C. G. McGinn


Ramblings about Books and Writing

1Q84, 1984, Make 7 Up Yours

Thoughts on Books

I haven't read any of Haruki Murakami's other works, so I don't know how 1Q84 stacks up with the rest. With that in mind I have to say that I really enjoyed that long-ass book. Audible had it clocked past 40 hours. That helped the author take his time with the characters and plot. Some would argue that he spent too much time explaining all the little intricacies, every minute detail, but for the type of story that 1Q84 is, I think it worked. Part of the appeal to the story was that I had no idea what I was getting into. I hadn't heard much about it. I knew it was being touted by the nerd community as some sort of philosophical science fiction. I found it more surreal than anything else. But at the same time it wasn't over-the-top either. At times I was reminded of the more subtle supernatural scenes from Princess Mononoke  involving the Kodama creatures in the forest.

I'm probably going to go back and read Murakami's other works, but not for a little while. In the time it took to read 1Q84 I racked up 4 credits on Audible. In case you were wondering, I used those credits to add these books to the library:

1. Pandemic by Scott Sigler

2. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

3. John Dies at the End by David Wong

4. The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

And speaking of The Rook, I finished reading that as well. This is Daniel O'Malley's first novel and it's apparently the first book of a series yet to be written. I also enjoyed this book a lot. I was concerned the main character was going to be a weakling the entire story. But she turned out to come into her own and performed some major feats of kickassery.

I really hope the author continues to explore this series. It runs along the same vein as my own writing. There were also some very funny moments that had me laughing out long...alone...in my car...shutup.

I enjoy a lot of books. I'm very hesitant to get on my soapbox, point my finger and tell an author their work is crap. It does happen, but not very often. If the story takes you to a place other than your car on the way to work, your comfy bed before going to sleep, or that waiting room...er...waiting...to see your proctologist, than the author has done their job correctly. I tend to steer clear of so-called 'reviewers' in the comment section of places like GoodReads. I know the Internet is supposed to be the ultimate social settings, but when I read comments, especially the negative ones, I just have roll my eyes. And I absolutely stop reading any comment that begins with, "I really wanted to life this, but..."

It may sound hypocritical, because here I am spouting my opinions, but if I really wanted to talk books with someone, I'll do it directly. In a forum it's really not a discussion as much as we like to think it is. It's a mean spirited person's idea followed by others who will side with or against the original post. Quite often it devolves into name-calling.

Besides, what I'm doing here is basically saying, "Theses are books that I've read. I like them, you might like them too. And if you don't, hey, that's cool. Just don't be a dick about it." And if I think a book that you like is crap, that's my opinion and I'll try not to be a dick about it. Maybe you have a soft spot for Will Wheaton and the 1980's. Cool. I personally think TNG was better without Wesley Crusher and the 1990's were better because of Chrono Trigger and Pearl Jam (which is funny because the 2000's are much worse because of Pearl Jam with songs from the Ten album that are played incessantly on FM Rock stations).

In the immortal words of Forest Gump, 'That's all I've got to say about that."

Currently reading "John Dies at the End'. No spoiler intended. It's surreal, but in different ways from 1Q84. 


Thoughts on Writing

Not much to report except that I'm back in the swing of writing 2000 words a day. I'm also on Chapter 4 of the quasi-revisions. Chapters 2-4 are all new. So I guess they're a first draft. But I'm going to be spending a lot more time on revising these chapters myself before handing them off for outside scrutiny. Chapter 5 will be a much better version of the old Chapter 2, and, for the moment, the story should flow from there with revised version of what I've already written.

I've noticed a pattern as I've written these revisions. The revised chapters, from 1-4 all contain 3 scenes, usually based on a change in venue. In the first draft, some chapters would only be one scene while others would be upwards of 6 or more. I like the order, the organization of this 3 scene per chapter. It sort of gives me a space to work with and helps me plan out what I need to cover.

My one fear is that I've introduce A LOT of new things in these new chapters, and I already had a lot of material to work with as it is. So I hope I'm not adding more questions to an already long list. But I'm very happy with the results, the new characters, and the direction the story is going.