Friday, March 14, 2008

Writing news

I am half way through a story about the huge hydroelectric project that is currently being built in Iceland and trolls. In many ways the project is more interesting than the story. But I like trolls, and I enjoy writing about them; and the area being altered, rather drastically, by the project includes a famous troll-haunted canyon, the Dark Canyon.


I am thinking about writing a YA novel and am reading YA fantasy to get a sense of the market.

I like LeGuin and Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett, though I think the Tiffany Aching series is starting to repeat itself. The Pullman trilogy is impressive, though I'm not sure I really like it. But I am finding it difficult to find other authors. I tried Troll Bridge by Jane Yolen and her son. I just wasn't interested, and the Minnesota dialect didn't sound right to me. I'm currently reading Inkheart.

What makes LeGuin and Jones and Pratchett good? Really skillful writing, intelligence, humor in the case of Jones and Pratchett, remarkable imaginations, likable characters, sanity. All three of these authors seem like sane, good hearted people.


I was in the St, Paul Central Library last Monday. They have new machines at their self checkout, which I don't like. They seem to make the process more complicated and awkward. As I was checking my one book out, a librarian came over to make sure that I had run the book over the desensitising plate. It's now a separate step, which people apparently miss.

I asked her why they had gotten the new machines.

She said, "They are new and improved." Then she told me there were be someone outside the electronic, book-thief-detecting gate to stamp my receipt, which I should be sure to take.

"Why?" I asked.

"Security," she replied.

I went out through the gate, which did not go off. There was no one outside to stamp my receipt. I went home.

I still don't know the point of the stamp. The receipt is simply a reminder. It isn't returned with the book. Who is ever going to look at it to check for the stamp?

Does this have something to do with Homeland Security? Is the FBI checking my YA reading?