I haven't written a lot as of late, as I'm embarked in some overdue reading, and novels and research are sucking up quite a lot of time. I'm advancing on the Battle of Memphis, however, and I hope to post some good news about it not too far from now.

In the meantime, I have finished David Anthony Durham's Hannibal. Pride of Carthage, which I got following a positive review written by Scott Oden in his blog. Up front, I must say I have really enjoyed it. A lot.

I must also say, though, that after reading Gisbert Haef's Hannibal, I was a bit weary of reading this one. Comparisons are hateful, you know. It's, obviously, different. Pretty different, I'd say. But it's a book that can stand his own. My homonimous did a cool job in describing the character's personalities, and it took a very interesting array of POV-characters, hopping from the main characters (the Barcides, the Scipios, and so) to some interesting secondary characters that provide a very interesting perspective. I have liked his way of describing battles, from POV-characters' perspectives, and rarely resorting to the 3rd omniscient narrator, as I usually do. I enjoy displaying the whole range of tactics and the strategical development of the battles to the readers, so they can re-create it on their mind, as if they were a bird flying over the battlefield. It has a lot of advantages, and it makes writing battles easy and passionate. I usually concentrate in each section (left cavalry wing, left infantry wing, center, right infantry wing, right cavalry wing; or vice-versa) like comic-book panels, and then move time forwards and make another loop, until the battle is done. This allows me to be detailed when it's interesting, and vague when nothing interesting is happening. Sometimes I skip sections on purpose, and this lets me play around the battle, exposing it in all its glory and folly. I usually have a POV character in each of the places, that readers know because they have been introduced before, and I move from the eagle to the character so things are clear and fit nicely into the mould.

Durham, however, rarely does this. Most battles are narrated from the POV-characters, and we are informed of what's going on through their eyes and ears. Sometimes we get just one POV per battle-frame. When we get to the last character, the battle ends, from what he or she can perceive. This "stripping" of most of the steps I use to describe a battle is interesting, however, because it makes things more intimate. More . . . "flavorous". It let's you sample enough of the battle each time to make a rough draft of what's going on; you--as a reader--feel the intensity not by the information you have, but precisely by the information you are lacking. It also allows to concentrate more on the inner part of the battle, intimate views and feelings. It's weird, but I think it may make things less . . . exhaustive; more appealing.

Once I finish the novel draft, and alongside the Great Historical Revision (GHR for my friends :) I'll have to review lots of things like these: if a situation will gain value by changing a POV there, deleting this or moving it for a later time in the scene, etc... Once the draft is finished, I'll have to work to make the novel good (or at least as good as I am able to).

This writing bussiness is really complex, but oh so fun! :-)

Happy Autumn (or Fall) for everyone. KALLISTI!


Memnon and the Hat

I have finished reading Scott Oden's Memnon, and it was about time!

The veredict? It's very good. Scott has a way of conveying the meaning and feeling of a scene that fills all your senses, you can imagine the whole, re-create it in your mind in full color, sound, smell, and timing.

He's also pretty good at feeling the characters, they look really credible and consistent, you can walk along them and they won't disappoint you, either in dialog or in thoughts or actions. Additionally his prose is rich but not pedant (although I'll have to consult the dictionary for some obscure words), and the reading flows painlessly as worlds unfold before your eyes. I have felt a perceptible improvement over Men of Bronze, which was very good.

I wish I'd be able to write half as crafty as he does!

Things to improve? Yeah, of course. As neo-pagan, I feel a bit nose-shrugged everytime I read such an anachronistic use of the term heathen as Scott uses it... x-D

Anyway, a cool book, the story of an extraordinary man told with dignity and passion, I can only applaud and take my hat off... At thy feet, Sire!

On other bussiness, I have gotten my pawns on a copy of A. T. Olmstead's History of the Persian Empire, it has some really interesting chatpers, and the book looks pretty good, I'll try to put it to a good use on Inaros... :)

I have found Pierre Briant's From Darius to Alexander in French, I have to read it on the Library, and it's 2 volumes... I'll have to unrust my langue d'öil if I want to be able to benefit... Voilà!, another reason to learn languages, uh?

Lastly, as NaNoWriMo approaches, I am honing my skills, probably to tack the last of the book, and maybe the first revision? (or maybe I'll wait for Nanoedmo in March).

Now that I have finished the book, I will try to write again, while reading the other books on the stack, which is already a parasang tall!