I tend to hibernate in January. It’s partly the weather, which has been cold and miserable, and partly a kind of post-Christmas inertia which hits me every year. My blog has suffered along with everything else.
I have, however, started writing again. I’ve written the first three chapters of the third volume in my fantasy detective series. Genef, trainee investigator, along with her mentor, Rath, and her teenage dragon friend, Scratch, have travelled to The Ice Country to track down a crown that was stolen from their queen and that they believe might have been traded to a collector in this cold and forbidding place. They have just learned that they must go further inland, battling snow, ice and criminals. I’m enjoying the story. I know the rough outline, of course; some plotting is essential to any kind of mystery. But the details are always a surprise and a pleasure to discover. I got tired of editing and formatting and decided I deserved some writing time.
I have been to the cinema twice. This is unusual for me because I tend to wait until films are available on DVD. We have a DVD projector and a reasonably big screen and most things are fine on that.
We decided to see Skyfall at the cinema to get the full benefit of the special effects and I have to say it was worth it. The film is excellent. It is quite different from most of the Bond films and doesn’t really fit the series well. I think it is better than the others, especially the more recent ones, particularly because it does not rely on gadgets, and the villain is not a stereotype. Daniel Craig brings a grittiness and realism to the Bond role that I think the other actors never matched.
Then we went to see The Hobbit – again. This time we saw the 3D version and it was truly spectacular. I absolutely loved it. In 3D the fight scenes were much easier to follow, which was good. I was also surprised at how much more detail I noticed second time around. It’s a film that repays a second look!
I spent some time – almost a week – reading the final volume of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. After fourteen volumes (fifteen if you count the prequel, written a long time after the first books) that came out over twenty years, I was glad to reach a conclusion but sad in some ways to say goodbye to an old friend. Jordan, of course, died before the cycle was complete and the last books were written by Brad Sanderson, relying on extensive notes and plans. I know the story is Jordan’s but I think Sanderson is probably a better writer. He managed to keep my interest through a very long ‘last battle’ with lots of military detail, and that’s something very few writers could do. The ending was satisfactory but in some ways I was sorry to reach it. However, I would never read the series again. Now that I know the fates and futures of the main group of characters the earlier books would lose their appeal. That’s odd, because the same is not true of, for example, The Lord of the Rings, which bears frequent re-reading. I wonder what makes the difference? Jordan attempted to create a myth but I think ultimately failed in that respect.
I then turned to Pratchett’s Snuff, which was funny, serious and glorious, and to David Crystal’s The Fight for English, the subtitle of which is How the Pundits Ate, Shot and Left, a book which made me think very carefully about the way our language has developed over the centuries, and thus brings me back to my own writing.
January is almost over and perhaps I will manage to blog more often once Spring is on the way.