Web Log

Whither Blogging?

Dearly Beloved You Guys:

I’m not entirely sure when but somewhere in the past year my capacity for blogging suffered. I could blame the usual suspects: writing deadlines, a demanding day job, the need to have a personal life, blah blah blah. But really, true culprits are my Twitter and Facebook accounts. Between medicine and publishing, the past few months have been filled with wonderful, horrible, life-changing events, all of which I have tried to ball into the most concise phrasing possible to fit into social media. Where once life inspired essays, now it inspires tweets.

One of the most thought provoking books I read this year was The Shallows by Nicholas Carr. I strongly disagree with much of of Carr’s pessimistic analysis, which can crudely be summed up as ‘the internet is making us dumb.’  I do not think it is necessarily a bad thing that social media has induced me to try to write and think concisely. It’s not such a new idea after all, witness Strunk and White.

However, I cannot deny that the internet and social media in particular has changed how I express myself and how I think. It has given me a preference for the concise, witty tweet that will win an instant response. I should hate to let the mental capacity for longer expression atrophy. So, as I prepare for Spellbound’s book tour next week, I’m making a resolution to try to produce more blog posts, fewer facebook statuses. We shall  see how that works out.

Meanwhile, on the update front, I’m proud to report that Spellbound has earned a starred review from the notoriously difficult to please Kirkus Review!

 Middle volumes are always tricky, but Charlton succeeds brilliantly here; this is no mere setup for the final installment. By shifting locales from the first book, he widens the reader’s view of the author’s richly detailed world, characters, and magical systems, all of which are informed by his experiences as a medical student and a severe dyslexic. Absolutely not to be missed.



15 Responses to “Whither Blogging?”

  • Just stumbled on your blog while looking for a review of the audiobook for the Lies of Locke Lamora. Great review of that and very interesting posts. I hope you do continue to write blog entries. As someone who writes poetry I appreciate a concise turn of phrase but the ability to engage entertainingly with a piece of thought over paragraphs is a special talent and not one to be squandered!

    • Hi Christina, I absolutely loved that audiobook and Michael Page’s performance of the text. I have listened to it three times now and may do so again. Thanks so much for stopping by and for checking out some of my posts; though it takes some mustering of wherewithal to produce them, I really do enjoy the posts and hope others do to.

  • At some point I’ll get behind aggregating software that’ll bring folks tweets and updates into one place, but ’till then I’m always über-pleased by new blog posts. Glad you enjoy writing them as much as we all do reading them!

  • Hi, Blake!

    I read “Spellwright” about a year ago and fell in love with it. I typed up some questions I had, meaning to send them to you, but I was unable to find your email address. Instead I stumbled across this blog, and only now have I gotten around to finally reading the whole thing from start to finish.

    I forget books quickly, so for a couple of these I can’t remember exactly what answers I wanted, but here are the questions anyway:

    1. How does one learn a magical language?

    2. Why does cacography only affect language known to the cacographer?

    3. Why are the demons unable to cross the ocean?

    4. How is “dogfood” a metaphor for the Index?

    5. If life is magical language, then what are inanimate objects?

    6. What is a subtext, exactly? And how does it work?

    7. Not a question, just a typo I want to point out to change in future editions: In chapter 44, page 327, it says “Typhon meet Garkex” instead of “met”.

    Thank you! I hope to be back soon to comment on all the older posts I’ve bookmarked for that purpose.

    • Okay… *cracks knuckles*…I’ll give it a try.

      1) Did the lecture Nico gives cover this? Someone who’s been woken to magic has to learn the shapes of runes and their construction before they can learn to see the magical text, which with practice allows them to forge the runes within their muscles.

      2) Spellwrights, generally, can effect only languages known to them. There are a few exceptions to this rule. What is more not all disabilities are the same. Those more profoundly cacographic can have, less severe, effects on languages unknown to them.

      3) You’ll learn a bit more about this in book 2, a lot more in book 3. It has to do with a demon/deity’s ark.

      4) Not the Index, but the passwords that are thrown to the canine guardian constructs, who eat the passwords…as if it were…dogfood.

      5) Mere matter and energy. Like ink in the bottle, not yet words on the page.

      6) A subtext is any spell written with great enough skill as to become invisible to a spellwright fluent in the language in which said spell was written. It works in the same way as a subtext in a book might elude the attention of an inattentive reader, witness the subtextual retelling of the story of Cain and Abel in Steinbeck’s East of Eden.

      Phew. Okay, how was that? 🙂

  • 1. So is seeing the text a gradual process? Can people learn the language better even after they’ve ‘mastered’ it and thereby see more?

    Thank you very much for replying! Your answers have been very helpful.

    • More or less. Once you’ve mastered it (and assuming you’re not slow or distracted or drunk) you should be able to see any text written in that language that is not a subtext. 😉

      • But where do you draw the line between fluency—mastering the language and being able to see the text—and non-fluency—knowing perhaps a decent amount of the magical language but not yet being able to see the text?

        • Don’t think it’s got a bright ‘line’ once could draw for a definition. It’s a hazy, functional definition: once you can see all of a magical language, you’re fluent. Same in this world with spoken languages: once you can understand most everything you hear and say in a new language, you’re fluent.

          • So spellwrights in the process of learning a magical language will see random bits and pieces of the words that make up a construct of that language?

  • I just finished reading Spellbound, and curious for hints as to what is going to happen next- I decdied to look at your blog.
    No idea why I’m reading old posts, they are just as interesting as the new ones to me.
    I love both the books, and they will always have a place on my ever-growing bookshelf.
    I have to admit Spellbound made me laugh quite a few times, some of them being my fault by reading to fast for my own good. Revealed and releaved are two very different things.
    And when Nico and Fran were writing to each other, it always kept me laughing as I had to go back and see what was spelled wrong, because at first glance it looked perfectly normal to me.
    Thank you for the read, and I’m going to try to distract myself with different stories while I have to wait probably a whole year for the next book to come out.
    Good luck to you and your medical studies! 🙂

    • Hi Elvina, Thank you so much for these kind words! It’s messages that like that really make writing worth while and help inspire me to keep grinding away at book three. It’s great to hear that Spellbound caught your fancy and made you laugh. Writing Fran is one of my favorite things in the world. Rest assured, I’ll be doing my best to get the third book out as fast as possible….without going (completely) insane 😉

  • Great, I can’t wait to read it! I just have to keep writing today to get my spelling back to normal from reading six hours straight from Spellbound. I love spell-check.
    Keep up writing, just to stop that twictching at the cliffhanger. Thanks for the reply, it made me smile. 🙂

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