its setting and its ideas about mathematics and the cosmos.

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