Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

Oct 1, 2013

The Warrior's Apprentice

I love this novel by Lois McMaster Bujold, the first about her much-beloved protagonist Miles Vorkosigan.  I always look at it as an example of the type of plot I want to be able to write: exciting, with surprising turns and flights of genius.  Bujold has no problem throwing disasters at her protagonists, throwing them to the wolves time and again until even the reader starts to wonder how the heck they're going to get out of this one.  I want to write like that.  I think the main difficulty I face is the fact that I have a hard time creating a protagonist that I can have fun torturing, or, at least, attempt to torture.

Part of this may come down to personality; I'm depressive so I find anguish exhausting and draining rather than motivating.  I only have flights of genius when I'm happy, relaxed, and feeling good.  I am learning how to write characters who, like Bujold's, rise to the occasion in moments of heart-stopping terror.  Nevertheless I'm awed by how inventive she can be.  All of her books are the same way, too.

Even better is when a writer is so good that they can wring genius out of their beleaguered protagonists without making their antagonists look like dolts, a problem I see all too often.  If you're going to write a good story, you have to give the devil his due.  There's no cachet in triumphing over incompetence.

Hmm, I'm not really sure which category to put this in.  It's sort of a book review (book is good!), but sort of writing advice or commentary.  Oh, wait, they're not mutually exclusive.  Silly me.

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