There have been a lot of articles floating around the interwebs lately detailing the uglier side of editing, the harsh reality and bitter truth that publishing generally prefers to keep hidden. And I’d guess a lot of you are wondering why anyone would sign up for a job that clearly comes with a large side of misery. Or, if you’re a fledgling editor, you’re probably thinking it won’t happen to you, that those of us “griping” are just jaded old farts yelling “GET OFF MY LAWN!” at anyone who comes near. But trust me, you’re wrong. It will happen to you. I said I’d never fall prey to it either, and now look. I struggle daily to hold on to the passion and enthusiasm I started out with, to avoid turning into that hateful, jaded editor I said I’d never become. Because, you see, being an editor is a lot…
As a word nerd, writer, and obsessive reader, I have long since discovered something about myself: I have a slightly odd tendency to obsess over minor characters in stories—both mine and other people’s.
Here’s a great example: the Terrified Red-Haired Goblin who is shown for exactly two seconds in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 during the protagonists’ escape from Gringotts. (I just realized that I’ve gone over a year on this blog without more than the merest mention of HP. This is…unacceptable.) He is unnamed, probably unlisted in the credits, and has no bearing on anything. But he stands out in the scene because he looks convincingly terrified. I’ve always loved him, I thought he was one of the coolest characters in the whole story (or, at least, he makes Top 50). I never knew why, just sort of laughed at it and listed it under “Cara’s Quirks” (a rather extensive list, actually). Continue reading People Who Don’t Matter: My Weird Love for Minor Characters→
Time to state the obvious: I really like Terry Pratchett’s work. Like, a lot. Perhaps a bit more than is generally considered socially acceptable. Shocking, I know.
I got a couple of his Discworld books for Christmas (The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic) and loved them both, but Monstrous Regiment came highly recommended to me by Pearl, and I decided I really ought to read it.
I love this book.
Like, seriously, I think this is my favorite ever Terry Pratchett book and maybe my favorite book of all time (except that that would dismiss Harry Potter. And The Odyssey. And The Crucible. And Lloyd Alexander and Cornelia Funke and a bunch of authors and books that ought not be dismissed.). It was perfect. The story was perfect, the characters were perfect, the message was perfect. The entirety of this book was exquisite in every way.
Let’s start here: I have a pen pal in England. We started writing each other when we were probably 10 or 11. Somewhere thereabouts. We’ve never met, because I’ve never been outside the country and she’s been to lots of places but never where I am. We have a habit of sending each other fun books to read for birthdays and Christmas. It’s just what we do.
This year, for Christmas she gave me a book called Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I took AP English Literature this year, so I didn’t have a lot of time for books that I chose to read. I just started reading Good Omens a couple weeks ago, and I just finished it today (usually, I’m a much faster reader, but life happens).
Yesterday, the world lost Terry Pratchett. He was 66 years old and had written at least 50 books for children, teenagers, and adults.
I didn’t know him, of course. He was somewhere in Britain, I think, and here I am, decisively not in Britain.
But I knew him through his books.
They are funny and deep at once, speculating on life and death through the mouth of the Wee Free Men and of Miss Tick and Miss Treason and of Tiffany Aching; speaking about our world by building his own. They feel personal, even in their generalizations.
Over the past week, my English class has subjected me to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. This was only the second piece I’d read by Shakespeare. However, despite having thoroughly enjoyed Macbeth, I found Hamlet to be tedious, boring, and cliché. Throughout my reading, I was only vaguely fond of one character: Horatio. I found everyone else to be confusing; boring; annoying; bipolar; emo; or just a despicable, back-stabbing liar without a shred of loyalty. Perhaps in a desperate attempt to entertain myself, however, I found myself witnessing a highly amusing subplot, an unintentional drama that was the only part of Hamlet to interest me and draw me into the story— a story that Shakespeare never expected to exist. Thus, behold, the Hamratio ship.