Sympathy for the Reader
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Have you ever read a book, and wanted to yell at the writer? Instead, you satisfied yourself by throwing the book across the room and complaining to your readerly friends, “If I had written that, I would have…” And what would you have said?
“Lovely world building but not enough dialogue. I wish I knew more about what the characters looked like.”
“The cover art and jacket copy promised a kick-butt gritty book about a warrior woman, and she’s a total wimp. False advertizing!”
“The main character is obviously a massogenist and I hate him. To boot, the author seems utterly unaware of the inherant sexism in his book, which means the author is a massogenist, and I hate him even more, and I reffuse to finish the book.”
These may or may not be things I wish to say to authors of books I’ve read.
I take the 5th.
If you are like me and have certain choice things you wish to say to writers while they are composing and before the book is in print on the shelf, then today is your lucky day. In the Subscriber Access side of my newsletter, I release chapters of novels as I develop them. This means if you have thoughts about characters, wonderings, hopes for future plot development, or various irritations with the story that need airing, you can air them directly to me, the author, through email.
I get the benefit of hearing my audience's general reactions. You get the opportunity to influence the creative process. Rest assured, however, that if I think you are wrong, I will do us both the respect of ignoring your comments. In love, of course. I have just reached a total of 600 on my free email list (where I send out a free illustrated short story every month) and if I listened to all of you, the story would spoil.
As Shakespeare said:
“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
My last series, “From The Loft,” a new adult coming of age story about a young philosopher who moves to the city, was just completed this month. The next story, “Bohan the Mage,” begins on December 18th, released on the 3rd Saturday of every month. If you waited on a good time to join the S.C.Durbois Subscriber Access Newsletter bandwagon, now is it. At the bottom of this letter, beneath all the free reading, is the opening sample of “Bohan the Mage.”
Special Offer: If you subscribe by December 4th, I will also send you a complete copy of the just finished “From The Loft” series, a 140-page literary novella.
Join us for the ride!
Click the bundles below for LOTS of free reeding.
~Bohan the Mage~
Bohan was not a professor, but the daevins were cleaning the library in his manor, Nouvus, and it did kick up a lot of dust. He had taken advantage of the disturbance to visit Lindbell, the library kept for all magical scholarly texts, and to pay calls to one or two acquaintances. He had decided to pass the remaining hours with a cup of tea. Once the shop girl brought it, Bohan cloaked himself in an un-noticing spell. It was a little like stepping behind the curtain, out of view of the human realm. The mage still took up space, but it was as though that area had simply ceased to exist. It was very dark and very nasty stuff, but then, Bohan could be very dark and very nasty.
“Is the pot to your liking?” a female voice asked.
Bohan tuned out the other patrons.
Bohan looked up, realizing the young woman was speaking to him. He stared, stunned.
“Good book, that,” she observed. “Will you be wanting anything else with your tea?”
“No,” he said. Bohan wasn’t one for manners, but in this case, he must be excused. He was still trying to work out how the young shop girl could see him. Was she a wizardess in disguise? She’d have to be a very powerful mage indeed to see through his spell, which could only mean—
“Right, enjoy your tea,” she said with a cheery smile and went to care for other patrons.
This confused Bohan more, and by gut instinct, he said, “Wait.”
“Thought of what you want?” she asked. Bohan continued to frown at her. “We’ve got plenty of items in the bakery case, sandwiches, cakes, cream scones.”
“Coming right up, we’ve got to help that blood sugar,” she said and left.
It took Bohan a moment to realize she was pointing to his lack of manners, but he dismissed it. He reinforced his spell. The waitress shouldn’t be able to see him again, in fact, the strength of the miasma, noxious to humans, was such that she should forget he was present at all. His request should simply fade into the ether of her subconscious.
The girl stepped behind the counter and set to work on his order, or somebody else’s at this point. She was tall with wide shoulders, lanky if anything. She kept her dark hair twisted in a bun at the back of her head. Long fingers moved quickly and in only moments, to Bohan’s shock and growing unease, she returned to his table with a tray and began unloading it.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“My name is Coro. What’s yours?”
“Bohan,” he answered before catching himself. “That’s not what I asked.”
“I’m a student if that’s what you mean. Just making a little extra money here on the side.”
“What are you studying?” he demanded.
Necromancy, forgesonry, elixion, a few of the more advanced fields studied by humans with magical aptitude ran through his head. Who was her professor? Myron? Brandell? Gexol had always taken issues with Bohan.
“Poetry, 19th century,” she said, placing the napkin and knife on the table.
“Spell work then,” he said, reevaluating the girl. She laughed.
“I agree, some poems are most magical. Enjoy your scones,” she said and left with her tray. Bohan became conscious that his mouth was open. He closed it and sniffed the food for poisons or magical ingredients, but they were confusingly ordinary. Low blood sugar indeed—he was missing some joke, so he ate the scone and watched the waitress, Coro.
She seemed human enough. With a twitch of his finger, he moved a chair just into her path, so it caught her foot. She tripped and went down with a cry of surprise, the tray of empty dishes crashing ahead of her. His frown deepened as another waitress hurried over to help her.