Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Presents

Happy St. Stephen’s Day 

 My presents (lit by dragon fire or a Martian heat ray) included: 

-The Thorin key, which will be handy if I ever come across a certain Lonely Mountain on Durin’s Day. 

-The soundtrack to The Hobbit.  The dwarves’ folk song on the Misty Mountains is stunning.  Tolkien, of course, knew what folk songs were like when he penned the lyrics.  Now, people who have a true sensitivity to that art have put it to music.  You can listen to a sample here. 

-The book is The Martian War by Kevin J. Anderson.  It’s his retelling of The War of The Worlds.  If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I’m doing a mashup of the same story. 

I became aware of Anderson’s version after I started writing my own, and I knew I would have to get it at some point.  That does NOT mean I wanted to copy ideas, just the opposite:  It’s important that I don’t write a scene that looks just like a scene in Anderson’s version.  Since his does not have fairies, that’s fairly unlikely.  And—just to be official—I will not read Anderson’s version until I have finished the first draft of my own. 

This is an important concept:  Have enough confidence in your own writing that you know you will not copy if you read something similar.  This does not just apply to mashups—if you’ve written a science fiction novel about space battles, read something by John Hemry.  If you’ve written a historical fantasy set in ancient Greece or Rome, find one of those to read.  Benefit from the experience, but make sure none of your scenes accidentally look too similar. 

Anderson originally published The Martian War some years ago under a pen name, so I didn’t know how hard I would have to search for a copy.  Fortunately for me, it’s been reprinted—and with this nice cover.  


Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

That's good advice: to have enough confidence in your own writing. I don't think enough writers take that kind of thing to heart.

Tammy Theriault said...

haven't read the hobbit yet. although i haven't read any of the lord of the ring series. ok ok, guess i'll put that on my to do list. seen the movies at least. great post! thanks for sharing, new follower, hi!

Tara Tyler said...

sweet gifts! i have been reading the hobbit to my boys...its fun for all of us =)
happy new year!


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