The Peregrine by J.A. Baker

Turns out the version I purchased of  The Peregrine also contains another writing, ‘Hills of Summer’, so I was much nearer to the end than I thought in my previous post. I’m now finished, and it ends just as it began, with prose of the highest order.

This is the kind of book that can only really be appreciated by someone who is a writer, or someone who reads a LOT, or someone who is a fanatic about nature. Fortunately for me, I am 2.5 of those, so I enjoyed it immensely.

There is barely a plot, so be forewarned. This is, on the surface, a series of journal entries written by someone who is watching hawks(peregrines). Every few days, a journal entry of what he saw that day, focusing on the hawks.

But there is a sort of arc to it. Each entry, the writer gets more and more obsessed with the hawks, and starts to imagine that they are accepting him as one of their own. He writes increasing asides about how humans suck (in prettier words) and the hawks are glorious and amazing. The end of the book is a clear end and is great when you look at the whole thing in context.

But, for someone looking for an actual story with plot and tension and conflict and enemies and goodguys, you’re not going to get that.

What you will get is prose that is so delicious and rich and new and perfect that you’ll be highlighting every other line. And you’ll get birds and nature up to your eyes and beyond, you’ll get imagery so lush you’ll drown in it in the most wonderful way.

If you’re a writer, you’ll appreciate the skill. If you’re a reader of many things you’ll appreciate the newness (maybe) and if you love nature, it will make you feel like you’re out in it.

Give it a shot!

Exploring

Writing a story based in a city I’ve never been in is interesting, and fun. I wonder how writers did it before the age of the internet. I can drop down into the streets and virtually walk them to get a feel for the city. I can look up bars and restaurants and read reviews and see pictures. Some even have virtual tours.

I have a feeling writers of the past had to be much more social than I do. They probably had to seek out people who’d been there and have conversations with them, pull out details, encourage descriptions of smells and sounds and ambiance.

Sounds like a lot of trouble!

Great humor

I’ve started listening to Great Expectations   and am finding it very entertaining. He is quite adept at painting his characters in very memorable and overblown ways, while still keeping them from being caricatures or ridiculous. I’ve been laughing out loud a lot with this one so far.

I wonder why all these classic novels have such boring covers that look like old paintings you’d find in a museum. It really doesn’t do much to give an impression of what’s inside the book at all. Maybe more people would read classics if they got updated covers and dust jacket descriptions…

Finished!

I completed a draft of the novel I’ve been working on since April! And… it’s not a novel, coming in at only around 33,000 words. Well, that’s where it ended, so that’s what it is. I may even end up cutting some, as I rambled quite a lot in the beginning.

It feels amazing to be done! Again, the feeling of open vistas and freedom is so exciting and fun that being done with something is almost the entire reason for starting it! Now I can write anything… anything!

But first there is lots of editing to do on the novel I finished in April, so I can actually try to do something with it.

Here I come, words!

Personality types

I retook the Meyers Briggs test, and found that I’ve evolved from an INTP to an INFP over the past 7 years. Maybe people do change…

Reading through all the descriptions though, made me think about my characters and what kind of personalities they are. Do you know your character well enough to take the personality test as them? What personality type would they turn out as? Hopefully they don’t all match you…

I’m going to give this a try with some of my characters and I’ll let you know the results!

Leveled up

I feel like I’ve gained a new writing power–the power to do multiple things. I wrote two short stories in the past week, and went back to my novel without a problem. In the past, whenever I paused anything, even for a short while, to do something else, I’d lose all interest and never go back to it.

Now with this newfound power of retained focus, can I write two long things an once?? It remains to be seen, I’m not sure I am ready to try that yet… But at least I know now that it is safe to take a short story break here and there!

Social media

I don’t do much writing related stuff there… but I probably should start. Make contacts, post things, get support and friends and so on. My author page on facebook has been pretty much just links to posts from this blog, but, I must start to do more with it! I want this to be my job after all…

Here is a link to it, Like to see new writerly things from me!

https://www.facebook.com/thejonasdavid