Alright, so I recently finished the book "Hyperion" by Dan Simmons. Let me just say... this book was a great read! I have now been to the Time Tombs and lived! So let me tell you how that was. This will be my first book review... so, work with me here while I stumble my way through organizing this post! I plan to keep this super brief. I like brief.
Alright, so for this book... just pretty much imagine the Canterbury Tales innnnnnnnnn spaceeeeeeeee. A group of pilgrims heading on the last pilgrimage to the planet Hyperion all share their tales about how they ended up where they are now -on the journey. Pretty neato.
Simmons does a masterful job of weaving the plots together. There were many points in the book where I was just left thinking --Whoa. From a writers perspective, as you read through this book, it is a great lesson on structuring. You can see as you go, and especially at the end, how Simmon's knowingly placed each travelers story in an order which would give the reader the highest pay off. What I'm saying in other words is, There is a reason that Traveler A had their story told before Traveler B... and Simmon's did a great job in planning that out.
Another thing I really enjoyed, is that each story pretty much was written in a different style. I hope that is the right way of catching what I mean. But each travelers story appeals to a different audience. Ex. One story is a mystery, while the other one is a romance with the old timey noir feel to it... Granted the whole story is sort of a mystery... but I hope you get what I mean. It is also really great to see the occasional reference to something we recognize from our culture today, since the story does take place in our "world".
I give this book a solid 9/10. It really blew me away, I wasn't ready for the intensity that Simmon's brought. Woo. I learned so much from a writers aspect that I really think it helped my craft, while also being very enjoyable. Once the car left the station, I was in for a wild ride with an abundance of twists and turns. This book has become one of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite. I can't wait to get to the others in the series.
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So I've recently started watching some of the videos for the James Patterson's MasterClass series, and I must say...
MasterClass advertises itself as the following:
MasterClass offers online classes created for students of all skill levels. Our instructors are the best in the world.
The series is taught by none other than James Patterson himself... and one of the things I enjoy most is that each video is fairly short and concise, dealing with whatever topic is at hand. For example: Plotting, or Outlining.
The video is constructed in a way which feels authentic and, I don't know if this is the right word for it... but "cozy". There are a few obvious set pieces they alternate between, a room that looks like a living room, and a bar-like area. Patterson is dressed casually and addressing the camera straight on. I've included the trailer below just so you can get a sort of idea about the cozy and genuine feel the course offers.
As you can see, the video is pretty well done and professional. Patterson is very engaging and seems to do a great job making you feel like he made the video just for you. Although some of the things he mentions may seem very much like common sense, it makes for a great pep talk and is very encouraging. I'm enjoying them greatly so far.
You can check out the other MasterClass courses here. I recommend this to any writer or anyone who wants to just learn something new! Albeit you can find the course videos through torrent or youtube I'm sure, I think it is worth paying for a product if you enjoy it.
Have any of you had experience with this MasterClass or any other MasterClass? Tell me about it below!
I post on this blog rather sporadically as some of you may have noticed! As I balance out writing with "the day job" I will do my best to post more consistently.
Thank you for your support and feedback!
Matthew Taylor was born February 13, 1991 in Simi Valley, California. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from California State University Channel Islands, where he served as treasurer and briefly President of one of the campus's two political clubs. While earning his degree he continued to write and hone his craft, eventually releasing an initial few short stories on Kindle.