Readings And Writings Of 2018

Readings (No spoilers)

I didn’t reach much in recent years, but this year is probably a record for me. These are the books I read during 2018.

  • Name Of The Wind/Patrick Rothfuss
    • I liked the story a lot but the ending and reputation lead me to believe that Rothfuss doesn’t intend on ever finishing the series and purposefully made an incomplete trilogy as a prank.
  • Assassin’s Apprentice/Robin Hobb
    • I liked the writing and the worldbuilding but it took an unfortunately long time for me to get hooked into the story. There were a few “false starts” here.
  • Siddhartha/Herman Hesse
    • A good short read to reflect on life.
  • Edgedancer/Brandon Sanderson
    • An excellent character case study on my favorite character in the series that seems to be fated for an unfortunately small amount of screen time in the main series.
  • Way Station/Clifford Simak
    • A great short read. The ending wasn’t satisfying at first, but then it made a whole lot more sense and everything fell into place after some reflection.
  • Stormlight Archive/Brandon Sanderson
    • The Way Of Kings
      • Contrary to what is often said about it, I found this book’s risks to be compelling rather than off-putting. Sure, a substantial portion of the book was setting up for the rest of the series, but many of the promises made were kept and delivered. This book is a great study on promises and being deliberate about which ones need to be addressed now and which will help hook the reader for the next installation.
    • Words Of Radiance
      • Helped a lot in teaching-by-demonstration how important it is to have interesting characters. Shallan’s crazy in this book. Most of the main characters are, but Shallan more than any (in my opinion) demonstrated the importance of being a strong character driving the story forward even when she seems to be hopelessly out of options.
    • Oathbringer
      • An excellent way of demonstrating that, despite the huge changes to the world that happen from book to book, a consistent tone goes a long way. There’s a Sanderson Avalanche in every book in the series and the next one keeps pulling you in.
  • Mistborn (Era 1)/Brandon Sanderson
    • Mistborn (reread)
    • Well Of Ascension
      • Holy hell, the revelation at the end.
    • Hero Of Ages
      • Mistborn is my favorite book. I was afraid to continue the series out of fear of a lot of my favorite aspects getting ruined by Sanderson-level avalanche revelations, but my fear was misplaced. This is a really well-done series, although I can understand why others might not like the ending (I did).
  • Elantris/Brandon Sanderson
    • An “onion” story, as I call them: It starts off compelling, and with each new layer you unveil, the story completely changes. Fantastic at keeping you on edge. I also like that the characters were largely “normal” characters, compared to most of Sanderson’s leads, and yet they were still very interesting, being the true reason to keep going when the premise is confusing/ambiguous.
  • Warbreaker/Brandon Sanderson
    • An “odd” story in my opinion but quite well done. The magic system is very interesting, and I’d be interested in seeing a story that demonstrates characters who have only a few Breaths to use carefully instead of stumbling upon huge quantities. I was especially interested in the number of times he managed to completely reverse the story’s direction along the way.
  • Skyward/Brandon Sanderson
    • An awesome work of science fiction. I liked the book and the short story alongside it. However, as much as I liked Skyward, I didn’t really feel like I was reading a Brandon Sanderon story.
  • Legion/Brandon Sanderson
    • An interesting dive into a unique premise. The humor made me laugh out loud, which helped justify the somewhat underwhelming revelations (which are normally a critical part to detective stories).
  • MAL-adaptive/Mike Burton
    • Quite a humorous read. I really wasn’t sure what I was getting into with this story, but I didn’t regret the direction it went. Many puns and clever quips to be had in this rather silly story, though there are emotional segments to balance it out.
  • Ruins/Orson Scott Card
    • Probably the worst book I read this year, and possibly for several years. The premise and conflict are interesting, the worldbuilding is well done, but the most important parts–the story and character–left a lot more to be desired. Sad to see who had once been my favorite author miss the mark, but I wonder if this story was just in need of a little more polish. It had potential for sure, and I was intrigued.
  • Scythe/Neal Shusterman
    • By contrast, my favorite read (not reread) of the year. I have a lot to say about this story and hope to make a whole blog post about it.
  • Anatomy Of Story/John Truby
    • A look into storytelling (specifically screenplay). It nails a lot of the concepts beyond just the Hero’s Journey steps, though the examples used in the book are all retrofitted to the model rather than utilizing them fromt eh start, so I’m skeptical how useful it is to other readers.
  • Wit’ch Fire/James Clemens
    • I wasn’t very impressed with this book to be honest. I could understand why it might be amazing to others, but perhaps I’ve had too many Fantasy tropes inverted and subverted to be able to take this one seriously. The main reason I picked this up was because I burned both my hands one night and couldn’t really do anything but read. Anyone who has read this might understand the irony.
  • Carciphona 1-6/Shilin Huang
    • I’ve had these on my shelf for awhile and just got to them this year. Shilin is probably my favorite artist, period. Her personality definitely shows on the pages (which by the way are made on her live stream). However, I did have a bit of an issue knowing the direction the story might go. Each individual plot is fine, but six books in I’m still not quite sure on the direction of the series as a whole.

Writings

So what did I do?

  • Project “Giants”
    • This started as 2017 Nanowrimo, and I polished it up and redrafted before sending it out for query. There were a few requests to see more, but no bites yet. That is understandable as it is a bit of a riskier project, so I might hold off and not have this be my debut novel.
  • Project “Selection”
    • Mostly completed a draft that should be done by the new year. I hesitate to describe exactly what this project is until I think of exactly how I want it to be described.
  • Project “Violet”
    • Outlined and partially drafted.
  • 5 more intermittent Projects in the backburner while I build up my skill to give them the execution they deserve.

And what will 2019 look like?

  • Project “Violet” will take the spotlight. Not to be confused with the “Violet Eyes” short I posted awhile back, which is different. I might post about Project “Violet” to gauge interest when I have a draft polished enough to feel comfortable sharing. However, I’ve noticed that I have significantly less motivation to finish a project once I tell others about it, so I will try keeping the actual story of Project “Violet” hush-hush until it’s ready.
  • I also plan on developing Project “Selection” further.
  • Project “Giants” might get pushed down in priority to “backburner” status unless it piques some interest. I have a few ideas on how to improve this story, but feel I would rather not have this be my debut.
  • Regular blog posts: I intend on posting once per month. Work got a bit busy these past few months, and it will probably stay that way for awhile. I just need to get better at time management.

 

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