June 12th, 2008

there!, Hello

Eyes mark the shape of the city.

Today's first line comes from:

41) After Dark by Murakami Haruki (in the proper Japanese configuration). (originally published in Japan in 2004, this translation published in America 2007, Vintage Books, 244 pages).

A funny thing happened to me over the helter swelter weekend. I ended up at the bookstore on Saturday, and saw that Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union trade paperback edition was on the Buy 1, Get 1 half price. "Cool!" thought I, but since I did not see anything that really spoke to me on the other half of the table, I continued on through the store. Sunday, hntrpyanfar and I went back, and I took another look at the b1g1HO table and found this book... Murakami (which T tells me I pronounce like some slurred variant of "American-commie") is a writer that I have heard much about, so I decided to give this book the first line test, which led to the second line test to the first paragraph to the first page to the next, which ultimately led up to me in the checkout line with Chabon, Murakami and a novel by James Rollins. Of the three (and though I was supposed to be reading the last Queen of the Orcs book or a book for Horror Reader), I finished Murikami-san's After Dark yesterday.

What a book!

It follows a big cast of interesting characters in an "amusement district" of Tokyo through the late night hours after the trains have ceased running. Mari is a college gal that just did not want to go home for the night, choosing to instead participate in and observe this strange, wee hours world; her sister, Eri (much more beautiful than Mari, just ask her folks), is home asleep and the target of a surreal and creepy encounter with an unplugged television and a faceless observer; Takahashi is a trombone player with an interest in foods and good conversation, who decides to sit with Mari and start chatting; Kaoru is the manager of a "love ho," (that'd be a pay-by-the-hour hotel for lovers) with a problem: a Chinese girl has been beaten and robbed, no one can understand her (but for Mari, who is bilingual)... These and more characters fill the pages of After Dark, providing an often insightful, sometimes humorous, regularly beautiful, occasionally eerie, and always fascinating picture of life after the sun has gone down.

Wow, is all I have to say. Just, wow.

Currently Reading: Royal Destiny by Morgan Howell, last book of the Queen of the Orcs trilogy.
there!, Hello

Eye Rolling May Now Commence

So, greygirlbeast included a link to an article about authors discussing the "difficulties" of writing a book a year. Prolific authors (such as Robert Parker) are given a single paragraph, while the rest of the article pooh-poohs the one novel a year deadline.

I often wonder about Brian Keene or the Baen Books library of writers who pump out 4+ books a year. Mostly I wonder, could I do that? And the answer is: If writing was my career, my only source of income, then you can bet your bottom I sure as sin would pump out four books a year. After all, a contender for family motto is: "We're Robichauds, we have to eat."

Would the quality necessarily have to suffer? Hmmm. I don't believe setting deadlines (one or more books written and revised by a certain date) automatically equates to poor quality writing. Writing is a job just like any other, and it requires discipline.

I happen to agree with the spirit of the last line of the article (a quote from Elmore Leonard):
"If it takes you more than six months to write a book, you're not working."

Writing 1000 words a day (appx four pages, typed, double spaced, Courier font, size 12) will net both the first draft of a 120,000-word novel as well as two complete, from the ground up rewrites of said brick in under a year... What kind of lives do full time writers have that they find it difficult to write 4 typed, double spaced pages over the course of 24 hours?

Well, there are the little things that come about. Questions about translations, book tours, that sort of thing... I long to discover and grapple with such problems. :)
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