Monday, December 9, 2013

Steven Brust Speaks

“As a writer, you will never in your entire career do anything more difficult than finishing your first novel . . . whether it publishes or not. So if you can manage to get to the end, with whatever your particular problem is, once you've done that, everything else you'll do is easy.” –Steven Brust

In this low-key, low-tech, man-of-the-people Q&A, fantasy author Steven Brust shares some of his writing insights. He discusses working through his first novel, how every writer needs a set of lies they tell themselves in order to do their best work, the difficulty of second novels, why every author should read broadly across genres, and a host of other worthwhile considerations for developing fiction writers. The Q&A a few minutes to get going while Steven settles in, but the video is worth watching regardless of what genres you are interested in.

Brust is probably my favorite author. He is the only writer I've come across so far whose books I have to consistently struggle to read slower so that I can enjoy them for that much longer. His Vlad Taltos novels are irresistible. Their sarcastically irreverent, assassin narrator, Vlad, finds himself more often than not in over his head as he contends with the intrigues and dangers of the Dragaeran Empire.

The novels are part fantasy, with distinctly 17th century European touches, and part detective story. However, unlike most detective novels which are strictly by the numbers who-done-it, where's-the-girl cases carried out by otherwise tired loners, Brust endows Vlad with something many of his traditional counterparts lack: a life. Above and beyond the next job, Vlad's actions and ambitions ultimately have consequences. So too do the actions and ambitions of his powerful, sometimes cavalier friends, as well as those closest to him.

Full of rapiers, cloaks, incantations, hard lessons, wise-cracking miniature dragon (basically) familiars, heroics that go unnoticed by mostly everyone, and damned stubborn selfish decisions, Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos novels are really something you aught to read. That is, if any of this sounds like your brand of cool.

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