Het was een donkere en stormachtige nacht.
Naar het schijnt is wat hierboven staat de allerslechtste eerste zin van een griezelverhaal ooit, omdat die zo belachelijk cliché is. Maar eerlijk is eerlijk, ook het fantasygenre bulkt van de clichés, misschien is dat voor een stukje ook wel de charme ervan. Hier zijn drie Engelstalige websites die ze allemaal nog eens op een rijtje zetten. Handig als naslagwerk, hum.
If you want to publish a book (and judging by the amount of self-proclaimed writers out there it’s half the world’s population) you’re in for a bumpy ride. There are so many great writers out there and the competition is very tough. But it’s not just talent that determines one’s success. It’s a combination of talent, determination, good genes and a bit of luck too.
Now I was not born under the best of stars: I’m not that talented either as a writer or an artist, not extremely lucky and I’m not a Scandinavian supermodel. So I’ll have to do with what I have: some amount of determination. Bleh.
It’s hard to be critical of your own work, but I find it even harder to let other people judge you, especially if they’re only mediocre writers/artist at best. And I’m not even going into the minefield of personal taste. Anyway, I know my weaknesses and my strengths and willing to learn.
To publish a book you need a channel. If you’re a nobody like me, and thus agentless, and write in a language that only a few million people speak, it’s almost hopeless. So what does one do? Explore the channels.
With traditional publishing you send your manuscript off to publishers. This has only disadavantages. These people get so many crap stuff by unknown writers you end up in their stove straight away. But that’s not my main problem with it. They expect you to print your stuff on paper and send it by post. That’s medieval and bad for the trees so I don’t do that. Too much hassle, too cumbersome.
Self-publishing on paper
This means you pay someone to print your book and sell it yourself.
This is easy if you know a little about formatting and stuff but the hard bit is selling your stuff. Takes too much time.
Via via I got the address of a crowdfunding project called Tenpages. (http://www.tenpages.com/). You put ten pages of your manuscript online for 4 months and hope you sell enough shares. I may try this out, because it is easy. But I looked at the site and nothing’s moving on it. Seems like a failure if you ask me. What’s worse, the stuff on it is absolutely dreadful: badly written, full of spelling mistakes, not even properly punctuated.
Ah well, I’ll see what I’ll so. I already designed a cover anyway…
The past couple years I read mostly non-fiction, and if I read fiction it was never fantasy. I had become bored with elves and mages and the clichés of the genre. The main reason I picked the The Wise Man’s Fear from the piles of books on the tables at the local bookstore was the pretty design of the cover. I was a bit daunted by the amount of pages (over 1300) at first but once I started reading I couldn’t put the book down and I finished it in a fairly short amount of time. The fact that I had to rely on public transport to get to work for several weeks certainly helped.
Short summary: The Wise Man’s Fear is a story inside a story, a frame story. The main character – Kvothe – has retired from his adventurous life and is living under a false name in a small village where he works as an innkeeper. There he tells the story of his life to a scribe who records it on paper. The main part of the story tells about Kvothe’s days at the magic Academy where – at the tender age of sixteen – he struggles to pay his tuition fees, both by working in a workshop crafting magical objects, and as a lute player in a local inn. He tries to find a patron to fund his studies, and by doing so ends up in the household of a rich man who is being poisoned by his mage. Kvothe unmasks the traitor but to his disappointment he is not rewarded but instead the patron sends him away with a group of guards to catch some bandits who have stolen tax money. During this journey Kvothe ends up with the Adem, a tribe renowned for their fighting skills, where he spends quite some time practising, before he travels back to his patron, who fires him but at the same time offers to pay for his tuition. End of story.
Though it’s technically a fantasy novel, because it has magic in it and even one fairy, it is not the dragon/fireball kind of fantasy. I would rather classify it as a picaresque novel, it has all the characteristics: a poor orphaned boy who has to struggle through life, and gets by using his wits and his charms, and gets dragged into many adventures mostly against his own will.
I really enjoyed reading this book. Is it all good? No, there are some weaker moments, for example when some events are skipped or told too rapidly (when Kvothe travels on a ship and gets robbed, for instance), or on the contrary drag on for too long (the Felurian the fairy intermezzo), but with a book of that many pages, it’s not that unexpected.
Note: After I bought this book I found out there is a novel that comes before this one: The Name of the Wind. I don’t think it is necessary to have read the first one to read this one. At least, I never felt I lacked essential information to understand the story.
My rating: 8.5/10.