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To Ride Hell's Chasm
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Group Reads Archive > October 2012--Author Invitational--Janny Wurts

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message 1: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new) - rated it 3 stars

carol. | 2616 comments Janny's thread!


message 2: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments I am completely thrilled to be asked to participate in a group read here, all the more since I've been active in Fantasy Aficionados as a reader almost since the group was started. Thank you to Carol and Mrs. Joseph for all your volunteer hard work as moderators and hosts, and thanks to everyone who voted.


To get new readers started, To Ride Hell’s Chasm is a stand alone epic fantasy with a character driven plot that finishes in five and a half days. Expect mystery, political intrigue, building up to an action adventure finish.

Before the October read kicks off, anyone is encouraged to use the free links below to check out the first chapter - you can see if this book fits your interest in plenty of time to locate a copy. Both text and e formats will be found here:

http://www.paravia.com/JannyWurts/web...

Three teaser chapters are also available in audio, MP3 format, clean and clear for listening, but not by a professional reader. Scroll to the bottom of the page on the link below to find the chapter files:

http://www.paravia.com/JannyWurts/Ver...

I will be available here throughout to discuss the story, answer questions, contribute anecdotes, and also to answer anyone's curiosity about the business, or things behind the scenes. This includes the writing of the book, and the cover art as well, since, as professional illustrator, I also did the oil paintings for the book jackets both in the USA and overseas.

Welcome here, and thank you all, there is no greater privilege in the world than turning a finished book over to you readers. It is your story, now, and for whatever insights I might offer regarding your curiosity, and its creation, what experience I have is yours for the asking.


message 3: by Bill (last edited Sep 11, 2012 09:11AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bill (kernos) | 350 comments Great! I didn't know we were reading this. I have a copy waiting to read. I'm currently reading the 4 volume King of Ys series by Poul and Karen Anderson and will read your novel, Janny, when I'm done with the 1st book.

The cover on the hardback reminds me of your artwork, Janny. Did you do this one too?


message 4: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments Kernos wrote: "Great! I didn't know we were reading this. I have a copy waiting to read. I'm currently reading the 4 volume King of Ys series by Poul and Karen Anderson and will read your novel, Janny, when I'm d..."

Yes, the art is mine, as well as both covers on the HarperCollins editions. I look forward with pleasure to having you aboard for the read.


Katy (kathy_h) Thanks for doing this. I am up for the read too. I haven't read this book by you, but have enjoyed others.


message 6: by Traci (new)

Traci Just wanted to drop by and say how much I'm looking forward to this group-read. I already have the book bought, downloaded, and ready to go. And yes, this will be my first book by the author.


message 7: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments Kathy wrote: "Thanks for doing this. I am up for the read too. I haven't read this book by you, but have enjoyed others."

Hi Kathy, great to have you. I never write the same story twice, but the build to half point and the race to finish from there is signature style, so it will be super having two readers here (you and Kernos) aware of how I like to pace a novel.

For others, new - it's a firm benchmark I strive to achieve: that books MUST deliver an cracker of an ending, that a mid-point twist compounds the tension, and that the finish cannot be predictable. This has made for some hair-raising 'problems' for the characters - some that even I did not know how to solve until the last moment before I wrote the chapter. How such creativity works can be covered in the discussion, when we get there.


message 8: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments Traci wrote: "Just wanted to drop by and say how much I'm looking forward to this group-read. I already have the book bought, downloaded, and ready to go. And yes, this will be my first book by the author."

Greetings, Traci, welcome aboard! I see by your book list that we do share quite a few favorites - Guy Kay, Rothfuss, Hobb - and as you are an Erikson veteran, you likely enjoy plenty of depth and complexity, too.


Brenda ╰☆╮    (brnda) | 1409 comments I'm hoping to finish my current read...also by Janny
:D, so I can join in with a clear mind. If not, I'll finish up after.
It will be my first read along.
:)
I think!


message 10: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments Brenda ╰☆╮ wrote: "I'm hoping to finish my current read...also by Janny
:D, so I can join in with a clear mind. If not, I'll finish up after.
It will be my first read along.
:)
I think!"


Hi Brenda - I think I saw in a reading thread somewhere it was Curse of the Mistwraith you'd started? (I don't bug readers in general threads; only author dedicated discussions) - if so, don't rush that, the read has a lot more layers in play than the title for this thread. It unfolds with a lot more subtlety.

Great to have you aboard when you get here - also fun to have a rising star (the little flourish on your name is very cool).


Brenda ╰☆╮    (brnda) | 1409 comments Thank you so much, Janny.
That makes me feel better.
:D

I like that "rising star". I've thought of it as my joy coming out.
It also help keep the
"Brenda's" straight. I'm big on changing my profile picture from time to time.
;)


message 12: by Dana (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dana | 140 comments I've already read the book (and enjoyed it quite a bit), but I'm really looking forward to reading Janny's comments. It's been long enough that some of the details of the story are a bit fuzzy for me, but I think I remember enough to follow along. :)


message 13: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments Dana wrote: "I've already read the book (and enjoyed it quite a bit), but I'm really looking forward to reading Janny's comments. It's been long enough that some of the details of the story are a bit fuzzy for..."

Hi Dana, thank you, super to have an old reader along.


message 14: by Bill (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bill (kernos) | 350 comments Started this last nite—this is gonna be fun!


message 15: by Temi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Temi (temisol) | 39 comments Really enjoying this! I don't know how I missed out on its existence, so very glad for this Monthly Read pick.


message 16: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments Kernos wrote: "Started this last nite—this is gonna be fun!"

Super! And based on what I know of your posts, your thoughts are bound to be interesting.


message 17: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments Temi wrote: "Really enjoying this! I don't know how I missed out on its existence, so very glad for this Monthly Read pick."

A delight to have you, Temi. How did this book get overlooked? Possibly because it was released at a politically horrible moment - a point in time that brought the publishing world to a freeze, and created a sucking black hole that swallowed a whole lot of books, as peoples' attention was diverted en mass, focused on a tense and ugly and sorrowful situation.

Funny, that the strong theme of 'differences' also emerged in the novel, which was possibly the most creatively driven work I've ever produced.

Thanks for taking notice and posting. The timing aspect is an interesting angle.

For those reading - this thread is not marked Non spoiler - before it happens, I'd ask, please beware: if you want to post about your experience with the story, feel free, but please mark or hide your spoilers! The story has so many twists, it would help very much not to reveal too much for readers who drop by, scouting the activity.


message 18: by Bill (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bill (kernos) | 350 comments I'm about halfway through, wishing I could stay up all nite to read. The action, flow, excitement doesn't stop, making it difficult to put down. The protagonist is just like I see myself in my dreams—so easy for me to identify with.

Is this thread for discussion of the book or will there be special thread for that when it's time?

Janny, what does "creatively driven" actually mean?


message 19: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments Kernos wrote: "I'm about halfway through, wishing I could stay up all nite to read. The action, flow, excitement doesn't stop, making it difficult to put down. The protagonist is just like I see myself in my drea..."

I'll answer your questions in the order you asked (re, discussion format/what did I mean by a 'creatively driven' book). Since it may be a long post, I'll break it into installments.

Discussion Format: it's up to the Mods; a Featured Author Read was stated to have two threads: one (this) where the author participated and another (created and waiting) for readers to respond who wished not to have the author's presence. This book apparently also won the poll for the monthly epic fantasy read - where I'm not sure - that one would not be 'author led' and it may (mods?) be confusing to have all that string of stuff going on. I'll have a list of discussion points and questions for this title that can be put to use, or not. I'd say, a little input here from participants and mods would be welcome - the idea is to give the group the best experience.

Neither extant thread is marked for spoilers - hence, my plea to mind the posts.


message 20: by carol., Senor Crabbypants (new) - rated it 3 stars

carol. | 2616 comments To try to clarify~

Kernos, this will be the thread to discuss the book with Janny, as mentioned at the header.

Janny~I don't usually like to do a "spoiler" thread and a "non-spoiler" thread because it adds to thread clutter and divides the discussion--which lately has been only a handful of people.

At Janny's suggestion, a "non-author" thread was added for people that would like to discuss the book but don't feel comfortable discussing it if the author is reading and replying.


message 21: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments Kernos wrote: "I'm about halfway through, wishing I could stay up all nite to read. The action, flow, excitement doesn't stop, making it difficult to put down. The protagonist is just like I see myself in my drea..."

Question 2, 'creatively driven' - what I meant: I had the concept for this story, based on three points, the seeds of inspiration, as it were. (#1, standing the 'arranged wedding' concept on its head; #2 an endurance race, run with horses, (for real), called the Tevas Cup, and a headlong collision between the lawful chain of command and the ethic of the warrior. This idea banged around in my head as something I wanted to write 'for years' but it stayed nebulous.

(warning/long post/writerly insights)

Backdrop circumstance: when I conceived my huge series, I NEVER expected or wanted to write those books end to end - I'd always envisioned doing single titles in between. Problem: publishing industry preference feared that reader continuity would suffer - this was NEVER a money decision (yes, there are cases where it's not) - it was the editors; fear of spreading things too thin. I don't write the same story twice - and they didn't wish to dilute the impetus of the series. I was painted into the trap, willy-nilly, though I begged and pleaded - it was a no go, getting a single title into the schedule.

When I reached the end of draft for the book that 'tipping points' the larger series - where all the build up starts to run into convergency, and the pace picks up, two things were going on: career - I had just been orphaned for about the fifth time when my US publisher underwent another major merger; and the writing of Peril's Gate left me flat wrung out, emotionally. Two: in the field in general, a LOT of major series were sprawling into casts of THOUSANDS of characters, and losing their impetus, for some readers - to the point where many readers were screaming they'd avoid long works - having been burned once or more too often. I was frustrated - caught facing a delay in schedule - with a series that had been intricately planned to deepen, pick up major pace as it went, and I hated the very thought of being 'tarred' with the crowd of unfinished/dissipated works.

So I strongly pitched my case, to do this little 5 day plot that showed that poised, condensed tension and by gosh, demonstrate a FINISH! (as the series would have, in solid depth, when complete) - and my London editor accepted. I had to do an outline to get the contract underway - and after years of nebulous perking along, when I opened the file to draft that, the high points of this story exploded inside an hour. (the outline set up all the tension points, the climactic twists, but left the 'solutions' nebulous and undefined. HOW this stuff was going to be solved was kept vague, to lend room for excitement in the writing)

Then, it sat for a many months while I finished the polish/then production (longer process than many may suppose) and the artwork to finish off the series title.

Sat down to write To Ride Hell's Chasm. Well. First chapters take 30 days, a hard, long focused month, for me, to set up the story Just Right. This one was particularly stubborn - the scene I'd envisioned to begin didn't play well on the page. (it did, though, in mid chapter). When I re-set the stage to a different starting point, WHAM, the hero stepped in and defined himself; then the other, his counterpoint protagonist stepped into sharp-cut focus. When I'd finished Ch 1 - this book did NOT STOP.

The scenes just kept spinning in at accelerated rate, one after the next. Now, I've had 'runs' before - creative highs that raced out pages of drafts - scenes, even chapters or sequences that came in a lightning bolt of inspiration. NEVER AN ENTIRE BOOK. Ever.

I'd write as fast as I could, every day, have to quit to sleep, and THE SCENES WERE STILL COMING ON. I'd be scribbling rapid notes when the computer powered down. Sleep for necessity, and wake up TO MORE - literally jotting furious notes before I got out of bed. My husband thought he'd lost me. ;)

It raced and roared the entire way, in fact, the final chapter and scenes came in so fast, I ran them down in what looked like 'bullet note' paragraphs - that took two days more to flesh out fully.

Creatively driven = I could not keep up with the fuel of inspiration. The whole draft was done in record time. No slack given later - once the muse was done, the grind to polish took the usual interval.

If I could discover what caused that massive burst (that, yes, one captures on a good month) - I would bottle it!!! for use with other sections, of other books, that take a lot more process.

Hope this answers your question - let me know, if not, or if you want other insights. That's the purpose of the 'inside view' - though I don't want to hit on specifics before the readers catch up with the story.


message 22: by Brenda ╰☆╮ (last edited Sep 21, 2012 10:59AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brenda ╰☆╮    (brnda) | 1409 comments Janny wrote: "Kernos wrote: "I'm about halfway through, wishing I could stay up all nite to read. The action, flow, excitement doesn't stop, making it difficult to put down. The protagonist is just like I see my..."


The scenes just kept spinning in at accelerated rate, one after the next. Now, I've had 'runs' before - creative highs that raced out pages of drafts - scenes, even chapters or sequences that came in a lightning bolt of inspiration. NEVER AN ENTIRE BOOK. Ever.

I'd write as fast as I could, every day, have to quit to sleep, and THE SCENES WERE STILL COMING ON. I'd be scribbling rapid notes when the computer powered down. Sleep for necessity, and wake up TO MORE - literally jotting furious notes before I got out of bed. My husband thought he'd lost me. ;)

It raced and roared the entire way, in fact, the final chapter and scenes came in so fast, I ran them down in what looked like 'bullet note' paragraphs - that took two days more to flesh out fully......




Wow..Janny, that's beautiful!


message 23: by Bill (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bill (kernos) | 350 comments Thank you Janny, it helps a lot. I was also curious how/why an author could write such a wonderful stand-a-lone while in the midst of her "long series". Was a break or emotional distance need? Was the book in mind and a compulsion or need make it happen? and similar stuff.

I think I detest the politics/business involved in book publishing. My idealistic opinion is that art should be free of such trivia. But pragmatism reigns...

One of your "seeds" has been bugging me while reading the novel: "...headlong collision between the lawful chain of command and the ethic of the warrior." It's not so much warrior ethics but the concepts of rank and authority. I mean social rank more than military rank. And social rank is clearly illustrated in your map of the city. I don't grok social rank, but understand it exists even in our so-called equality state. I don't understand or intuit why this is so or necessary anymore than I understand (in the grok sense) why leaders are necessary. I think I must lack the genes that result in rank.

And the concept of authority is as confusing to me. I've always felt that authority only comes with my consent. But it seems that most consider that authority comes from law or from rank. I understand power, but consider it different from rank and authority. Power simply derives from the most potent weapons, living and technological.

Warrior ethics, more specifically Mykkeal's ethics is examined in much detail in your novel. I am finding this fascinating too, as it has not been much of a concern of mine.

The novel has had me contemplating these things. And, the novel is moving like the water in Hell's Chasm.


message 24: by Bill (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bill (kernos) | 350 comments I finished last nite, am exhausted, hurt all over, am finding scars and fresh wounds in unlikely places and I stink... I loved this book and am sad it's done for the 1st time. It feels inadequate just to put it on my fantasy shelf—it needs a special place amongst other treasures.

Horses—The lore surrounding horses, all of the jargon, our fascination with them etc, reminds me of that surrounding sailing ships. Their complexity is similar and I've had no experience with either. One can look up the jargon, but I think both require a lot of direct experience to have an intuitive understanding, a feel for what's it like. The descriptions are exciting and troubling and scary, but I suspect an experienced horseperson would get it better, esp the scene (view spoiler)

Question: (view spoiler)

Anja's choice (good name for a book or a movie): (view spoiler)

Who do you identify with in the novel? Anja? Mykkael? The Demon? Someone else. For me it's definitely Mykkael. I play his part in many of my dreams while asleep. We've met before under other guises.


message 25: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments Brenda ╰☆╮ wrote: "Janny wrote: "Kernos wrote: "I'm about halfway through, wishing I could stay up all nite to read. The action, flow, excitement doesn't stop, making it difficult to put down. The protagonist is just..."

Brenda, grin, I can but hope it reads that way, too.


message 26: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments Kernos wrote: "Thank you Janny, it helps a lot. I was also curious how/why an author could write such a wonderful stand-a-lone while in the midst of her "long series". Was a break or emotional distance need? Was ..."

This is a great point, and will make for some interesting discussion when more folks have finished the story - what makes a heirarchy in the first place - and where does the 'ethic' truly lie, when authority is involved. Hopefully we'll hear from some other readers - if they have viewpoint to chew over - because very much, this issue is a matter of viewpoint.

Is the spirit of the law more important than the wording; whose skills take precedence in the heat of the moment - how can the individual 'in authority' doesn't always have the information or the depth of experience or vision to see what step must be taken.

Hierarchy and authority are certainly abused; every society has them, for good and ill. Questioning what occurs - when authority is involved - that is the dicey bit, yes?

We don't have a round table of decision makers, one for each occasion that may arise...you wouldn't have wanted General Patton at the peace table, but where you needed him - you may not want the long sight of the pacifist choosing strategy.

I enjoy stories that raise questions such as this/provoke deeper thought wrapped in what resolves into an action adventure thrill ride of a plot.


message 27: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Kernos wrote: "I finished last nite, am exhausted, hurt all over, am finding scars and fresh wounds in unlikely places and I stink... I loved this book and am sad it's done for the 1st time. It feels inadequate j..."

I've been holding this book up for years as the best fantasy starring horses. It is exhausting, as it should be. It's like riding. People think riding is easy, but it isn't. You don't just sit on a horse & let them do all the work, but ride with them. That's how this read for me; up & down, sometimes with gritted teeth, other times just blasting along having fun.

This is what fantasy should be. I've seen a lot of threads scattered around GR about why we read what we do. One of the more common answers is escapism, a vacation without leaving home, but there needs to be more, a real sense of engagement that gets the heart pumping. For instance, reading about (view spoiler) It was so real.

I'm probably a little prejudiced because my escape is often riding & thank goodness I can indulge. Our antivirus vendor sent out an update that made its own update files into a virus - quarantined & deleted them. Over 100 machines & just me to clean up the mess. After a day of frustration, I hopped on Chip, & gave him a workout. We rode all around the farm, sometimes racing the dogs on the flat & over jumps, other times just weaving through the woods. In between, we'd ride into the pond so Chip could cool off, drink, & splash. He likes that & I only have to worry about the leather reins, so we can indulge to our hearts' content.


message 28: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments Kernos wrote: "I finished last nite, am exhausted, hurt all over, am finding scars and fresh wounds in unlikely places and I stink... I loved this book and am sad it's done for the 1st time. It feels inadequate j..."

Here is the answer to your direct question (I had to dig up the hide spoiler notes to post this since it details a scene and outcome that will definitely spoil some plot developments)

(view spoiler)

That was what was going through my mind, tactically, when the scene was written; if I failed to make sense/you could not follow the thinking - (when the layout of proof would be 'hindsight' given what occurs later) - it becomes a writerly choice: PAUSE the action long enough to 'explain' what Anja would not know and risk breaking the flow - or set the scene as written and hope it's clear enough as the reader extrapolates the situation, they think the same way.

Plot holes arise due to a writer's lack of forethought, or an unforseen shift in how a reader interprets what is written; or when what is there is miscalled due to the high pace of the action.

As author, one hopes to cover the bases/make the right story choice and not bog the pace - since both pose pitfalls to flow, suspense, and continuity.

Whether the scene ultimately works or not, will certainly come to light once a book is received by its audience. That is the creative risk taken in a high action scene: the author tries to imagine EVERYTHING and keep the intuitive logic consistent, without getting pedantic about it.

And some takes may work for some readers, and not for others. If it doesn't work for everyone, no need to justify...inside the spoiler tags I've provided the insight into how this particular writer weighed the course of that scene in the book, and what the scenario was, as envisioned.

Such shadings are made all the time, when polishing the flow of a novel. The more skilled the writer, and the right book touching its optimum mindset, (where reader values and writer perception coincide) the more the reader 'buys' into relating to the scenario. Not every reader will, that's a given, too. And sometimes, of course, there are oversights! (hopefully not, in this case, but your take, absolutely, if you perceived differently).

Thanks so much for posting your warm comment on the finish! That's the ultimate goal, to deliver a gripping experience that feels up close and real.


message 29: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments Jim wrote: "Kernos wrote: "I finished last nite, am exhausted, hurt all over, am finding scars and fresh wounds in unlikely places and I stink... I loved this book and am sad it's done for the 1st time. It fee..."

Thanks for your experience, Jim.

It's a view of horses not often emphasized in 'entertainment - that you have a THOUSAND pound animal, with all that force of weight compressed onto a hoof that is about 4 inches across - and, if shod, RIMMED WITH STEEL. Put this pile driver and compression on the legs - which have no muscle below the knee or hock - are ALL exposed bone and tendon covered with a sheathe of skin - the possibility for murderous injury resulting from any sort of mis-step is a given.

This is not hidden from real world experience - flat racing on thoroughbreds is one of the most dangerous sports in the world; and the cross country courses at Olympic level combined training - not every horse or rider comes out sound - there are falls and injuries in every competition.

NOT to have this become a factor in a story which stars horses in rough terrain - let's just say it would have been a real waste of some tremendous suspense. The horses that have served us in history - what they contributed to humanity - the heroics and heart of the animals have been left unsung far too often. I wanted to pay back a bit of that tribute in this story.


Sandra  (sleo) I'm going to be rereading this in October (isn't it the October read?) but following this thread is making me anxious to start earlier!


message 31: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Janny wrote: "... and the cross country courses at Olympic level combined training - not every horse or rider comes out sound - there are falls and injuries in every competition."

As I recall in the last Rolex at the horse park, there were 50 horses that competed the first day in the dressage. The next day was the cross country course - almost 4 miles with 40 fences that has to be covered in less than 3 minutes per mile. Only about 30 horses passed the vet the following day to compete in the show jumping. One or two of the horses were fine, but their riders weren't, although I don't think anyone spent the night in the hospital. Everyone was exhausted by then, too. Only one guy had 2 horses. I think he had a big 'S' hidden under his shirt.
;-)


Maggie K | 730 comments got mine! should be able to start soon...:)


message 33: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Hallowell | 84 comments Janny wrote: "
It's a view of horses not often emphasized in 'entertainment - that you have a THOUSAND pound animal, with all that force of weight compressed onto a hoof that is about 4 inches across - and, if shod, RIMMED WITH STEEL. Put this pile driver and compression on the legs - which have no muscle below the knee or hock - are ALL exposed bone and tendon covered with a sheathe of skin - the possibility for murderous injury resulting from any sort of mis-step is a given...."


I really appreciate that you appreciate this, and that you write about it. Riding a horse isn't driving a vehicle. It is an ongoing negotiation in a relationship of trust with an intelligent, emotional creature who happens to be both incredibly strong and incredibly fragile, and who could easily kill you either accidently or intentionally.

Death always rides right behind you whenever you climb on a horse.


message 34: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Michael | 572 comments I also read this a number of years ago and some bits are somewhat vague but I've always remembered it because the 'horse stuff' was accurate.

As a lifelong horseperson who grew up riding on a western cattle ranch and then 'graduated' to dressage horses, one of the biggest pet peeves of my reading life has been authors who include horses as a part of the plot/storyline and then proceed to expose their ignorance about horses to the world.

This doesn't happen here.


Brenda ╰☆╮    (brnda) | 1409 comments I wasn't able to know horses well, as I grew up...but for a long time, horse were one of my greatest interests. I read about them, drew them and dreamt about them.

They move about me through friends and family...but still elude me.

I'm glad to know, through Janny's books, I may again get closer to them.


Sandra  (sleo) The horses were my favorite part of the book and made me so tense and sad - would they make it? *gnashes teeth* *wrings hands*


 Michelle (varmint3) Just found this group because of this read - can't wait to dig in to a Janny horse book!


message 38: by Snarktastic Sonja (last edited Oct 07, 2012 11:57AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Snarktastic Sonja (snownsew) | 258 comments Ok. I have a question. When the people in Taskin's group refer to Mykael, it is seen as Mysh kael. (Italics and space as represented.) When with his own garrison, it is Mykael. Is this as intended? (I am reading the book in Nook format, and sometimes the re-formatting plays tricks such as this.) If it IS as intended, what is the purpose? I am slightly lost. :)

I will admit, I am having a very hard time with this book due to the way it is written. I am really struggling with the flow. (I am about 20% in.) I keep hoping that I will catch on, but so far it hasn't happened. I am really enjoying the characters, but find myself terribly confused as I read because I just do not feel literate enough to truly understand and appreciate the writing. (I am a math person - I like things straight and to the point. :D)


 Michelle (varmint3) Sonja - I can't remember exactly where it was mentioned, but the Mysh kael pronunciation was identified as a "refined" courtly pronunciation, whereas Mykkael was how the common folk and soldiers pronounced his name.


 Michelle (varmint3) Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "The horses were my favorite part of the book and made me so tense and sad - would they make it? *gnashes teeth* *wrings hands*"

I'm with you on that - I also was very impressed with the way the logistics of the care and feeding of the horses played into the plot. They're not just "living cars" that you give food in the morning and they go all day! In the wild, horses graze about 20 hours a day, and they have evolved to need that much forage to keep their guts healthy - grain is high energy food, but not ideal for horses in any other way - so the concern about colic (which can be fatal) was really a major issue the way they were forced to travel.


Sandra  (sleo) Michelle wrote: "Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "The horses were my favorite part of the book and made me so tense and sad - would they make it? *gnashes teeth* *wrings hands*"

I'm with you on that - I also was very impr..."


I know nothing about horses, but can believe this is real, as they really came alive in the book.


message 42: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments Sonja wrote: "Ok. I have a question. When the people in Taskin's group refer to Mykael, it is seen as Mysh kael. (Italics and space as represented.) When with his own garrison, it is Mykael. Is this as intended?..."

Sonja, Michelle's comment following yours nailed the question - the 'refined court pronunciation' added the lisp. It was another effort on my part to reinforce the concept of class distinctions - in that, people judge others all the time based on how they speak (not just what they wear, or how they look).

By all means, if it worked, that's great - if it added to your confusion, then that's a valid view. It certainly did require additional thought on the part of the reader, when fantasy names and places are a difficulty for some.


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Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments Sandra aka Sleo wrote: " Michelle wrote: "Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "The horses were my favorite part of the book and made me so tense and sad - would they make it? *gnashes teeth* *wrings hands*"

I'm with you on that - I ..."


Sandra - you can't read this book and come away knowing 'nothing' about horses any more. You are seeing how it is, based on a lifetime's depth of experience.

Where it comes to valid knowledge in a story, I hate to pull my punches. Awareness never gained amounts to awareness lost; and for its time, did you know? The child's book, Black Beauty seeded an awareness that began to shift the endemic cruelty shown to working horses in harness on the streets, in that day; and that I HAVE SEEN, still ongoing in the USA, (without pointing fingers) in communities where horse and carriage are still used day to day for transport. And worse, much worse, where horses are acquired 'for pleasure' and the well meaning people who got the pony for their kid think it keeps just a like dog with hooves.

As Michelle and Jim pointed out, horses require a LOT more day to day attentive care and a LOT more knowledgeable feeding than, say, the average family dog or cat.

But the caveat is: that knowledge must be woven, part and parcel, into the tension of the story. It cannot be gratuitous.


Suzanne I just started the book yesterday, and I'm liking it a lot. I haven't met any horses yet though except for the mean one =). I really like Mykkael and his responses to the poor way he is treated by the upper class. I'm excited to see where this will go!


message 45: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments I started a few days ago.

I really love the characters I've met so far. I can say that...it's a harder read for me than I've done in a while - especially outside of educational works. It's slowed down my reading speed considerably...but I'm enjoying it so far.

The world building is looking to be very complete so far. The only concern I had is: how do you pronounce Mykkale's name? I have Mc-kale for the commoners but I can't quite get the nobles...


message 46: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments Suzanne wrote: "I just started the book yesterday, and I'm liking it a lot. I haven't met any horses yet though except for the mean one =). I really like Mykkael and his responses to the poor way he is treated b..."

Horses - there are more. ;)


message 47: by Janny (last edited Oct 11, 2012 07:06AM) (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments MrsJoseph wrote: "I started a few days ago.

I really love the characters I've met so far. I can say that...it's a harder read for me than I've done in a while - especially outside of educational works. It's sl..."


Delightful to hear that you've started and are enjoying the characters - it remains to be seen (for you) whether the pace of the reading speed works, later on, and increases the intensity (as was designed). Some readers find they adjust to the style. It's always illuminating to see how each one reacts to the experience.

As for the pronunciation of Mykkael's name, you have it right for the commoners; if you think of the nobles' as having an aristocratic lisp - an affectation that's rooted in class - you'd have it nailed.

In hindsight: perhaps, in drawing ALL those distinctions, that one could have been dropped out - it may have made for a smoother read, perhaps (20/20 after the fact) - one never knows EXACTLY how something will play until a book is let loose in the world. The intent - (which may or may not have been effective) was to underscore the differences in background, and the human tendency to create such minor distinctions - little details of manner that can add up to sharp divisions between 'them' and 'us'.

Speech habits and accents once carried more weight, in promoting racial and class prejudice. The electronic age and the uniformity of modern radio and TV broadcasts has helped to erase these distinctions. But there are still stereotypes attached to certain kinds of accents.

Knowing why the distinction was made in the text, with regard to Mykkael's name, may not 'fix' the tripping point.

But this was the creative intent, anyway, to use the words on the page in as graphic a manner as possible.


Brenda ╰☆╮    (brnda) | 1409 comments I don't know why...but I understood the name difference from almost the get go.
My thought on it though, was.......why not on the any other names also?


message 49: by Janny (last edited Oct 12, 2012 07:29AM) (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 181 comments Brenda ╰☆╮ wrote: "I don't know why...but I understood the name difference from almost the get go.
My thought on it though, was.......why not on the any other names also?"


Why not on the other names also? (author inside view - O_o!!.....Brenda the Star didn't catch me out, did she??? ;) Author does Quick mental review to be sure) because it does happen...readers may well see something an author and the editor and copy-editor behind them missed also.

For the writers, or for the merely curious, let's look at the script from the technical angle, and see:

Mykkael's name is unique in its YKK configuration. (good there)

He is one of only a few characters who move between the palace precinct and the garrison: of the others who do also, MOST are foreigners to Sessalie/not native aristocrats. (logical, there)

The one scene where an aristocrat visits a garrison man, and its converse (I won't spoil whom) the significant letter was different (a C in both cases) and at the start of the name/end of the name respectively...PERHAPS the speech affectation COULD have been 'shaded' the same way, but (those who've reached that scene will see by my word choice above (double entendre time) WHY I'd have avoided the affected pronunciation in one of those cases.)
(whew, Ok so far)

Which leaves the last question - (consistency vs engagement) fantasies are always harder for people when they have alternate names - to add more variation on top would notably increase the confusion factor for the reader - because secondary characters, now, must have an 'alternate' spelling to handle, too. And not in every case.

If I HAD thought of this point in depth (and I hadn't in truth, why the O_0 moment) I'd LIKELY have discarded the extra frill anyway. One main character would lend atmosphere - more might carry the idea overboard. The purpose, here, was to show MYKKAEL as 'displaced' amid Sessalie's society and culture - not to highlight the entire populace.

For the writers' angle: it's generally known - shifting spelling to denote an accent makes the text much more difficult to read. In most cases, it's considered prudent to Avoid This. (posit a dialogue printed with a character's lisp, spelled out, every time there's an 'S' substituted with 'TH' - it slows the reading pace way down, and even, can mess with comprehension a lot.)

'Rules' such as this are not hard and fast, and I don't (nor do some writers) always play it safe. Words can be used with artistry - and what results becomes a matter of taste.


Sandra  (sleo) Good explanation, Janny.


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