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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Maybe the Winds are Lonely for a Reason.....

One could easily describe me as a bibliophile. I love books. I can't help myself. I devour them. Tonight I was at a Barnes and Noble, and while checking out, the clerk asked me if I had the membership card. My reply was, "With as many books as I buy, I had better!" I keep joking with Jill that when I become a best-selling author and we build a house somewhere, I'm going to include a massive library so I can display all my books.

The one problem I have, though, is that I'm not what you would call an adventerous reader. I have my favorite authors, and I mostly just read what they write. I've even been known to read the same book five or six times if I like it. I'm also a sucker for franchise books, such as Star Wars novels. It takes a lot for me to be adventerous with my reading.

So a few weeks ago, I decided to stretch my reading legs a little and try a relatively unknown author. I'm a member at Red vs. Blue and skulk around their forums. One thread I subscribe to is "Tips for Writers from Writers". Recently, someone came onto the forum and talked about how they had self-published a fantasy novel entitled The Lonely Winds.

Now, I've always been a little leery of self-publishing. But when I read the glowing reviews on the book's website, complete with a judging form from some self-publishing contest, I was intrigued. I decided I had to give it a shot. I ponied up the twenty bucks and bought a book from a little known author, hoping to be surprised and delighted.

Sadly, I am neither.

Granted, I'm only on page 108 of 447, but I'm willing to bet that unless a miracle occurs or I suffer from brain damage that impairs my ability to judge literature, I'm going to stay unimpressed.

The reason is that B.I. Flight is a horrible author. At least, he is in my opinion. He seems in love with his (admittedly) impressive vocabulary. Unfortuntaely, while he knows large words, he doesn't always seem to know what they mean. He calls things "ironic" that really aren't. He says stuff is "interesting" when it really isn't.

Not only that, but one of his main characters drives me crazy, a man named George.

In the initial pages, George seems to be a highly cultured, intelligent man, one who uses many, many large words in the course of regular conversation. After the first seventy pages, though, George starts to "break character", so to speak, interjecting exclamations like "Great googly moogly!" and "Holy Hand Grenade!" It doesn't ring true to the picture of George that was forming and is quite off-putting.

I think the problem is that Mr. Flight never had access to a real editor. I doubt that the folks at Infinity Publishing did much for him other than take his money.

This may seem cruel and harsh, but it's the way I see things. If B.I. Flight has somehow stumbled into an area of the internet that's less read than his book, I'll apologize if you're offended, but I won't apologize for what I've said. Your novel, while creative, needed a lot more work before it came out in print.

1 comment:

B. I. Flight said...

No apology needed. You're certainly entitled to your opinion. To be honest, this is the first negative review I have seen regarding the book.

In rebuttal to some of your points:

Yeah, it’s a criticism that my prose is a little pretentious, but hey, it’s the way I write (and talk). I’m trying to tone it down in my current writing: perhaps that will be more acceptable.

What things weren’t ironic? Of the two instances that occur within the section you say you’ve read, neither of them was out of context. George is distracted, then is distracted from his distraction (trust me folks, it makes sense): Cynthia wanders away from a conversation about her and no-one notices her leaving. At to “interesting,” most of the time that’s a character’s expressed opinion: personally, a HUD composed of off-the-wall smilies would pique my curiosity.

I don’t think George breaks character at all. He IS extremely intelligent, cultured, and worldly. He’s also totally out of his mind. From the first moment we meet him, we know there’s something odd about him: he wears mismatched clothing, is introverted and secretive, and is prone to some truly bizarre behavior. We know he’s at least a little crazy almost as soon as we’re introduced to the character; it stops being “little” and starts being “more” in very short order.

Besides, “Holy hand grenade!” was just a chance for an old Monty Python fan to do a tributary reference.

As to editing: I had a number of people working on the project, including myself, several friends who are fans of literature at large (you may have noticed one reader, now a friend, giving me a *glowing* review on Amazon.com that compares my work to classical literature? I still blush when I read that review) and the woman who later provided the service for my website, a designer and editor in her own right. It’s actually become something of an in-joke between myself and my friends that even with something like eight people going over the manuscript over the course of two years, there were still those annoying little tidbits that slipped past us.

In my defense, my style has improved over time. I still work to tighten up the text, as it were, as I continue to tell the Winds’ ongoing story.

As for being self-published: it’s come to haunt me. I had worked on the first novel for two years, and was frankly intimidated by all the talk of how hard it is to break into the publishing industry. After examining my options, I made what seemed like a good move at the time and self-published. Since then I have acquired the services of a literary agent, the Barbara Bauer Literary Agency (www.bbla.com) and am awaiting word from not one, but two, publishing companies that have shown interest in the manuscript.

So, I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy what you’ve read. I hope that it picked up for you as you read on, or at the very least, you gave the book to someone else who was able to enjoy it. Thanks for your frank opinion.

B. I. Flight