First, Game of Thrones. Second, Game of Thrones. I have an hour until it’s on again. Hodor. Hodor.
Daily Science Fiction pubd my story For Our Light Affliction this week, which got me some much appreciated. Twitter praise. It was originally written for an Apex microfiction challenge on the theme “hellhound.” I thought it was funnier not to mention that Satan’s bichon frise was a hellhound, then I realized, What if it’s not? The title comes from 2 Corinthians 4:17-18: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Is anything more eternal than outrage?
I also had my favorite and possibly best story, “The Catskill Dragon,” accepted by the relaunched Deep Magic, although I’m cognizant that I might only feel it’s my favorite and best because I put so much work into it. In an ideal world, it’ll turn into a book series called “The Dragons of America.” In the real world, such a series might not be as saleable as others I’m working on. More to come on this when it’s pubd. The first issue of the relaunch, but still called #50, is available now.
Which brings me to The Dragon Round, with its movable feast of a pub date, now July 19. Two months to go. It got a great PW review, which is pretty surreal for someone’s who’s spent 20-odd years reading PW reviews and who’s also written 20-odd himself. Better still, the review’s eminently quotable:
Power’s promising first novel mixes dark naval adventure with classic fantasy in a tale of mutiny with a twist. …Power adeptly mashes together Horatio Hornblower–style adventure with the art of training dragons and a hint of backstabbing treachery for a thoroughly enjoyable tale.
But enough about me. Back to Game of Thrones. I’ve been studying the first book for lessons in perspective, particularly how frequently to put a character’s inner thoughts into a chapter, as well as how to build in description because Martin does this very well. Each of his chapters ends with a key decision or action, but it takes it’s time along the way. For instance, most the chapter that ends with Ned’s fate is spent following Arya around Fleabottom as she tries to survive. The decision at the end isn’t even hers; it’s Joffrey’s. Martin’s paragraphs can be structured like this too. For instance, check out this one in the newly released chapter of The Winds of Winter:
Dusk found them on the fringes of the rainwood, a wet green world where brooks and rivers ran through dark forests and the ground was made of mud and rotting leaves. Huge willows grew along the watercourses, larger than any that Arianne had ever seen, their great trunks as gnarled and twisted as an old man’s face and festooned with beards of silvery moss. Trees pressed close on every side, shutting out the sun; hemlock and red cedars, white oaks, soldier pines that stood as tall and straight as towers, colossal sentinels, big-leaf maples, redwoods, wormtrees, even here and there a wild weirwood. Underneath their tangled branches ferns and flowers grew in profusion; sword ferns, lady ferns, bellflowers and piper’s lace, evening stars and poison kisses, liverwort, lungwort, hornwort. Mushrooms sprouted down amongst the tree roots, and from their trunks as well, pale spotted hands that caught the rain. Other trees were furred with moss, green or grey or red-tailed, and once a vivid purple. Lichens covered every rock and stone. Toadstools festered besides rotting logs. The very air seemed green.
What a last sentence! Like Joyce’s, “She was tired.” And such a lush land deserves such a lush paragraph. The last sentence wouldn’t work without all that, either. I’ve been debating with myself the need for “very,” but I think it works here the way adding “Frankly” to “My dear, I don’t give a damn,” made the movie version of the line better than the book version: it’s a sort of punctuation that sets up the rest.
I’m also rereading the series along with rewatching the show to see what Martin and D&D did differently not as a matter of plot but of authorial focus. For instance, before Tyrion goes to breakfast at Winterfell, in the book he wakes up in the library, but in the show he wakes up in a kennel. I much prefer the former. It plays up his mind, showing how he finds strength despite physical difficulties, rather than playing up his weakness for drink, which suggests a capitulation to them. The show does have the scene where he talks about books with Jon Snow, but that’s pretty weak sauce after the kennel scene, plus the entirely added orgy scene.
Now some more updating, then back to this week’s episode.