September 04, 2008

AFS blog reviews

Thmazing reviews Angel Falling Softly as part of his Erotic in LDS Lit series. He notes some stylistic problems at the beginning. I'm not surprised. This is where we did the most last-minute editing to tighten up the narrative.

Lacking specifics, though, I've pretty much lost the ability to judge this kind of thing (maybe in a year or two when I've regained some objectivity). At any rate, "most of the book [is] fine." Thmazing's conclusion:

[Angel Falling Softly is] a good book and I liked it. Yes, the sex is over many people's tolerance levels--I can respect that. Yes, it asks some interesting questions--I demand that. But no: it's not evil, it's not destructive, it's not even badly written (once, you know, you get a few dozen pages in).

And he suggests a new word to use when categorizing paranormal "spiritual" fiction: spirinormal.

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# posted by Blogger Th.
9/04/2008 5:16 PM   

I've wondered about this: when can objectivity return? It's a tough question because in five years, if you reread the book, you'll be a different person than the Eugene who wrote the book. In fact, it makes be (mostly) believe that big rewrites too long after the fact can bastardize the process and result in a frankensteined work of fiction (not to mix my metaphors or anything).

I'll be trying to provide some more specific details with my normal review, coming soon. (Depends on how quickly I finish two more books as I publish them in batches of five.) But I was just talking to my wife about it, if you want to hit the post's comments.
# posted by Blogger Eugene
9/05/2008 1:27 PM   
The same way that wine aged too long turns into vinegar. My brother believes that Orson Scott Card ruined his early novels by incessantly rewriting them, and I think he has a point. I understand the impulse to correct (glaring) mistakes in one's earlier endeavors, but it's hard to stop pulling at all the loose threads.

I chose a bishop's wife (see here) because I wanted the story centered on a protagonist for whom the conflict represented the greatest moral peril, both existentially and in terms of social standing. As Rachel ruminates at one point, she doesn't care how many ear piercings her daughter gets--as long as her father's not the bishop.

I also think "bishop's wife" is a title widely comprehensible to non-Mormons, and suggests a defined status. Milada is an elitist at heart and is drawn to Rachel in large part because her (albeit implicit) status reminds her of the Mother Superior at the orphanage where she lived before falling into Rakoczi's clutches.

I finished writing Angel Falling Softly after living in Utah for about a decade. On the other hand, in The Path of Dreams, the religious and familial relationships I describe are pretty much autobiographical (though the plot only half is).
# posted by Blogger Th.
9/05/2008 7:51 PM   

I can see the reasoning behind nonMormon comprehensibility, but it begs the question: do you know how many nonMormons have picked up the book? I keep hoping Chris will find success over thar, but he's dropped me like a six-weeks-dead seal carcass, so I'll never find out from him.

Not everyone's as fortunate as me in terms of getting to talk to the author after the fact, but I have to tell you that I thought the Mother Superior connection was based mostly on appearance or bearing; I didn't pick up on the status bit at all.

And really, I'm not one to talk bad about seeming cliches--my sole Mormon-themed novel is a BYU romance for gosh sakes.

Oh---and as long as I have your attention, how do you pronounce Rakoczi? I stumbled on it each and every time.
# posted by Blogger Th.
9/05/2008 8:47 PM   

And Eugene? I just want to sympathize with you regarding some of the wrongheaded reviews you've received. Notably from all those people who somehow (how?!?!) never made the vampire/sex connection before. Like the poor woman who says Mary Shelley's Dracula wasn't sexy. I mean--she must know, right? She's obviously an expert.
# posted by Anonymous Anonymous
9/19/2008 12:09 PM   
big rewrites too long after the fact can bastardize the process and result in a frankensteined work of fiction

A lot of big-name genre romance authors are asked to do this for re-release (why, of COURSE instead of investing in NEW authors!) and I've never seen any romance reader LIKE it.

Mary Shelley's Dracula wasn't sexy

You made that up.