Caliban’s End Offers Several Lessons

I found this through another new Twitter Follower — @PaulFStewart — who really should ditch the ginormous avatar that frightens the shit out of me in my Followers list.

Caliban’s End — blog for a fantasy book series described thusly:

Structurally, the books are unique, abandoning the linear approach often taken in this genre. Many of the conventions of the genre have also been ignored in an attempt to offer something truly fantastical to the reader.

That’s a bit ambitious and also iffy. Especially when later on the blog offers this warning:

Don’t expect literary genius. The book is — after all — a hobby. It’s far from perfect, but I hope you find it interesting enough to read to the end.

See, the thing is, people shouldn’t have to pay someone for indulging their bloody hobby. Especially when there are professional writers who give away their work for free.

The other lesson unintentionally offered by this blog is what I’ve stated before (and just earlier today to someone in Twitter!): editors are still needed, especially for any writer who chooses to bypass the existing dying dinosaurs of print and go to direct publishing.

When you do your own editing, disasters such as this get through:

To aid his passage through the complex currents, Gerriod consulted a volvelle, an expensive piece of maritime equipment his father purchased at considerable expense from a Spriggan trader over half a century ago.

Emphasis added by me.

Dear god, who doesn’t that happen to? It happens to me all the time in this blog. But I’m not asking for people to give me money to read this.

Writer Matthew Gallagher warned about this next thing:

I downloaded the trailer for the next Pirates of the Caribbean film today. Wish I hadn’t. Now I’m feeling rather depressed.

Let me explain. Some time last year I wrote the following text on my Caliban’s End wiki.

…Originally Sefar and the Kheperans had tentacles at the base of their heads and their mouths lay under a grotesque collection of tendrils covering the bottom of their faces. Then Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest came out and the promo trailer revealed a bunch of similar-looking individuals. My heart sank when I saw the antagonist (Davy Jones?) – he looked exactly as I had envisioned Sefar.

The final lesson offered by this blog is one of unexpected brilliance.

I expected to find a free chapter to download. But there wasn’t any. (There were mentions of podcasts, but I couldn’t find those links, either.)

Instead, the right sidebar is just genius. It’s a set of gorgeous illustrations with text underneath each one, apparently from one of the books. One of the illustrations is a twenty-eyed fish! That’s an absolutely fantastic way of promoting a book. And it’s also why you should go look at this blog — if just for that.

Explore posts in the same categories: Books - Other, Reference - Writing, Writers - Living, Writing

One Comment on “Caliban’s End Offers Several Lessons”

  1. Paul Stewart Says:

    Mike,

    Thanks for taking the time to check out the blog. I appreciate the interest. You make a number of good points which I’ll certainly consider further.

    I can’t argue with your first point. I guess the blurb at the top of the blog is me trying to emulate the sort of propaganda you read on a media release. It is out of keeping with the tone of the rest of the blog which I hope is seen as sincere.

    As for the money, the price of the book is literally only a few cents more than the price of printing. It’s a big book and I only added on a few cents to round it up. As a hobby I didn’t want to pay for publishing up front so the cost was the necessary evil of getting it in print. I understand your point, but the fact is, I won’t be making any money from this undertaking.

    Fortunately, the extract you quoted didn’t get through to the final draft but I’m sure others will, so the point about self-editing is well made. I had a few people involve themselves with the latter drafts of the book and their thoughts were invaluable. If I go down this road again, I’ll probably explore other options for editing. If I did this again, yes, I’d do quite a few things differently, but as a novice writer, I had to see the project through in order to really learn the lessons.

    Your suggestion about the free chapter is a good one. I’ll get onto that this week. Probably something I should have considered but didn’t. As for the podcasts, I recently listened to them and was disappointed with how they turned out which is why they no longer exist.

    Anyway, I did take a number of positives away from your comments and hopefully that will lead to a better experience for my readers (of the book and of the blog).

    Regards, Paul

    ps The avatar is ridiculous. I’ll get onto that too.


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