Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book Report: A Fairy Tale About Fairies

As a reminder, I'm still open to questions about writing (craft, writing life or the business) or about the Enchanted, Inc. series. Ask away!

I was much less productive than I needed to be yesterday. I forgot that whining is an essential part of the revision process, and I let the whining rattle me. I'll read a revision note or suggestion, rant and whine a bit about how silly and unreasonable it is and how no one who'd actually read the book and paid attention could possibly think that would be a good idea. Then when I get that out of my system, I admit that if one person got that impression, then others might, so I re-read that section. And then I may admit that it does need to be changed, and I'll find my own way to change it. The difficulty this time around is that I've been doing revisions on the new computer, since it has a wider screen that allows me to put the marked-up document alongside the document I'm working on. But this computer is the one attached to the Internet, and that makes it far too easy to just hop online while I'm in the whining "I don't want to do this and you can't make me" phase. Instead of five minutes of whining with each major note, I end up with 45 minutes of checking e-mail, checking Facebook, reading blogs, reading message boards, etc.

So, today the new computer gets disconnected from the Internet and taken downstairs, especially since it's hot again (boo) and my bedroom is the coolest spot in the house.

I've realized that in my talking about the Locke Lamora books, I've forgotten to mention something else I've read recently, The Uncertain Places by Lisa Goldstein. This book is a blend of two of my favorite fantasy plot types. It's a "lost in the fairy realm" book (which is kind of a subset of the "sucked through a portal" book) and it plays with the structure and elements of fairy tales. A college student gets dragged by his roommate to visit the roommate's new girlfriend (and be set up with her sister) and finds himself caught up in this strange family who are descendants of characters in a lost Grimm tale. Due to a bargain made by an ancestor, they're blessed, but there's also a curse that goes with it. He may have to find a way to break the spell to save the woman he loves, but doing that will also have greater repercussions to her whole family -- and to his family, years later.

Since I'm into both fairy tales and fairy folklore, I found this mix really interesting. Usually, "fairy tales" is a misnomer, as most fairy tales actually have little to do with fairies. Then there are the stories actually about the fairies and their land, which are usually about humans from our world ending up there, either through accident or abduction. This book wove the two types of fairy stories together. The result was the sort of "urban fantasy" I've been looking for since I first heard the term, before it turned out that the industry was going to take it to mean sexy vampires. There is some darkness and grit, but not oppressively so, and it doesn't delve into the dark underbelly of society. I'd like to find more books in this vein. I thought I read something yesterday about fairies maybe being the next big thing, replacing vampires, and I wouldn't mind that, if it were done well, with actual basis in the folklore instead of them just being sexy, sparkly things. Of course, now I can't find what I thought I saw on any of the usual genre or publishing blogs I read. I suspect it may have been something in a Twitter feed or blog roll sidebar, and 18 or so hours is a lifetime in Twitter time, so I doubt I'll be able to find it again.

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