It’s now up on the website for free! Why haven’t I mentioned this earlier? I don’t know…
check it out here!
and preorder issue 2 while you’re at it!
This fantastical little story was my first experience with Gaiman, and it wasn’t a super good one for me.
The story is about a middle aged man who, after attending a funeral, goes back to his childhood home to walk around and remember stuff. The rest of the book is him remembering some crazy things that happened when he was 7.
This post contains spoilers.
My first problem was with the writing. Reviewers consistently call this beautifully written, but I found the prose somewhat annoying. The author stubbornly refuses to use contractions, and insists on using the characters full names (Letty Hempstock did this, Letty Hempstock said that) every time they are mentioned. This may be in an effort to give the prose a childlike, fairytale feel, or maybe it’s just to inflate the word count of this already very short book.
Another problem was with the way the story is framed. When you start with an older man remembering his past, the story can’t be held up by tense action, since we know the character is remembering all this from far in the future, so everything is obviously going to be okay. I assumed the viewpoint would be going back and forth between memory and present day, and that the character’s recollection of the strange things that happened to him as a child would affect his present life and help him get over the death, or help him decide some hard choice. But the book was all just one big memory, with a little bit of an epilogue to make it not a completely pointless story.
And the story did seem to be pointless. The character (an obvious self insert) did not change or learn anything, in fact after the story is over he immediately forgot everything again (and since the story is told in first person this is a bit of fourth wall breaking confusion). There is no arc, the character doesn’t make any sacrifices or change himself or learn anything about himself in any way.
The best part of the story was when the character (who is never named, and though this is done better than most books, it is still annoying) is trying to escape his new nanny/babysitter, Ursula Monkton (never Ursula, never Miss Monkton, always Ursula Monkton) who is terrible and also a manifestation of some kind of demon or otherworldly creature. It is exciting and intense, despite us knowing that since this is a memory, everything obviously turns out okay.
But even that escape was not done by the character. He gets in a bind and is saved by the neighbor girl Letty, who just happens to be some kind of diety(?)
Maybe it’s just me, but most of these fantastical stories, I just have a real hard time caring. When anything can happen at any moment, it’s hard for any of it to have any weight or meaning. I would probably have enjoyed this story a lot more if it had been told from Letty’s point of view, since she was the one who took action and made a sacrifice and changed.
To sum up this novel, its about a guy who had some weird dreams when he was seven, remembered them for a minute when he was older, then forgot them again.
I’ve been having some trouble creating lately… so I’ll delete instead! It’s been nearly a year since I reached the end of my novel, so it’s about time I started editing it.
So, I started… and I’m wondering if I’ve really improved that much in the past year, or if I was just blinded by creative juices while writing… because, there’s… so much to fix…
This will be a fun few months rewriting every other paragraph and deleting the endless procession of gerunds.
Wish me luck..
I’ve had 4 submissions this year… and am still waiting on two of them, and will be sending out another one next week. Good to be getting back into it! I’m determined to get a couple more sales under my belt, it’s been way too long!
My stories have improved over the years, so I just need to write more of them. That’s part of my goals for this year, along with all the editing I need to do…
The key is to send them out, everywhere, constantly. I haven’t been doing that until recently, and thus… no sales. So I’m starting again, and will not stop! Since now I have the super power of being able to write two things at once, I am going to be sure I always have one or two stories out there waiting to be read by some editor.
It will work… eventually!
Hopefully you can read a new short story by me in a magazine soon!
I started reading it… and am wondering why I never did this before. It’s like walking through a treasure-filled cavern and snatching up any glinting piece that pulls my eye. So many words! I wish I had a randomized version of the dictionary so that all my new words wouldn’t start with A, but here are a few I never knew, and that I especially like:
ab·at·toir (1820) : SLAUGHTERHOUSE
abe·ce·dar·i·an : one learning the rudiments of something (as the alphabet) abecedarian adj (1665) 1 a : of or relating to the alphabet b : alphabetically arranged 2 : RUDIMENTARY
abu·lia (ca. 1864) : abnormal lack of ability to act or to make decisions — abu·lic \-lik\ adj
ace·dia (1607) : APATHY, BOREDOM
And I’m only up to ‘ac’ 😮
What other discoveries await me?
My novella has some pictures in it, and strange things done with the formatting. I wonder how that will go over or who will like and dislike it…
I need to take one more picture to stick in there, and finish editing of course, then I will get to hear from some readers whether all these strange things I’ve done work or not.
Here’s hoping! At least they are easy to take out if they don’t go over well.
All my kindle catalog is free for this weekend!
Queen of Bones: About a soldier and a sorcerer tracking a murderer through a desert
In the Water: About an encounter with an alien that affects consciousness
Iapetus Shift: A Science Fiction Novella: About a shape-shifting assassin trying to get out of the business
Check them out, free, today and tomorrow, and if you like them please leave a review on Amazon–even just one sentence and a star rating is very helpful!