I recently reviewed Jason Graff’s excellent book, In the Service of The Boyar. Now, Jason has kindly agreed to give a signed copy of the book to two lucky Examining the Odd readers! Simply click here to enter.
A Straight Line Runs Through It All
When first I looked upon the morning in its light,
I noticed the sky lit bright with your solar flare –
All that remains of the passion you sacrificed.
When, at a later date, I once more looked again,
you transformed, transmogrified into the demon
waiting patiently in my corner as I slept
alone awakening only unto nightmares.
You are one and the same, no matter what your form –
a trick learned in the ethereal heights of hell.
As a devil yourself, you cast the demons out
with your words like angelic palms caressing my pain.
You have hurt. You have healed. You have killed. You have judged.
When I lay on my side beneath the Temple Mount,
I gazed beyond through a crack in the masonry
to see you revealed in your holy glory
and know in truth… We are forever only One.
A Straight Line Runs Through It All is from Israfel Sivad’s upcoming collection We Are The Underground. This is the first publication of the poem, so thank you very much to Israfel for sharing with Examining the Odd readers!
Examining the Odd are pleased to share this guest post from Sam B Miller II.
The Imagination of the Reader
How much should an author leave to the imagination of the reader?
Some readers want detail such as ‘The rectangular dining room was lit by a small chandelier centered in a high ceiling over a long table covered with a stained tablecloth. The four high-backed, cushioned chairs were mismatched and more suitable for a casual kitchen. Sunlight from eastern facing windows was muted by faded gold-colored drapes.’ Other readers like little detail. They fill in the missing descriptions with their mind such as ‘The dining room was crowded with a table and four chairs.’
Of course there is an in-between but which approach is favored?
My stories have tried both ways of writing scene details. In the 3-book science fiction series, ‘The Origin of F.O.R.C.E.’, I provided detail of the characters. Height, weight, hair color, eyes, type of glasses, clean- shaven, clothing and disposition were all described. I controlled how the reader visualized my characters and even had characters drawn by professional artists based upon those descriptions. Many people said the descriptions brought the characters to life. Others said the detail bogged down the story.
My fourth story, ‘Smith’, is a paranormal/supernatural tale written in a completely different way. The reader knows who is male, female or inhuman, but the character’s appearance is completely up to the reader. Ethnicity, hair-color, height and other identifiers are left to the reader’s imagination. Descriptions of buildings, rooms, army bases, hospital rooms, and hidden bunkers are minimal as well, leaving the readers to picture scenes as they wish to interpret them. I suppose I would name the technique ‘World-building in the reader’s mind’.
To my surprise, readers have discussed certain scenes in my book in ways I never thought possible.
The new writing style resulted in a crisp read while at the same time reducing the word count to the point the story became a Novella rather than a Novel. I would appreciate your opinion. Which writing style do you prefer? I am in the process of writing my next novel and am anxious to know which writing style is preferred.
I recently reviewed Lucille Turner’s brilliant book The Sultan, the Vampyr & the Soothsayer. Wanting to find out more about this new (to me) author, I have since interviewed Lucille.
Not only that, she has kindly agreed to give away a paperback of the book to one lucky Examining the Odd reader! See the bottom of this post for more details.
- Have you ever visited a country or town to conduct research for your writing?
Yes, I visited Florence and Vinci when I was writing Gioconda, because it was about the life of Leonardo da Vinci, and I went to Norfolk to get inspiration for a new book I am working on called The Summer Country, which is also historical fiction, only this time set in Roman Britain. If I can get to visit a place connected with what I am writing about I find it helps. There is also often local information to be found, which is a bonus. Once I had a fascinating conversation with a Welsh miner in connection with some research I was doing about gold divining! He was really helpful.
- Do you consider your potential readers when you’re writing?
I think I do, in the sense that I try not to slow the plot down with too much historical detail. It’s important to stay as close to the truth as possible, even if historical truth is at the best of times a fairly grey area, but still the story is more important at the end of the day. This is fiction, after all.
- What authors did you dislike at first but later discovered love for?
It used to be that if I disliked a book I would just stop reading it, but since I’ve been reviewing other people’s work I have had to stick at things even if I didn’t like them at first. It can be a very rewarding process. I am not really a genre fiction fan so I tend to go for quirky titles when I can. At the end of the day though, I prefer historical fiction that tackles unexpected subjects and takes you into the head of the character(s).
- Do you read any book or author related magazines?
Bookmunch keeps me up to date on what is coming out because I review for them. I read quite a lot of non-fiction though, and The Economist when I’m travelling because I buy it at airport kiosks.
- What’s your favourite way to market your books?
Through my blog at www.lucilleturner.com/books
- Is there a particular book that changed your views on fiction?
I speak French and Italian, and have read quite widely in both languages. I think that Italo Calvino has had the greatest influence on me, as a writer. I love all his books; he tackles heavy subjects with a very light hand.
I love Calvino’s writing. This has reminded me that I need to read more of his books as I’ve only tried a couple and that was a while ago. Thanks Lucille!
- Is writing your only job?
I taught composition and literature for about ten years, but now I have returned to my first line of work: a translator.
- All authors get the occasional bad review. How do you deal with them?
I go and read a good one afterwards.
Good answer, and I’m sure there are many great reviews for Lucille to immerse herself in – an excellent writer indeed!
- How long does your writing process take?
It takes me about a year, although I often have a break in the middle of revisions.
Thanks to Lucille for taking part in this interview. Check out my review of The Sultan, the Vampyr and the Soothsayer and I think you’ll be tempted to grab a copy! In the meantime, why not enter our giveaway?! Simply click here. Good luck 🙂
It’s time for a double giveaway! StrangeBooks.com have agreed to send a pair of signed books to one lucky Examining the Odd reader.
One lucky entrant will receive a signed copy of Strange Medicine (a collection of surreal short stories) and StrangeBooks’ latest publication, Strungballs (an out of this world, weird novella).
To enter, simply click here! Good luck 🙂
18+ only please.
I recently reviewed David Smith’s excellent book, Letters to Strabo. David has very kindly agreed to give away a signed copy to three lucky Examining the Odd readers!
The competition will close on August 5th. I will then use the Rafflecopter random generator to choose three winners. Their details will be passed on to David and he will sign and send the books! 18+ only please.