Update: Tasmakat

All right, so I really thought I’d have nothing to say this morning.

a) I spent a lot of time last week reading The Golden Enclaves (which was fantastic, yay!)

b) I spent practically all of Saturday at Archon (which was perfectly fine, and I greatly appreciate all your suggestions for the panels!)

c) Have I mentioned that I’m taking my mother to physical therapy a couple times a week? She’s doing okay, but that has a big impact on how much time I have in the morning.

d) The dratted biology class. I will (probably) complain about it less in another week or so, after we hit mitosis/meiosis/genetics, particularly genetics. I really love genetics! But at the moment, do you realize I was compelled to assign a lab report? (It’s in the syllabus.) (I know, I could have taken it out, but I guess it’s okay to provide this one experience in writing a lab report, plus some students could really use the extra points in a take-home assignment.) (But now I’m going to have to grade the dratted thing. It will take hours to grade 20-plus lab reports, and they will be much more boring than, say, an equal number of English Comp I essays.)

However, all that aside, I actually made a lot of progress on Tasmakat! That’s because I wrote almost 9000 words on Sunday.

Wow, you may be saying, I bet that means Rachel finally wrote the big revelation scene where we find out the truth about certain important things!

No. I thought I was going to, but instead I wrote a scene that I didn’t see coming, plus associated scenes.

I won’t tell you anything about it, except that Aras snaps, “You stubborn Ugaro, I won’t let you do something you so vehemently don’t want to do!” And Ryo answers, with just as much force, “You arrogant Lau, I will not permit you to make a decision that rightfully belongs to me!”

So that was a tense moment. Aras walked out and Ryo made his own decision, and then we moved on with the consequences of that.

And this morning, I finally began the big revelation scene. I jumped over a hopefully short transition scene to get to it. I’m going to try a new strategy this week: on weekdays, jump over everything transitional, everything doubtful, everything I’m not sure about, and write the scenes that I most want to write. Then go back on the weekend and fill in the transitional material and figure out the difficult stuff. I think — I hope — that will mean I get more done per week. Here we are in October! I would LOVE to be writing THE END by the end of this month, or at least pretty close to it.

Other things that are taking time: I’m also beta-reading another book for Sherwood Smith, the third book of the Norsunder War series, and reading an unpublished book for Kay Kenyon with an eye to providing a blurb, and wow, I just feel really busy right now.

Oh, I’ll comment a bit about the above two books:

Sherwood Smith’s series is omniscient viewpoint and we get roughly a thousand different points of view. I’m much more engaged with some than with others. I’ve read a good many recent books in this huge set of linked series, so I’m deeply invested in some of the plotlines, while I care a lot less about others. However, the second book hit many, many buttons for me with a whole bunch of my favorite characters, so I’ve been looking forward very much to the third book. It’ll be four books total, I believe. I bet I see the fourth this year. She’s very fast.

Kay Kenyon’s book is interesting because I picked it up while writing all these posts on Positive Fantasy. This is totally not that, and it’s been, as I say, interesting. I found myself thinking very explicitly, “Are these people EVER going to be NICE to each other?” The answer is, as far as I can tell, is basically no. However, the main character has now discovered she has magic powers, and some people around her are at least looking like they might become allies, though personally I wouldn’t trust any of them as far as I could throw them at this point.

Great cover, I will add:

It’s one of those novels that’s very YA, but too slow paced for YA, so it’s adult fantasy. I ought to write a post about that, because there are quite a lot of fantasy novels that I think fit that description — YA but slow paced. Anyway, hopefully I’ll wind up really enjoying this book. I’ll certainly let you all know if so.

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7 thoughts on “Update: Tasmakat”

  1. I stopped subscribing to Sherwood Smith’s Patreon, mostly because there was a glitch that kept them from sending me daily emails, but also Bc I found the Norsunder Wars to be full of too many characters, too many depressing arcs, and too many unlikeable people. I don’t really agree with how Smith portrays children, I don’t like the idea of children having children, and although I do trust that it will all work out eventually, one of the main characters I rooted for so hard became so unlikeable for those reasons that I had to give up. Most of her fiction I absolutely love. This, not so much.

  2. Alison, I found the first book of this series — and some prior books — too cluttered with pov characters to really appeal to me, especially since some of the characters don’t interest me. I’m uninterested in most of the girls — Claire, CJ, some of the others. I’m much more interested in Detlev’s boys and Detlev himself. Also in Senrid, usually. Also in Jilo. Liere has grown on me, especially when her annoying daughter is not in the picture. I like Andri.

    I thought the whole idea of the child spell was ridiculous for a long time. In one of these books, a character finally made a comment that made me understand it better, but it still strikes me as fundamentally unbelievable shading toward ridiculous. It’s something I tolerate. Now that most of the “children” have let themselves grow up, I’m not having to work so hard to tolerate that feature of the worldbuilding.

    In the first book of this particular series, Senrid failed just outrageously to handle something important in the draft, but I lost my temper and wrote many vehement comments in the margin, so I would bet that this particular failure is now much (much) better justified in the published version. I will probably read it eventually just to find out what Sherwood did with that. Though I would still dislike this feature of the story. But as long as it’s justified, I wouldn’t lose my temper about it.

    Now, the second book focused much, much more strongly on characters I like much better. I read it fast and enjoyed it very much.

    I’ve barely started the third book. But I really want to get through it by the end of the month, just because I don’t want to make Sherwood wait longer than necessary to get it back.

  3. I have the most trouble with Liere. I truly wanted Liere and Senrid to be together, but her treatment of her own daughter, esp when compared to Senrid’s treatment of his, was jarring. Yes, Liere is acting like a teenager, which just again confirms that children should not have children. Maybe I’ll read the final products. Still unsure.

  4. Well, I kind of feel I should say that in that case, there’s a particular plot element that occurs in the first book of this set that you would probably hate. But indications that a different plot element would probably work for you. So it’s hard to know what to suggest.

    I dislike Liere’s daughter so much! She’s such a brat! But the first time I saw her, she was already a teenager and Liere was grown up. I agree that it’s obvious Liere shouldn’t have had a child when she did. She was obviously not in any kind of shape for a child. By the time I met them, though, the relationships is much more older-sister / younger-sister. I still dislike the daughter, though

  5. I was so excited for A Sword Named Truth, and so frustrated by it. I’ve been interested in Norsunder since it was teased in Stranger to Command, and I really want to know what happens in the Norsunder wars, but I couldn’t finish the first book. I think the problem is she’s stuck with canon books and characters that she wrote when she wasn’t as accomplished a writer (and world-building concepts like the child spell that might have seemed really cool to a teen writer). I can see why she wouldn’t want to scratch them all and start over again, but I think they are really hobbling this plot arc. Perhaps I will try the second book, hoping I can still figure out what’s going on without finishing the first. It reassures me to know you are writing vehement comments in the margins! (I love her writing and I love Sartorias-Deles so I really want to love these books!)

  6. Kim, I didn’t read A Sword Named Truth — there are lots of earlier books I haven’t read — so for me, I’m frequently saying, Wait, who is this? Are we supposed to know who this is? I entirely agree that some of the worldbuilding elements and a lot of the characters are not the best they could be because she’s pulling them from earlier work. For me, a lot depends on which characters are important in which book, because I’m massively more interested in some than in others. I am extremely engaged by Detlev himself. I never read any books where he was a bad guy, so to me, he’s a closemouthed mysterious good guy who appeals to me a lot. In the second book of the Norsunder War series, we spend almost all our time with characters I prefer. There’s also this tremendous scene with Detlev, David, and a couple other characters that, wow. I personally think you should try the second book just for that scene.

    I’m not very far in the third book yet, so it’s hard to say how it’s going to work for me.

  7. Yes! I agree with Kim. A big problem for me with the whole Sartorias-Deles arc is that the backstory is buried in children’s books and other older stories that I’m really not interested in. While reading, I always feel like I’m missing important background stuff we’re expected to know. From this post and its comments, I’ve also learned that the plot elements i like the least, and characters I’m least interested in are also carry overs from those early books. I wish she would drop them.

    I am most interested in exactly the same story lines that Rachel is. In the Rise of the Alliance, I skimmed over some of the sections about Claire’s girls and Kayle & Leander so I could find out more about Jilo. I like some of Rel’s adventures and Detlevs boys too. So it’s encouraging that the second book in the Norsunder Wars spends more time in the parts I enjoy. I’ll think I’ll wait until it’s released before I start the series.

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